Lately I’ve been thinking about deities, my aesthetic tastes, and my inner world, and I have begun to see that diversity is not a bad thing, and that trying to limit that diversity and establishing one dominant aesthetic presence is bound to fail for me. For things that I honestly like, it makes no sense to risk throwing them out in order to maintain such a dominant presence in my inner world, because there’s a wide outer world out there to influence the inner one and it makes sense to let everything that you honestly like influence it, and it doesn’t all have to conform to a single pattern.
In the realm of personal philosophy and spiritual system, I’ve been having trouble creating an Oriental Satanism for a few years, in the process almost forgetting that delightful Chaotee principle of borrowing what you like from other belief systems to forge your own unique system, which I first learned about from my dear friend The Desolate One (who I consider a great spiritual mentor or teacher). I could take the best and discard the rest, and I do that with Oriental beliefs anyway.
Same with deities. I am making the following changes regarding deities:
Not be so puristic regarding pantheons
Not limit myself to a seven deity system
That’s right, I plan to alter my system for deities. From now on, I revere any deity that symbolises anything important to me and my connection to those things (for instance fire, volcanoes, the sun, love, a possible connection with my father), or any deity I relate to or feel personally aligned with. For example, I may venerate Agni because of fire, Amon-Ra for the sun and creative power, Mara for desire, Goddess Liberty for the concept of freedom, and perhaps Venus for love. Speaking of Liberty and Venus, because of this, they don’t have to be almost all male deities, goddesses can be venerated too (as I already have in the past) and likely will more often now. I aim to do this in my own way, hopefully without being bound to any expectations of ostentatious ritual or prayer that I lack time or resources for. I aim to have as little hierarchy with the deities as possible, and the only deities that might reserve a particularly higher spot will be Shiva, perhaps Shakti, and maybe Satan, but in Satan and Shakti’s case it may be because they represent concepts I hold dear, and in Shiva’s case it is because Shiva is my favourite deity, an ishta-deva if you will. The only rule is that I have to admire specific deities enough, and that I don’t cross into to full-on traditional theistic worship instead of more modern forms of veneration I try to observe.
Of course, this takes time, and it may be a while before I get everything down, but you’ll soon see these changes on my blog’s additional pages. As a pagan, I need to remember that all god-images are god-images. They’re not all the same, but they ruled out because they don’t conform to any attempts to Easternize your own spiritual system. Let us remember E Pluribus Unum, One From Many. From diversity one can draw uniqueness.
Yesterday we got into an argument about family and religion, specifically, how I feel I can’t disclose my personal religious/spiritual beliefs to the rest of my family. As you probably know from reading this blog, I am a Satanist, a Pagan, and an advocate for the ideas of the Left Hand Path. Most of my family is Catholic Christian, so they outnumber me. I know I don’t see a lot of my family on a regular basis, but I still worry about my family knowing about my beliefs for good reason.
Because they are mostly Christian (maybe not devout or fundamentalist Christians, but I am confident they do observe the customs and beliefs on a basic level), I cannot trust them to not make a big of me having beliefs so far outside their norm.I don’t want to have to try and explain myself to them (my whole beliefs would need more explanation than just “I’m a Satanist” or “I’m a pagan”) or deal with any crap they give me about my beliefs. It’s not that I don’t strongly believe in them, it’s just that I don’t feel they need to know most of it, you know, for protection. And it’s not like I’d be entirely lying to them either; if they ask, I could just say non-religious.
Now my brother doesn’t seem to understand my insecurity regarding my family, he thinks it’s not that big a deal, to the point that he accidentally implies that if you believe something you should tell everyone about it. He’s an atheist, warts and all, and what he doesn’t seem to realize is that atheists are lucky to have a position that is considered modern in this day and age and is still way more socially acceptable than my beliefs or interest in the occult ever could be. It’s not that I’m giving up, I’m just saying how my brother doesn’t seem to get it, and that he doesn’t seem to see how big a deal talking about beliefs is. He says in the modern age it shouldn’t matter, but “modern age” or no, beliefs are and always will be a big deal, and I don’t think he gets that.
While researching for a possible artistic outcome on the subject of everything heathenistic about America (gloriously so I should say), I stumbled across an article from another Christian propaganda website called godspurposes.org. This article was titled “The American Dream – America’s Hedonistic Culture” and contained excerpts from a book entitled “What Was the American Dream? And What Happened To It?“, and let me tell you for a website article promoting a book from 2012 it sure looked dated! Nonetheless, I’m gonna use this to hammer home the point that (1) this hedonistic, heathenistic America is actually a good thing, and that (2) America is not a Christian nation.
Don’t let that first paragraph oversell it, though it is gonna be long. Cue the flag!.
Let’s start this itemised thwack to the head where it should always start, the beginning. In this case, here’s the first three sentences:
“As with Rome, America’s hedonistic culture, where any lifestyle is acceptable, is at the root of our destruction. Our society is now a moral swampland, where every kind of immorality is acceptable—as long as people mutually consent, it’s ok. Pre-martial sex, extra-marital sex, and perverse sex, which once drew the condemnation of society, are now openly practiced without the least amount of attention.”
For starters, whenever a Christian website like this refers to “perverse sex”, it’s clear they don’t mean rape, incest, or pedophilia. They mean homosexuality and bisexuality, which the believers so ardently hold is evil, even though it’s not. Second, last time I checked, the freedom to live in any manner you chose as long as there is no force or coercion involved is not only a good thing (scratch that, more awesome than would be taken for granted), it’s among the ideals that America was founded on, and what, despite the country’s still prevailing conflict of values, makes it still debatably the best (though it may seem to be a falling star as of late). But let’s address the major issue: the claim that social and sexual permissiveness led to the downfall of Rome.
First of all, Rome fell 85 years after Rome officially announced that it was a Christian empire, with no tolerance for anything else, so doesn’t it seem like whoever’s claiming this has ignored a major part of the history of their own faith? Many Romans were actually prudish enough that they only had sex in the dark with most of their clothes on, didn’t really have orgies. The popular idea of Roman decadence was a product of Christian propaganda, designed to convince the Roman public. The only thing close would probably be brothels, particularly the brothel parts of Pompeii. In fact, adultery was already considered an offence in Rome, and in 18 BC Augustus, the first emperor of Rome, actually made extra-marital affairs a capital crime punishable by either death or exile. He did it in a bid for “family values”. Regarding gay marriage, Rome had no laws protecting or prohibiting gay marriage, though often same-sex weddings were reported in a mocking manner. However, after the Christianization of Rome, gay marriage was outright prohibited, and by the end of the 4th century homosexuality was punished by burning. In general, shame and modesty were actually regulating factors of Roman public behavior, and both the Republican and Imperial periods had legal strictures on trangression. Finally, the part about “perverse” behaviors once drawing the condemnation of society. Sexuality was not a taboo for most of the ancient world, so I think whoever wrote that is referring to either the Christian age, or America when Christian values were still enforced.
Rome’s fall was nothing to do with the mythical sexual decadence that Christians said was going on. The real cause of Rome’s fall was a combination of military, economic, and political problems that Rome eventually just couldn’t handle. This includes the corruption of the senate, a series of incompetent or crazy rulers calling the shots, the decline in the strength of the Roman military (and by extension Rome’s decline in battle), no longer being able to profit from empire and conquest, disease, and barbarian onslaughts. Rome fell not because of pagan decadence. She aged, become corrupt and weak, suffered disease, and eventually died no longer able to bear it all anymore.
Next few sentences (finally!):
“American companies now give to non-traditional marriages the same benefits as those who follow God’s intended purpose. Is it any wonder American companies are failing when they promote these unbiblical lifestyles?”
I don’t think this guy knows that companies cater to the needs and wants of all potential consumers so that they can remain able to make a profit, which you would strive to do in a capitalist country to begin with. Clearly by offering products and services to everyone, including those who live “unbiblical” lifestyles, they’re not failing; they’re staying alive in the modern age. I don’t think any company or business cared who you were or the life you lived except during those dark ages in America where only white straight people could access the American dream.
“Daytime television, with its steamy soap operas, and nighttime situation comedies, where nothing is sacred and sexual innuendoes are the main script, flood our minds with immoral thoughts. Adult movies, pornography on the magazine rack and internet, the portrayal of casual sex by Hollywood, have all led to the moral corruption of society.”
There’s steamy soap operas in day time? I would think they’d save that for the evening, when you’re not at work and the kids are away from the TV, assuming we’re dealing with family life here. Last I checked, day time TV didn’t have much to offer other than talk shows and very tame, very domestic TV. And maybe news. Sitcoms? Most sitcoms are those unfunny TV shows that portray real life as though it were being lived by a bunch zany well-off people from California, and they’re apparently threatening?.Maybe they have innuendos but I doubt they get most people thinking about sex, let alone laugh. I can’t thinking all this guy watched was American Pie and Two and a Half Men, or maybe he’s stuck in the 1950’s. And am I supposed to believe that porn and sex are corrupting our minds again?
And this sentence is by far the most pathetic:
“Sex education is freely taught in schools, while any teaching about God or morality is denied.”
I don’t have anything to say other than this is an obvious and highly pathetic cry of the Christian persecution complex, where not allowing them to influence government and enforce religious education constitutes as oppression. Sexual education is apparently mark of tyranny to the average right-winged or religious person despite all the benefits it brings, up to and including preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and the obvious decreasing of sexual ignorance and fear. You’re telling me the world would be better if people did not know or talk about sex? Of course not!
I’d stop here, but let’s mention the second excerpt first. Basically it’s an entire paragraph of bullcrap about what is obviously myth of the Christian America. When he talks of America once standing for the right, he actually means when America used to enforce Christian values. You know, when gay people still weren’t considered people, when you had to conform to social and religious mold for more than now. What was the American dream that led so many people there? It wasn’t the Christian theocracy idealized by many rightists. It was the freedom to live as you chose, and opportunity. Has American changed its principles (the guy didn’t even spell it properly)? It has in a way, after the age of the Founding Fathers, Christian puritanical beliefs had begun to influence the country, particularly in the early 20th century, though its grip is gradually fading. Still, we are left with a clash of values; the freedom to live as you choose without hurting anyone versus the values of a Christian theocracy. What were the foundations upon which America was founded? It’s not God (in fact, In God We Trust wasn’t a motto until the 1950’s. It’s not the Bible. It is freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise, the freedom to live your life in any way you choose so long as no one is hurt, liberty for all. When right-wingers claim that the founding fathers created America as a Christian nation, they seem to ignore that America was actually founded as a secular nation, and the founding fathers were irreligious and secular (though many of them were Deists). And no, the US government was not established by those early God-fearing pilgrims who initially settled in what we now call America, and would eventually surrender to the British government.
Now I know America would often stray from this, but this does not last forever. As long as we still defend our own liberty, as long as there are those around to shake us out of ignorance, and as long as enough people remember what makes America great. We must remember if that we are not free to live our lives as we choose without coercion or abuse, then your country cannot be called “land of the free”.
I must point out that the founding fathers, as Deists, venerated “Nature’s God”, the laws of nature. In a way, they venerated nature as divine. It is paganism in a way, though guided by Enlightenment-era ideas of scientific reason. Coupled with the pagan symbols that recur in the country (though they do draw from the Neoclassical era), the fact that the idea of a republic has its roots in ancient Rome, the pagan given of being free to worship any god you want as a veneration of nature, I’d say America’s roots are pagan, not Christian, but not necessarily pagan religious ideas. America brought on a new manifestation and evolution of the pagan way in its freedom to worship (thus implying irreligion), and the individual pursuit of pleasure and happiness (even if they can be a little short on nature veneration, there’s deistic nature veneration in America’s founding documents), which is still alive today despite it having to battle against the Christian ways of religion, oppression, and denial.
And now let’s close with a picture, I think you’ll find it relevant.
I might have mentioned the term “Satanic Pagan”. For whatever purpose, I’m here to explain the term.
The Satanic Pagan is bound to have a certain admiration or veneration of Nature, and/or the force that runs through it (in my case this is Chaos), and also veneration of deities as representations of this force. Speaking of this, use of deities or deity images can be used by the Satanic Pagan to relate to Nature and its forces, to seasons and celebrations, to concepts, and also to ones own soul and personality, perhaps in relation to mythology. I do this often.
Satanic Paganism is about nature, the force of nature, the natural human, and to an extent the gods that are linked with it all, as well as trying to tap into the power, but also about the self, personal power, and the potential godhood of the individual. It is spiritual, and yet also embracing of materiality and its pleasures.
After for searching and discussion, I feel I am able to identify with the label as pagan alongside identifying with the philosophy of Satanism, and my own values and chaos belief. I have wanted to identify with paganism for some time, but without linking to Wicca or New Age (which I find to peacey and fluffy bunny white light).
Interestingly, in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, one of the definitions of the word “pagan” is the following:
“one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods : an irreligious or hedonistic person”
That sounds like an ideal fit, considering I don’t really have a religion (or at least not technically), and I don’t consider myself very religious, and I aspire to a hedonistic lifestyle. Also, I do place value in material experiences and goods and sensual pleasure, and do not believe in a separation between the material, carnal, sensual, and spiritual, as things like these can be linked. Though in the old days, the word pagan could be used for anyone who didn’t believe in Christianity or was neither Christian nor Jewish.
I also believe paganism can be related to my values.
My values are freedom, personal power, sexual liberty, selfhood, self-honesty, introspection (aimed at discovering and solidifying who you are and what you believe), Chaos, maximizing your potential and self-empowerment (even to the point of self-godhood), personal integrity/honor (doing what you think is right because you want to or think it’s right), the inner/chthonic flame (and empowering it), standing up and fighting for yourself, fighting herd mentality and oppression, and never losing your spirit.
Granted, most of those values are more likely to be prominent in Satanism than paganism (which is why I now identify with the philosophy of Satanism). But pagans were never really prudes, and they did celebrate life and sexuality, unlike the Christians who were much more prudish. It is said the religion surrounding the Canaanite god Baal involved a great deal of sexuality, and in various cultures all over the world there many phallic symbols and religious objects, such as the lingam of India, the Tara stone in Ireland, the phallic statues in some parts of Japan (such as the Mara Kannon temple in Yamaguchi), and, in some way, obelisks, as well as sacred objects for the feminine counterpart, like the yoni of India. So clearly, there is a respect and veneration for sexuality. Pagans certainly never saw it as vile or “sinful”.
One thing common in paganism is the worship or veneration of nature, which would probably include sexuality, since sex is as natural as the trees and the stars. They mainly worshiped the natural world that surrounded them, whether in the form of personified gods (such as Baal, Agni, Gaia, Tonatiuh, to name a few examples from various mythologies) or in an animistic kind of way, or the simple worship of the nature itself. I believe this can be extended by seeing the primal, and Chaos, as not just a part of nature, but the deepest and most residual essence and core that manifests itself as nature itself. As I’ve said before, Nature is Chaos, and Nature is Chaos. And no matter how many cities we build, no matter how much we overcrowd and pollute the planet, no matter how many Bibles tell us that we are separate from nature and its masters, and no matter how many ignorant sheep believe the words of those Bibles, we are not separate from nature, within or without (that is the nature inside us, or the world/universe/natural reality we live in).
From that last part, I must be pagan. I’m not Christian, I’m anti-Christian, I’m not atheist, I’m irreligious, I’m open about gods and spirits, I respect sexuality instead of condemning it, I have a respect for nature and venerate it as Chaos, the deep, primal, raw force behind everything, because Chaos is Nature and Nature is Chaos, and I don’t believe we are separate from nature. And I’m not a peacenik. I’m not Wiccan, and I don’t identify as Neopagan, or a fluffy bunny pagan. I just use the label because it actually fits in a viable way, and it is another way of describing a way of life. Pagan, at least by my definition, fits quite well, though it probably doesn’t encompass everything. Also, the pagan label could easily justify using different gods from various mythologies for different purposes.
In Christianity, Easter is a celeberation of the resurrection of the Christ three days after having died on the cross. In a secular society, we associate it bunnies, decorated eggs, and baby chickens. I don’t particularly care for Easter as a holiday, and I don’t find it very interesting. However, I notice that Easter is just like Christmas; a psuedo-Christian secular commercialized holiday, whose pagan roots are largely obscured. I looked into the pagan origin of Christmas last year, and in the same spirit and in the same manner, and yes, through the same prism. I’ll look into the key traditions and ideas of Easter, and examine their roots and history.
Just like before, I’m not some Christian conservative out to stop people from celeberating something that I call pagan, but rather I seek to remind us of what connects us to the pagan world, and extolling the pagan roots rather than vilifying them, as I happen to be a fan of paganism, especially the pagan world of old.
Easter eggs, egg decoration, and the Easter bunny
This always bugged me. What the hell do the Easter bunny and decorated eggs have to do with the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus, especially when there’s nothing about it in the Bible?
First off the Easter eggs and egg decoration. Apparently, in Christian symbolism, the eggs symbolize the empty tomb of Jesus, however, in the pagan world before Christianity, eggs are a symbol of fertility, as well as rebirth, and they have been for a long time before the death of the Christ. And I should know about symbols of fertility and sexuality. I’m very familiar with the symbolism of eggs and serpents juxtaposed together.
Believe it or not, egg decoration is a very ancient practice, decorated ostrich eggs would be buried in ancient Sumerian and Egyptian graves 5,000 years ago. However, the concept of painting eggs I’ve heard dates back to early Mesopotamian Christians who stained eggs red with the symbolic blood of Jesus (which would become a tradition in the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic church), though this probably builds on the concept of eggs as a symbol of rebirth.
Now for the Easter bunny. Much like Santa Claus, he is largely a secular advertising figure. However, hares and rabbits were associated with Germanic fertility goddesses such as Eostre and Freyja, in particular with festivals dedicated to Eostre.
Death and rebirth of a god
Jesus’ death is obviously a concept found in the Bible, but the death and rebirth of a divine being is older than that. Cybele, the Anatolian mother goddess of earth, fertility, and mountains, had a consort, Attis. He was a god of vegetation and agriculture who went insane and castrated and mutilated himself, after which he died, but was then reborn in the spring. Jesus was never castrated, and he never mutilated himself, but he was probably mutilated by the spears of the Roman soldiers who set out to kill him humiliatingly. Thinking about it, there’s something symbolic about death and rebirth myths set in spring. Spring is a time where plants grow back to life from dormancy and animals start procreating and giving birth, and Easter festivals seem to be very linked to symbols of fertility, and the old pagan pre-Crucifixion ceremonies were dedicated to the fertility of crops, animals, and people.
There’s another form of this myth, the decent of a goddess to the underworld.
There’s a story in Mesopotamian and Sumerian mythology, in which Ishtar, otherwise known as Astarte, the goddess of love, sex, and war, descended into the underworld, attempting to take it over, eventually arrived naked, was imprisoned by Ereshkigal, the goddess and queen of the underworld and Ishtar’s sister, and supposedly killed. After her descent and death, all sexual activity supposedly stopped on Earth. She was revived by the god Ea, the god of water and creation, which displeased Ereshkigal, and she demanded that someone take her place. Finally it was decided that Tammuz take her place in the underworld six months in the year. There is a similar myth in Greco-Roman lore in which the fertility goddess Persephone was dragged to the underworld by Hades. After this, Demter was striken with grief and searched for her, and meanwhile living things stopped growing and began to die. As life on earth was drawing closer to extinction, Zeus sent Hermes to bring Persephone back. Hades agreed and gave her a pomegranate, and she was allowed to return to the surface world, bringing life and fertility with her. These are myths of the seasons, and the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
That’s about all I can think of with regards to Easter. From that, I can draw up that Easter is basically a spring festival celebrating fertility, and the cycle of life, death and rebirth. The messianic and commercial connontations are mere dressings that we have covered it with, same with Christmas. Easter’s prime concept, other than the death and rebirth of a divinity, is nowhere in the Bible. Even the specific date is for the sake of a festival, since not only is there no date for Easter in the Bible, but Jesus supposedly died and yet there is no recorded evidence of his existence, let alone his death. And the reason the pagan stuff is in what we call Easter is the same reason it happens in Christmas; the church co-opted these things to promote their faith to non-believers.
That said, I’m gonna defend the pagan roots of Easter the same way I did for the pagan Christmas. The pagan part of our culture is inescapable, and that pagan part of our culture is the celebration of life, nature, and natural phenomenon and cycles, and, I swear, there’s something primal about it all that the pagans all celebrate as well. I wonder what it is. That in mind, I still don’t consider Easter that important, maybe it’s instinctive of me to not care about Easter, especially with Christmas and my birthday more important. However, that doesn’t mind I don’t respect the importance of fertility. Hell, Easter to me is nowhere near as important as the celebration of fertility, and I respect fertility, especially in association with sexuality.
One last thing: the name Easter is related to the goddess Eostre, and has Germanic or even Indo-European roots, but it is has no relation, let alone direct, with the goddess Ishtar. I keep hearing something about Easter is Ishtar and it’s actually not true.
It has been a long time since I posted about paganism. So I figure I’d remedy this by talking about a deity or archetype who is surprisingly relevent to me. The Horned God.
I consider the Horned God as more an archetype than an actual entity. While the Horned God usually refers to a specific god in Neopaganism and Wicca, the image of a horned god recurs throughout history. Since ancient times, horns were a symbol of power, strength and virility/fertility, and to an extent they still are today. Gods with horns are thus associated with fertility and seen as strong, virile gods. In Neopaganism, the Horned God is a symbol of not just male power and virility, but nature, wilderness, the hunt, and the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
The concept of a horned god is very old, one might say it goes as far back as human history, down to the first depiction of a god of the hunt or fertility. It is embodied by many gods in the pre-Christian world. In Greece, there was the god Pan, who was depicted with horns, and was associated with lust and the wilderness. In Egypt, there was the gods Khnum and Banebdjedet, who were ram-headed gods, and some depictions of Set shown him as having horns and a large erect phallus. This makes sense considering Set was seen as a strong and virile god. In Canaan, the god Hadad, also known as Ba’al Hadad (commonly mistaken as just Ba’al), had horns and was associated with fertility, storms, and the rain, thus a giver of life for the crops. In the Indus Valley, there was a lord of the animals called Pashupati (in Hinduism, this is an epithet for the god Shiva, and in Vedic times was an epithet for Rudra), who some speculate was an early form of Rudra, lord of the hunt, who would then become Shiva, who was a wild god. The Celts may have recognized a god called Cernunnos who was associated with nature and fertility.
The concept of a horned deity would be expressed in Christianity as well, but as tool to scare people away from the sexual freedom he stood for, and to trick people into following the dogma of the Christian church, who believed that sex was bad unless it was for procreation. Yes, I am actually saying that Satan is just another expression of the Horned God, only stripped of his divinity, and this expression was aimed at vilifying paganism and its values. I am even lead to think Christianity is against power and strength, considering one of the chief attributes of the devil is his horns, and remember, before we saw horns as the appendage of evil, we saw them as the appendage of power. Funny enough, one of the names of Satan is Beelzebub (Lord of the Flies), who was derived from Ba’al Zebul, and we tend to think of Ba’al as a horned sky god. The diabolical horned god image would spill into occultism and the Tarot, where the image of the devil card, and the Egyptian god Banebdjedet, would later influence the design of a demonic horned entity called Baphomet, who would later become associated with Satanism. In the 20th century, the Horned God would be expressed again in gentler Neopaganism and Wicca, and once again considered divine rather than evil.
So, why is the horned god important to me? Well, I’ve gained an interest in horns lately, preferrebly devil or pagan god horns that resembled those of a goat or bull, possibly coming from playing the Chaos in Shin Megami Tensei games. But as for proper meaning, let’s go back to what I said about horns earlier. They were an archetypal symbol of power, strength, and virility. This is very compatible with my philosophy of sexual liberty and the ideal that freedom comes from liberating oneself by one’s own power. Thus horns also fit in my artistic imagery, to symbolize power and strength (I usually paint or draw the horns red to add power symbolism). He is also seems like a god that is so typically pagan, or quite pagan in quality, in the sense that it is quite an animalistic god and a god symbolic of sexual liberty, not repression. Added to that, there’s a kind of masculine importance, being aware of my masculinity, and what I want out of it, or rather what I want to do with it. The horned god archetype, and its Christian expression as Satan, are thus important to me and what I stand for.
Thanks for reading, it’s nice for me to talk about anything pagan again.
It’s no use kidding myself, I think I might be misusing the term “pagan” every now and then. Paganism in general is an umbrella term for indigenous, polytheistic, and often animistic or shamanistic religions, often emphasizing a living mythology and very associated with nature and nature rituals. Not to mention that the word “pagan” was a originally a Roman word used against foreigners, who they believed to be uncivilized and unsocialized, and would later be a Christian term for anyone who didn’t believe their religion and worship their god, much like the common term “heathen”, both insults designed to belittle or demean the target group of people.
Maybe it’s romanticism at work, despite the fact that I swear I actually prefer gods of Asian religions more, like Hinduism and Buddhism. Maybe there’e something about the pagan world I was convinced to like (it is at least partly true). Be that as it may, that doesn’t stop the fact that pagan polytheistic gods are still much better than the Abrahamic monotheistic gods, even with my usual lack of preference towards Western polytheistic gods compared to Hindu/Buddhist/Shinto gods.
Why? Because (1) they’re not so uptight, and even if they were it’s not nearly enough compared to the Biblical god, (2) they are flawed but they don’t make any bones about their flaws, whereas the Abrahamic god believes his is omnibenevolent and utterly perfect and wants everyone to think that way, in spite of his many obvious flaws, that I’m sure he’ll deny, (3) they probably don’t send people to a realm of everlasting torture for not worshipping them (as far as I know), (4), they do a better job of being anthropic and human gods than the Abrahamic or any monotheistic god, which is basically just another of such gods pretending to be an absolute one, and (5) no matter what you believe about the existence of such gods, they surely make more sense than the Abrahamic god.
Christmas, or Yuletide as it’s also called, seems to be connected to Christianity by name and popular association only. The rest of it is thoroughly pagan, without any references to the Bible. Let’s look at the following points.
Before I start let’s clear things up. I’m not some Christian fanatic out to de-paganize Christmas, and I’m certainly not out to cancel Christmas. I actually like Christmas as a pagan holiday and a modern one. Some would say they’re one the same, but I like it a little more pagan. I’m not technically a pagan, I’m just a fan.
Anyway, first of all is Jesus’ birthday and the Christmas feast.
Most people believe that Jesus was born on December 25th, but that’s nowhere in the Bible. It started when the Christian church wanted to pinpoint a date for their saviour’s birth so that they can celebrate it as a holiday. They figured December 25th was a good date considering, in Ancient Rome, Saturnalia was celebrated on that day, it was a time when the ancient Romans were celebrating in merriment, festivity, and feasting, for Saturn, the god of agriculture, so the church was able to Christianize Saturnalia so that they’d be celebrating the birth of Jesus, and not celebrating a pagan god. There was also a Roman god called Mithras (adapted from an Iranian sun god), whose birthday is believed to be the same date.
Second, Santa Claus.
This dude is the reason children get excited for Christmas, besides presents. But we’re not here talk about whether he’s real or not (though I think it’s actually the parents). We’re here for his origin story. As you may expect, there is no reference to him, or anyone like him, in the Bible. The modern Santa is pretty much a commercial icon birthed from various late 18th-19th century sources. Then there’s the Catholic saint Nicholas of Myra, famous for his generous gifts to the poor. But there is a pagan Santa. In Germanic paganism, we have Odin.
So how does this guy relate to Santa Claus? Well in Germanic tradition, Odin was said to lead a great hunting party through the sky during Yule, probably to prepare their Yuletide feast. There’s also a tradition where children fill boots with carrots, straw, or sugar, and place them on the chimney for Odin’s eight-legged horse, Sleipnir, to feast on, and then Odin would reward their kindness with filling the emptied boots with gifts and/or candy.
Third, the Christmas tree. I’ve already got a snowy Yule tree up there, so no image here. Christmas trees never appeared in the Bible, but before the before the Bible, various cultures used evergreen trees and plants on the winter solstice, including Egypt (which apparently used evergreen to celebrate to the triumph of life over death), Rome in the form of Saturnalia, Britain with the Yule log, and among the Germanic peoples. The Christmas tree entered our culture when Saint Boniface saw a group of pagans worshipping an oak tree, or Thor’s oak. Angry at them for doing it, he ordered that the oak be cut down, and immediately a small tree sprouted from the middle of the oak stump. The saint then claimed it as their holy tree and a symbol of everlasting life. There was also, historically, a tree called Irminsul, it was venerated by Saxon tribes in Germany until Charlemagne ordered that it be destroyed as part of his campaign to subdue the Vikings and convert them to Christianity by the sword. As for the decorations, it may have been a later tradition.
No Biblical references for the mistletoe, nor for kissing under it. Like many Christmas traditions, this one has Germanic roots. There’s a Scandinvian legend about the god Baldr, a god of light and love whose one weakness was, believe it or not, mistletoe. Loki, the trickster, knowing this, killed him with a spear (though some say an arrow) tipped with mistletoe, and he died, resulting in Loki being bound to a rock under a venomous snake until the end of time. Many gods were saddened by Baldr’s death and wanted him to come back, and eventually, his mother, Frigg, restored his life and hung up a mistletoe, promising to kiss anyone who passed under it. Many traditions consider it a symbol of protection from poisons and malicious spirits. Even more amazing, ancient druid preists in Britain would use mistletoe and evergreen plants in ceremonies, and mistletoe was the symbol for the birth of a god. That is awesome.
Before I conclude, it should be noted that not all Christmas traditions and staples are pagan in origin, and some have more modern or relatively recent origins.
The pagan Christmas seems to be the cultural tradition of celebrating the winter solstice, and the return of light (the sun) after the longest night of the year, and people have celebrated it in different ways. But as I said, none of that is in the Bible, and it’s, ultimately, not Christian. But that doesn’t mean we should cancel Christmas. In fact, I think the real Christmas is more special and meaningful than a Christian Christmas. And it’s not changed at all in the modern world, except that it’s more commercialized and often centered around commercial icons.
I would like to discuss the wonderful connection between the pagan world and the modern world, which the Abrahamic way has ultimately failed to suppress. I suspect the pagan world has always remained in all of the world, all of the magic and essence, and many religious and spiritual elements remain. More importantly, pagan Man is still a part of modern Man. Why do we cheat our monotheistic commitment often? Because deep down, we’re still not Abrahamic. Can you imagine if Man was Abrahamic in nature? I can’t imagine a creature like that.
Think, the respect for and celebration of sexuality is still somewhere to be found in mankind. Our celebrations, such as Christmas and Easter, among others, celebrate fertility, magic (not to be confused with magick), and life, and the motion of the reality represented by the seasonal cycles and that of life, death, and rebirth. I also suspect that pagan men also valued strength, and proving their strength, and this has been throughout the ages to this very day. The things that make us human are also very pagan. Imagine what it would be if you took that all away? You would have a dehumanized human race.