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Author Topic: Special Discussion: Nature and Pagan Religions  (Read 22882 times)
Cathira
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Last Login:November 01, 2008, 04:26:24 am
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« Reply #1: May 14, 2008, 07:31:11 am »

Without further ado, then, here are some questions to think about; you don't have to answer them all or in any order, certainly -- they're just some thoughts to get the ball rolling.
How important is the idea of "nature" within your religion?
How is nature conceptualized within your religion?
How does nature -- concepts, imagery, attitudes toward -- function within your religion?
Where do things like agricultural festivals fit into your religion overall?
If you practice magic, how is nature figured -- is it *the* source of power, *a* source of power, totally irrelevant, what?
Etc. etc. etc.

Have fun, and stay on topic!   

As someone who is still working out her path, I won't stray too far into what any particular religion does or doesn't do. One thing that a lot of religious beliefs tend to include though, is the belief that one (or more) deities created the known universe/helped shape things. If this forms part of someone's religious beliefs, then part of respecting your deity(ies) *should* include respect for nature, in my opinion. To do otherwise just seems... hypocritical.

As far as my personal beliefs and practices go, while I am still working them out and have a definite Kemetic lean, I'm a little more pragmatic. Yes, there are deities in my chosen pantheon who created things, just as there are deities there who 'hold dominion' over aspects of nature. Doing things that help the environment, such as planting trees or recycling are things that I can (and possibly will) use as dedications to certain deities, sacrifices of my time and energy to look after things that concern them in relation to the world around us. It is also part of upholding Maat, as I understand it (still working on that one as well). If I walk along the street and don't bother to pick up a stray piece of newspaper to put in the bin two metres away, I don't really consider that to be upholding Maat (although it is a small thing in comparison to other wrongs in the world). I also consider the practical side. If we pollute and denude our planet to the point it is unliveable, we lose.

As far as nature and my religion, the ancient Egyptians don't appear to really have that distinction. They had deities of the harvest, the Nile inundation, and other various natural events, and festivals in Their honour. I would say nature was a pretty important part of their religion/lifestyle, even if it wasn't really identified as a separate aspect of their existence, the way we do now. Nature just was. I think this is where we miss a lot of what goes on, by separating nature into this 'other' thing, that needs to be feared, looked-after or pillaged for what it has to offer, instead of simply being a part of our existence. We've divorced ourselves from nature to the point where many people wouldn't kill an animal for their supper, but can happily buy prepackaged meat at the supermarket without a second thought. We complain when it rains on our day off instead of being thankful that there is more water to drink, and stay indoors on a cold, wet day instead of rugging up, going out and going ahead with our walk and experiencing nature. We work in climate-controlled boxes, look out at the sunshine and think, "I wish I was out there - I can't wait for the weekend," then proceed to spend our weekend indoors with the airconditioner because it's 'too hot' outside in that wonderful sun. We watch a documentary on the TV instead of going for a walk in the bush and seeing the animals live and active.

For my personal path, I just want to experience all of that, and make sure it is there for my own kids. That means I must be more environmentally conscious - so be it. I try to be.
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