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Traditional Practicers?

To: alt.traditional.witchcraft,alt.magick.tyagi
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Traditional Practicers?
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 18:48:23 GMT

Aetyr wrote:
> Hi Cat
> "catherine yronwode"  wrote 

> > African: foot track magic and rites of the crossroads god (the
> >      black man, called "the devil" by some in the USA, but not the
> >      same as Christian Satan; sometimes said to have dog's feet)
> > Germano-British: the devil (not Christian Satan) as both woods 
> >      god and a crossroads god, but no foot track magic per se,
> >      except note the unspoken but obviously important goat-foot
> >      or claw-foot of Krampus, Old Nick, Old Split-Foot, etc.,
> >      pointing to a perhaps "lost" foot-track magic tradition.
> > Latin American: underworld god appears in caves and at
> >      crossroads, with a modern overlay of Euroean "devil" 
> >      imagery; no foot-track magic per se, but parallel 
> >      wind/breath magic from Native American sources
> > Native American: underworld god, wind/breath magic

> All of these examples are of european origin, with the exception
> of the NA one,

 No. The African examle is neither Euroean nor Native American. 

>  which is just an archetypal image of a dying vegitation god.  

I do not agree with this. Africa people and Native Americans living near
the tropics do not map the concepts of death or a crossroads upon the
concept of a dying vegetation god, as the neraer one is to the equator,
the less seasonal change there is. 

> The Latin one is obviously european, since it isn't NA, 

I disageree. The Latin American version contains a great deal of Native
American material embedded within it, including the use of wind / breath
instead of footprint / foot track.

> and the AA one is also obviously european/christian.

No way. Note that i wrote AFRICAN, not "African-American." To claim that
African culture is "European / Christian" in origin is a serious

> In fact, with the exception of the NA one....they are in fact all
> derived from christianity and ideas of the devil, with some
> borrowing of Pan of the crossroads...also a european christian
> borrowing.  No surprize there that these match.

No. African crossroads gods like Nbumba Nzila are NOT "derived from
christianity and ideas of the devil." 

A very good case may be made that Egypptian / Greek / Roman  /Indian
(Hindu, not NA "Indian") crossroads gods all derive from an AFRICAN

> > Italian/Jewish/Arab/Greek/Turkish/etc: evil eye belief,
> >      apotroaic blue eye, eye-in-hand, horseshoe faces downward as 
> >      the vulva of the goddess pouring out blessings and offering 
> >      protection
> > Germano-British/Irish: evil eye belief modified with horseshoe
> >       upward as vulva "filled" by sky-god, less use of apotropaic 
> >      blue eye as blue eyes are common in this population
> > Asian/Native American/African: no evil eye belief at all
> Again, no surprize here.  The first two are Indo European, coming
> in from the steppes.  Actually there is an older strata to those
> two which don't combine the horseshoe and the eye.  The eye is
> actually neolithic.  The horse worship comes much later with the
> sky gods.  The caucasiod and semetic eye belifes come from common
> neolithic background.  The sky/ horse was not only overlaid on
> that, but there is an interesting corrolation with the horns of
> the bull/horseshoe...the vulva/horns of the bull...translated to
> vulva/ horseshoe.  The key is in the shape of the uterus  ( and
> fallopian tubes), the horns of the bull, and the uplifted arms of
> the priestess.  THAT is the connection between
> hoofprints/footprints and magical useage.  That is why Juno was
> coweyed.  Horns of the bull is actually paleolithic to judge from
> the caverns in France and Spain.  The new find in spain...can't
> remember the name of the cavern, actually shows what
> paleohistorians believe is the Pleides between the horns of an
> Auroch.  There's a juicy coincedence, which may or may not have
> true connection.  The Pleides rise in the sign of Taurus.

All of this i agree with. 

> Of course AA and NA lack these models.  They don't share the same
> cosmology.

That is correct. This indicates that the evil eye concept arose after
the sread of people outward from central Africa. 

Alan Dundes of UC-Berkeley makes a very good case that the evil eye
belief originated in the North African / Middle Eastern deserts as a
reflection of the concept of "drying" or "withering" of the moisture
that was equated with life. See his famous essay "Wet and Dry: The Evil
Eye" for details. A short gloss on Dundes theory, which has been widely
accepted by folklorists, can be found at my introductory age on the evil
eye at

> > Jewish: prayer/spell inscribed in clay bowl in a spiral, clay
> >       fired, bowl buried at corner(s) of building(s).
> > Germano-British: prayer/spell in glass bottle, blue glass
> >      favoured, bottle buried under house, hidden in chimney, or 
> >      hung from tree
> > African/Sicilian: prayer/spell in a red bag (mojo, wanga,
> >     etc.), bag  always tied to fix it, odd number of ingreedients, 
> >      in USA bottle spells also adopted for houses, but mojo 
> >      usually kept on person.
> > Asian: silk brocade/embroidered prayer/spell bags and
> >      package-amulets, usually one or three items per bag.
> > Native American: leather rayer/spell bag, unspecified number of
> >      items, always tied to fix it
> > Latin American: similar to Native American, plus small
> >      pillow-like rectangular or square sewn (not tied) package 
> >      amulets which contain several items including a red bean seed 
> >      (with DMT- psychedelic properties, but not ingested), package 
> >      often red since the days of influence from African slaves or 
> >      in a clear plastic wrap as a form of modern glass-bottle-
> >      spell.

> bottle, bowl, etc etc...these are containers.  This is far too
> basic to represent a blending of cosmology anymore than drinking
> out of a glass does.  Its what is in these containers and why
> they were chosen that is important.

There is more to it than a container, though -- the written inserts and
inscriptions, the odd-numbered ingredients, the colour red, the wraping
or tying, the burial at house corners ... again, the cluster of forms
points back to a common African origin, since it is found everywhere in
human cultures. 

> But I see what you are have taken multi cultural and
> multi religious practices and applied them to your personal
> consciouness.

I do not agree with that summation of what i have done. 

> Some of them touch on the archetypal.

I am firmly and implacably OPPOSED to the Jungian concept of

This is a topic for another thread, but, basically, i believe that
"Jungian archetypes" originated as a pleasantly syrup designed to render
more palatable a bitter, race-based caste system that promotes cultural
superiority for some humans and disenfranchisement or death for others. 

> > See what i mean? The central ideas "map" well upon one another,
> > like different dialects of the same world-language.
> That's Jungs idea of the collective unconscious.

Not on my life, it's not. 

Jung's "collective unnconscious" is ANATHEMA to me. He lied when he
invented it and he lied to protect it all the rest of his life. 

I have opposed Jung's "collective unnconscious" so long, in so many
usenet posts, that i am reluctant to wade into the topic again here --
but a google groups search on my name and that key phrase should give
you an idea of my strong disbelief in and opposition to both Jung and
his "archetype" and "collective unconscious" theories. 

> > The key points of the old
> > religion are there as well, very easy to see.

> When most neo pagans refer to the old religion, they are making a
> glancing reference to M. Gimbutas' work on the belifes of the
> neolithic through out Europe and the mediterranian.

I agree. I take the term more widely to mean all indigenous, so-called
"animist" or "nature" religions that are pre-Jewish, pre-Christian,
pre-Hindu and pre-Islamic. 
> Interestingly enough, even catholic theologians attribute the
> cult of Mary to this pervasive religious attitude in europe.  

Yes indeed. Have you read "The Goddess Obscured"? -- If not, i recommend
it highly. It is an examination of just one facet of the Mary faith in
Europe, namely the "grain myth" and its relationship to the wagon-borne
grain goddess. 

> As long as you deal with what is basically a european model at its
> base, 

I do not. By overlooking my specific mentions of African, Native
American, and Asian traditions, and then by imposing upon me the burden
of Jung's anti-Semitic "collective unconscious" with its
"Aryan"-centered origin-myth, you have failed to see that i am sincerely
looking at the entire WORLD'S set of cultural and religious beliefs. 

I truly DON'T think that the similarities between "old religions" derive
from a paranormal Jungian model. I think they are easily accounted for
in terms of the physical origin of human-kind in Africa and the
retention -- despite great travels, great lapses of time, and the
overlay of regional touches based on new environmental cues -- of many
facets of the proto-human spiritual experience. 

> these elements will be present, just as they continue to be
> present in modern religion.

To the extent that people's lifestyles retain proto-human and
early-human links to the natural world, that is true. To the extent that
people live and develop new myths in an entirely artificial environment,
that is not true. 

> > I could go on and on and on, but you get my drift, i think.
> Yeah. You work only with things that touch your archetypes.

Again, Jungian "archetypes" play no part in my perosnal spiritual path
and the very idea of them feels dirty and squirmy to me.  

> Thanks for the view.

You're welcome. I only wish you had actually seen my view more clearly
for what it is, rather than trying to cram it into a box that is the
wrong size, shape, and colour for it.

> Regards
> Pip

cat yronwode 

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