Pagan Music/Poetry/Spirituality

Hi, Everyone,

As a lover of Celtic culture, I have long been fascinated by elements of Pagan mythology and culture. Via Facebook, I have come into contact with many Pagans/Wiccans/Druids, and while I certainly maintain the truth of my own Catholic Faith, I have come to appreciate some elements of their spiritual tradition, just as I would appreciate elements in Buddhism or Islam. This is especially true in their poetry and music, which can sometimes be quite beautiful and express certain elements of truth.

While I disagree with Nature-worship, or Ancestor-worship, I still can understand and appreciate the poetic elements behind their beliefs, and the truth of the fact that nature is “charged with the grandeur of God” and, in that sense, is indeed magical. Also, we Catholic share a connectivity with our deceased ancestors – not through channeling them, certainly, but still our prayers for them make them continue to have a presence in our lives.

I suppose what I’m getting to is this: I have noticed that many Catholics tend to be much more wary of studying/appreciating elements of Druidism/Paganism/Wicca than towards studying/appreciating elements of other non-Christian religions such as Buddhism or Hinduism or what have you. While I am certainly not planning on engaging in Pagan rituals or anything of that sort (or any other non-Christian religious rituals for that matter!), I do enjoy learning about other religions and dialoguing with Pagans about their differing beliefs, and appreciating some of the things they have to share (i.e. artistry, music, respect for nature, spiritual words of wisdom, etc.). In turn, I share my own faith and beliefs with them, and many of them have been receptive and appreciative.

So my question is: Why is it that many Catholics are more hesitant to interacting with Pagans/Druids/Wiccans than other non-Christian religions, and is there anything wrong with appreciating the truthful aspects in these non-Catholic religions?

Blessings,
Pearl

Most likely much of the wariness and fear of interaction with Pagans stems from the fact that both Jews and Christians in ancient times explicitly desired to set themselves apart from Pagan polytheism by developing a religion of ethical monotheism. This was considered an alternative to the Pagan practice of idolatry, which was regarded as a capital sin. Further, ancient Pagan rituals have been portrayed as quite brutal, including such things as child sacrifice, which was forbidden in Judeo-Christian culture.

If you’ve found such a connection and understanding of how it relates to Catholic theology, try Praying to saint Patrick. Maybe God could use you to help neopagans bridge the gap home.

Honestly, I don’t have too much experience dealing with this not because I don’t know pagans, but… because they’ve just seems so ingenuine… It feels like I haven’t come in contact with a real spirituality at all…

First of all, I have no idea whether Catholics are “hesitant” to learn about so-called Pagans, Druids, or Wiccans. I don’t mean to be pedantic, but I’m not aware of any sociological studies on that question, and so I can’t simply assume that what you say is true.

However, I can tell you why I personally think those various religions are quite silly, having studied them in the past as a young man:

(1) The presence of an extreme amount of historical revisionism;

(2) Extremely weak and faulty philosophical underpinnings, rooted in relativistic assumptions, and not at all ones that have been exposed to rigorous thought;

(3) The potential to engage in immoral actions, especially of a sexual nature;

(4) Given points 2 and 3, an almost non-existent moral code or ethical system that is not simply subjective and arbitrary;

(5) The claim that “magic(k)” is merely a natural force, which is absolutely false, since, if that were true, it would be consistently observable. Since it is not natural, it is either fake or else it is supernatural. If it is supernatural, my faith tells me what sort of being is causing such activity;

(6) The fact that the occult is dangerous, and can both desensitize a soul to truth as well as endanger a soul insofar as demonic influence is concerned, as per the latter part of point 5 above;

(7) The lack of any coherent structure to neopagan religions, which, frankly, mostly comes across as a person simply making things up as they go along, utterly rooted in their own desires and nothing more.

Yes, I appreciate that a lot of neopagans might be of a certain “poetical” bent, but I do not appreciate the inability to separate fantasy lore from actual reality that a lot of them seem unable to escape from.

Furthermore, I can appreciate that a lot of folks might look to some of the beliefs of the religions you mention—the real religious beliefs, not opinions on whether trees are beautiful—and might find them to be quite ridiculous. Most people, upon being told that a person has a dragon or a fairy for a spiritual guide, might find such an idea to be just plain silly. There are many such beliefs that neopagans involve themselves in.

Lastly, there’s this question of seeing truth in other religions.

Look it, we wouldn’t have the faintest idea of whether or not there is truth in any given religion if not for the fact that it simply happens to agree with divine revelation. In other words, for a Catholic, we recognize truth elsewhere simply because it corresponds to what we know is real. We don’t need to go to another religion to understand that; we already have it at home in the Catholic Church.

I would urge you to examine the beauty of your own tradition, rather than going off chasing occultic spiritualities which can be demonic at their core.

Hello, Pearl

I think the hesitancy [from catholics] comes from the fact that pagan worship is so vehemently opposed by the writers of the Biblical books. For me personally, it’s fun to read about them. I’m a comparitive religion nut :). I’ve read some poems written by Ovid and I’ve found some of it to be entertaining, especially Orpheus and his adventures.

It has no practical applicability, though. Paganism seems to me to be a means of appeasing the gods-- not necessarily loving them. With a diety as promiscuous as Zeus and a drunkard like Dionysus, where is the morality? It’s bankrupt of solutions because the gods being worshiped are less moral than their followers.

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