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Author Topic: Attention: Walmart release new line of deities! Get yours now!  (Read 5855 times)
BGMarc
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« Topic Start: January 10, 2009, 02:22:52 am »

Well not really. It's not actually that bad. It's also not about thoughtful ecclectics, syncretists and others who want to stake a reasonable claim to the territory. What it is about is an attitude that seems to me to be increasingly prominant over the time that I have been actively involved in pagan thought and communities (say from 1974) on the east coast of Australia. More and more I see people advocating and practicing an approach to spiritual practice (especially 'choosing' deities) that centres on the extent to which the superficial aspects of the path or deity appeal to the seeker. There is little to no talk of the concerns and practicle considerations of this aspect of life. It often seems like buying the house because the display furniture looked good.

What do others think? Have you noticed it? What do you think of it?

BTW this came out more strident than intended. The softer version I started with was wishy-washy and boring, but it's essentially the same point Smiley
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« Reply #1: January 10, 2009, 06:23:39 am »

More and more I see people advocating and practicing an approach to spiritual practice (especially 'choosing' deities) that centres on the extent to which the superficial aspects of the path or deity appeal to the seeker. There is little to no talk of the concerns and practicle considerations of this aspect of life. It often seems like buying the house because the display furniture looked good.

What do others think? Have you noticed it? What do you think of it?

I think it's more like plugging your hobbies and interests into a dating database and then going deeper into only those results. Sure, I could have been happy with a husband who drives race cars (or something else entirely uninteresting to me), but it's easier to build a relationship (the practical issues) if we already have something in common.

That said, I'm no reconstructionist, so to me the "what would the ancient practicioners have done when worshiping this deity?" question is irrelevant.

If this came out disjointed, it's due to a major case of the sniffles and cotton between my ears... Wink

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BGMarc
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« Reply #2: January 10, 2009, 06:31:33 am »

I think it's more like plugging your hobbies and interests into a dating database and then going deeper into only those results. Sure, I could have been happy with a husband who drives race cars (or something else entirely uninteresting to me), but it's easier to build a relationship (the practical issues) if we already have something in common.

That said, I'm no reconstructionist, so to me the "what would the ancient practicioners have done when worshiping this deity?" question is irrelevant.

If this came out disjointed, it's due to a major case of the sniffles and cotton between my ears... Wink

Stardancer

Sorry to read that you are unwell Sad Sniffles leave much to be desired as Providence's unfolding goes.

What do you think the role of the broader context, the whole cloth (as it were), should best be when choosing how to meet one's spiritual and religious needs?
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It's the saddest thing in the world when you can only feel big by making others feel small. - UPG

Stupidity cannot be cured. Stupidity is the only universal capital crime. The sentence is death. There is no appeal and sentence is carried out automatically and without pity. Lazarus Long.

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« Reply #3: January 10, 2009, 08:05:16 am »


I think there's a definite problem with people focusing on JUST the superficial and never GOING any deeper.  It's not like a dating website where the relationship starts with small stuff and builds - it's like you decide you're Madly in Twoo Wuv with some guy because you both like ball games.  That's a nice place to start - but it's a LOUSY place to STOP.
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« Reply #4: January 10, 2009, 02:55:57 pm »

What do others think? Have you noticed it? What do you think of it?

I think this highlights a weakness of a self-made path.  When there is no existing structure, it is much easier to pick only what we want and to remain on a spiritually shallow level.  I believe that to grow, one must be challenged.  That doesn't even have to mean that you change your behaviors or beliefs, but that you really know why you have those behaviors and beliefs. 

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« Reply #5: January 10, 2009, 03:18:37 pm »



Considering that the pious have been bemoaning the lack of piety/commitment/seriousness of  others they perceive as less pious/committed/serious since, like, the beginning of recorded religion as we know it, I hardly think that this can be characterized as a modern problem.  There have *always* been people complaining about those who don't appear to care as much as the complainers do about religion/the gods/the sanctity of festivals/that rituals are not merely an excuse to party/etc., etc., etc.  Even the form of your complaint is hardly modern:  I distinctly remember reading some ancient Roman complaining about young people faddishly taking up new foreign gods out of a desire to party, and how they need to get off his lawn, dammit. 

In a pluralistic society with a variety of religious options on offer, there are *always* going to be those whose commitment is fleeting, shallow, based on fads, whatever.  And while it can be irritating to have to deal with those folks, at the  same time, religious freedom means freedom to play and experiment with different religious outlooks.  And in *any* religious culture, there are going to be those who use religion as a means of justifying their own shortcomings and rationalizing their problems and pathologies.  Those people become actively dangerous when they acquire power in that religion.  However, the contemporary neo-Pagan landscape is far too fragmented for those people, in most cases, to be any more than local annoyances.   
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BGMarc
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« Reply #6: January 10, 2009, 05:37:24 pm »



Excellently put Smiley A timely reminder that when it comes to spiritual practice and belief as a general area, there is know guaranteed 'right' way. I find it especially interesting to hear that you have read period accounts that echo the original post. It brings a smile to my face and was a good and gentle reminder that in areas where it cannot be known with certainty what the truth is, tolerence for and genuine acceptance of competing perspectives is generally the better approach.

I still find myself wondering if it's currently more prevalent, but more as a curiosity thing. It does seem to be growing in my experience; then again, I am aging and changing as well and have a personal investment that may need subconcious shoring up.
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"If Michelangelo had been straight, the Sistine Chapel would have been wallpapered" Robin Tyler

It's the saddest thing in the world when you can only feel big by making others feel small. - UPG

Stupidity cannot be cured. Stupidity is the only universal capital crime. The sentence is death. There is no appeal and sentence is carried out automatically and without pity. Lazarus Long.

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« Reply #7: January 10, 2009, 07:15:23 pm »

I think this highlights a weakness of a self-made path.  When there is no existing structure, it is much easier to pick only what we want and to remain on a spiritually shallow level.  I believe that to grow, one must be challenged.  That doesn't even have to mean that you change your behaviors or beliefs, but that you really know why you have those behaviors and beliefs. 

Sperran

This is one of the most challenging aspects of (attempting to) follow a Celtic path.  Because the ancient Celts did not record practically anything about their spirituality or religion or practices, we have an extremely difficult time figuring out what they might have believed and done.  Plus, "The Celts" were not a monolithic, homogenous group of people.  They were many tribes with differing customs existing over a long period of time, during which their customs clearly changed (based on archeological evidence of burial customs).

So what to do, if you're trying to follow a Celtic spirituality?  I, personally, am currently absorbed in reading academic work about what as been posited about the ancient Celtic theology and cosmology.  I'm also interested in *some* of the modern works that *interpret* the historical evidence and try to construct a workable system for modern practitioners.

All of this is a, I guess very long, way of saying that, yes, it's vitally important to understand the underlying foundations of one's path, BUT that it can be a challenge in and of itself.

I have yet to form a satisfactory (to me) theory about many of the issues that are important to religions, such as an afterlife, an enumerated moral code, a coherent theology.  That doesn't mean I'm shallow or that my path is a fad, or anything like that.  It simply means I have a lot more work to do.   Wink

What I do find rather frustrating and annoying is the plethora of "Celtic" spirituality products (books, websites, knickknacks, etc.) that don't have anything to do with actual Celtic spirituality, but are only using "Celtic" as a selling point.  I have a whole stack of books that fall into that category.  I strongly believe that irresponsible authors and publishers like that foster the kind of faddishness and shallowness that this thread is about.  Yes, people *should* dig deeper, but let's face it, not everyone has the resources or the critical thinking skills to do so.

I have no idea what to do about that problem, other than to continue correcting misinformation when we see it.
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BGMarc
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« Reply #8: January 10, 2009, 07:57:20 pm »

All of this is a, I guess very long, way of saying that, yes, it's vitally important to understand the underlying foundations of one's path, BUT that it can be a challenge in and of itself.

Too true. Especially when it comes to the conceptual foundations that underpin the practice and mythic truth.
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"If Michelangelo had been straight, the Sistine Chapel would have been wallpapered" Robin Tyler

It's the saddest thing in the world when you can only feel big by making others feel small. - UPG

Stupidity cannot be cured. Stupidity is the only universal capital crime. The sentence is death. There is no appeal and sentence is carried out automatically and without pity. Lazarus Long.

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« Reply #9: January 10, 2009, 08:02:18 pm »

Too true. Especially when it comes to the conceptual foundations that underpin the practice and mythic truth.

Exactly.  Thanks for phrasing that in a clear way that I was unable to manage.  Cheesy
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« Reply #10: January 10, 2009, 10:36:37 pm »

Considering that the pious have been bemoaning the lack of piety/commitment/seriousness of  others they perceive as less pious/committed/serious since, like, the beginning of recorded religion as we know it, I hardly think that this can be characterized as a modern problem. 

100% agreement, though I think modern conditions have made it worse. Being bombarded by messages of choice, convenience and commercialism in most areas of life probably has an impact on attitudes towards religion, too.
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« Reply #11: January 11, 2009, 11:56:01 am »

100% agreement, though I think modern conditions have made it worse. Being bombarded by messages of choice, convenience and commercialism in most areas of life probably has an impact on attitudes towards religion, too.

Aren't there Buddhist countries where one can leave their job to enter a monastery for months or years and then return?  I could really go for an opportunity like that.  Get away from the rat race.

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« Reply #12: January 11, 2009, 01:40:38 pm »

Aren't there Buddhist countries where one can leave their job to enter a monastery for months or years and then return?  I could really go for an opportunity like that.  Get away from the rat race.

In some Buddhist countries it's common for men to join the monastery for the rainy season, or sometimes a group of, say, cop or firefighter trainees will all join as a group for a period of 3 months or so.

While it'd be tricky to leave your job for months in the US, there are certainly retreats you can do for a week or two, run by a variety of religious groups -- either structured retreats or just places you can go to retreat yourself.
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« Reply #13: January 11, 2009, 02:26:12 pm »

Aren't there Buddhist countries where one can leave their job to enter a monastery for months or years and then return?  I could really go for an opportunity like that.  Get away from the rat race.



Oh MAN you have just stepped onto one of my major pet fantasies! I'm going to sit on my hands now because if I start typing on this I won't stop. Suffice it to say that I'm leaning heavily towards Bhutan or isolated parts of Thailand, though I'll probably have to wait till I'm reincarnated...
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« Reply #14: January 11, 2009, 02:45:47 pm »


And me, in all the reading I'm doing these days--especially the real-life stories, such as those of Jan Willis and Michael Roach--I too have that fantasy now, not necessarily of taking monastic vows, but at least of traveling to Dharamsala or Bodhgaya or Kopan to experience that for myself.

I doubt it will happen, but then again, I can't say for certain that it won't. :-)

I hope you get a chance. Seriously. I do.
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