Pagans in the UK

We bought bitter, found somewhere to sit, and began what turned out to be a three-hour crash course in modern paganism, one of the fastest-growing religions in Britain.

‘It’s time for us pagans to make ourselves heard,’ said Steve. Steve is founder of Pebble (the liaison committee for British paganism) which has given all the various pagan factions — Witches, Druids, Heathens, Voodoo Priestesses, Shamans, Chaos Magicians — an official voice. ‘Look at the 2001 census,’ he said, ‘the results have just been published. We’re the seventh largest religion in the country — there are at least 40,000 of us. It’s time that we were taken seriously.’ What sort of people are pagans? I asked. ‘Ooh, every sort: lawyers, teachers, nurses, pensioners, students. There are lots in the Civil Service,’ said Steve, who works for the Charity Commission. ‘There’s even one writing regularly for the Daily Telegraph.’ Who? Steve chuckled, raised his eyebrows and took a pull on his pint of Pride. Anne Robinson? I thought; Bill Deedes? I asked, ‘What is a pagan these days anyway?’

‘Well,’ said Steve, relaxing, ‘the first thing is that we’re not Satanists and we don’t sacrifice babies.’ He rolled his eyes. ‘The Devil is a Christian concept. We worship the ancient, pre-Christian gods and goddesses. A pagan is defined as a follower of a polytheistic nature-based religion which incorporates beliefs and rituals from ancient traditions.’ As he laid a line of Golden Virginia on to a Rizla, I examined Steve closely for signs of in-leagueness with the Devil. There were rolls of grime under his fingernails and some red scratches on his right hand.

So, can a modern pagan just pick any god to worship? I asked. Egyptian? Roman? African? Are there any rules? Steve put his hands self-consciously under the table, ‘No rules,’ he said. ‘Being a pagan is about being free from institutional rules. And the gods? Once you start seeking they choose you, really. Everyone has their own path, but we all celebrate the same festivals: the summer and winter solstices, spring and autumn equinoxes and four other festivals: Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasad.’

Pagans, I discovered during our second pint, are also united by their sense of the injustices done them by Christians. The last 2,000 years of history, as explained by Steve, is a heart-wrenching tale of innocent occult revivals squashed by ignorant, scaredy-cat Christians; of forced conversions by English kings desperate for Roman approval; of goddess-worship suppressed by chauvinist orthodoxy and cries of ‘Burn the witch!’ Eventually, after a tour through the Enlightenment (good), Freemasonry (also good), Constantine (bad) and Dominican monks (Satan spawn), we reached the 20th century, where, said Steve, paganism was once again revived by a man called Gerald Gardner. In 1957, after 20 years of frolicking with a coven of witches, Gardner wrote Witchcraft Today — a mix of folklore, Masonic rituals, nudism, sex and Aleister Crowley-style magic which became a sort of handbook for the modern Wicca witch and inspired the whole postmodern frogspawn of spiritually and sexually liberated pagan sects. ‘Paganism today is continually evolving,’ said Steve. ‘There’s no right or wrong thing to believe, so even if we disagree, it’s impossible for pagans to be schismatic.’…

spectator.co.uk/article.php?id=5411

I have met several neo-paganists here in the US. They claim unbroken lines back to the druids. They can’t answer me when I ask them exactly where they (i.e. the druids) survived the Romans at Anglesey much less how they survived the Renaissance and Baroque periods in history. Neo-paganism is nothing more than a modern invention - see my post to Heathen Dawn re: Yule logs. I know it got censored but it is a direct challenge to him in Old English. Waes hael is OE for wassail. Vikings called Our Lord the “White Christ” and you can find the “Hound of Heaven” in most Book of Hours.

As I said in another thread, paganism is a kind of catchall that incorporates a lot of different belief systems so don’t assume your individual experiences with a handful of pagans represent more than a fraction of whats out there.

My friend I have met more than a few neo-paganists of several different belief systems. Just as I recognized your screen name, I have the background to discern different belief systems (after all, I am an anthropologist). I have also met some who chilled me to my very soul and caused me to start wearing my miraculous medal cross in 1976. It has not come off my body since. While most neo-paganists are involved in “la la land” there are some who have tapped into stuff that should not be messed with. I try to take a light touch with these folks so that they may come to see that they are messing with stuff that endangers their immortal soul. Heavy handed bashing only makes them more recalcitrant.

paganism make me sick. according to neo-pagan doctrine, anything goes. in which case there is no absolute truth. where does this take you? how could science even develop without the idea of an ordered universe, or a first cause? the truth is science developed out of the combination of greek philosophy and the hebrew concept of God, in christian europe. the reason why the western world is so dominate is directly because of christianity.

i think serious catholics and orthodox christians should form our own state or country and put into the constitution that there is absolute truth and right and wrong based on natural law and 10 commandments. abortion, contraception, fornication, homo-sex, pornography, homo-unions, and anything that glamorizes it should be illegal. this country is going down the tubes with europe, i say lets have a revolution and kick neo-pagan a@# back to france.

[quote=oat soda]paganism make me sick. according to neo-pagan doctrine, anything goes. in which case there is no absolute truth. where does this take you?

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I’ve known a number of pagans including my ex-wife and they didn’t believe that “anything goes.”

how could science even develop without the idea of an ordered universe, or a first cause? the truth is science developed out of the combination of greek philosophy and the hebrew concept of God, in christian europe. the reason why the western world is so dominate is directly because of christianity.

Science devloped out of the Natural Philosophies which were indeed heavily influenced by the prevailing religions of the time, however there also came a strong break between science and faith.

i think serious catholics and orthodox christians should form our own state or country and put into the constitution that there is absolute truth and right and wrong based on natural law and 10 commandments. abortion, contraception, fornication, homo-sex, pornography, homo-unions, and anything that glamorizes it should be illegal. this country is going down the tubes with europe, i say lets have a revolution and kick neo-pagan a@# back to france.

I think that’s an excellent idea. Let me know how it turns out.

[quote=brotherhrolf]My friend I have met more than a few neo-paganists of several different belief systems. Just as I recognized your screen name, I have the background to discern different belief systems (after all, I am an anthropologist). I have also met some who chilled me to my very soul and caused me to start wearing my miraculous medal cross in 1976. It has not come off my body since. While most neo-paganists are involved in “la la land” there are some who have tapped into stuff that should not be messed with. I try to take a light touch with these folks so that they may come to see that they are messing with stuff that endangers their immortal soul. Heavy handed bashing only makes them more recalcitrant.
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I’m sorry if it sounded like I was admonishing you, rather I was trying to give a very general warning to anyone reading the thread against overgeneralizing. The poster to follow you is exactly the type my message was aimed at. Out of curiousity is there an area of anthropology you specialize in?

Oat soda: The neo-paganism isn’t coming out of France (or at least I don’t think so). The French are so secular that they wouldn’t recognize a druid from an imam. Vile nasty French (and I can say that because I am of French descent…well I was about to go off on the French but it would be off topic). Most of this neo-pagan stuff in the UK stems back to the Golden Dawn movement in the late 1800s in the UK. It is amazing to me that here are all these Anglo-Saxon types trying to resurrect an ancient Celtic religion. If true, they should be worshiping Wotan et al rather than the “Godess”. Pre-christian Anglo-Saxon religion is similar to the Norse…Wotan = Odin. They ignore what they did to we Irish.

I’ve known a number of pagans including my ex-wife and they didn’t believe that “anything goes.”

well your ex-wife probably made up her own set of values, in which case she’s not living in reality.

Science devloped out of the Natural Philosophies which were indeed heavily influenced by the prevailing religions of the time, however there also came a strong break between science and faith.

true, they did break away, but the sciences are standing on the shoulders of giants. those early steps towards understanding the natural world are based on a christian understanding of the universe.

I think that’s an excellent idea. Let me know how it turns out.

i think so too, has anyone tried this yet? obviously the present constitution has an inheirant flaw. the will of the people is held higher than natural law and the 10 commandments… and i sweared to defend it with my life.

Tlaloc: No I don’t overgeneralize. I am familiar with the “mythologies” of many cultures and you’ve got some really neat Native American ones in your neck of the woods. (I have are really neat Tlingit orca T-shirt). Anthropology majors generally study physical anthrolpology, cultural anthropology, archaeology and linguistics. Linguistics was way, way, way beyond me. I’m OK in the other three disciplines but my specialty was historic archaeology which makes sense in my area of the US.

[quote=brotherhrolf]Anthropology majors generally study physical anthrolpology, cultural anthropology, archaeology and linguistics. Linguistics was way, way, way beyond me. I’m OK in the other three disciplines but my specialty was historic archaeology which makes sense in my area of the US.
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I know, my ex- was an anthropology major for some time. Hated physical anthro, loved cultural. I remember quizing her on all the epochs. I find aspects of all of it interesting although I confess much of linguistics I didn’t follow. I had a class on it but kept falling asleep.

[quote=oat soda]well your ex-wife probably made up her own set of values, in which case she’s not living in reality.

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Or maybe you just leapt to a conclusion that isn’t based in reality and used it to decide how a whole group of varied people “are.” Thats known as stereotyping. But what would I know, I mean you’re the expert on both paganism and my ex-, right?

true, they did break away, but the sciences are standing on the shoulders of giants. those early steps towards understanding the natural world are based on a christian understanding of the universe.

You left out the part where the christian “understandings” were by and large false. Galileo ring a bell? Flat earth? Evolution? Age of the Earth? Science has been at odds with the Church far more often than allied. Which is to say when the Church sticks to spirituality it’s fine, when it tries to dictate physics, chemistry, biology, geology, or any other science it ends up in trouble.

i think so too, has anyone tried this yet?

Yes theocracies have been tried many times, by many cultures. Few have survived to the present day.

[quote=brotherhrolf]I have met several neo-paganists here in the US. They claim unbroken lines back to the druids. They can’t answer me when I ask them exactly where they (i.e. the druids) survived the Romans at Anglesey much less how they survived the Renaissance and Baroque periods in history. Neo-paganism is nothing more than a modern invention - see my post to Heathen Dawn re: Yule logs. I know it got censored but it is a direct challenge to him in Old English. Waes hael is OE for wassail. Vikings called Our Lord the “White Christ” and you can find the “Hound of Heaven” in most Book of Hours.
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Most of them forget that in the 17th and 18th century - a “rebirth” in Witches, Wiccans etc. bloomed forth. They really trace what they talk about now to them - the real thing would have scared most of’em to death and it was considerably cleaned up for “modern sensibilities”.

Or maybe you just leapt to a conclusion that isn’t based in reality and used it to decide how a whole group of varied people “are.” Thats known as stereotyping. But what would I know, I mean you’re the expert on both paganism and my ex-, right?

i believe that the catholic faith is the fullness of truth. those like your wife made up their own beliefs, mine were handed down to me by the apostles. i didn’t make them up. this is why what she belives is fantasy, which means she’s living outside of reality.

Galileo ring a bell? Flat earth? Evolution? Age of the Earth? Science has been at odds with the Church far more often than allied.

you’re wrong. the church has never said that it is a matter of faith to believe the earth is flat, nor have they ever said that the earth is 5000 yrs old. the idea of a heliocentric earth predates galileo (copernicus). they pope wanted galileo to write a book presenting heliocentricity as a theory anlong with geocentrisim. galileo’s writting presented heliocentrism as a fact and not theory. this insulted the pope. also, galileo was trying to interpet scriptures as supporting heliocenticism, which he had no authority to do. finally i might add that saying the earth revolves around sun or the universe revolves around earth is equivalent mathmatically. so in a sense, geocentrism is correct as we can’t determine if a body is at rest, it’s all relative.

Yes theocracies have been tried many times, by many cultures. Few have survived to the present day.

well im not aware of any that combine democracy but founded on the natural law and 10 comandments. i don’t think the current constitution is good if it allows the murder of 4000 babies a day.

when it tries to dictate physics, chemistry, biology, geology, or any other science it ends up in trouble.

the church doesn’t. only if it says there is no room for God or anything that contradicts God creating the universe. like i said, modern science grew out of this divinely revealed truth. before that, things were not know to have a cause, they just happened. by the way, pagans who reject the church all go to hell. this would include a lot of people from portland, the gay capital of the world.

[quote=HagiaSophia],modern paganism, one of the fastest-growing religions in Britain.
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But not as fast growing as the Cult called Alpha!!!
Seems like Satan is quick after all.

[quote=oat soda] i say lets have a revolution and kick neo-pagan a@# back to france.
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Yes, that’s what Christians can do best. Kick everybody who disagrees with them in their a@#.
Why don’t you just burn them?

Atheist: I can respect your position because it is based upon the modern world. I cannot respect the positions of those who are basically reinventing that which died in the grips of history. To say that the Christian attitude toward everything is to burn everyone is to ignore your country’s history. Let not the pot call the kettle black. Can you recall the Battle of Tours? Is your country not facing just as great a threat today? Christians of any stripe are not the problem.

[quote=brotherhrolf]Atheist: I can respect your position because it is based upon the modern world. I cannot respect the positions of those who are basically reinventing that which died in the grips of history. To say that the Christian attitude toward everything is to burn everyone is to ignore your country’s history. Let not the pot call the kettle black.

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Well, esp. in my country you got killed for just being different than the majority throughout history. Being a Protestant on the 18. Mai 1631 was quite a bad idea when you lived in Magdeburg. Got you killed the very next day. Being a Jew between 1933 and 1945 wasn’t very pleasant either. Being a Catholic 1534 in Münster wasn’t that healthy, got you killed by the Wiedertäufers. Being a Saxon in 801, you’d either be a Christian or dead by 802. You get the picture…
That makes roughly 1150 years of my country’s history, where religously and ideologically motivated killing took place, and 60 years where it did not.
Believe me, I do hope, you are right. That all that really died in the grips of history.

Can you recall the Battle of Tours? Is your country not facing just as great a threat today?

I guess you are implying a Muslim invasion, and I agree. No, it’s even worse. Today we are facing a threat far greater, as it cannot be stopped by an army. Our multi-cultural and politically correct nice guys (we call them “Gutmenschen”) are pratically inviting them. More religious fanatics is the last thing I want in my country. And back to the OP, so far I haven’t met any Pagan fanatics. While I agree, that these religions are all modern inventions with a very loose connection to the old ones, that alone doesn’t make them inferior to other religions. There was a time, when Christianity was 50 years old, keep that in mind.

Christians of any stripe are not the problem.

I agree too. Though there are Christians of some stripe (e.g. Jack the Chick style) which are a problem. But they are such a tiny minority in my country, that there is no need to fear them. I am not so sure about the US though.

Yes, that’s what Christians can do best. Kick everybody who disagrees with them in their a@#. Why don’t you just burn them?

i didn’t mean physical violence towards them but to send them literally to france. i don’t think burning them would do much good.

Today we are facing a threat far greater, as it cannot be stopped by an army. Our multi-cultural and politically correct nice guys (we call them “Gutmenschen”) are pratically inviting them.

good, i hope the muslims breed all the liberal selfish jerks out of europe, i won’t miss them. all they care about is themselves. that is why europe is going down the tubes, white people aren’t having kids.

[quote=brotherhrolf]While most neo-paganists are involved in “la la land” there are some who have tapped into stuff that should not be messed with.
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I have met many Christians, Muslims, Jews, athiests, etc. that are off in “la la land”. What’s your point. I myself may have my share of problems, but I am definately grounded in reality. And I haven’t messed with anything that should not be messed with either. I’m a good little pagan girl. :stuck_out_tongue: As Tlaloc said, there are many different religions that fall under the pagan umbrella.

I try to take a light touch with these folks so that they may come to see that they are messing with stuff that endangers their immortal soul.

My soul is quite fine thank you. :slight_smile: It’s in good hands.

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