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CHLow: Dark/Light Neopaganism

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.pagan,talk.religion.misc,alt.religion.christian,alt.satanism
From: Clifford Low 
Subject: Re: CHLow: Dark/Light Neopaganism (Was Re: Dark roygbiv Light)
Date: 29 Dec 1995 15:35:24 GMT

In article  Felis Uncia,
>: Satanism makes a better effort at negating the Christian perspective in
>: the individual. 
>Is negation necessarily prefferable to modification?

That depends on your feelings about the Christian concept. Many folk have
noted the fact that despite renunciation of Christianity, people
unwittingly revert to Xian behavior/thought, especially if they rejected
Xianity for ethical reasons (and these people got their ethics from Xian
traditions in the first place). 

One common explanation is that Xianity is like a disease, and it needs
serious means of elimination as it comes back like a fungus. The other
explanation is psychological, and a realization that paradigms one was
raised with are buried deeply under years of habit, culturation, internal
symbolic language, and familiarity. Rebirthing initiatatory experiences
should take care of this, but the fact that it isn't happening in Wicca
suggests that either something is wrong with Wicca, or we have
overestimated the value of initiatory experience in this regard. 

My opinion is somewhere between the disease and psych explanations at the
moment, but it may change.

>: In far too many cases, Neopagans are reinventing Christianity, by 
>: giving it more lattitude and gelding Jesus and the Saints, turning them 
>: into dead gods which cannot harm and, well, in my opinion, do anything 
>: else very well either. 
>Dead Gods?  No, I think not.  'Gentled'?  (i.e., 'gelded') Without 

Gelded- castrated.

>question.  The Neopagan community (with exceptions,) has decided it prefers 
>its Gods tame, adorable, and non-threatening.  Frequently they are remade 
>into lovable, cartoon-like characters.  The Neopagans have, in fact, 
>pretty much set themselves above their Gods, and choose to dictate what 
>these Gods may or may not do, and set standards of proper interaction for 
>them, (i.e., create kinder, gentler, safer deities,) while superficially 
>claiming to stand in awe of them and serve them unquestioningly.  The 

Again, the gods become "all that which I think is really cool", and now
can become excuses for just about any behavior. 

There is advantage to using spirits as tools, but as I was discussing
with some folk last night, there is a Aims spirituality and Means
spirituality. Means spirituality advises you/ defines your daily methods
of behavior. Aims spirituality, deals with general lifetime goals and
acceptable life-purposes. There are arguments for and against either- but
if your religion doesn't have any substantial Aims spirituality and you
have trouble generating your own, you may end up in a bind. 

For example- Christianity has fairly well defined concepts on what my
purpose is. I am to serve Jesus as outlined in the Bible. If I am looking
for "meaning of life", I may find some sort of satisfaction in Xianity.
However, Wicca defines servitude to the Goddess. Aside from devotional
rituals (which don't seem to have critical purposes, like soul saving
does in Xian trad) it's a fuzzy be "nice" and ecologically-conscious,
somewhat. It does not give the devotee direction. Giving a person
direction can be a _very_ bad thing, but in some cases it's necessary-
especially if they rebel from it later on. It's absence can make a
religion seem vacuous or ephemeral.

>: Thus, it can be argued that Neopaganism is simply a watered-down version
>: of Satanism. I think there is a lot of truth to that statement.
>Hm.  Pretzels.  Given the drift of both religions toward structure and 
>dogmatization, along with using a comparison to Christianity as the 
>measurement for many of their core beliefs, it could be argued that both are 
>attempts at revised Christianity (i.e. 'watered-down' versions) as well.  
>I'm not certain either statement is necessarily correct.  I would, 
>however, agree that they seem to share many of the same goals, and that 
>Satanism is, at least superficially, the more extreme of the two.

I would argue that it's more successful, but it's only one step closer
toward what needs to be done. 

>Where _does_ baphomet fall into this, anyhow?  Simply curious....

Mr. B. got associated with Satan during the Templar vs Catholic thang.
Levi envisioned him as goatlike and naughty lookin', and when LaVey
whipped up the brew of imagery that CoS became, he included Mr. B. There
are explanations for him, but really he's there because Xians consider
him a traditional representation of Mr. Ultra Naughty.

>: See Karl's statement. Also, Satan is in religions other than
>: Christianity- Judaism, Islam and the Yoruban-syncretic religions as Exu.
>: The dualism is much harder to argue there, or at least much different.
>I'd be interested in reading more on this.  Might you care to expound?

I've done so before... um. OK, Satan in old Judaism was (and to many
still remains) a representative of the harsh side of God, being the
prosecutor of souls in the Court of Heaven. He also tests mankind with
misfortune to reveal their character a la Job. He's God's hit man, & was
associated with Death (often identified as Death). Later visions include
Satan as a vague boogeyman, but this is probably from cultural

As for Exu in the Yoruban-syncretic trads, he's variably the ruler of all
things carnal (pain, death, blood, lust) and/or the messenger trickster
figure. In some, he is a whole class of mischievous errand spirits. In
others he is a chthonic/charonic lord of anscestry, specifically
associated with Africa. Neither old Satan nor Exu are at war with God, or
do anything other than service. As for Islam- I'm no expert in that
arena, but I do know their Satan isn't quite like the other visions

>: ># ...the Dark cannot, from  a pagan expression, be stanistic.  
>: >
>: >That would depend entirely what you mean by 'satanistic'.  Given your
>: >previously ideas on this, I agree with you, yet I think you'd better 
>: >open your eyes.
>: For Satanists, Mr. Scary Bad Guy (Satan) is the Darkness given form. He
>: is not necessarily malign. Christianity thinks the darkness is malign.
>Rather similar to the Neopagan view of the Horned God as lord of death, 
>'wild things' (e.g., one's "animal" nature,) and the unknown (abyss?).  
>(ObAP - Yes, I _know_ these opinions are not universal.  They _are_ 
>fairly common, nontheless.)  

I like these interpretations. I identify with them, whereas the modern
Xian muncher of souls strikes me as silly and/or disgusting.

>: They also think the world was created in seven days and that the sun
>: rotates around the earth. Silly lemmings.
>Oh, indeed.  Our Neopagan worldview is _much_ more sensible.  *giggle!*

The myths can be treated as outright allegories without causing much
consternation. Xianity in a pure state believes the bibble is the word of
God, and so it's gotta be True- truer than any other truth. Pure, perfect
truth. "Abandon common sense, ye that enter here", inscribed over Church

>: >Well, this is the common notion and I think it is a leftover from your
>: >(admitted) Christian upbringing.  It results in stupidity like 
>: >'black/harmful' and 'white/beneficent' magick.  When paired with 
>: >morality and ethics, this is harmful to us all.
>: I am working on a system which focuses on white, black, red, blue,
>: yellow, green, orange, and purple energies/spiritualities/magics as
>: equals. It seems to encompass the diversity of coherent spiritualities
>: out there better than black and white. It's a system to simplify the
>: reality, which is that the coherent spiritual varieties are vast in
>: number, if not innumerable.
>When might we expect to hear more on this?  I'm fascinated.

It's one of my four critical occult projects. I'd say it's likely to
become a book once I get the time to hammer out some details on Orange
and Purple. Recently I've noted a lot more depth to Red than previously
undestood, and it's making me wonder if I should wait to see if new
levels of understanding are ready to pop out before I start the actual
book phase. Right now it's about 3-4 pages of cramped notes on each
spirituality- and they don't correspond very well with familiar color
magick correspondences. IMHO they work better. Some forms (Yellow,
Orange, and Purple) don't correspond to anything people have seen yet.
Magick should be growing...

>: >Here is your fundamental and leftover bias as I see it:
>: >
>: >
>: >I think you may wish to get over it.
>: What about gods of war, like Tyr and Athena? Guess they're evil. 
>Er no.  They're Gods, which makes it all justified.  You see, they're 
>_reallly_ just clearing away that which has to be cleared to provide for 
>new growth, so you see, it's all _really_ positive, and not harmful at 
>all, except to those that are mamed and die horribly, but that's probably 
>due more to bad Karma on their part than anything else, so they probably 
>deserve it, but it's all about growth and rebirth, really, and has 
>nothing at all to do with evil or darkness.  That's just nonsense for 
>Christians and simpletons....  *Retch.*

I like gods who are even meaner and more spiteful than me. Hail

>: I am pro scary destruction. 
>Destruction _is_ scary, especially when it's coming at _you_.

Of course. It is a pivotal life experience, perhaps the most pivotal, and
thus worthy of reverence. The fear of death as much as death itself
defines our lives. Books which have no ending tend to disappoint.
Purposeless. Death is definition, and fear of death is the fear of
permenance. Once one's story is done, it is unchanging. Finito. On the
other hand, it can be seen as Transience and purposelessness- so there is
a dialogue between two Deaths. Or two faces.

In my perception/symbolic palatte, there is a male Death and a female
Death. The female is cold and fickle, bears grudges, and has favorites.
The male is mechanical and bureaucratic. I suppose they correspond to
Persephone and Hades in a half-arsed way. But there is an exchange of two
perceptions of Death; two energies as I see it. Both are critical and
worthy of reverence. 


+----------Clifford Hartleigh Low------------+--------------------+
| Email:           | |
| Finger/Talk:  | TAINTED BUT HUNGRY |

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