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Author Topic: Closed Traditions?  (Read 16280 times)
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« Topic Start: July 14, 2008, 09:00:47 pm »

So I'm really not sure what to think of this. I was on a site I frequent called gaiaonline. It's mostly teens and young adults, with a thriving message board and a few games and such to play. One of the forums is called Morality and Religion, or M&R for short. There are a few Pagans on the site who are very well read and knowledgeable, but I'm starting to think that they are just making some things that they personally believe into fact and telling people who are trying to start out in Paganism that it is the whole truth. Other than this they are nice people and have a private forum for helping newbies along.

The main think they seem to be able to rant on about is something they call 'Culture Rape', claiming that most ancient Pagan traditions are closed and if you weren't raised in, say, Ireland, then you have absolutely no right to attempt to worship Celtic Deities. Some people try to defend themselves by saying that they are of Irish descent but they still cry culture rape. They get pretty mocking when people say that they have anything to do with Native American spirits or Deities if they aren't Native American themselves.

I've googled the terms closed tradition and culture rape many times and only ever found it from this small group of people... I'm just curious of ANYONE has come across this? I'm just really confused, and I'm not the type to get into a confrontation with them because, honestly, if I go up against them I'm going to get mocked since I haven't read all the keys of Solomon or something... And having been 'thwapped' by both Celtic and Native American Gods, it's pretty much a sure bet they would have a lot to say to me that isn't productive at all...
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« Reply #1: July 14, 2008, 09:05:38 pm »


Unfortunately, that attitude exist but fortunately it's a minority opinion.  You find it most in Recon paths.
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« Reply #2: July 14, 2008, 09:13:47 pm »

The main think they seem to be able to rant on about is something they call 'Culture Rape', claiming that most ancient Pagan traditions are closed and if you weren't raised in, say, Ireland, then you have absolutely no right to attempt to worship Celtic Deities. Some people try to defend themselves by saying that they are of Irish descent but they still cry culture rape. They get pretty mocking when people say that they have anything to do with Native American spirits or Deities if they aren't Native American themselves.

Oh bullshit. All the way around. And they need to look outside of the Celtic societies before they make those claims. The ancient Greeks weren't "closed" religious societies. You can go with "had to speak Greek" to participate in some of the festivals, but they were by no means limited to "racially pure" Greek...not to mention I've never really known anyone who had any way of defining ancient Greeks as anything but wildly mixed.

I've periodically run into some Greek Recons from Greece who say much the same thing...you must be Greek, yada-yada-yada. As far as I know other Greek Recons have never taken them too seriously. I just don't find their arguments very compelling. Frankly, I think there is more than a little bit of racism underlying these sorts of claims.

Quote
I've googled the terms closed tradition and culture rape many times and only ever found it from this small group of people... I'm just curious of ANYONE has come across this? I'm just really confused, and I'm not the type to get into a confrontation with them because, honestly, if I go up against them I'm going to get mocked since I haven't read all the keys of Solomon or something... And having been 'thwapped' by both Celtic and Native American Gods, it's pretty much a sure bet they would have a lot to say to me that isn't productive at all...

Personally I'd just ignore them. Just tell them the gods call whom they will, and they can jolly well take it up with their deities of choice if they have a problem with it.


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« Reply #3: July 14, 2008, 09:15:01 pm »

Unfortunately, that attitude exist but fortunately it's a minority opinion.  You find it most in Recon paths.

It also exists in some of the Native American movements. I think they spend more time inspecting each others' cards than doing anything else.
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« Reply #4: July 14, 2008, 09:15:14 pm »

The main think they seem to be able to rant on about is something they call 'Culture Rape', claiming that most ancient Pagan traditions are closed and if you weren't raised in, say, Ireland, then you have absolutely no right to attempt to worship Celtic Deities. Some people try to defend themselves by saying that they are of Irish descent but they still cry culture rape. They get pretty mocking when people say that they have anything to do with Native American spirits or Deities if they aren't Native American themselves.

Not that I'm an expert or anything, but I have never heard of this term before. I've heard a few people say something along the lines of  'I have more right to worship Celtic deities than you, because I have Irish decent'. To be honest, I personally find it childish. If you are serious about looking into such things then I have no problem with that. Even if you don't have Celtic descent. And besides, what the hell is Celtic descent anyway? The Celts is such a loose term to mean such a wide group of people. Therefore, I just tend to ignore said people.
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« Reply #5: July 14, 2008, 09:33:07 pm »

The main think they seem to be able to rant on about is something they call 'Culture Rape', claiming that most ancient Pagan traditions are closed and if you weren't raised in, say, Ireland, then you have absolutely no right to attempt to worship Celtic Deities. Some people try to defend themselves by saying that they are of Irish descent but they still cry culture rape. They get pretty mocking when people say that they have anything to do with Native American spirits or Deities if they aren't Native American themselves.

As Lyric says, the gods call whom they will.  Anybody can follow any deity the want.  The trouble usually only starts when following a god of a particular culture gives a person a feeling of entitlement to other parts of that culture.  Being called to a particular god does not grant membership in that gods specific cultural groups.

It shouldn't need saying, but sometimes it does.  Following, being called by, being accepted by, say, a Hopi spirit does not mean that the Hopi have to acknowledge you as one of them, any more than following a Greek god makes you Greek.  Being of decent doesn't do it either, unless you were raised in the culture.  It would be like an American or Canadian of Scottish decent trying to claim membership in a clan without anything but their decent to recommend them.

Clans and tribes will accept people under the right circumstances, but simply worshipping a god or having a Mac in your name doesn't grant this.  As long as you are focused on the god you follow, and not on entitlements or authority you don't have with that god's other people, there should be no problem.  After all, you were called by the god, not the tribe.  Your relationship is unique.

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« Reply #6: July 14, 2008, 10:02:06 pm »

They get pretty mocking when people say that they have anything to do with Native American spirits or Deities if they aren't Native American themselves.

I wonder if they've ever had an encounter with the folks from AIM.
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« Reply #7: July 14, 2008, 10:49:48 pm »

I wonder if they've ever had an encounter with the folks from AIM.


AIM is horrible eh?

But how unfortunate for those...honestly. I didn't ask for the three who watch over me. I am in no way Indian, Greek (actually, its not even Greek considering Hecate comes before that) or Egyptian!

*sigh* Ah well, as stated, fortunately they are very small but I suppose a necessity.
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« Reply #8: July 14, 2008, 11:07:35 pm »

Oh bullshit. All the way around. And they need to look outside of the Celtic societies before they make those claims. The ancient Greeks weren't "closed" religious societies.


* snip *


I've periodically run into some Greek Recons from Greece who say much the same thing...you must be Greek, yada-yada-yada.


* snip *



I agree completely. This attitude has always made my blood boil.

I admire and respect ancient Greece's culture. It's the bedrock upon which Western civilization rests. But the worship of several major 'Greek' deities was actually introduced to Greece from elsewhere. If Apollo and Aphrodite were originally 'foreign' Gods who chose to let the Greeks worship Them later on, why should I care whether or not some nationalist fanatic (who may also hold some self-delusional ideas about Greek 'ethnic purity') acts as if his fellow citizens own the Deathless Ones?
 
It's not for us mortals to decide whose sacrifices and prayers They choose to receive and hear.

As others have said, worshipping Zeus doesn't make me a Greek citizen or give me the right to self-identify with any other aspect of modern Greek culture.
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« Reply #9: July 14, 2008, 11:37:59 pm »

AIM is horrible eh?

Let's just say that one of our staff member's spouse refers to them as Assholes in Moccasins. It's pretty appropriate.

I had a run in with some of them about 8 years ago on Delphi and a more disagreeable lot I can't imagine meeting. I'd like to think that they were unusual, but from what I've heard over the years, they were pretty typical. I think being called a "white Nazi bitch" sort of colored my opinion. Funny thing is, I've never had the least bit of interest in incorporating any NA beliefs or pseudo-beliefs into my religion. For some reason, when I told them that and that I was a Greek Recon, they didn't seem to figure out that I just didn't care to steal their shit.

Quote
But how unfortunate for those...honestly. I didn't ask for the three who watch over me. I am in no way Indian, Greek (actually, its not even Greek considering Hecate comes before that) or Egyptian!

Hekate might, but you're going to have an impossible time ever determining where and, even if you did, the chances of any extant information is really slim. Before getting caught up in the "where did I come from originally" you might want to look at which culture has the most information on her. It's not going to help you one little bit if it turns out she comes from Samothrace if there isn't anything contributing to the body of knowledge about here.

Quote
*sigh* Ah well, as stated, fortunately they are very small but I suppose a necessity.

I can't imagine why they'd be necessary. At least not the group I met. They completely and totally ruin whatever message they might have by being so thoroughly unpleasant. There are some Greek Recons over in Greece that strike me much the same way...they very stridently advocate driving all the Christians in Greece into the sea. They don't impress me either.
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« Reply #10: July 14, 2008, 11:39:36 pm »

I admire and respect ancient Greece's culture. It's the bedrock upon which Western civilization rests. But the worship of several major 'Greek' deities was actually introduced to Greece from elsewhere. If Apollo and Aphrodite were originally 'foreign' Gods who chose to let the Greeks worship Them later on, why should I care whether or not some nationalist fanatic (who may also hold some self-delusional ideas about Greek 'ethnic purity') acts as if his fellow citizens own the Deathless Ones?

Well, not only that, but there's the little problem of which part of ancient Greece and when? And does this discount all the slaves that were brought in from foreign wars? I mean really...it doesn't make a bit of sense in that culture.
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« Reply #11: July 15, 2008, 02:51:22 am »

So I'm really not sure what to think of this. I was on a site I frequent called gaiaonline. It's mostly teens and young adults, with a thriving message board and a few games and such to play. One of the forums is called Morality and Religion, or M&R for short. There are a few Pagans on the site who are very well read and knowledgeable, but I'm starting to think that they are just making some things that they personally believe into fact and telling people who are trying to start out in Paganism that it is the whole truth. Other than this they are nice people and have a private forum for helping newbies along.



In my honest opinion, I think a lot of people, mostly teens, who follow this idealogic are falsly informed, and tend to believe whatever their peers have told them is true.  I think too many people jump into paganism without doing the proper amount of research, simply because it seems like a fantasy or 'cool'.

The best thing I could suggest is to do some of your own research and point out the flk\aws in their arguments, no tonly will they learn something, but they won't be confusing the curious with false information.
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« Reply #12: July 15, 2008, 03:06:19 am »

In my honest opinion, I think a lot of people, mostly teens, who follow this idealogic are falsly informed, and tend to believe whatever their peers have told them is true.  I think too many people jump into paganism without doing the proper amount of research, simply because it seems like a fantasy or 'cool'.

The best thing I could suggest is to do some of your own research and point out the flk\aws in their arguments, no tonly will they learn something, but they won't be confusing the curious with false information.

The thing is is that it's not only teens.  There are many adults who have been pagan for years who spout this stuff.

Take the afore mentioned attitude that pagans living in modern Greece have as an example:

In that case, the pagans there are driven by nationalism as they are religiously and they wish to return Greek society to the way it was before Christianity became the dominant religion.

Also, some groups (most notably, a few Norse ones) are associated with racism and neo-Nazism.
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« Reply #13: July 15, 2008, 05:00:30 am »

Just tell them the gods call whom they will, and they can jolly well take it up with their deities of choice if they have a problem with it.
LOL, great advice Lyric, I need to remember that next time I run into someone telling how I should commune with the divine and how I shouldn't. You'd think if I'd contact some deities or spirits I'm not allowed to or if I use 'stolen' methods or improper ones the deities or spirits would be the first ones to complain or just ignore my attempts. Since when do they send some of their followers to harass 'thiefs' or heretics? At least I haven't heard of many deities doing that kind of thing. Some might do though partially.

As long as you don't sell whatever you're doing as the original thing and claim to be something you aren't I don't see how it could be a crime to just practice the path you're called to.
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« Reply #14: July 15, 2008, 08:07:45 am »

In my honest opinion, I think a lot of people, mostly teens, who follow this idealogic are falsly informed, and tend to believe whatever their peers have told them is true.  I think too many people jump into paganism without doing the proper amount of research, simply because it seems like a fantasy or 'cool'.

I've run into this mindset. I have encountered young people at pagan gatherings who think paganism is all about getting drunk and "fertilizing the fields." <WINK> SIGH.

I was also surprised at one pagan class taught at the local UU church to run into the Native American fundamentalist mindset. Until that encounter I had no idea that Native Americans, or any  pagans for that matter, could be as closed-minded as Christians or the adherents of any other religion.  Sad
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