I snapped and responded…

I finally snapped and responded to someone on social media who espoused a notion that all Pagan’s must care for the Earth.  My thoughts on the topic are clear — caring for the Earth is only possible if we face the hard truth and its consequences for humanity.  Such also places an unnecessary level of emphasis upon the manifest existence upon Earth, one only necessary where the binds to the manifestation of wealth etc. are strong and one is not free from the ties of the manifest human form.  Here is the response I posted:

Let’s take a look at how we should protect the Earth. The Earth goes through natural cycles as evident from the fossil record, with mass extinctions occurring relatively regularly. Only last year did scientists announce the effective commencement of the sixth mass extinction event — with humans identified as the major cause (no asteroid this time!). Charles Darwin had a major insight into life on the planet: “it is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change”. We may take from this notion that those species able to adapt to their climate changes are the evolutionary pre-disposed adaptors, thus they historically survive where other species face extinction. We may then surmise that the threatened extinction of many species is as a result of their inability to adapt; why campaign to save a Panda which has limited its own environment and food sources and failed to adapt? Such an act would be to interfere with nature surely?

Now, lets return to the impact of homo-sapiens. Over the last 80,000 years or so, homo-sapiens have evolved to become the dominant species and predator on Earth. With the advent of agriculture some 13,000 years or so ago, we ceased to be reliant upon the nomadic tracking of herds and prey and laid the foundations of civilisation. Let’s forget about histori-heretical ideas such as the discovery of a 180,000 cave-temple structure of Neanderthal tribe or the evidence towards the age of the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid at Giza possibly being 800,000 years in age — the brevity required of FB places such outside the scope of this post. The population of homo-sapiens on this planet exploded with the Industrial Revolution with no more than a billion people alive at any point up until around 1800. We then see advances in agriculture, industry, commerce and healthcare that extend the life of man, increase the wealth and availability of food and keeps disease at bay — in short, we gained the ability to breed more and live longer. The net effect of such is that our demand for resources rapidly increased. By the end of the 1960’s we had increased to over 5bn in number, and now are at around 7 bn.

Never before have we placed such a strain upon the Earth to feed, shelter and provide for our needs; ever increasingly resource demanding needs for an increasing population. Sustainability is ‘the’ challenge of our times. If, only ‘if’, we succeed — then our age may well be known as the ‘sustainability revolution’. If we fail, then there may be no history to record such a failure. The uncomfortable truth, so readily ignored by many environmental campaigners, is that we cannot continue as a species in the manner to which we have become accustomed. We simply cannot continue to breed at the same rate, to pursue longer life and to demand more. At present, homo-sapiens are a disease — we consume and breed without any thought to the impact upon our host, or the inevitable demise of the species when our host dies. It is time for an evolution. Homo-sapiens must become an enlightened parasite, realising that we live off our host, yet that we are dependant upon our host for our own existence. We must ‘live off’ our host, whilst also ensuring the longevity of that host. In order to do so, we must also cease attempting to save everyone and everything. The ultimate conclusion of all environmental sustainability is the eradication of homo-sapiens. We must evolve or face our own demise in the sixth mass extinction.

Call me…an Odian- don’t call me Pagan

Pagan… a term generally used to describe indigenous or polytheistic religions. Well, that’s the technical definition, but more often than not we will ind this used to describe anyone following a religion with spiritual, mystical or historic roots. It’s origins were in Latin and quickly came to mean ‘of the countryside’. Of course, the word and its use has evolved drastically over the years and especially in the last 70 years. 

Describe a Pagan? In the UK you can select ‘Pagan’ as your religious beliefs on the government census. The word no longer has any derogatory connotations and is used as an umbrella term, often by those who do not care to dig deeper and understand the religions and beliefs typically characterised as Pagan and placed under its umbrella. The BBC website even has a Pagan religious calendar- a quick look at it will tell you that it is actually a Gardnerian Wiccan calendar and bears little meaning to many other religions that the BBC class as Pagan.

When speaking of or referring to other religions- I use the appropriate names for their beliefs rather than an umbrella term. Why is it inconceivable that they should do the same for us they chose to label ‘Pagan’? By accepting this, we tolerate and approve their lazy dismissal of us as not being worth their time- like a parent dismissing what their babbling child is talking about as being rubbish. When the followers of Abraham (oooh…yes, I mean Christians, Jews and Muslims) degrade our beliefs as not being worth their effort to understand or acknowledge through the use of the correct names, why do we find members of the unfortunately titled ‘Pagan Federation’ laying claim to the right to be called ‘Pagans’. It would take me 2mins to identify these people as being Wiccan (they are by large) yet they blindly pursue a claim to the title of Pagan despite the inferred mocking of their Wiccan religion by those who will not use its name. The Abrahamic religions expect to be shown the appropriate respect by being referred to in terms and names that differentiate them from each other and I firmly believe that we, whatever our non-Abrahamic religious beliefs are, should be doing the same.

I do not share beliefs with a Wiccan, a Druid, a Celtic Reconstructionist or Hellenic person- I mostly have beliefs in common with those that would identify as Heathen or Asatru. Yes, there are varied beliefs to be found within any of these communities- there are variations to be seen in different schools of worship within any of the 5 major world religions. I am an Odian Heathen. I share the same beliefs in the Aesir and Vanir as any Heathen/Asatruar, but I have my own specific form of worship and manner of practice. 

I call on all members of religions typically grouped under the umbrella of Paganism to stand up and say “I am…”

Pagan music

Another note: I’ve update the playlist of Pagan/Heathen themed music I think is worthy of a mention…

 

It’s been a good time for this type of music recently with awesome new releases from Wardruna, Tyr, Amon Amarth etc. and the news that Grand Magus have a new album inbound. Enjoy the METAL!

Pagan misconceptions

There exist a number of misconceptions about Pagans as a whole that really bother me. Surprisingly, the general publics views are less bothersome to me than those of Pagans who should know better.

 

Some misconceptions held by the general public:

  • all Pagans are Wiccan
  • all Pagans are witches
  • all Pagans hold Gerald Gardner in high regard

Now, those are all forgivable as they are the result of misinformation, lack of knowledge etc. Now, the misconceptions that really annoy me as they are held by Pagans who really should know better:

  • we are all Wiccan
  • we all worship the Goddess
  • All Pagans hold Glastonbury to be the most sacred of sites
  • we are all witches
  • we all abide by the ‘harm none, do what you will’ rule
  • Pagans, by default, are animal rights activists
  • we are all vegetarian
  • no Pagan supports the badger cull
  • any Pagan thought is correct and should not be questioned
  • a lack of historic evidence does not mean yours is not an ancient religion
  • a recreated religion can be held up as historically accurate
  • the Tories are evil

I’m sorry but:

  • there are many more paths than Wicca
  • the gods of many Pagan beliefs are equally or more important than an indescript ‘goddess’
  • Glastonbury has a Tor and a well- so do many other towns in the British Isles. It is not that special, as can be said for Stonehenge- other stone circles are equally as magical.
  • I am not a pacifist and do not believe in the ‘harm none’ mentality. I will put my family first at all costs.
  • Animal cruelty is wrong. Animal testing is wrong. Inhumane hunting is wrong. Hunting what you need, killing it quickly and making full use of the animal is fine. I am not anti-hunting.
  • I love meat. Meat is a standard food used to honour my gods. Vegetables are what food eats.
  • I had a chance meeting with a farmer at a conference last week- they are sceptical about the badger cull, but they can’t afford to sit and do nothing whilst their cattle die and so they need the cull. I’m all for supporting the farmers on this. If they need to cull badgers, then let them so long as it is done humanely and with respect for the animals.
  • Why such an uproar over the shooting of badgers? Is it because they can be made into cute cuddly toys? Fox hunting was deemed cruel and everyone couldn’t see what the issue with foxes was until some urban foxes attacked children in their beds. Wild animals can be dangerous and diseased. You can make a cuddly toy gorilla, but you wouldn’t want 100 of them running wild on the street. I think cows are beautiful animals- yet they are also one of my favourite meats.
  • All thoughts and theories are their to be questioned. In some Pagan forums, the asking of tough questions is deemed as troll like behaviour. If your beliefs are so fragile that they cannot be questioned, then maybe this says something about them or you?
  • The modern druids have nothing to do with the ancient druids. Nobody has any ideas as to the full roles of the druids, their beliefs or practices. We know they held sacrifices, were scholary priests and healers. We do not know which gods they worshipped or what their rites were. The modern movement is an attempt to recreate this, but with a lot of unknowns, the modern druid movement is essentially a new age movement with little link to the past. It’s also unlikely that the druids built Stonehenge and other stone circles in Britain and it makes no sense that they are granted the special access to the stones as such.
  • I’m a 100% lifelong Tory. I’m a Heathen and a Tory. My politics have nothing to do with my religious beliefs- please don’t assume that because you hate the Conservative party and that you are a Pagan, that every other Pagan hates the Tories too.
  • Wicca is a 20th century religion. No matter what claim you make of it being handed down through the ages by word of mouth, Wicca is the creation of Gerald Gardner and is a syncretic Pagan belief. Wicca is not the original religion of these lands- that is more likely to have been the original and true Druid beliefs. There is no chance that Wicca survived the Roman invasion, the Anglo-Saxon invasion and the conversion to Christianity and that somehow the original religion survived by word of mouth regardless of 2000 years of replacement beliefs and the persecution of Pagan thoughts over the last 1000 years.

 

Now, that will probably upset a few people. Let me be clear- these are my views. I have no problem with Wiccans, animal rights protestors, Druids or those opposed to the badger cull- just don’t assume that every Pagan has the same beliefs.

 

Heathens and the Pagan Federation

LOL, I was just googling a band to see if they were openly Asatru and came across a Yahoo Answers! page where someone was asking about Wiccan or Asatru music. What made me laugh was somebody with a predictably ‘witch’ sounding name giving guidance suggesting Wiccan’s don’t openly make music about their beliefs and that they had never heard of Asatru.

Here lies the problem and one that made me revisit some thoughts on the Pagan Federation and Pagan representation on the whole.

Wiccan’s dominate the Pagan agenda, media and events. Now, Wicca is clearly the largest claimed Pagan belief system as most of its adherents are solitary and non-initiated followers who describe themselves as Wiccan (usually to much annoyance of initiated Wiccan’s in a BTW coven etc, but that’s another story…). Like any media, it reflects the views of the majority as does any group serving multiple faiths/sectors etc.

Don’t misunderstand me here I have nothing against Wiccan’s. Without a couple of well educated and open Wiccan’s, I would have taken much longer to find Asatru- as they listened to my beliefs and questions as to how to worship Odin and Frigg when Wiccan ritual did not feel right and pointed me in the direction of Asatru.

 

The Pagan Federation needs enhanced representation by someone of a Heathen/Asatru belief. Publications are dominated by worship of the Goddess, environmental and hunting campaigns etc. Whilst all of this is actually fine and interesting to me, I do find myself wondering where the representation of those members on Druid, Asatru, Celtic, Hellenic etc. paths is. Is it purely that these communities are small enough that they have no representative or is it the domination of Wiccan ideology through appeal to the masses?

How can we change this?

Firstly, I’m actually going to contact the Pagan Federation and offer up some articles for their quarterly publication I actually believe that the lack of forwardness from us in this respect is the reason we are under-represented in Pagan media. Wiccan’s dominate through their numbers not through any aggressive agenda.

Secondly, I’m going to push a bit more for non-Wiccan ritual and the observance of other Pagan festivals within my local Pagan group which will be interesting to see how that goes.

If only all Heathen/Asatru were open to being honest in public about their beliefs. I was nervous about telling friends and co-workers, but my opening up was a massive relief. Most have no urge to question my tattoo’s or my pendants and those that do so seem genuinely accepting of what I tell them. I’m fairly sure that a number of bands who sing very detailed songs around the lore may actually be Asatru- yet declare themselves Atheist and I suspect it may be on the advice of record companies to deflect potential for mis-association with some of the less desirable elements…say no more…

I’ve got a few more ideas for the positive promotion of Asatru awareness. I don’t want to openly seek to convert anyone just for people to be aware of our religion so that nobody, especially a fellow pagan, says ‘I have no idea what Asatru is’. That hurt.

 

 

 

Beginnings

Blessings and welcome,

I have decided to write about my journey as I progress and develop my beliefs and my knowledge of magic and divination.
I will be keeping track of my development as a note for those that may follow and be seeking someone whom has had similar ideas, questions and other feelings. I hope that I may be able to offer advice, information and the knowledge that nobody is the first to have such issues or questions…thousands of years of previous people with these beliefs mean we are far from the first.
NightRavenoak is my taken name as it came to me in a dream and then proved to be numberologically perfect for my birthdate.
Soon, I will recap my journey so far.
Until then, 
Blessed be.