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Author Topic: Closed Traditions?  (Read 15439 times)
Cassius23
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« Reply #30: July 15, 2008, 01:53:04 pm »

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.

I think the idea of exclusivity to that degree is unrealistic and not based on fact.  A wonderful example is Serapis which combines quite literally a little bit of all of the ancient traditions into a single deity.  He is not the only example, but he is one of the best(the Norse Vanir is another, though less clear example).  The idea of isolated pagan beliefs were only true until both parties realized that they weren't going to kill each other(and sometimes not even then).  The "grocery store" idea of spirituality is actually much, MUCH older than any other kind of "grocery store".  

Also, in modern times the idea of singular isolated society is contrary to all concepts of technology which is what a lot of the individuals who want to go back to ancient times want to do.  
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« Reply #31: July 15, 2008, 06:08:42 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. 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.

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.



Wow I am pretty shocked that so many people answered my questions and so thoroughly! I tried to do what you suggested and got pretty much what I expected. One of the replies was thus:

Quote
Take it up with the gods?
Wait- why are you asserting in a specific culture that the individuals who contest such assertions break with the laws their gods laid down for them?
Within the tradition of the Celts- the Gods set the oaths. It is by this standard that people making claims of entitlement are tested. Why should the Gael (for example) do as you say when the gods already provide a means to establish validity?
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« Reply #32: July 15, 2008, 06:28:25 pm »

One of the replies was thus:

Quote
Take it up with the gods?
Wait- why are you asserting in a specific culture that the individuals who contest such assertions break with the laws their gods laid down for them?
Within the tradition of the Celts- the Gods set the oaths. It is by this standard that people making claims of entitlement are tested. Why should the Gael (for example) do as you say when the gods already provide a means to establish validity?

Suggested answer:

Fine, don't break with those laws.  But please do tell me where in those laws it says that "only the people who are descended from such-and-such people are allowed to worship these gods?"  If it does say that somewhere, where do these laws come from?  Are they ancient laws that historical research can verify or were they given to the founder of the tradition by the gods about 20-100 years ago?  If the latter, why is that person's Unverifiable Personal Gnosis any more dependable than my Unverifiable Personal Gnosis?

For that matter, if one is claiming Celtic blood (to use your antagonists' example), most modern people of Celtic descent are also of huge Norse descent to the point where it is impossible to tell the degree of each.  If you're really serious about worshipping the gods of your ancestors only, why aren't all the Celtic Reconstructionists also Asatruar?
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« Reply #33: July 15, 2008, 06:39:02 pm »

Suggested answer:

Fine, don't break with those laws.  But please do tell me where in those laws it says that "only the people who are descended from such-and-such people are allowed to worship these gods?"  If it does say that somewhere, where do these laws come from?  Are they ancient laws that historical research can verify or were they given to the founder of the tradition by the gods about 20-100 years ago?  If the latter, why is that person's Unverifiable Personal Gnosis any more dependable than my Unverifiable Personal Gnosis?

For that matter, if one is claiming Celtic blood (to use your antagonists' example), most modern people of Celtic descent are also of huge Norse descent to the point where it is impossible to tell the degree of each.  If you're really serious about worshipping the gods of your ancestors only, why aren't all the Celtic Reconstructionists also Asatruar?

I've kind of given up, she said that the gods would have had to break their oaths to pact with me. And since I have no idea where she is getting this stuff about the Gods having oaths of who can worship them, I can't fight back. I was also trying in the post to get people to be nicer to 'fluffies'  and got pretty well reamed for that as well with everyone bickering about 'trials by fire'. I'm kind of sick them. I like other parts of the site, and liked that forum too when I was less willing to be controversial... but my wellspring of courage is drying up.
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« Reply #34: July 15, 2008, 06:46:27 pm »

I've kind of given up, she said that the gods would have had to break their oaths to pact with me. And since I have no idea where she is getting this stuff about the Gods having oaths of who can worship them, I can't fight back. I was also trying in the post to get people to be nicer to 'fluffies'  and got pretty well reamed for that as well with everyone bickering about 'trials by fire'. I'm kind of sick them. I like other parts of the site, and liked that forum too when I was less willing to be controversial... but my wellspring of courage is drying up.

Ask her to support her claims with primary source material. There are some Celtic Recons on the board who have talked about this on occasion.

And actually, I wouldn't worry about it. You've run into one of the fundie sorts who occasionally make these claims. They're around in most Recon religions and even some non-Recon religions. They're not worth wasting time on...I don't run into too many Greek Recons that I can hang the fundie label on, but there are some out there.
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« Reply #35: July 16, 2008, 01:00:32 am »

I don't run into too many Greek Recons that I can hang the fundie label on, but there are some out there.

*coughcough*TimAlexander*cough*

Actually, on that individual I haven't been able to locate any unbiased source (unless you count his blog) so I'm only offering tentative judgement.
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Waldfrau
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« Reply #36: July 16, 2008, 02:33:52 am »

Well, I'm a Recon (or was one before I got so lazy), so everyone who has a passing acquaintance with those religions should know there's not a whole lot of mix and match that goes on in them. I'll get all hot and bothered about the things that directly effect me, but talking to some jackass who has his knickers in a twist over me not being Greek just isn't one of them.

Now, don't get me wrong, I absolutely believe that you contact and worship the deities of an ancient culture in the closest-to-the-original methods that were originally used, and when you have to make a modern substitution you are VERY clear that it is just that, but really. Someone getting all worked up over whom I should and should not worship really needs to take it up with those at the other end. After all, my attraction to the Greeks didn't happen because I had the great idea I should worship them. I had a little help from that end.
I can understand that some forms of ecclecticism are bothering for a recon and if I'd say ecclectically worship a celtic Goddess along with some Greek deities and African ones I wouldn't go into a Recon forum and annoy people with my different views.

But I don't know what sense some recons see in harassing ecclectics. What do they religiously/spiritually get out of flaming? Even if the ecclectic is fluffy or stupid, I don't see how this gives the recon the right to claim authority about how you're supposed to worship or not. Of course everyone has a different opinion about how to worship and some ecclectics may just act plain stupid, but I don't see how one group can have the authority (even if their view is sounder) and feel entitled to harass others. I wish people would just express their opinion in a civile manner without trying to convert or cast out others.
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« Reply #37: July 16, 2008, 08:33:26 am »

But I don't know what sense some recons see in harassing ecclectics.

While a very annoying few do, most recons do not harass eclectics -- especially not those who are thoughtfully eclectic -- unless they are giving incorrect info on deities (the "Hecate was the Greek crone goddess of magic and witchcraft" type of nonsense), history, or the like.

Or are silly enough to come into recon-oriented discussions. Wink
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« Reply #38: July 16, 2008, 09:17:17 am »

While a very annoying few do, most recons do not harass eclectics -- especially not those who are thoughtfully eclectic -- unless they are giving incorrect info on deities (the "Hecate was the Greek crone goddess of magic and witchcraft" type of nonsense), history, or the like.

Or are silly enough to come into recon-oriented discussions. Wink

What?! She wasn't! OMGeeeee!

 Cheesy

Yeah, when I first read that a few years back I thought it had to had been more then that. It was quiet nice reading the factual and historical Lady then it was to hear of a Greek Crone goddess of magic/witchcraft.

Fortunately for me, I've not had to face up to a Recon member of any path yet. I suppose I'm in the running for three different encounters Tongue
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« Reply #39: July 16, 2008, 09:22:47 am »

I can understand that some forms of ecclecticism are bothering for a recon and if I'd say ecclectically worship a celtic Goddess along with some Greek deities and African ones I wouldn't go into a Recon forum and annoy people with my different views.

But I don't know what sense some recons see in harassing ecclectics. What do they religiously/spiritually get out of flaming? Even if the ecclectic is fluffy or stupid, I don't see how this gives the recon the right to claim authority about how you're supposed to worship or not. Of course everyone has a different opinion about how to worship and some ecclectics may just act plain stupid, but I don't see how one group can have the authority (even if their view is sounder) and feel entitled to harass others. I wish people would just express their opinion in a civile manner without trying to convert or cast out others.

Can't really say I understand it either. I know 10 years ago what you ran into was that Recons pretty well stayed to themselves. Then there was a slow movement out into more general pagan forums and that's where culture shock set in. I don't think it was really harassing anyone so much as there was a whole lot of bad information out there coming from the 101 books and Recons, because of the nature of their religions, had a better grasp of the scholastic information. You also ran into people who had no earthly idea we existed, so that shock ran both ways.

So, while maybe some harassing went on, it was more a case of correcting bad information. It's not just the opinion on how to worship, but a fundamental ignorance of the nature of the gods themselves (I'll pull the Hekate as Greek crone goddess out here for example). There would also be discussion about methods of worship just because that always comes up.

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« Reply #40: July 16, 2008, 09:24:33 am »

Fortunately for me, I've not had to face up to a Recon member of any path yet. I suppose I'm in the running for three different encounters Tongue

Actually, there are several of us on the board (and a couple of us as staff), but it really depends on the conversation as to whether or not any of us would say much.
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« Reply #41: July 16, 2008, 09:26:15 am »

Actually, there are several of us on the board (and a couple of us as staff), but it really depends on the conversation as to whether or not any of us would say much.

Thats what I meant by my comment. It's not that I don't know of any (as you said, there are several here.) but there are none that I've had to have some debate about the way we religiously practice.
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« Reply #42: July 16, 2008, 09:28:16 am »

Thats what I meant by my comment. It's not that I don't know of any (as you said, there are several here.) but there are none that I've had to have some debate about the way we religiously practice.

And you probably won't have much said here. Step into the Ta Hiera SIG and mention it and that might change. Even there, though, Randall and I were careful to set up a rule about not being "I'm more Recon than you." to help handle some of that. Recon discussions can get a bit tedious at times for outsiders and can also be pretty blunt. Sometimes that doesn't translate well. Smiley
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« Reply #43: July 16, 2008, 09:31:33 am »

And you probably won't have much said here. Step into the Ta Hiera SIG and mention it and that might change. Even there, though, Randall and I were careful to set up a rule about not being "I'm more Recon than you." to help handle some of that. Recon discussions can get a bit tedious at times for outsiders and can also be pretty blunt. Sometimes that doesn't translate well. Smiley

Nothing is wrong with a good beating if you want it Tongue

But indeed I don't plan on stepping onto anything for awhile. Only goal I've got set is to get into religious studies after or during I start nursing. I don't want to be one of those "But Hecate is a CRONE! Pfft, she was not possible  a titan! SE IS ACRONE!" types. Or to where she originally came from (which is still up in debate...)
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« Reply #44: July 16, 2008, 09:45:49 am »

Nothing is wrong with a good beating if you want it Tongue

But indeed I don't plan on stepping onto anything for awhile. Only goal I've got set is to get into religious studies after or during I start nursing. I don't want to be one of those "But Hecate is a CRONE! Pfft, she was not possible  a titan! SE IS ACRONE!" types.

Yeah. That's my personal peeve, since she was my patron.

Quote
Or to where she originally came from (which is still up in debate...)

And like I said in another thread, while that information is potentially very interesting, just how helpful is it to find where a deity originated from if that's about the only information you get? LOL
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