Ancient Polytheism


#21

Absolutely, at best you can see relics of the pre–Christian era in some local traditions in Ireland and the myths and legends of that time have come down to us, ironically via monks (who of course Christianized them somewhat. I find the monks recording of them absolutely hilarious actually, the kind of keep including bits like, ‘These are naughty pagan stories and similar lines in there and attempt to Christianize the characters and retroactively add bits to the original stories’ which make it hard to separate out the original narrative sometimes. However the are also often very hesitant to damn or doom the pre-Christian heroes to Hell and will find endless creative excuses to get them out of that fate or tie them to Christianity. An example been the Fianna who were the warrior elite and nearest thing to a standing army pre-Christian Ireland had, some accounts place them after death as in Hell. However due to their honour and moral virtues in life they are given weapons to keep back the demons and when Christ descends into Hell they act as a honour guard for him in one story and depart with him for paradise. The sacrificial hero is a massive theme in Irish myth and some retellings of Christ’s passion focus on that in Irish narratives and compare him to legendary heroes, although they always stress he is the perfect model and the others are human and he is divine. New age paganism is on the other hand a clumsy attempt to reconstruct in a very odd way societies and traditions that no longer exist and often looks ridiculous to those knowledgeable about those cultures, although those involved are often well intentioned.


#22

I am catholic but have some unorthodox clinging to Arthurian myth and Cherokee faith that I think is very valid and part of my religion but in no way invalidates my faith in Catholicism.

I had a girlfriend a decade ago that was a firm pagan in the Egyptian pantheon who had a religious experience that made her believe in Horus. She accepted me and defended my Christian faith when challenged by her pagan friends disdain of Christianity. It was nice for a while.

I think there is more to God than we can possibly understand by looking at him through a single lense but I know who I serve and that is what matters to me and if it wasn’t for Mary I’d probably be dead or in hell a long time ago.

Trouble with a lot of Celtic things is we don’t know for sure everything they believed when it come to the druids.

Thank you Irish guy for this myth I quite enjoyed it. I’d like to hear more things like this once in a while.


#23

I appreciate your post and your perspective. It makes a great deal of sense to me that some people want to return to the faith of their ancestors and reconnect with that heritage. The fact that modern versions of old religions aren’t exactly the same isn’t a problem for me. Religions are aspects of culture and cultures change, understandings of our relationship with the cosmos change, and sensibilities change. We are no longer primarily agrarian, so animal sacrifice is no longer a major part of religious practice the way it once was.

Some people also find a connection to a faith that is not of their ancestors, converts. I know people of a wide variety of ethnic backrounds that follow Kemeticism, and other faiths that were once associated only with people of a specific locality. They resonate with that religions pantheon, perspective and metaphors.

Generally I have found non pagans to consider pagans to be people who are play acting and who don’t take their faith seriously, but being part of the pagan community, I have found that description to be no more accurate than saying the same of folks of any faith. There are always those who dabble, play and are in it for the holidays and community, rather than taking the faith seriously. That’s just human nature. Then there are those that are very orthodox, serious and to whom the faith is the core of their life. That is just as true of pagan faiths as any other.

Recon pagans, who seek to experience the beauty and power that their ancestors did in a faith that is part of the history of their culture, are like Catholics who enjoy Gregorian Chant, Latin Mass and various other practices and traditions from the past. Those came from a culture that is largely lost, but they are a part of the Catholic heritage and are still meaningful, even when they are used outside of their original context.

One doesn’t have to recreate and observe every aspect of Catholicism from the old days to be deeply, truly and spiritually moved by Gregorian chant. The same applies to other faiths with a long history.


#24

There are Kemetic reconstructionists out there, but I’m not sure how valid their scholarship is. As for Sumerian, I’ve never heard of a recon or revivalist tradition for those religions, but chances are good that someone is out there doing it. Most of the recon movements I know of are based around Northern European and Mediterranean faiths, but there are so many more of them now than when I was a kid. I do know of a lot of people trying to recreate Neolithic practices even older than the Egyptians and Sumerians, though.

probably all neo nazis, given how nordic pagans are usually nazis

Most of us are in fact the opposite of Nazis, thanks. We have our share of loud idiots and they’re a constant embarrassment, but they’re not representative of the faith.

Most Nordic groups are not nazis. The Asatru are conservatives and do discourage non-white members, not because they are racist but they believe each ethnicity should follow their own ethnic spiritual path. As the Asatru seek the assistance of their ancestors. An person of Asian or African descent would not be able to “connect” with the Ancestors as the Ancestors are Nordic.
White supremacists have appropriated Asatru symbols , myth, and practice but have twisted Asatru belief and promote racism.

The AFA and similar folkish groups are not the representatives of the Asatru religion even though they like to pretend to be. There is no barrier to anyone of any ethnicity or heritage practicing Asatru and inclusive heathenry is the majority among practitioners these days. We’re constantly having to repair damage done by bigots like McNallen and friends, but they don’t speak for us.


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