„Know-It-All or Justified“ is this week’s topic at Pagan Perspective duo an article that was published on this site. Like so many before me – please read the article.
In “The Wicker Man”, sergeant Howie exclaims after long conversation with lord Summerisle: “He brought you up to be a pagan!” and lord Summerisle responses with saying: “A heathen, conceivably, but not, I hope, an unenlightened one.”
Also, if we are in movie world for nothing-to-do-with-the-religion sort of references, I’d bring out Midsomer Murders’ episode “The Magician’s Nephew”. In that episode, Ernest Balliol is the high priest of theTempleofThoth, a pagan cult, and is extremely upset when Aloysius Wilmington, an old friend and local magician, publishes a book declaiming the cult as nothing more than a drunken invention. During the Cabinet of Death routine in Aloysius’ magic act, his assistant Jean Wildacre is stabbed with poisoned daggers and a ritual knife is left in the cabinet. Meanwhile, Ernest is relying on his daughter Isolde to charm Aloysius’ nephew Simon into finding a book in Aloysius’ library that her father thinks will prove the existence of the cult.
Many Wiccans follow in their core Raymond Buckland, Robert Cochrane, Alex Sanders, Scott Cunningham or any other initiators of what is today modern Wicca. I would ask them – how many have actually doubted in what they read from their books? If you recall, in their books, they too only interpreted what they had heard, collected, researched on. Reading that article, I felt as if adding anything to the knowledge you’ve read from people before you is sacred. Like texts in Bible – they must be copied without doubt or you’ll face the rage of your people! Isn’t it strange? Fearing to doubt those that come before us.
When I started, I drank anything that had the word “pagan” in it without thinking much on source texts they came from. There weren’t any Buckland or Cunningham around when I got my first lessons. They came mostly from 3 local magazines on paranormal, introducing the local witches and through interviews explaining why they believed one thing or another. So when I finally got my hands on those so-called classics, I though on several occasion – how on earth did he come on that? Or how is that relevant? So I researched it and drew my own conclusions.
I don’t believe in thousand and one thing, but the ones I do believe in, I take seriously. With previous said, I think most of us agree that we do get offended if someone tries to change our point of view. Parable in the Bible about faith is I think best described in Luke 6:48-49 and it talks about choosing good foundation for your beliefs, to your house. In Universities, when they begin new course, they always have the sort of introduction lesson, where they explain what this course is about and with what disciplines it can be used with. It’s one the most important lessons you’ll ever have, because it gives you ideas how you can actually use your material and that’s important – being able to adapt and mix. There is nothing more boring than talking with someone, who is at home with their own subject, but know nothing outside of it. It’s like wanting to cross a muddy lane and though the house is across the street, you must still take six street round to get there.
Same way is with Wiccans and believing in what you prefer. It’s nice that you have community where you can talk about religious topics, but you don’t have to leave your other hobbies aside because it has pagan in the headline. I think it’s wonderful if we have historians, folklorists, anthropologists amongst us, because they can give us good information to base our own beliefs on. I would take a good historian or anthropologists word over religion any time. Religion, after all, is theoretical, but the evidence to back it up comes from other disciplines. And if it has been proven by historically that the god is god, then he is a god and not goddess. Personal experiences are personal, but in general I think we should keep close to originals. There are angels for example where it is doubtful, which they actually were, Gabriel and Uriel come to mind, but if the god has been depicted as male, that’s what, in my opinion, we should see them as.
“Everything is acceptable, no matter what it is.” As much as I am in favor of religious freedom, I always get angry when I happen on this sentence again. On one side it’s nice – you can do whatever seems right for you, even if it looks wrong to you. But try getting more exact response and you don’t know if just laugh or cry. We are like neutered to have an opinion or accept history as factual evidence. I often see this in writing communities too – do whatever you want. How is that helpful to anyone? We don’t learn from it, we’re left to sink in that mud hole others call street, but crossing it is even harder because others won’t help us to the house we need to go and all this together we’ll be late for our appointment.
And no, everything is not acceptable. Boundaries are there for a reason. It’s not without reason they worn you against doing some rituals at early years of your practice or praise god/dess according to developed practice. Zeus- imagine someone putting food out as if you were to goddess? I doubt there are many who would be brave enough to even fathom such image or honor him as goddess. Some gods do get offended by disregarding information.
If my essay here did come out as opinionated and confident (know it all), then that’s probably because I do believe in it. We should embrace opportunities to take part of discussions on theoretical side of our faith, not immediately act on insult we read out of it and get defensive. Research the topic and then prove the man wrong if you must, but the reality is – there have been thousands before us and to think that you are the only one right is simply…
Now that I think of it, I think the entire placement of the question has been wrong. We are quite into punishing both sides for acting harshly on each other. Instead we should put it this way: How much information outside religious texts should be let in our religion? Because right now, that seems to be the issue – someone used history to prove their point to pagan community.