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6 years ago  ::  Aug 27, 2008 - 10:19PM #1
ItsAllALie
Posts: 4,421
Your Pagan faith that you love,,,,something that I may not know,,,,something you want Non-Pagans to know, to understand, to internalize,,,,

What do you love? What do you not love? What do you find valuable in your faith? What fulfills you, makes your soul sing,,,,makes you grind your teeth about others not of your faith as pertains to your faith,,,,or even about those of your same faith that makes you grind your teeth,,,(and let's face it, we all have them,,,,,

Do you have a holy scripture? Do you worship in a "church",,,out in the open,,,,alone,,,with others??? Is there a basic doctrine I don't know?

It struck me that although many of you are very familiar with Christianity (probably from growing up around it) and very open to learning about other faiths, as illustrated by your EXTREME patience with some of the Christian-Jewish debate that's been going on around here for the past several days,,,,,I really am very ignorant of Paganism.

So educate me ;)

Holly
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 27, 2008 - 10:38PM #2
gillyflower
Posts: 5,325
Okay, Holly. For one thing there is no Pagan faith. It is an umbrella term that covers a lot of religions. Wicca and Asatru are examples of the religions that are under it. Some have sacred books or myths, others do not. Most are polytheists but not all.

What I would like non-Pagans to know is that my religion, Wicca, is experiential and that the center of my religion is my personal relationships with my gods. The reason I don't proselytize is that I believe that the gods can speak to whomever they want. If they don't speak to someone, then there is a reason for that. I also don't care if no one believes as I do because it won't affect my relationship with my gods. I believe that a person's UPG is interesting but only pertinent to the person that has it.

This is a good start. :)
Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. Marcus Aurelius
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 27, 2008 - 11:18PM #3
ItsAllALie
Posts: 4,421
Thank you, Gilly :) If you don't mind saying,,,how many Gods do you have? Are they all equally important? Do they all have different functions or meanings?

Holly
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 27, 2008 - 11:41PM #4
gillyflower
Posts: 5,325
I have matron and patron gods at the moment - two. They are both equally important to me. In my tradition we are currently discussing this. Some people feel closer to one god over another and that can change over time and some feel that it is easier to relate to male energy rather than female or visa versa. Some people may interact with more gods than the two I do.

You'll get a lot of different answers about the gods because my relationship with goddess X will be different from another person's relationship with the same goddess mainly because we are all different. Also many people aren't totally certain just who it is that they are talking to. IMO they are less concerned with names than humans seem to be.

We are fond of saying "As above, so below" and that is helpful when you try to grasp our view of the gods. We feel that they are as individual as humans are and like humans, they are better at some things and more interested in one thing or a couple of things. In that way you could consider that they do have different functions. They each also provide a different point of view for things, just as if you went to several people for their input and each of them would look at the problem differently.

On thing that is important - we feel chosen. That is a Big Deal to us. My gods chose to speak to me. They love me. They want a personal relationship with me. It's why I can't understand why anyone would ask me to give my gods up. I could not do that. I also do not see a reason to worship a god that doesn't speak to me. That doesn't make sense. If a god wants me to follow him or her, s/he will speak to me, that has been my experience.
Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. Marcus Aurelius
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 27, 2008 - 11:47PM #5
Chiyo
Posts: 5,799
It is my understanding that the largest Pagan faith is actually Hinduism. Which is also known as the "Mother of all religions". While the vast majority of Buddhists do not consider themselves Hindus, the Hindus do in fact consider Buddhism to be a subset of Hinduism... Just a bit of trivia for you. And for this reason, I'm being bold enough to answer your OP, here -- even though others may not consider Buddhism to be a "pagan" faith.

Anyway, what do I love about my faith?... Considering I'd had a Christian Terrorist threaten to firebomb my Church, and considering the violence I'd seen perpetrated on homosexuals by Christians, then the attack of 9/11 on the World Trade Center and Pentegon which was also religious in nature... I deliberately sought out an Ahimsa religion. And found my home in Buddhism. What I love about my faith is that I have not found any violence in the scriptures at all. And that the cornerstone of this religion is in the 4 Noble Truths, which tell us that our prime directive is to relieve suffering here and now, in this life. And notice, that this prime directive to relieve suffering is not limited to human beings, we are to relieve the suffering of animals, the suffering of plants and of all things (ecology). Because all life is sacred and all things are to be revered - since the Divine Mystery indwells all things. Which leads me into the final thing I'll mention that I love, there is no permanent Hell in Buddhism. All are redeemed, all are valuable and nothing is wasted.

What do I hate about my religion?... I'm not going to say that I hate anything about it. Of course, I've only been a Buddhist for 4 years, maybe I just haven't found that "pet peeve" yet?... But I will say this, I do miss the Christian hymns (especially at Christmas time) and I miss having religious holidays - even and sometimes most especially "Lent". Buddhism has chanting, but no hymns (that I've found), and although there are religious holidays, they are not much celebrated here where I am.
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 27, 2008 - 11:56PM #6
gillyflower
Posts: 5,325
Oh yes, I miss the music more than anything else! I have religious holidays and don't mind a bit celebrating several religions holidays together.
Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. Marcus Aurelius
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 28, 2008 - 12:23PM #7
allthegoodnamesweretaken
Posts: 11,634

ItsAllALie wrote:

Your Pagan faith that you love,,,,something that I may not know,,,,something you want Non-Pagans to know, to understand, to internalize,,,,




Well, first off, that I'm not Wiccan. 

Secondly, that my faith, Asatru, has nothing to do with racism.  There is a public perception that is fed by some angry morons that have one too few holes in their head, if you know what I mean. 



ItsAllALie wrote:


What do you love?



The pragmatism.  You live here and now, and deal with reality as it happens. That seems to be as big a part of my belief structure as it is in Buddhism. 

Also, and this is going to sound strange I'm sure, but Asatru is not a pacifist ideology.  Non-violent resistance has it's place, but it is not the right tool for every job.  It seems that most belief structures out there preach non-violence.  Instead of giving you a code and a means to channel it, they just say, "don't".   

ItsAllALie wrote:


What do you not love?



It's hard.  You focus on personal change, personal growth and development.  Even when the ideals are ones you always strove for, seeing what needs to be done in order to achieve and maintain them is very humbling.  The gods will show you the way, and give you encouragement (whatever form that might take) but they will not do it for you. 

I suppose it's similar to the answer you would get from a dedicated athlete if you asked them.  I'm sure they would tell you that yes, sometimes they don't want to get up and train, that they would rather just stay in bed.  But they do it anyway.

ItsAllALie wrote:


What do you find valuable in your faith? What fulfills you, makes your soul sing



This is actually a really hard question.  I'd have to say, the discipline, the strength of character.  Persistence and self sufficiency. 


ItsAllALie wrote:


,,,,makes you grind your teeth about others not of your faith as pertains to your faith



Honestly, nothing.  Those outside of my faith are just that, outside of my faith.  I cannot expect them to live up to my standards.  They likely even hold to different standards. 


ItsAllALie wrote:


,,,,or even about those of your same faith that makes you grind your teeth,,,(and let's face it, we all have them,,,,,



Just those I mentioned before that give us all a bad name.  After that a persons relationship with the gods is their relationship with the gods. 


ItsAllALie wrote:


Do you have a holy scripture?



Not the way you think of it.  We have writings, but it is not so much scripture as it is stories to learn from.  Unfortunately, most of our tradition was passed down orally at the time of the Christian conquest of Europe.  What we have left is due to a handful of people from outside the faith preserving it.  As such it should be treated a bit suspiciously, IMO.


ItsAllALie wrote:


Do you worship in a "church",,,out in the open,,,,alone,,,with others???



Well, I'm a solo practitioner, so I practice alone, although I keep looking around for a group blot.  If I'm ever up north, I'm looking John up, that's for damn sure.  My practice is more in the open. 

ItsAllALie wrote:


Is there a basic doctrine I don't know?



That's a toughie.  Although there are some organizations out there, for the most part we are unorganized and don't like others telling us what to do or how to believe.  Generally, an Asatruar is going to hold to something similar to the nine noble virtues.     

   1. Courage
   2. Truth
   3. Honor
   4. Fidelity
   5. Discipline
   6. Hospitality
   7. Self Reliance
   8. Industriousness
   9. Perseverance


It struck me that although many of you are very familiar with Christianity (probably from growing up around it) and very open to learning about other faiths, as illustrated by your EXTREME patience with some of the Christian-Jewish debate that's been going on around here for the past several days,,,,,I really am very ignorant of Paganism.

I hope that helps. 

all

Yesterday, in America, 100 million gun owners did nothing.
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 28, 2008 - 4:19PM #8
ItsAllALie
Posts: 4,421
Thanks, guys.  I don't mean to be nosy, but when I discover ignorance in myself, I like to "fix" it,,,but religion is such a personal thing, it's always tough to know what to ask, what people will be willing to share.

All, one thing I noticed from your response, which kind of stunned me,,,,Do people think that just because you're Pagan that you are Wiccan?

I have a similar issue,,,although not exactly the same,,,when people find out I'm converting (and I'm not talking Jews here, I'm talking Gentiles, usually Christians) they want to know what branch,,,when I tell them Reform, they hold Orthodox to be some kind of litmus test for Judaism,,,IOW, if I'm not converting Orthodox, then I'm not going to be a "true" Jew.  There's a consensus amongst some Christians that Orthodox is the holder of all that's true Judaism, and that the rest is some sort of watered down version, which I find to be somewhat offensive. I would expect this of Orthodox Jews, but from CHRISTIANS?? If you told the majority of these people that since they're not Catholic or Eastern Orthodox, then they're not "true Christians", they'd be offended, but somehow it's alright to say that about Reform Judaism. Bugs me.

Anyway, your statement made me think of that, even though i t's not exactly the same.

HOlly
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 28, 2008 - 4:37PM #9
mainecaptain
Posts: 21,759

gillyflower wrote:

Oh yes, I miss the music more than anything else! I have religious holidays and don't mind a bit celebrating several religions holidays together.

I am going to have to think about the rest of the answer. But I still hum and sing all the secular christmas songs, frosty the snow man, and I watch all the non religious children's show around the christmas season. I am truly a kid at heart. Like "The Year Without a Santa Claus"  and similar cartoons. I love the music in those shows, :o And it is all secular so I feel fairly safe. More like celebrating Winter, not christmas

I love my faith because it brings me into contact with the unseen world. One I did not realize existed. No not ghosts, although I am interested in that as well. But the Spirits of the wood and Glen,  nature spirits and guardians .  Listening to trees and plants. Those things mean more then I can describe, and of course my relationship with deities.

I'll be back must think more:)

p.s. I do try and worship out of doors, in the woods or under my Apple tree. Other wise alone in my room.

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side. Aristotle
Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. Plato..
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives" Jackie Robinson
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 28, 2008 - 4:39PM #10
Chiyo
Posts: 5,799

mainecaptain wrote:


I'll be back must think more:)



Oh no you don't!

Listen to your gut. :cool:

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