When explaining what Wicca is about, I often state that it is a religion that follows the seasons of the hunt and the harvest. Our culture arises from an agricultural background, however, and the farmer is often idealized to the point that a quick perusal through the online rituals show many speak of the harvests, of fertility of the earth and growing things, but few seem to mention the God of the Hunt. As the Wiccan Rede is cut to the last eight lines, and often taken out of context, the idea that we must 'do no harm' seems to have taken root in the general Wiccan community.
To me, this is indicative of our wider cultural attitude - the point of view of the farmer that any other way of life is uncivilized and barbaric. Such conflict between the farmer and the nomadic herder, or hunter has been taking place since the advent of agriculture and imposes a subtle acceptance of discrimination upon our thinking. Nomadic herders and hunters are savages.
But Wicca isn't just about agriculture. It is also about the hunt. This dichotomy says that both the seed and the blood are important to life. In the zeal of people to profess a life in touch with nature, might they be losing sight of this simple fact? That the hunt is as necessary as neccesary as the plow.
The battle between the God of the Corn and the God of the Hunt is ritualized in the battle between the Holly King and the Oak King. It is as much a battle between light and darkness as it is between hunting and agriculture. At each solstice, the God of the Wild Hunt joins with the Corn God until one draws blood. The victor continues into the next season, while the loser dances with death until the next turn of the wheel.
How does the God of the Wild Hunt fit into your life?
Indeed, when you look at online rituals, you find what seems to be a goddess-centric view of the entire religion of Wicca. I think this goes back to a point that Kea was trying to make in another thread - about the value and substance of what was being attained, online.
The balance of nature is paramount in our view. The god holds an equal place with the goddess, the agricultural aspects hold an equal value with the 'hunt' - anything, and everything, must be in balance for a fruitul and healthy existence. I don't know exactly how the agricultural aspect came to be such a predominant part, ignoring the other, unless, indeed, through a misunderstanding and misreading of the Rede.
Too, many people coming to Wicca, particularly when depending on the media of the internet for their guidance, find a strange affinity and solace when seeing that the goddess holds such a high place in our religion. To them, after being predominantly taught that the 'high-n-mighty' is of a male aspect, go to the totally opposite extreme - using the goddess as the 'all' of the faith. Some come around after a while, recognizing and realizing that balance can't be achieved from this viewpoint - while others totally ignore that the balance is something other than an ideal to be spoken of but never thought about or practiced.
I don't see where there is a battle between hunting and agriculture. I do see where one is necessary for the other - neither can truly exist indepentently of the other, especially in the natural state without the hand of man. Which leads to the concept that the gods are all about us - being there only for the benefice of people. They're not - we, as much as any other entity on this earth, are as much a part of the natural balance as the light and dark, sun and moon, the turning of the seasons... even the smallest part of our world that isn't seen or thought about. There are many parts of our religion that are never considered, and never stressed to be thought of, through the writings contained in the vast majority of books or the writings that are to be found on internet searches. It's really all common sense - but, as with so much else in Wicca, this common sense is hidden; hidden in plain sight for those who take the time to look for it and try to understand it.
I had to smile to myself when you brought up the seed and blood. Too many take this beyond the point of the simple aspects and place it upon the feritlity and continuance of humankind, placing it within the words of "all acts of love and joy are my rituals" from the Charge. While that isa part of it, it's only one part. Most of us here, on this board, realize what the Rede is and how incomplete it is - and that it's not an original part of the Wiccan faith. Those who are just coming to Wicca without the benefit of more knowledgeable guidance take this to be the 'LAW' of Wicca - and it's the only thing you have to know or think about.
Thank you, Rain, for bringing this up. It's opened many thoughts and considerations that I've so long taken for granted and haven't placed as a lack in the community, overall. It's an inherent part of the faith and, as such, is often overlooked as being basic common-sense - not worthy of being specifically noted when the term 'balance' is used in our conversations.
I had a thought after I had logged off and stepped outside... while I was talking about stating the obvious and assuming that the thought would be taken further, I find myself having done the same thing.
In my last post, I left the implication that the god would be associated with the hunt while the goddess is associated most closely with the grain. Again, in balance, this isn't always the case. Consider within the Greek pantheon Dionysus and Artemis. A god of vegetation and a goddess of the hunt.
While Demeter is often thought to be the goddess of the grain, her personification through Greek mythology is that of the entire spectrum of flora - particularly when looked at in the light of the abduction of Coré.
Also, in Wicca, there are specific personifications, in regard to the seasons, of the Green Man and the Horned God - which I believe is one of the concepts that Rain was alluding to in her OP. Still, each has their time and place - and those are balanced.
This is just something I wanted to add to give someone, anyone, further thought regarding the balance of the hunt and agriculture. Ignoring one aspect or giving more emphasis to something isn't keeping the essential balance - so, if you ever see something that looks more dominant, looks for its opposite aspect. Believe me, it's there.