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Syncretism and Cultural Respect BL....)

To: talk.religion.newage,talk.religion.misc,alt.pagan,alt.magick,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.divination,alt.occult,alt.pagan.magick
From: (hara)
Subject: Re: Syncretism and Cultural Respect (was Re: Q(uib)BL(ing)....)
Date: 4 Jan 1999 12:59:23 -0800

49990104 IIIom

shalom alechem, my kin.

hara (
#> what is the most responsible and respectful way to syncretize
#> from world mystical systems and cultures?  

catherine yronwode (
# I think that the most responsible way is to retain all references to
# original writers and to make very clear all cultural-ethnic ascriptions.

that makes alot of sense to me. it would also be valuable to discern
to what ends one was putting the material, as well as within what
context and to explain how that might be different from that of the
original.  of course we're talking about scholarly desires -- the
practical folks don't always bother to credit or even skeptically
analyze the source of what they find useful.  

#> how can it done while
#> still playing with the ideologies, value-systems, religious
#> beliefs and internal psychospiritual models and still retain an
#> attitude of honor for that from which we might draw?  

# ...Can one "play" with another's culture or religion while 
# showing it "honour"? 

I think one can employ intellectual perspectives and magical
and mystical tools to one's own ends without dishonoring them or
the culture from which they come, yes.  some of it would be 
providing credit where credit is due, some of it would be the 
respectful treatment of the psychotechnologies (e.g. methods of 
meditation) so engaged and communicated.  admiring the source 
rather than deprecating or omitting it would be a start, coming 
to some understanding during the course of experimentation what 
goals and personal qualities of the mystical discipline there 
may be (study of the context of the source would be valuable here)
would also be important.

#> what names
#> shall we provide to that which we create which simultaneously
#> calls attention to the fact that what we've made is a novelty
#> and that we have drawn on the important work of others whose
#> traditions gave specific identifiers?

# Appending the term "neo" -- as in "neo-tantra" -- is useful to avoid
# confusion between a indigenous system and a syncretic one.

it is unfortunate that this linguistic identifier has been used,
in many modern writings, as a means of dismissal, though this is
certainly not the case across the annals of history.  how often
has the novel cultural usage been so identified?  what I'm asking
here is something like whether Neoplatonists described themselves
as such as they arose.  and what about the Neopythagoreans?  I do
notice that very many Neopagans identify as 'Pagans', though they
have an abiding desire to appear ancient (perhaps we all do).

I think that Scholem did a service to us in his usage of prepended
characterization ("Christian Kabbalah") and I will continue to use
his method and my spelling variations, as well as specifying my 
"universalist QBL" hypotheses when describing Christian cabala and 
Hermetic qabalah until I come to discover that that to which these 
refer do not deserve the names.  I would of course agree that 
changing NOTHING in the label is charlatanry and deceptive.

# "Neo-kaballism" sounds good to me to describe the Golden Dawn style
# kaballism of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

a very worthy suggestion.  inasmuch as it may not even be a kind of
qabalism, I think there is an argument to be made that even this is
too complimentary (since it may not approach a Christian cabala and
may really serve as a kind of magical filing system of association).

my intent is to continually contrast these against one another as I
learn about each, asking those who promote them to assist me in this
and to see whether even Scholem's usage is overly-complimentary (as 
you have suggested offline) -- something which is quite possible.

peace be with you,

-- (emailed replies may be posted); cc me replies;;

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