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Tao Star
Tao Star

Pooh-Bah
Location: Bristol
Member Since: 30th May 2003
Total posts: 1662
Posted:ok, thi has been censored-ing me off a bit recently and i thought i'd rant about it here cos i know there's a few of us around.

i went to ireland recently and it was absolutely fabulous - me and my mummy did a pilgrimage to Newgrange (which, for those of you who don't know, is a passage tomb fromthe iron age, it had a winter solstace alignment and is generally very energetic!)

we discovered when we got there the you have to go in with a tour guide, which i gues i could have put up with if it wasn't for the fact that this guy was really obviously embarassed that he had to talk about paganism - he kept making little jokes and stuff, and i felt really insulted.

why is it that with any other spiritual organisation there are rules (like the ones about inciting religious hatred) which protect the people in it from being victimised, but it apparently is ok so say that pagans make human sacrafices, worship the devil, are extinct etc etc.

i'm sick of being treated like someone who is either evil orjust a bit silly - i have a valid religion which is important to me, and i don't like being made fun of.

it's like that thing they have in scotland where every year they get all the 'druids' (incidentally, my mum is a practicing druid) dressed up in long white robes and perform some archaic ceremony for the tourists. when the actual modern druids tried to point out thay they actually exist, and that these people are just alienating them from the rest of society (let alone completely making up a random service which is complete and utter censored)they didn't want to hear. if they had been reinventing hinduism or islam there would have been an enormous outcry by now, yet they sem to think it's ok. WHY??????


angry angry angel2 angry angry


I had a dream that my friend had a
strong-bad pop up book,
it was the book of my dreams.

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bluecat
bluecat

geek, level 1
Location: everywhere
Member Since: 15th Dec 2002
Total posts: 5300
Posted:hmm.

not impressed. by the guide and rules imposed upon you.

but am intrigued as to this thing in scotland you are talking about. espescially as we have had similar complaints about what we do with beltane. not all the participants, in fact only a small percentage are practising pagans. but it is not promoted as a pagan festival(though the press dub it so), but as a celtic one. and furthermore, it is traditionally a community festival. and we represent a community and choose to celebrate it in our own way.

incidentally christianity has been reinvented many times. notice all the schisms leading to protestantism, calvinism, orthodoxy and many many more.... don't know enough about hinduism, but islam has a major rift in shi-ite and shia(??) and yes there was outcry; correspondant to the number of current worshippers....so the outcry there was massive. but there aren't so many pagans nowadays, so the outcry is pretty small.

anyway.
one of these for your feelings: hug

smiles
R


Holistic Spinner (I hope)

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Eera
old hand
Location: In a test pit, Mackay
Member Since: 29th May 2003
Total posts: 1107
Posted:From memory there are only 4 relgions that are recognised in terms of anti-discrimination laws.

I think a lot of the attitude towards Pagans stems from the behaviour of the Pseudo-Pagans who seem to think wearing black and burning incense makes them qualify.

I'm going to speak wholly from personal experience now, please don't take umbridge if it doesn't apply to anyone you know.

I was in the Pagan Federation for 14 years, during that time I can count on my digits how many Pagans I met who I would happily talk to in a pub and not feel vaguely embarressed. These were the people who may have had a small symbol like a pentagram or a trefoil, but in all other respects were completely normal. With very few exceptions the rest felt they had to broadcast their beliefs to the world and could slag off any other religion (particularly Christianity) with impunity. Cringeworthy to say the least. Every month we'd get an influx of adolescents who had seen one too many episodes of Buffy and thought that being Pagan was, you know, like a really cool thing to do.

ANY fundamentalism in religion does not get taken seriously in the majority of places, and when you've got people shouting "Don't cut down trees or the fairies will come and get you." That only goes to make the moderate Pagans seem like cranks as well.

I am Pagan, drawn to druidry but not defining myself as following any path, as the saying goes: "I used to be a Wiccan but I'm all right now." I give an earful to people at work when they use terms like "Old Witch" as an insult, but I've also accepted the perception that many have, and will correct them if needs be. But I absolutely will not force anyone to listen to me or try and convert someone, if it is the path they are meant to follow then they will get there in the end. Dying my hair black, hugging trees and celebrating menstruation as a great and holy thing (I was part of a long and tedious debate on that one once) are going to get no-one anywhere fast.

As far as I kow the recent Census gave Paganism enough numbers to be considered an official religion (as did Jedi, but we won't go there). Maybe attitudes will change, but it has to start from within.

And it's great that you share beliefs with your mum. Good on you both.


There is a slight possibility that I am not actually right all of the time.

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Faberg
veteran
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Member Since: 26th Aug 2003
Total posts: 1459
Posted:tao star, i'm surprised to hear your description of events at Newgrange. i hope the guide didn't put a dampner on the whole experience for you, coz it's such a magical place!

Newgrange is one of my favourite places in Ireland (well, the whole Boyne Valley area really) and i've been there umpteen times. generally i've found the tourguides very good. perhaps it was his first day or something? all of those sites are managed by Dchas, the Irish Heritage Board, and it's extremely difficult to get a job with them, believe me, i've tried.

something you must not forget is that no guide can give a concrete & accurate historical tour of such monuments, because the truth of the matter is that there is very little we known about those times. i've been on many tours in the Boyne Valley area where guides were asked questions by visitors and have had to reply "we don't know".

we're talking 5000 years ago, older than the Pyramids at Giza. no-one is even sure what the symbols outside and inside the burial chamber mean. they are widely recognised as "Celtic symbols" but they are in fact stone-age carvings and pre-date the Celtic era in Ireland by approximately 2500 years.

when Newgrange was excavated in the 60's there were human bones found inside the main burial chamber. it's widely accepted that human sacrifce did take place in Ireland 5000 years ago. not on a huge scale, but there has been enough evidence found to prove that it did happen. if your tourguide made any reference to human sacrifice during your tour then i would assume that this is what he was referring to.

anyway, hope you & mum had a great time in Ireland...

peace


My mind not only wanders, it sometimes leaves completely smile

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Gnor
Gnor

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Perth
Member Since: 31st Mar 2003
Total posts: 5814
Posted:We did NewGrange and it was a grand experience. We had a great guide and my main complaint is that I had to get on the bus again too soon. There are other burial mounds that you can access without guides and spend lots of time in just looking and enjoying.
Maybe its worth speaking to the New Grange people of your experience....
As Faberge said it appears to have been a place of burial and our guide admitted freely that much of what they have is supposition not fact.

Did you make it up to the Hill of Ward and the Beaughmore Stone circles as well. I found them both very intense.

hug hug


Is it the Truth?
Is it Fair to all concerned?
Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

Im in a lonely battle with the world with a fish to match the chip on my shoulder. Gnu in Binnu in a cnu

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Tao Star
Tao Star

Pooh-Bah
Location: Bristol
Member Since: 30th May 2003
Total posts: 1662
Posted:Written by:
perhaps it was his first day or something?



strangely enough it was actually! i found similar attitudes in the visitor centre though (although most of it was really good - i wqould recommend visiting.)

i think i was upset because i just felt like an outsider in a place that is like a church to me - people letting their kids climb on it and run around screaming - a bit irreverent in my opinion.

i think Faberge is right - the real pagans who don't hug trees (although i have to admit i've been know to hug the odd rock) are much more invisible, and by the nature of the religion don't go around shouting that everyone else is wrong. i just wish that all those teenagers could dress in black & stuff without making other people think i'm some kind of weird child sacraficer - i just want to tell them to leave me out of it!!!

they aren't being pagans, they are being naturally morbid teenagers, but i'm getting to the point where i feel like starting an advertising campaign to tell everyone that i'm a valid person with valid beliefs not to be laughed at.

so here's the question - how can pagans let people know what our beliefs actaully are ,without trying to convert them and without invalidating ourselves?


I had a dream that my friend had a
strong-bad pop up book,
it was the book of my dreams.

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SpitFire
Mand's Girl....and The Not So Shy One
Location: Calgary, Alberta Canada
Member Since: 2nd Dec 2002
Total posts: 2723
Posted:Written by: Tao Star



so here's the question - how can pagans let people know what our beliefs actaully are ,without trying to convert them and without invalidating ourselves?



Good question. It is a delicate balance...explaining your beliefs without trying to sound preachy or evangelical.

I openly share my beliefs with those who express an interest, but generally won't discuss them without being prompted. That way, I'm responding to other people's curiosities, not my own desire to share what I believe in, if that makes sense.

Also, I try very hard to respect other people's beliefs, regardless of their views of my beliefs. This is quite tough, though...I get frustrated when I try to respect those with different beliefs, and all they can do is put down my beliefs and tell me "you'll go to hell if you don't convert."

I've had one man tell me "I can't respect your beliefs because they are wrong."

When the conversation turns preachy on either end, I begin to pull away, because I don't want to preach to people, but I do want them to respect and try to understand my beliefs as I've tried to understand theirs.

Sometimes, you have to know when you're not going to make an impact, and just put an end to the conversation. I think, if you ever feel like you're temper's rising, it's a good idea to step back.

I am rambling...*sigh*

What I'm getting at is start with those people around you. Talk about your beliefs as they talk about theirs. Don't force yours on them, as you wouldn't want them to force their beliefs on you. Keep the conversation civil and down to earth.

As for not invalidating ourselves? Put your beliefs in a context others might be able to grasp more easily. Explain the symbolism in simple terms, or explain that a ritual is, in a sense, one way we "pray."

Hold on to your beliefs as you discuss them, don't let lack of understanding or acceptance from others get to you. Hold onto your faith as they hold onto theirs. Respect theirs as you'd wish them to respect yours.

Not sure if I've offered any insight what so ever...so there's my 2 cents...which isn't worth much with the current exchange rate. wink


Solitude sometimes speaks to you, and you should listen.

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Tao Star
Tao Star

Pooh-Bah
Location: Bristol
Member Since: 30th May 2003
Total posts: 1662
Posted:a good start, but i ment in a wider sense - how can i get through to all those people who set up the visitor centre for newgrenge for example - i'm thinking of a larger scale change of attitude.

i mean, most kids in england get taught about world religions in compulsary RE classes at school and so hopefully understand and respect them more than they would otherwise, but paganism seems to be left out.

Godd points though - it all comes down to respect in the end. Even if you are absolutly certain the other person is wrong - you don't go insulting their beliefs, keep it to yourself, it's likely that you actually judt don't understand what they're trying to tell you.


I had a dream that my friend had a
strong-bad pop up book,
it was the book of my dreams.

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SpitFire
Mand's Girl....and The Not So Shy One
Location: Calgary, Alberta Canada
Member Since: 2nd Dec 2002
Total posts: 2723
Posted:Ah...well, perhaps you can contact the visitor center, and open a dialogue with them. Let them know how you felt when you went on their tour, and let them know that your beliefs aren't freaky or anything to be embarassed about?

Perhaps you could explain the meaning of Newgrenge to Pagans, where it sits in our historical context, if that makes sense, as a start. From there, explain that Pagans will visit the site often...almost as a pilgrimage, and explain that it would be nice to have our beliefs respected as Christians or Muslims who go on pilgrimage would like their own beliefs to be respected?

Start with the center, and go from there.


Solitude sometimes speaks to you, and you should listen.

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Eera
old hand
Location: In a test pit, Mackay
Member Since: 29th May 2003
Total posts: 1107
Posted:The Pagan Federation publish leaflets along the lines of "This is who we are and what we believe."

The aren't free but last time I looked they were moderately cheap. I used to keep a few on hand for the Jehova's Witnesses, who, funnily enough, didn't seem too keen on taking them.


There is a slight possibility that I am not actually right all of the time.

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Tao Star
Tao Star

Pooh-Bah
Location: Bristol
Member Since: 30th May 2003
Total posts: 1662
Posted:good idea. i might get some of those (for people who ask mind you!)

I had a dream that my friend had a
strong-bad pop up book,
it was the book of my dreams.

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Amanita
member
Location: Halifax, NS
Member Since: 22nd Mar 2004
Total posts: 157
Posted:About the "freaky pagans" thing..I don't wear black all the time, but I've always had a thing for dramatic/unconventional/ethnic/historical clothing.
I've liked that kind of thing since LONG before I knew what paganism was, let alone deciding to convert. However, I do know there's a time and place for it. Do I wear kimono and sari when I'm out and about, just for the heck of it? Absolutely. Do I try to wear a cloak over my security guard's uniform? No way.

When I start my crane job, I intend to abide by workplace dresscodes, for safety reasons. That, and cloaks are hard to climb in:) If I'm allowed to wear an ankh pendant, great! If not, I might cut one out of gold sticky foil and decorate my hardhat with it. This should be cool, because I've seen hardhats decked out with everything from stickers of all descriptions, from union labels to disney characters. I've seen them spray painted and decorated with metal foil and permenant marker doodles. So a gold ankh is not going to be *that* unusual. If anyone asks and I don't want to "come out", I'll just tell them I've got a thing for ancient egypt.

Now, a former friend of mine was NOT a pagan, and behaved in a manner that would give most of us Pagans a heart attack. She was right into Anime, especially Sailor moon and the like. When we went into the local Pagan bookstore, she could not talk about Paganism without dragging sailor moon into it! Listening to her, you would think that we borrowed out religious symbolism from the anime, not the other way around. It was embarrassing. And as far as dress- don't even get me started. If they ever did a goth/pagan/unconventional twist on "what not to wear", she would be a prime candidate. I remember meeting her one day- I needed to go into an office and drop some things off. I just had my regular clothes on, and she came to meet me wearing a multi-hued bulky neon coat with a bright purple halloween costume cape over top of it! I insisted she take the cape off before we entered the office. She simply had no idea what looked good with what, or when it was appropriate to wear certain things. I'm glad she never identified as Pagan, I'm all for dressing/being unconventional, but there's such a thing as way too far.

As for the Newgrange visitor center, I like the idea somebody posted about starting a dialogue with them..get other pagans involved, perhaps. Let them know diplomatically, but firmly how you felt about the tour guide's behavior. Also suggest ways to fix it. That might help a great deal.


"Do not meddle in the affairs of Tower Cranes, for you are soft and would look better when squashed by a full concrete bucket"

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Burzaruka
enthusiast

Member Since: 13th Apr 2004
Total posts: 233
Posted:Tao Star, our religions are about as differnt as you can get, yet I can understand where you are comming from. Though I am sure you are quite aware of my stance on things, I hope you can look past that and know that I am being honest when I say that I feel that nobody should make jokes or tease or look down on anyone because of their religion.

Perhaps to answer your question as to why people seem to rewrite Druidism and Paganisim, is because they don't truly understand it. They are either doing the best they can with their limited knowlege, or they are just throwing what little they know away and doing whatever it is that draws the attention they desire.

The Newgrange, has been incorperated into a business like enviroment. Those people are out to make some money. The thing about business, or atleast some, is that they are looking for cheep employies, ones that don't really care about what they are doing or talking about. Also the less training they give their employies, the lower their overhead. Your tourguide, may not have been telling jokes or insulting you intentionally. He may not have the right understanding of what he was talking about.

If you knew more about Newgrange, before you went than after, perhaps you should send an e-mail or a letter to the people who are incharge of the tours. If you didn't know more, do some research, show them their errors, tell them that they should try to correct themselves.

We all know that I don't believe as you, and that I disagree with what you believe, but if you believe in it and hold it in as high esteem as it appears here, defend it. Otherwise, what is the point? meditate


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Mags The Jedi
Mags The Jedi

Fool
Location: Cornwall, UK
Member Since: 30th May 2004
Total posts: 2020
Posted:Well said that man/woman/hermaprohitic single cell bateria. [delete as appropriate]

I know next to nothing about Paganism, but I'm all for anything that doesn't have the proflagation of the capitalist system as an intrinsic part of its ideology. More power to you.

Where can i learn more, whilst avoiding the stereotypical "wierd wicca" that Amanita describes?


"I believe the cost of life is Death and we will all pay that in full. Everything else should be a gift. We paid the cover charge of life, we were born."

Bill Hicks, February 1988

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Burzaruka
enthusiast

Member Since: 13th Apr 2004
Total posts: 233
Posted:wee bit off topic but...

Name something that has absolutly nothing to do with capitalisim... hehe even the few communist countries out there cant even claim that they have nothing to do with capitalisim.


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Amanita
member
Location: Halifax, NS
Member Since: 22nd Mar 2004
Total posts: 157
Posted:Mags, there are lots of good places to learn about Paganism without running into headcase BS like my former friend used to spout.

www.witchvox.com
www.paganlibrary.org

These are just two sites I can think of for now, but they are both really well done, with none of the "woo-woo" sensationalism or "fluff" that you want to avoid.
There are also some great books in print too- I recommend Scott Cunninghams "Wicca- a guide for the solitary practicioner" and "Living Wicca". Raymond Buckland also has a really good beginner's book on witchcraft. Silver RavenWolf has several books in print about various aspects of Paganism, but she's very controversial. Some adore her, others despise her.

My advice- keep an open mind and keep thinking about what you're reading- Don't take any book as "gospel truth", they're not meant to be taken that way. Keep what practices/ideas work for you, toss the rest.

Good luck!


"Do not meddle in the affairs of Tower Cranes, for you are soft and would look better when squashed by a full concrete bucket"

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Mags The Jedi
Mags The Jedi

Fool
Location: Cornwall, UK
Member Since: 30th May 2004
Total posts: 2020
Posted:Written by: Amanita

keep an open mind and keep thinking about what you're reading- Don't take any book as "gospel truth", they're not meant to be taken that way. Keep what practices/ideas work for you, toss the rest.



I always do. I have my own personal religion distilled from the others. smile

Thanks for the info, I'll check it out. One thing though, don't names like Silver RavenWolf and Galadriel Moonchild turn people off paganism?


"I believe the cost of life is Death and we will all pay that in full. Everything else should be a gift. We paid the cover charge of life, we were born."

Bill Hicks, February 1988

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Xopher (aka Mr. Clean)
enthusiast
Location: Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
Member Since: 8th Jun 2004
Total posts: 456
Posted:Well, I've been a Wiccan priest for oh-my-gods-is-it TWENTY YEARS?!?!?!?! eeesh. How time flies when you're having fun.

Here's a link to a pretty reasonable Wiccan group: http://www.cog.org/#wicca
br>
Lots of "what we do, what we don't" stuff there.

There are lots of reasons for having magical names, or noms-de-plume. Starhawk, for example, didn't want to embarrass her mother, a well-known anthropologist. I'm in the "despise" camp on Silver RavenWolf; I think her ethics are deeply flawed, and that encouraging teenage girls to put spells on their ex-boyfriends is reprehensible in the extreme. She's more embarrassing because of her content than her name, IMO.

I will highly recommend Starhawk (Miriam Simos)'s The Spiral Dance for beginners. My ethics are stricter than hers, but hers are well in line with the common mores of the Wiccan/Pagan community, unlike Silver RavenWolf's.


"If you didn't like something the first time, the cud won't be any good either." --Elsie the Cow, Ruminations

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Xopher (aka Mr. Clean)
enthusiast
Location: Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
Member Since: 8th Jun 2004
Total posts: 456
Posted:And thank you, Burz, for a good comment from the other side of what is often a very high fence.

"If you didn't like something the first time, the cud won't be any good either." --Elsie the Cow, Ruminations

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Good
member
Location: a mountaintop in Colorado
Member Since: 25th Sep 2003
Total posts: 55
Posted:We've got a sizeable group of pagan / witch / goddess folks here, and it's a pretty small town (pop. 7000). We are planning to do some community service like adopt-a-highway or maybe do a food drive. The idea is to show the "normals" that we are compassionate and ready to help care for the earth and the people in our community. And, hey! Jesus would have liked it, from what I've read! Then, if people are interested, they would have some idea of who to ask for more info on our various "nature religions". I also am correcting people from saying "witch" when they really mean "Bitch"!! ... and saying KIWI when they mean Kiwi-fruit! Ooooh!

take the schneak-tip

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Tao Star
Tao Star

Pooh-Bah
Location: Bristol
Member Since: 30th May 2003
Total posts: 1662
Posted:that sounds like a really positive step. that's kind of the answer i was looking for really, some way of being positive and demonstrating what it is i stand for.

BE NICE TO THE TREES!!!! hug


I had a dream that my friend had a
strong-bad pop up book,
it was the book of my dreams.

Delete


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