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...Who loves the Sun, loves Everyone...
Diaspora, great analysis of the Matthew text. It shows very well the confusion (to put it politely) of the modern "christians" as to the origins, contributions, and continuations of the Pagan past in their religion. It would be nice to see other analyses of other "modern" religions foundations and geniologies. It's not just christians distressing the world...
"Now the names of the twelve disciples are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him."
"The son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a wine bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners."
Jesus' disciples are generally held to have been fishermen, yet it is often forgotten that several of them did not come from this professional background. What is particularly interesting here is that the only job mentioned in the full list of disciples is that of Matthew who was a publican. Wikipedia says:
In antiquity, publicans (Greek τελώνης telōnēs; Latin publicanus (singular); publicani (plural)) were public contractors, in which role they often supplied the Roman legions and military, managed the collection of port duties, and oversaw public building projects. In addition, they served as tax collectors for the Republic (and later the Roman Empire), bidding on contracts (from the Senate in Rome) for the collection of various types of taxes.
As a publican is a tax collector, this can only mean that Jesus is friends with those who are in service to the empire. His disciple Matthew was a publican and therefore collecting taxes for Rome. Bearing this in mind, we should rethink Jesus' excuse for hanging around with publicans by saying that he socialises with those in need of being saved. This surely cannot apply to his disciples themselves? Jesus never bears any ill will towards the Romans, as his various comments about not finding such piety in all of Judea and giving unto Caesar what is his clearly shows.
"I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel."
Jesus is here speaking to the Roman centurion who asks him to heal his friend. Jesus clearly considers the Romans as being of greater piety than the Jews. Another insidious remark that has purposefully perpetuated anti Semitic prejudices ever since.
"What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way."
This is typical quotation used to show the gospels' pro Roman stance. The Romans did in fact have control of Judea through the governors they had put in place there. Whatever we may criticised the Romans for we cannot accuse them of religious intolerance, as their form of multi cultural paganism meant that they assimilated local cults and deities rather than suppressing them. There are many examples of syncretic deities such as Serapis in Egypt, a kind of amalgamation of Osiris and Jupiter. In general as long as the provinces paid their taxes their religious institutions were respected. In return for this respect the Romans asked for a statue of the emperor to also be placed in religious temples alongside the local deities, a request which more often than not caused little or no hinderance to the temple goers. However no such policy would work with the monotheistic Jews, who categorically refused to accept the emperor as a god. We can further see what Jesus' statement about rendering unto Caesar actually means. It is not only that the Jews should pay their taxes to Rome, which wasn't such a problem, but also that it makes a direct comparison between the emperor and god.
Jesus himself then friend of publicans as he was, could be understood as having been one of these syncreticised deities, which the Romans were so experienced in creating. An amalgamation of old Hebrew prophets with Egyptian mythical features mixed together into a new hellenised solar deity. By creating a pro Roman form of Judaism the Romans were effectively blurring the difference between what was Caesar's and what belonged to god.
The Sun God accompanied by the twelve is a common motif in ancient pagan religions most clearly apparent in the pantheon of the twelve gods of Olympus. That the early Christians were not ignorant of the origin of the twelve having originated in the constellations of the zodiac is clear enough in their adopting precisely this sort of imagery for Jesus and his disciples in medieval monastic art and fresco painting.
Twelve has always been an important number with many other associations such as the twelve hours of day & night along with the twelve months of the year. Christianity is a continuation of ancient pagan knowledge and symbolism, which perhaps accounts for its destruction of the pagan past as not having been because it was evil or sinful, but rather the need of its own guilty conscience to cover up its real influences.
That Jesus may be considered and is criticised for being a wine bibber is fitting as he is a later type of the Greek god Dionysus who was also a resurrected fertility deity who made water into wine.
Excellent post Leigh. I'm in a (wonderful) daze with your tying the Knights Templar and Freemasons with the historical J. Super.
Check out Omnia's latest song, silly & serious!
The British artist Paul Nash used the phrase "Genius Loci" to describe places which he painted, such as Avebury stone circle in Wiltshire, that had an undefinable spirit of place. Genius Loci could also be used to describe man made structures which seem to be situated in harmony with a natural landscape, perhaps places which have been rebuilt on over and again throughout the centuries, with the importance of their original location having been long forgotten, yet retaining some sense of sacred geometry. A few examples of sights which could be said to have Genius Loci include...
Rennes le Chateau.
A small hill top village in the south of France, which seems innocent enough, until you realise that it's the place which inspired Dan Brown to write the da Vinci code. The story goes that this is where Mary Magdeline came after all the troubles in Roman occupied Judea. Local parish priest Berenger Sauniere found something here that gave him influence and affluence enough to build a most unusual church, which seemingly shows knowledge of Jesus and the 1st century CE Jewish cult of the Essenes to whom he supposedly belonged, for which the rest of the world had to wait until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the mid 20th century. The mystery of Rennes le Chateau is deepened by its connection to Templar castles in the vicinity. Somebody must have surveyed the area in antiquity as these sights all link up to form a giant pentagram visible only to those who know how to look. The artist Nicholas Poussin was working on more than just inspiration when he made a painting of a local tomb, inscribing it with the words "et in Arcadia ego"...
Founded for its natural hot springs by the Romans, the city was enlarged in the last 18th century by free mason John Wood. The royal Crescent and Circus show Masonic use of sacred geometry that would also come to define the layout of Washington DC. The Circus is modelled on two supposedly unconnected sights: Stonehenge and the coliseum in Rome. Wood turned the design of the amphitheatre inside out and used the dimensions of nearby Stonehenge to give it sacred proportions. If we were in any doubt as to the Masonic intent behind this monumental work in town planning the Circus building facades contain the triptych of classical order columns and a whole host of Masonic symbols, some more obvious to interpret than others.
The biggest stone circle in the world in in fact only a small part of a far larger design. The sanctuary is connected to two serpent like avenues of megaliths that map out a mythical drama of fertility rituals in the Wiltshire countryside. The area was key to agriculture in the Neolithic and, similarly to Bath, grew up around a local spring. The earth goddess is further represented in other megalithic building projects in the vicinity, such as Silbury Hill, contemporary to the pyramids and not far their inferior, as well as West Kennet Long Barrow, a Neolithic precursor to the cathedral.
In what sense does one mean that they are a pagan? Is one harking back to the religious freedom of yesteryear, when everyone could believe in their own personal superstition? Does one mean that they don't really believe in the pagan gods and goddesses "literally" (good gracious that would be terrible!) but that one is rather more refined than the common believer, worshipping exotic lost deities in a purely nostalgic fashion? Or perhaps, one is following in the tradition of the Romantics, believing allegorically. The gods were originally meant to serve this purpose after all, so such faithful would at least be returning to the original form of this sort of folly.
Although I'm sure, many of today's pagans come about their beliefs by some means or other not altogether dissimilar to those above proposed they often remain at that level and rarely develop into fully thought out convictions beyond a flirtation with mysterious rites, which if such cults as those of Mithra or Demeter are anything to go by, the ancient world is full.
Modern day religions (an anachronism if there ever was one. There are no modern religions, only the few that have survived the attrition of history) inevitably find paganism as one of its threats, as a viable alternative to which people may (re)turn. It's no surprise that the very image of the demon in the Christian faith is modeled on the pagan god Pan, whose name meaning "all" came to be a convenient representative for all that paganism is supposed to have stood for. Yet what one may wish to mean by pagan should not be defined by centuries of church dogma, nor necessarily in a religious sense at all.
The pagan world was of course full of the most basely superstitious people one could image, along with, one assumes, the occasional genuinely elevated and pious believer. Yet it was not a society wholly made up of these kinds of people. Those who come up with new creation myths in any society should not be lumped together with those who rigidly follow them for centuries without thinking to update their ideas to current knowledge. In essence creation myths (the bible included) were probably the work of open minded people trying to engage, to the best of their ability despite the limitations of the times, with the same issues which plague us still. (How did the world begin? What is the meaning of life? Etc) These people deserve to be recognised as belonging not to the tradition of religions, as we have been lead to believe, but to what I like to call Democritus' tradition. Early attempts are only failures if they are enforced as the absolute truth, in a time before the actual truth was capable of being realised. If we forget these tales as the unquestionable foundation stones of religious edifices, and come to think of them rather as malleable first steps in the right direction on the way towards further enlightenment, their despotic enforcers will lose their previously unobstructed single right in deciding the context of their meaning.
Democritus was a philosopher now known as one of the "pre-socratics". As very little of his work survives he has been relegated, along with others of his time such as Heraclitus, to a position of minor importance in the history of philosophy. It is no surprise that the direction Socrates, Plato and Aristotle took was diametrically opposed to the real spirit of Greek philosophy, leading the way towards Christian ideas, which plainly shows why it was to be these thinkers whose works were to survive mostly intact.
Democritus continues in the good tradition of the creation myth theorists, and goes one step further. It is to him that we attribute the idea that the gods do not meddle in human affairs (they really aren't that petty minded) and that the universe is made up of atoms. Moreover he is one of the first along with Thales and Anaximander to use practical scientific observation and experiment to prove his theories. Of course the equipment to prove his ideas was still centuries away, yet if his kind of enquiry had been left to flourish it would probably have been discovered a lot sooner. However, the Socratic method of Plato was to come to dominate philosophical enquiry. Pure contemplative abstract truths of the mind were to take precedence over vulgar mercantile practical demonstrations. Another bad consequence of slavery was the fact that anyone who got their hands dirty actually doing practical experiments would not be taken seriously. Philosophy and scientific enquiry were not to be recovered until Leonardo's time in the late 1400's. Yet as broken as it is, there is a linage from Democritus, through Epicurus and the Roman poet Lucretius, rediscovered in the renaissance, to the humanists, Kepler, Copernicus, Galileo and ultimately to the enlightenment on towards Jefferson and the founding fathers of the United States.
Drawing our little discussion to a close we can see that being pagan today does not necessarily designate being of a superstitious nature or returning to more primitive forms of belief. It is on the contrary the same tradition of science that one hopes is still correcting its mistakes and not getting entrenched in dogma. That way was the downfall of religion. As wrong as Democritus and Epicurus were, they were the only ones going in the right direction. Now is not the time to engage in could and should have beens, but to be clear about where to go forward from here. To be a pagan today is to pay homage to all the early creation myth theorisers, first failed experimenters and ethical philosophers of the ancient world. It is not the commonly assumed excuse for the decadent profligacy of the Roman ruling classes, nor the popular (then as now) spectacle of violence in the arena that one means to legitimise when saying that one is a pagan. Rather it is the philosophers' world of enlightenment, betterment and curiosity that we seek to emulate without reducing ourselves to the unfortunately primitive limitations of their times. The religious minded must not be allowed to continue with the delusion that they are somehow in a privileged position of authority regarding either ethics, origins or even eschatological issues. As a pagan one assumes the responsibility of advancing upon all ancient and modern knowledge which, despite centuries of set backs, has brought us to an understanding of the world which Democritus would certainly have marvelled at.
UK Russell Brand article on politics and cultural revolution. I like it. There is also a video of him talking about these things, can find the link on his twitter. It's brilliant.
A quote from the comedian/activist Russell Brand:
The model of pre-Christian man has fulfilled its simian objectives. We have survived, we have created agriculture and cities. Now this version of man must be sacrificed that we can evolve beyond the reaches of the ape. These stories contain great clues to our survival when we release ourselves from literalism and superstition. What are ideologies other than a guide for life? Throughout paganism one finds stories that integrate our species with our environment to the benefit of both. The function and benefits of these belief matrixes have been lost, with good reason. They were socialist, egalitarian and integrated. If like the Celtic people we revered the rivers we would prioritise this sacred knowledge and curtail the attempts of any that sought to pollute the rivers. If like the Nordic people we believed the souls of our ancestors lived in the trees, this connection would make mass deforestation anathema. If like the native people of America we believed God was in the soil what would our intuitive response be to the implementation of fracking?
No one here knows about The Occult Bookstore of which you speak. Maybe you wrote the site address down wrong? Anyway, much success with your search, certainly we would welcome no more war(s).
If Obe gave you the right site address, then a thank you to him for us please.
Perhaps someone will wander by the site and be able to help you...
Hello, I am Noochies, I am always at The Occult Bookstore and Obe asked me to do a post on here to find someone who is looking for another member of their coven. Hit me up at 312-613-7547 by calling or texting. I am into anti-war spells at the moment and desperately need a teleportation spell.
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