Monday, May 17, 2010
Pagan Transcendency into the Divine
By strictest definition, the word pagan means rural. In the context of ancient Rome with it hundreds of official and non-official gods and temples, pagan was a label for a country bumpkin religion with a country bumpkin god etc. As such Rome was the big time and so were its gods.
Along comes Christianity and every non-Christian religion gets a pagan label and then gets the heave ho off the side of the boat. Past wisdom, culture and insight got tossed as well. A respect for nature got a bad rap and label in the Christian stream of thought thing.
I have to laugh when I hear the apocryphal story of the mother of Jesus coming to live her last days in Ephesus and living with Mary Magdalene.
I do not think that that happened. Ephesus was home to the largest and grandest Greek style temple on earth, pictured above, and dedicated to a Greek earth goddess called Demeter. The temple was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Demeter can also be Gaia etc. The Roman version of the name Demeter is Diana.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the best you can do for a basic earth goddess in the male dominated monotheistic Christian religion. With a handful of sentences mentioning her in the NT, Mary is the stuff of myth and legend and not based on much sacred scripture.
I was doing some recent research or refreshing my memory from Freshman highschool English class whereby we had to memorize all the names of the Greek and Roman gods as a background to reading stories of ancient mythology.
What’s wrong with myth? Nothing. Before there was culture or churches and mosques, there was myth. Myth is the verbal and later written down sharing of culture around the small community nightly fire. Tribes are smaller than modern day countries. Myth is no longer small. Small myth sometimes now covers big modern countries and cultures but not too well. Something missing perhaps in old myths not properly retrofitted to today. As such, most myth is relegated to obscure storage and forgotten library shelves.
Myth or no myth, the western culture follows ancient Rome’s hatred of Nature to this day. Rome is long gone. Western civilization is not far behind using the British Petroleum’s behemoth haphazard failure to manage nature responsibly as a watershed mark in human history.
Do we finally take macro responsibility of the planet or do we, and all cultures globally, continue to ignore our environment? Our platform of life, on which we see life happening on many levels, must be shared with other living creatures in the oceans and on the lands. One species, if it goes extinct, sets the stage for other extinctions including our own species.
The ancient religious myth that God set us in change of Nature is a poorly written piece in that it leaves out the implied statement that we must take charge of nature responsibly.
I am not talking Neo-Paganism here. I am talking about resuscitating those portions of ancient culture that saw, felt and acted in response to the key points of nature that cause mankind to survive and prosper.
Gaia as the earth goddess is not really an ancient concept. Gaia as resurrected myth is an accumulation of many ancient earth goddesses. And what are earth goddesses? They are symbols of the sacred feminine.
The west and its hatred of nature is mixed with hatred of women in the mean desert monotheistic religions. Nature is buried along side with the feminine. The Roman military calendar replaced the lunar calendar. Conflicts were settled in blood along with the destruction of ancient pagan belief systems, based many times on nature. A world religion like Hinduism is based on many previous cultures and many previous cultures’ beliefs, gods and goddesses. Inclusive is one way to do religion.
Christianity, if it wants to survive must look differently at the world and be part of nature, God’s nature or be prepared to quickly, at this point in time, fade out permanently of historic view.
Part of a culture war in recent years in the west, or more accurately America, is between the dying western culture and against Secularism or Neo-Paganism. Neo-Paganism also goes by the name of Pantheism, whereby you believe in many gods instead of the mean singular desert gods of Judeo Christian Islamic monotheistic myth. The many gods or idols that some secularists or neo-pagans would seem to worship are science, technology, cars, fast food, fashion, and greed and or success. Any means to succeed including warfare are okay so long as you win at any cost. Any cost these days means at the expense of humanity and the fragile nature of our planet.
Of course, the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims do not all agree that they are talking about the same god. As such and to such people, I label their beliefs myth. There seems to be many gods even amongst the so-called monotheists.
Transcendence into the energy of the universe is possible on any level, at any time and in any culture.
Transcendence into the concept of God is a way pagans used to channel into the Spiritual. The universe did not live, breath and evolve for a billion years waiting for the one true religion (there are so many) to finally arrive on this planet.
The ancients, the pagans, the pre-Christians did a thriving business in many belief systems. Those forced from the scene belief systems were many times balanced in being male and female. Transcendence into the energy of God was possible within some of those belief systems. Human or animal sacrifice though crowded out the clarity of any hoped for vision of God as we think of Him today.
Western civilization is in a way an extension of a single male god myth – now gone sterile over time. Western Civilization on the religious level is an extension of a long, out of date myth created by Constantine. The forced male only paternalistic religion thing does not work anymore in a total member, total cultural global society. That the culture attached to that lone god myth has perhaps travelled as far as that culture and myth can travel.
Time to think outside the sterlile (at present) western Christian box.
Any ideas I have at the moment are to restore at the very least the regular value of the feminine if not the sacred feminine back into western culture and its institutions in order to save it at this critical time in history.
Time to re-examine some of the ancient pagan ways of reaching out to the spiritual and the Divine that are in true balance with Nature and Nature’s God / Goddess.