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To: alt.religion.all-worlds,alt.satanism,alt.pagan,alt.religion.wicca,
From: (Brenda Mobley)
Subject: Paganisms old and new (Was: Re: SATANIC Hypocrisy)
Date: 4 Dec 1996 02:15:32 GMT

Because this thread is so cross-posted, please note that unless 
your response includes alt.satanism, if you want me to see a copy of your 
response, please send me an email copy.  Thanks.  Now to get on with it:

Kerry Delf ( wrote:
: On 26 Nov 1996 wrote:
: > "Mr. Scratch"  writes:
: > > I want you to think about a couple of things here;  first off, the
: > > reason CAW claims it refuses to recognize Satanists as Pagan is
: > > because Satan is "part of the Christian mythology".  At the same time,
: > > however, they appear to be willing to permit Christians entry into the
: > > CAW -- just not Satanists!

It's stuff like this that is making me increasingly uncomfortable with a 
lot of neo-paganism.  I will discuss, first, my impression of the 
relationship between neo-paganism and paleo-paganism (indigenous 
traditions), and second, my personal views on the relationship between 
both paganisms and Satanism.

On the one hand, I value pagan resources in my community as a sincere and 
valuable source of community and ritual with persons I know to be at a 
highly evolved spiritual/ethical level.  But these are people I know.  

On the other hand, it has become 
increasingly clear to me that there's an unconscious racist element in 
a lot of neo-pagan literature, in the way that two very different 
thealogical elements are being treated as if they were the same.  One of 
these elements I will call, for short, Revivalist, and it includes most 
of the people doing European-derived pagan religion.  The other I will 
call, for want of a better word, Surviving.  Under Surviving I will 
include not only non-white indigenous but also surviving European traditions 
which are now in a more-or-less syncretic form with Christian culture, 
such as those from Iceland, Finland or Lithuania.  In the case of the 
Icelanders, modern nationalistic identification with the tradition has 
made it a part of the culture of the land, so that it is not merely 
literature.  The same could be same of African-American Kwanzaa.
Even the Greek material gets a very different treatment if the person 
writing about it is actually a Greek, rather than a "classically" educated 
Englishman.  The intersection of old writings and architecture with 
ongoing folklore and custom make for a more substantial product.

This isn't to say that the Revivalist thread is trivial; but it is almost 
entirely the product of English and French speaking literary 
exploration.  The Christianization of the elite in the West is total.  
The white identity of this elite is entirely tied up with their Christian 
religion.  (It's not just rednecks in swamps who think this way; their 
well-heeled cousins are just more subtle about it.)  Somebody practicing 
a Slavic paganism could be as blonde as the day is bright, and their 
"whiteness" would still be suspect in the form of the kind of foreign 
alienness Americans used to project onto Evil Russians.  They were... 
somehow... too Oriental!

So while I read the recent "Green Egg" on the subject of "African 
Diaspora" religion, I felt more and more uncomfortable.  I couldn't 
exactly pin down why.  After all, if I borrow African elements in ritual 
or thealogy I'm doing the same thing as the white writers of the 
articles, aren't I?  But it sticks in my mind that while I'm 
intellectually borrowing, the people carrying the traditions are still 
living in a society that will tell you that by worshipping Oluddumare, 
you are worshipping the Devil (a Black Devil, at that!)

Syncretism is a loss.  It is always a loss, for it signals, in a way 
nothing else can, that autonomous nations have become submerged into 
another society and lost their independence.  When that society is 
Christianity, educated whites had better beware not to be glib 
dilettantes, because the price they are STILL paying is the ongoing 
destruction of what little is left of their own European paganisms!

While we play with made-up rituals based on the fantasies of English 
Romantics, the last traces of the folklore of the British Isles are 
disappearing, never to return, unless someone takes the trouble to 
practice an approach rigorous enough to separate out the facts from our 
projections onto them.  Fortunately, there are historians and folklorists 
willing to do that.  But these historians are academics, and so 
practically by definition, they are Christians, and they are often 
missing the point; and the old folks who tell the stories are not 
Christians in the same way, or for the same reasons.  To Hell with 
interpretation, practice decent anthropology!  But at least the academics 
are trying.

I don't think most neo-pagan writers are trying, really, to recover the 
past, and that's ok; but lying about it amounts to soul murder of what 
little was not erased by Christian education, Christian inquisitors, and 
that all-important Christian cash.

When this set of observations fully evolved in me, I started calling 
myself Asatruar, because it was the most intact version of pagan 
literature/organization that I could get my hands on, that most 
closely matched what I had received on a folk level from 
post-Anglo-Norman culture as it is exists in northern New Hampshire.
Which is where I grew up.

If I value my own folk heritage and those of my friends of assorted 
backgrounds, I will be careful 
NEVER to judge by privileging the Christian measures of religion, since 
that is the process by which so much has been lost.

: > The early pagan groups in the first 3 centuries of the common era, also
: > accepted Christianity, and even Christ into their pantheon.  Just
: > another god to worship, among many.  
: The objection is not that the CAW accepts Christians and/or Christo-Pagans
: into their organizations, and supports Christianity in such ways as using
: a quote about Satanism by an obviously underinformed Christian minister in
: their hate-rag _WSaOC:WWaWW_;  the objection is that the CAW supports
: and/or accepts Christianity, but then refuses to support or accept
: Satanism, on the false basis that it is based on Christianity.  Seems a
: bit hypocritical, doesn't it, Dave?

I haven't seen the publication you're quoting, but I have seen a lot of 
hostility in the form of "we are NOT Satanists, we are nice pagans" and I 
think this is caving in to Christian monomaniacal prejudices in the worst 
way.  If reverencing a God of Darkness makes you a Devil-worshipper, so 
what?  If people were sincere about the gods their ancestors were 
actually worshipping they'd notice a lot of gods devoted to war and power 
among their other attributes.  It's amazing to me how often eco-political 
pagans ignore the fact many of the Goddesses are war deities.  Being a 
competent commander was considered just one of the attributes of a 
well-rounded leader, to whom the Goddess was then muse and inspiration.  
We are talking about FOLK religion, after all!  If a warlike Goddess 
inspired cults of Amazons, so much the better; but none of this is modern 
eco-pacifist goo.

Anyway, this takes me to Satanism.  When it is totally and entirely a result 
of Western thought - and admits it - that's VERY refreshing.  When it's 
pagan, well, that's honest too.  I'm 
aware, at least, that Satan has been taken in many places as a political 
symbol of opposition to Roman Catholic power; this includes France, of 
course, and so Satan has always been active in my mind as (among other 
things) a symbol of democracy and liberal freedoms.  There were versions 
of a ceremony calling itself a "black mass" in France that were 
enactments, not of debased sexual excess, but of the desire for the 
ordinary people for freedom.  At the end of the mass, a flock of birds 
was released into the night.  In this, very folkloric and Revivalist 
sense, I am myself a Satanist.

P.S. I would be delighted to correspond with others interested in 
Satanism or concerned with current directions being taken in paganism.


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