I’m posting this in rough draft form. I need to chew on these ideas some more.
I’ve noticed something within Neo-Pagan circles that really bothers me. Anti- Eclecticism and a serious lack of devotion to the Deities.
Anti-Eclecticism has been around for a long time and it surely is just a part of the new Neo-Pagan movement. Its the same thought pattern/ philosophy/ trend that led to the ideas of Heresy..
I find it odd that someone trying to create a workable religious framework for themselves would be met with derision when Wicca, the loudest Neo-Pagan religion was created from various parts, which is accepted without such disdain. Or the Gods above help you if you try to organize an Eclectic Circle. It’s often met with derision and disdain and plenty of side swipes of fluffy bunnyism.
UPG is Religion
Unverified Personal Gnosis is the basis of every religion. Someone had an extraordinary insight and communicated well enough to gather a following. Take a quick look at Buddha, Jesus and Paul for Christianity, Mohammad for Islam, and all the other teachers and preachers that achieve success.
The whole argument of Recon being more valid that Eclecticism, ignores the entire fact that everyone takes what’s best to them and ignores the rest and it ignores the fact that it’s a part of the wider power struggle that exists in all religions. Recons and the bashing of Eclectics are a pure example of classic power-over another individual. This movement claims that there is no validity at all in personal revelation. That is wrong and dangerous and seeks to devalue the individual to force compliance in an existing system.
The / Recon stance / Recon vs. Eclectics argument / does have some valid points. Honesty is important in both the labeling oneself and in the use of labels for the rest of the world.
Scholarship is important in religious studies and history. “Recons do not believe or follow any practice unless there is historical or archaeological evidence to support it.” 1 So they are nothing more than the Pagan version of The People of the Book. Except that they have a ton of books and argue endless over what’s valid, what’s historical, what’s kept in context, ad nauseam. In gamer terms, a rule lawyer’s heaven!
Decontextualism as an abhorrent practice is an dishonest view of a natural process that occurs/ it represents. Consider it as the slow erosion of data over time as the typical process. This can be applied to myths which were yesterday’s hot news which is now jumbled myth and superstitious stories. This process can be accelerated but on a local scale while at the same time preserving the “meat” of the data being transmitted.
Metagenetics….what the fuck? A deity that demands only one race of people to worship? That’s as outdated as racism. In fact it is racism in disguise. There is only one human species on this earth. When is the rest of the world going to catch up to this fact?
McNallen has coined the term “Metagenetics” in a 1985 essay outlining the philosophical principles of AFA, stating that “there are spiritual and metaphysical implications to heredity”. In a 1999 article, McNallen restated his position, invoking Rupert Sheldrake’s morphic fields and Carl Jung’s collective unconscious as “very close to the Germanic ideas surrounding the Well of Urth”, and presented a definition of “metagenetics” as Rupert Sheldrake Rupert Sheldrake, Ph. … A morphic field (a term introduced by Rupert Sheldrake, the major proponent of this concept, through his theory of Formative Causation) consists of patterns that govern the development of forms, structures and arrangements. … Jung redirects here. … Collective unconscious is a term of analytical psychology originally coined by Carl Jung. …
“the hypothesis that there are spiritual or metaphysical implications to physical relatedness among humans which correlate with, but go beyond, the known limits of genetics.”
No matter what the argument is, both stances offer an unbalanced view.
Devotion of Deities
Having come from a Christian background into the Neo Pagan movement, I’m still surprised about the lack of devotion to the Gods. It’s as if the pursuit of magic and spell craft is more important that the Gods. AT first this wasn’t a problem at all. I bought into the whole ritual will bring you closer to the Gods bit but I’ve found that there really is a lot more that needs to be done before that step should take place. I also know that some Gods really don’t like the a-typical Wiccanequess rituals; not withstanding my own dislike of Wiccan styled ritual.
What makes me Pagan isn’t the pursuit of magic and spellcraft or the use of Wiccan lite religious and ritual elements. Those/Magic and spellcraft can/ could still be done as an heretical Christian. It’s my devotion to my Gods that makes me a Pagan. And I’ve not found a good resource in my pursuit of the Gods.
I don’t have the resources to research and investigate all the sources I’ve even found on my deities. Knowing this lack has made me extra cautious and more inclined to trust and rely on UPG…unverified personal gnosis.
It’s because of the prime importance of UPG that makes Neo-Paganism so attractive in the first place. Last night I went to Barns and Nobles Booksellers. I did a lot of walking around and lot of comparison. I think I disturbed myself with some of the conclusions I came up with. Taking a causal look at the religious section and Christianity in particular, its clear they have a large market share. But taking a look at what types of books were available was either uplifting personal accounts, historical works of theology or the many study guides to the bible or even the large growing segment of religious fiction, a la “End Times” series.
Just to pull a comparison….all Neo-Pagan books are labeled under New Age and it has a much smaller market share, as classified by shelf space; with fewer publishers producing mainstream books. The varieties of books available are of the Wicca 101 kind, more ritual oriented, a few Sabbat books and the rest dealing with one of the various religious arts. All the historical source books were in Mythology and scattered all over the Fiction section. There were very few good books about the divine and just a few anthology’s on various mythology’s. On this outing I didn’t even find the religious fiction for Neo-Paganism but I suspect that it may have been mixed into the Teen section which does this religion a huge disfavor.
How does one connect with the Gods when all one has is a name and a general description of attributes? This is all too often what is in Wiccan 101 books. Even when you move past that and start searching for source texts…you run right into things like bullfinches mythology which has its fair share of flaws and disadvantages.
So I’m back to relying on UPG again. And so it seams is everyone else or they are relying on someone elses UPG in the form of a book or even a method of ritual. So this is where I think the next generation of 102 books should start, how to make connections with the divine and even if they did…everyone would still be relying on someone elses UPG.