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Author Topic: Oldest Pagan Religion  (Read 17300 times)
Innse_Iboth
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« Reply #30: March 30, 2007, 12:50:38 pm »

I was thinking of items like the Willendorf Venus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%27Venus_of_Willendorf%27). I must confess to reading with some trepidation how people would have been "all over" my post. And I am perhaps slightly dismayed that people don't seem to have managed to progress beyond the first sentence of my post without using it as an opportunity to jump "all over" something. I really thought I had adequately qualified my statement. Obviously not.
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Star
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« Reply #31: March 30, 2007, 01:03:22 pm »

I must confess to reading with some trepidation how people would have been "all over" my post. And I am perhaps slightly dismayed that people don't seem to have managed to progress beyond the first sentence of my post without using it as an opportunity to jump "all over" something. I really thought I had adequately qualified my statement. Obviously not.

The "great mother goddess cult" thing is a little bit of a...  not exactly a touchy subject here, but one that gets "jumped on" when it comes up because it's a misconception that shows up a lot (partially because it's put forth in actual published scholarly works that people don't realize have been discredited).  People get tired of correcting it, so they get a little jumpy about it sometimes.  It's not necessarily anything against you personally, it's the theory itself.

As for clarity, I haven't gone back to reread your post to see exactly what you said, but it may one of those dangers of plain text communication.  It's incredibly easy for Person A to think they're being totally clear, but then Person B comes along and, without the benefit of tone of voice and facial expression and being on the same train of thought and stuff, reads it in a totally different way.  It's also really easy to miss things like where you used "a" instead of "the" that are small-but-important differences.  Miscommunication is really easy online, unfortunately.  There's not much for it when it happens except to clarify and move on.
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« Reply #32: March 30, 2007, 01:50:24 pm »

I was thinking of items like the Willendorf Venus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%27Venus_of_Willendorf%27). I must confess to reading with some trepidation how people would have been "all over" my post. And I am perhaps slightly dismayed that people don't seem to have managed to progress beyond the first sentence of my post without using it as an opportunity to jump "all over" something. I really thought I had adequately qualified my statement. Obviously not.

As Star has said, the "mother goddess cult" is something that gets brought up occasionally and, because of the level of discussion that happens on this board, is usually something that gets people's attention. And, since this is a debate/discussion board it's not unusual to see one piece of a post pulled out and dissected.

The Venus statue is one of the usual suspects in these discussions and, as Wikipedia states, there's really not much known about what its cultural signifigance was.
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Innse_Iboth
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« Reply #33: April 01, 2007, 07:28:10 pm »

Ok. What got me a bit miffed was that the subject of my post was not mother goddess cults, whether universal, highly localised, tentatively identified, or whatever. But now the subject has been brought up I will chip in my tuppence worth and give people something worth "jumping on" as it were.

I think it is reasonable for us to expect people who do not understand the role of sex in procreation to give expression to their natural religious impulses in a way that is sometimes conditioned by this ignorance. I would maintain that such societies, where the relationship between sex and reproduction has not been understood, have existed. I would assert that it is one of the ways that systems of matrilineal descent can arise, for example. I would also suggest that it is possible to read certain myths as being just such expressions of religious impulse conditioned by this lack of knowledge, and that some other myths can be read as expressions of the revolutionary impact the knowledge of the role of sex in reproduction must have had for some societies in the past. 

I think other (unrelated to the above) circumstances in which mother goddess cults can originate are where there are enough individuals with a sense of being alienated from real maternal figures in their lives, presumably for some structural reason in society.
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« Reply #34: April 01, 2007, 07:32:53 pm »

Ok. What got me a bit miffed was that the subject of my post was not mother goddess cults, whether universal, highly localised, tentatively identified, or whatever. But now the subject has been brought up I will chip in my tuppence worth and give people something worth "jumping on" as it were.

Innse,

The first paragraph of your post was about mother goddess cults. I'm sorry if you feel that someone bringing that up in discussion is unfair, but since you put it in your post, that's what got discussed. That happens on this board.

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« Reply #35: April 01, 2007, 09:07:58 pm »

The first paragraph of your post was about mother goddess cults

True. Indeed the first sentence in a 500 word post otherwise entirely about celestial alignments, hence my frustration.

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« Reply #36: April 02, 2007, 09:01:34 am »

True. Indeed the first sentence in a 500 word post otherwise entirely about celestial alignments, hence my frustration.



Innse,

Like I said, it's going to happen here. It always has and it always will.
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Eadie
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« Reply #37: April 03, 2007, 09:35:05 am »

True. Indeed the first sentence in a 500 word post otherwise entirely about celestial alignments, hence my frustration.



Everyone picks up on what stands out to them.  I'm not into astrology at all, so I tend to skim over anything about celestial alignments....
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kaylar
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« Reply #38: April 03, 2007, 01:08:16 pm »

Considering human evolution; considering where humans began...East Africa...the
migration patterns, the crossovers...you will find a lot of referencing from one to
the other, so that what was practiced in Egypt was not that different from what
was practiced in Ur.

Migration patterns into Europe would, of course, make civilisation 'newer' there
than in Sumeria or Babel.

To my understanding, there are/were important aspects, i.e. when to plant
when to store food, which many of the early systems were concerned with.

Moving to more recent times, one can see the cross overs with Viking/Roman/
Grecian dieties, i.e. same aspect different name, so it is not beyond thought
that what one might see at Stonehenge is a local interpretation of a system
that existed in Ur with local modifications.


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RandallS
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« Reply #39: April 03, 2007, 02:22:35 pm »

Considering human evolution; considering where humans began...East Africa...the
migration patterns, the crossovers...you will find a lot of referencing from one to
the other, so that what was practiced in Egypt was not that different from what
was practiced in Ur.

Actually, there often were huge differences in beliefs, practices, and especially the beliefs underlying them between the religions of various ancient societies.
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Ashlan
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« Reply #40: April 03, 2007, 03:16:06 pm »

Mother goddess' not-withstanding,

As for the celestial alignments of prehistoric sites in Scotland - well, I've looked into this a fair bit, and there is a degree of complexity that suggests something more than a simple calendrical function, i.e. for identifying seasons, and deciding when to plant crops. Setting to one side of course the fact that the early population of Scotland were not actually that reliant on crops to justify devising such a calendrical system for that reason (they were more reliant on game up until Roman records begin). So immediately inferring some calendrical role risks making an assumption based on the misapplication of ideas developed to account for sites elsewhere, other than Scotland.

A good point - why spend the time and effort to put the stones in place, etc., if they don't have any relevance to everyday life?  Because they have relevance to every day life if you're living in Scotland 3500 years ago - and the world is much more - at hand - in terms of mysticsm than it is now (ie., the current 'age of science').  What happens over our heads would have been very much a part of what happens down here on the dirt.

Quote
A guy from St Andrews published a study which was based on the alignments of prehistoric sites in Fife which he felt were strongly suggestive of a lunar cult active from about 8,000 years ago. (I will look it out and post details of this study if anyone is interested). Perhaps the most startling conclusion he reached is that the Scottish flag, the saltire, which has been used since the 9th century CE according to the historical record, but was probably a more ancient symbol of power, is actually a representation of these lunar alignments! I found that part a little hard to swallow I must confess.

But a fun supposition . . . .  Anyhow - getting back to the original question - the oldest 'pagan' religion was probably someone looking up at the moon one night and wondering why, or hoping that big bright thing didn't fall and hit him/her on the head.

Thats my $.02.

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kaylar
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« Reply #41: April 03, 2007, 05:14:21 pm »

Just about everyone sees the Moon as Female and has a female goddess
associated with 'her'.  Many 'cults' so called worshipped the female deity.

The belief were not hugely different.
Firstly; the belief that there were entities greater than human.
Secondly; that these entities had specific areas of expertise
Thirdly; that worshipping these entities was necessary.

Contrast the above to the 'dreamtime' of Austrialian aborigines
or to particular dieties in Africa which were not worshipped but
appeased.
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« Reply #42: April 03, 2007, 05:37:16 pm »

Just about everyone sees the Moon as Female and has a female goddess
associated with 'her'.  Many 'cults' so called worshipped the female deity.

The belief were not hugely different.
Firstly; the belief that there were entities greater than human.
Secondly; that these entities had specific areas of expertise
Thirdly; that worshipping these entities was necessary.

Contrast the above to the 'dreamtime' of Austrialian aborigines
or to particular dieties in Africa which were not worshipped but
appeased.

That's actually not true.  The Moon isn't female in, say, Asatru.  And that's off the top of my head.

I suspect the moon is male in some, female in others, and sexless in yet other religions.  Not monolithic at all.
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« Reply #43: April 03, 2007, 05:42:44 pm »

Just about everyone sees the Moon as Female and has a female goddess
associated with 'her'.  Many 'cults' so called worshipped the female deity.

A number of religions had a moon god (male), the Kemetic religion (ancient Egypt) for one.
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« Reply #44: April 03, 2007, 05:45:10 pm »

The belief were not hugely different.
Firstly; the belief that there were entities greater than human.
Secondly; that these entities had specific areas of expertise
Thirdly; that worshipping these entities was necessary.

(Just a reminder:  Don't forget to use the "quote" button on each post to reply, instead of the "Reply" button on the whole thread--that way we know who you're talking to and what you're replying to.  Thanks!)

Those three things are not actually a great deal of commonality, though.  They're very, very, very broad points.  That means there's still a lot of room for variation in the specifics about things like how many of these entities there are, who they are, what their areas of expertise were, and especially how to worship them.  Which means that religions can share those three points and still be very, very different.

(Edited to add a missing word.)
« Last Edit: April 03, 2007, 05:46:41 pm by Star » Logged

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