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Author Topic: Chaote/Polyreligionism  (Read 6531 times)
Aasha
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« Topic Start: November 20, 2007, 11:02:37 pm »

I read something by EverFool about Chaotes being easily 'converted' to other religions, or jumping from one religion to another depending on their mood.  Does this mean that Chaos Magic is less of a religion and more of a mindset?  Is a Chaote still a Chaote when he/she has converted to something else?  Or are other religions secondary, while Chaos Magic remains primary?  

I'm trying to grasp the idea of polyreligionism.  It sounds intriguing.  But almost as if it would be impossible to be completely serious about it.  It seems well, chaotic Grin.  For anyone that does hold various religious affiliations or switch religions frequently, how does that work?  What are your practices like?  How serious are you about it?    
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« Reply #1: November 20, 2007, 11:59:41 pm »

I'm trying to grasp the idea of polyreligionism.  It sounds intriguing.  But almost as if it would be impossible to be completely serious about it.  It seems well, chaotic Grin.  For anyone that does hold various religious affiliations or switch religions frequently, how does that work?  What are your practices like?  How serious are you about it?     

Well, not speaking from a terribly Chaote perspective, but:

Any given religion will have a core of essential stuff and a penumbral area full of stuff that varying proportions of the people value.  (People will argue about which bits are core and which bits are peripheral, setting that giant grey zone aside.)

It is possible to practice two religions straight up when none of their core material conflicts.  It is notably easier to do so when they have core material in common, or core material in one that's in the penumbra of the other, but even completely disjoint stuff can be compatible so long as something essential to one isn't forbidden by the other.

It's basically a philosophical Venn diagram.

Some implementations of a given religion will not be compatible with other religions; others may well be.  For example, some very strict reconstructionists hold (ahistorically, IMO) that one can only venerate the gods of one culture's pantheon to properly follow their religion; thus, someone practicing one of those religions would only be able to also practice either a nontheistic religion (such as Buddhism) or one which venerated the same gods.  Someone who doesn't hold to pantheonic exclusivity could do the same as someone who does, could adopt another reconstruction which also did not hold to pantheonic exclusivity, could adopt in addition one of the more modern paganisms, and so on.

The constraining factor is proliferation of responsibilities and constraints.  Too many codes of behaviour and too many commitments will eventually overload a life -- none of them are identical, so each will likely preclude at least a few things permitted by the other and add a few more active responsibilities.  And that's without getting into things like ritual commitments, commitments to gods, obligations to organisations, and so on.
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EverFool
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« Reply #2: November 21, 2007, 01:32:11 am »

I read something by EverFool about Chaotes being easily 'converted' to other religions, or jumping from one religion to another depending on their mood.  Does this mean that Chaos Magic is less of a religion and more of a mindset?  Is a Chaote still a Chaote when he/she has converted to something else?  Or are other religions secondary, while Chaos Magic remains primary?  

Caveat: Not a Chaote anymore.

For starters, I would never descibe Chaos magic as a religion, but rather a paradigm or meta-paradigm.  It's been a little while since I wrote the piece, but I didn't so much mean conversion - more that Chaotes are likely to try out other view points (often, I suspect, superficially).

Chaos magic absolutely is a mind set. Smiley

As for whether the Chaote is still a Chaote... I'd guess that would depend on why they converted, and if they converted intending to abandon the religion/paradigm down the road when they'd got what they wanted.  If the Chaote converted because they believed X religion was the Truth, I'd say they've gotten a fair distance from what Chaos magic is about anyway.

My experience has been that Chaotes 'wear' other religions - ie, they just act the part.  They may be able to act as though they have the beliefs, or maybe they muster the intense belief.. but it's not really sincere belief, and it hasn't been gained as the result of x years in the religion or philosophy, and it's not a long term thing.  So the beliefs may be superficial, or even misguided depending on where one obtained the information ('Sure, us Catholics all worship Mary, right?  Uh...guys...why are you looking at me like that?').

However, I'm answering focusing on Chaotes.  There are quite a few non-Chaotes on the board who appear to follow more than one path/ a mix of paths.
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« Reply #3: November 30, 2007, 02:12:17 pm »

They may be able to act as though they have the beliefs, or maybe they muster the intense belief.. but it's not really sincere belief, and it hasn't been gained as the result of x years in the religion or philosophy, and it's not a long term thing.

Is the Chaote disillusioned by formal religion in general, so that participation becomes a joke?  Or is he/she trying to uncover truth beneath religion by exposing inconsistencies and ridiculing unnecessary "show?"  I'm getting the feeling that Chaos Magic is undefinable, that it's as diverse and fluid as the Chaotes can make it.
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« Reply #4: November 30, 2007, 02:12:42 pm »

Caveat: Not a Chaote anymore.

Why, if you don't mind me asking, did you switch from Chaote to atheist? 
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« Reply #5: November 30, 2007, 02:21:32 pm »

It is possible to practice two religions straight up when none of their core material conflicts. . . It's basically a philosophical Venn diagram.

Venn diagram. I like that.  Guess that's what I've been attempting all along w/ Christianity.  Can't say I've been particularly successful, though Smiley.
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« Reply #6: November 30, 2007, 02:35:18 pm »

Is the Chaote disillusioned by formal religion in general, so that participation becomes a joke? 


That's really up to the individual Chaote.  As far as I ever saw a common tone, it was that Chaotes were fairly indifferent, and out for what they could use to effect.

Quote
Or is he/she trying to uncover truth beneath religion by exposing inconsistencies and ridiculing unnecessary "show?" 

Chaos magic is a meta-paradigm which states that there is no objective truth as such (which is ironic, becaus obviously the claim is set up as a claim to truth).  Ridiculing religion is pointless, unless that somehow aids what you are trying to do.  A Black Mass, if that fires your mind/ will might be seen as an effective technique.  Note, the emphasis is still on 'getting **** done' rather than on the ridicule, which is merely a means.  Getting distracted by notions such as truth, ridicule, enlightenment, etc, are generally antithetical to what Chaos magic is about.

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I'm getting the feeling that Chaos Magic is undefinable, that it's as diverse and fluid as the Chaotes can make it.

It can be defined, but it's a fairly small and specific (and core) definition.  Chaos magic is vaguely postmodern, doesn't hold with 'truth', and doesn't really care about stuff like 'A God appeared to me', except when useful.  Beyond this core, Chaotes tend to have different interests, view points, etc.
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« Reply #7: November 30, 2007, 02:38:02 pm »

Why, if you don't mind me asking, did you switch from Chaote to atheist? 

I'd ceased to believe in deities for some time.  Around August/September I came to the conclusion that I didn't really believe in magic either.  To be honest, I think I'd stopped believing for a long time - it was just that it took me a while to *admit* it to myself.
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« Reply #8: November 30, 2007, 03:25:11 pm »

Venn diagram. I like that.  Guess that's what I've been attempting all along w/ Christianity.  Can't say I've been particularly successful, though Smiley.

Christianity has very poor Venn diagram overlap with most pagan religions. :}
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« Reply #9: December 06, 2007, 08:50:21 pm »

I'm trying to grasp the idea of polyreligionism.  It sounds intriguing.  But almost as if it would be impossible to be completely serious about it.  It seems well, chaotic Grin.  For anyone that does hold various religious affiliations or switch religions frequently, how does that work?  What are your practices like?  How serious are you about it?     

Not a Chaote here, although I've been know to do a sigil or two.  (Which really isn't related to the "core" that Everfool was talking about, other than that's it's a way to get stuff done.  Smiley )

But polyreligious - oh yeah.  *points to path description*  I definitely am serious about it, and am striving to make my path more syncretic. 

The Departmental stuff is isn't a religion but it is a huge part of my path - it's my personal approach/path that I'm continually working on, drawing on my experiences and the experiences of the network/group I maintain/lead.  Plus all the things I learn from the other parts of my path - the flow of information moves both ways.  At any rate, there's a reason it's set off with a semi-colon - it's different from the other things in the list, although they complement each other.

There's definitely an overlap of Feri types and Thelemites.  Both paths (at least as I see them/have been taught them) stress individual Will development, integration, and connection.  I find that I use Feri methods to achieve Thelemic goals, for example.  And I did a ritual recently where I used tools from both paths.

Sometimes my Neo-Wicca is just...there.  And sometimes I see that it runs really deep.  To be quite honest, I'm still working on how it fits in.  Maybe it's another "approach" thing, oddly enough.  It definitely influences how I approach the natural world, celebrate the seasons, honor deity...  The polarity aspects help me make sense of the Thelemic (well, OTO) ritual of the Gnostic Mass.  And learning about ceremonial magic makes circles make more sense.  Smiley  I think it also influences how I do spellwork.

It's also worth mentioning that I'm one of those with a "thematic" personal pantheon across multiple cultures.  Some of which had syncretic practices historically (think Greco-Egyptian) and some of which did not.

How does this work in practice?  Well, I try to respect context, look at what fits together and what doesn't, and go from there.  I generally honor deities from different cultures separately, unless there's a syncretic connection there.

For example:  during my Samhain ritual (Neo-Wiccan, and Feri types also seem to celebrate the sabbats) I invoked Brighid and Scathach (Irish Celtic deities) and offered to them.  I did the bladewalking exercise from the book Evolutionary Witchcraft (Feri), using concepts/imagery from a series of novels I love and have found some useful bits in.  (Adapting from fiction is fairly Departmental.)  I worked in multiple worlds at once (Departmental/Feri).  I also honored my ancestors (Feri and Neo-Wiccan, although I recently came across a Thelemic concept of this.  Not to mention that the concept of legacies is very Departmental, at least how I do Departmental. Smiley ) The previous weekend, I went to a Thelemic Samhain ritual.

Another example - daily practice.  My daily practice started from Feri - I spend 20 minutes a day in sitting meditation and then align my soul.  I also try to get outside and walk around, even if it's just walking around the building where I work.  This connection with the outdoors makes sense with Neo-Wicca, and the fact that I'm in a "built-up" and not fully "natural" area and can appreciate it and listen to it relates to some Feri and Departmental work I've done around sense of place/magic of place.  (And there's that line from the Bornless Ritual, a Thelemically-adopted ceremonial one, about "having sight in the feet".  I sometimes call my walking "sight in the feet practice".)  There are also Thelemic daily practices I do (when I remember - I'm pretty bad about them) - saying Will before the main meal and Liber Resh vel Helios (solar adorations) four times a day.  I often will practice coterminous (multiple worlds at once) awareness (useful in all parts of my path, although I came to it from the Department and then from Feri).

I hope this all makes sense.  It's more coherent than it seems, and also very much a work in progress.  Smiley
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« Reply #10: August 16, 2008, 12:01:54 am »

I read something by EverFool about Chaotes being easily 'converted' to other religions, or jumping from one religion to another depending on their mood.  Does this mean that Chaos Magic is less of a religion and more of a mindset?  Is a Chaote still a Chaote when he/she has converted to something else?  Or are other religions secondary, while Chaos Magic remains primary? 

I'm trying to grasp the idea of polyreligionism.  It sounds intriguing.  But almost as if it would be impossible to be completely serious about it.  It seems well, chaotic Grin.  For anyone that does hold various religious affiliations or switch religions frequently, how does that work?  What are your practices like?  How serious are you about it?     

Complicated question.  I think the answer depends largely on which Chaote you ask.  In my experience we each have a slightly different underlying theory, which has a huge affect on what we practice and when.  Personally I think the central issue in a chaos world view is admitting that you are just as likely to be wrong as everyone else.  Admitting that you can't really know what "the truth" is allows for a much wider range of possible solutions to any problem since you are able to seek out any type of solution: magical, religious, scientific, or psychological. 

It doesn't much matter if the religions/magical systems I follow contradict one another.  I only practice one at a time.  (Say one in the morning and another in the afternoon.)  They each feel right and appropriate while I engage in them.  I am a mutt bred from many cultures, I eat many types of food, I enjoy many kinds of music, why should I have only one type of religious experience when it doesn't satisfy all my needs?
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« Reply #11: August 16, 2008, 03:05:27 am »

Complicated question.  I think the answer depends largely on which Chaote you ask.  In my experience we each have a slightly different underlying theory, which has a huge affect on what we practice and when.  Personally I think the central issue in a chaos world view is admitting that you are just as likely to be wrong as everyone else.  Admitting that you can't really know what "the truth" is allows for a much wider range of possible solutions to any problem since you are able to seek out any type of solution: magical, religious, scientific, or psychological. 

It doesn't much matter if the religions/magical systems I follow contradict one another.  I only practice one at a time.  (Say one in the morning and another in the afternoon.)  They each feel right and appropriate while I engage in them.  I am a mutt bred from many cultures, I eat many types of food, I enjoy many kinds of music, why should I have only one type of religious experience when it doesn't satisfy all my needs?

I have wavered back and forth as to whether or not I consider myself a chaote.  Or whether or not I could be considered a chaote.  I still haven't decided on that one yet.

Back to the OT.  I completely agree with what was said in the first paragraph here.  That is how I see things.  The second part, practice, is where we differ (and the reason why I am still undecided).  I practice my religion.  I don't practice multiple religions.  My practices are eclectic, as are my beliefs, and my gods.  I pull from many sources for my beliefs (quite a bit tending to be UPG),  mainly from two pantheons (well mostly one, with a good splatter of the other, although I do occassionally worship others as the thought,/mood/general synaptic misfire takes me), and my practices are a combination of what seems to fit the need at the time.

I think though that given just the first paragraph, I would be considered a Chaote, although if it takes the second, then I'm not.  Meh.  Let's just put it simply, I'm just flippin' crazy.   Wink
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