I know I haven’t posted a relevant entry here in a while – things have been hectic. In the mean time, I’ve recently listed my services on thumbtack.com and decided to post the link up here.
I know I haven’t posted a relevant entry here in a while – things have been hectic. In the mean time, I’ve recently listed my services on thumbtack.com and decided to post the link up here.
Expecting – and Ready – for the Bad
I’m currently up in Washington State, having flown up for the funeral of a close family member. I knew, even as I packed, that I was going to receive comments for the pendant I wear (NOT for my beliefs, as those who make the comments have created their assumptions from only what I wear). I knew who the source of the most un-intelligent, attempting insult was going to be, and I knew that he wouldn’t have the balls to say it himself – he’s done the same thing before when he has issues with other people. Instead, he decided to make a mention of it to someone a little closer to me, who just happened to be standing next to the comment engineer. Even had I not expected it, not a split second would have passed before I realized the true source.
Although I have no quarrel with conservative or liberal, as long as they’re open-minded and what I consider to be “common-sensican”, he is conservative to the point where what he knows is what is, which is why he never needs to ask, in order to make his presumptions about people known, while having others speak his mind – I’m guessing to stay in good graces with a family who loves him and doesn’t realize his disingenuous ways. Granted, he is a good guy, overall, but it’s the close-mindedness that leads to the cons that I see in him. Both of his daughters, unless they’ve graduated, attend a Catholic school – beliefs in which neither believe. Last year, they approached me to ask about my pendant and I don’t bring my beliefs up unless asked, so I was careful to tread, but they were eager to listen. What I said was closer along the lines of what they felt, I guess, but, once again, it’s not something they could ever bring up to a dad such as theirs.
Having mentioned my pendant, it is simply a pentacle; a five-pointed star facing up. Even had it been a pentagram, the same star facing down, it would have had nothing to do with beliefs for which it has been so associated. What I believe, they have never asked, but a non-Christian symbol is, hence, an evil disgrace and, I’m assuming, a source of much comment about insulting the departed for wearing it at the funeral.
In point of fact, less than a handful of people have ever directly asked about my pendant and my beliefs. One was the person whose funeral we attended. One was the aforementioned daughter of the close-minded cousin. The other, well, leads to the good.
The Good – Unexpected and Much Appreciated
The person whose funeral we attended had always wanted a party to celebrate her life, not a wake to mourn her death. (As a side note, that is what I would want, as well). And though most of my family consists of some sort of former or non-practicing Christian faith, one family, whose religion is known but never discussed (reasons why to come), surprised me to the point where, of all relatives, they have become the family with whom I’d choose , above all, to spend time with.
For those of you who read this with condescendence, you might snort at the mention of such a branch of your faith. For those of you who just enjoy the read and information, don’t snicker – they’re Jehoves…yes, Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Of any branch of Christianity (even though many refuse to admit that), they are among the most scorned (I would count Mormonism and Southern Baptism among the top, as well, though that is opinion, not statistic). I know that the father – who is my cousin – converted because of his wife, but, through our conversations, I realized that he is as devout as they come. Yet, he was the only person who listened, with an open mind, intelligible questions, and answers that didn’t lead to the generic end-all-conversations answer that is, “faith”. He would ask, why I believe certain things, what brought me to believe them, how I feel about what he believes, and where we both come from, religiously. He understood my answers and, though almost always returning to the words of the Bible for answers, rather than the history of the book itself, it was an enlightening discussion for both of us.
As much as I’ve chastised organized religion, be it Islam, Christianity, and the like, I will never admit to knowing everything about anything. His religion is one of few branches from the norm that I didn’t know in-depth, and can’t discuss in detail until I do. He, in turn, as most Christians of any branch do, had ever turned to his Bible for answers, rather than taking into account the omissions his version may have made, or the alterations that have taken place over time. My pointing out of history and its effect on Biblical scriptures during each period of time gave him, in his own admission, research to do. I , in turn, agreed to look up some information that he had directed me to. Though I haven’t yet (saving it for when I get home), he did say it was impartial, either way.
Later that night, as everyone left, I was arranging an after party. Of fifteen people who said they’d return, and two who specifically asked me to stay there and wait for them, only that family, who rarely even drinks, returned. The “party” returned to the family’s room and the entire family shared a glass of wine with me before I left.
And yes, he has the good genes of an overall respectable and accommodating family within him, it was a nice surprise that the most devout of all, in one of the most ostracized religions of all, was the only one who initiated a completely open-minded conversation – not even attempting any conversion, just listening, answering, and asking.
It was unexpected, least of all (almost) from him, making the trip up here worth more than the paying of respects, while under the gazes of ignorance.
I know this is a bit off the path for my blog, but I needed somewhere to record it and thought it to be fitting….
Lamentations of a Man Upon Who Was Bestowed the Unwanted Title of Prophet
I am John – the Revelator
The creator of seals I cannot break
I am the dreamer of ultimate sin
Of pain, and the suffering, the sorrow of all
So punished by ills I had written
For I am creator of ultimate sin –
and he who decided the fate of mankind
Even unknowing, the lot I convince;
Through fear of the end – such power, infectious
Yeah, ‘twas my poem convincing as such –
the fear and the anguish my words have unleashed
The fear and the anguish created through dream
I, who am John, through thought and through pen
Intentions not being to speak prophecy
Intentions not being to take lit’rally
For that which I wrote – it was but a dream
A dream, not of demons, as clerics recite
But that of the hated I wished, out of spite,
Would meet on the mountain the armies I know –
to which I align, as my kin
They, who would triumph o’er demons
Demon – an insult to mine enemies
Those persecutors who scoffed at our views
Who hate and despise as they punish our kind
Delivering sentence of death
My dream was recorded as strength for our triumph
Events that transpired while even I breathed
Though lacking such drama – and nye in true battle
Instead, that of will, and of freedom for mine
A story was written, based on a dream
Dramatic, its purpose, as such stories are
Thus, giving me title of your Revelator –
Thus serving the needs of they hungry for power
Who with such a tool – the power of fear
They wield my words and so rule un-opposed
For this, as a dreamer, an author of tales
Regretting, so deeply, my greatest of works
Now but a weapon they swing with great might
My sin, that of writing a false history,
Prevents, in itself, the rapture of me
John, he is I, the writer of dreams
Creating the source of scourge and of fear
Remembering, though, that your God is mine
I pray, both to He, and to you – the believers
I beg for forgiveness of what I have done
For penning a tale I once based on a dream
Based on the nature of tyrants and fear
A story intended to rally my kind
Succeeding in naught, but my greatest of fears
Creating a fuel brightly burning for they –
Those who seek power, and fear is their way
Yes, of the tyrants alone I created
‘Twas Rome and its tyrants that shaped such a dream
Creating a symbol of what I despise
Succeeding in naught, but giving a tool
To those I called kin, and so many to follow
The power of few, now to hold many more
Those souls that I wished to be free
Again, I must pray for what I have done
To those blindly caught in my web of words
Forgiveness from they –
Those whose lives I directed
Through power that once I had penned
Creating the weapon for they who know true
That fear of the pen is that above all
Watching as weapons – all rusting away
Cursed, though, to witness the lives that they sway
Long after writers have faded away;
Creators of tales, unable to say that intentions were never to challenge a faith
Or form such a tool to empower the hate
Emotions, mine own, those tyrants I’d fought
Their power, the same as your walls to perception
A teller of tales; a dreamer of dreams
Could never have dreamt that such power was his
The power still used by the tyrants today
To alter the present and times long since gone
Historic destruction that none should control
Blame, I accept, for penning the tool;
That which such evil has held for so long
With title unwanted – the great Revelator
I wish to take back such a burden to all
Heed not my story – this I implore
A story I wrote now become so much more
Live not your lives in such fearful demeanor
Let not my words have any effect
On even an instant of free will and life
Even an instant of those long since told
To fear what I penned so long, long ago
You are believers of words from the stage
The tools of actors delivering lines
Listen to he who has altered your lives
So cursing my soul for weakening yours
To wander forever in shame for my work
Writing of wars that call history home
Branding me still for the fear I instill
Directed at powers I challenged in life
Felled by a weapon that trumps any sword
A scribe’s simple pen and his powerful word
Forgive me, my brethren, and to whom we all pray
For giving such powers to those undeserving
Allies, I felt, as empires fell
Now greater than powers I once so despised
Never so feared, as history shows
Than they with the power a pen once created
The pen of a dreamer who altered the world
- John, who is branded by nothing more hated than what now I am,
No longer a dreamer
Creator of seals
Of horsemen and plagues
But oh, so much more –
This un-measurable fear
May they who have come to expect from my words
The tale of dreams and the end of all days
Finding in fable what some claim as truth
Pray that none other should suffer the fate
Of hearing my tales – passed on then as truth
Or even a fate worse than the rest –
Be he whose creations; descriptions of dreams
Be cursed to lend power to tyrants and thieves
I, the creator of powers un-matched
Here thus revealing the guilt I shall bare
Or I, the creator of something so heinous
Regret such a title as “John, Revelator”
Used as a cry – one of fear not imagined
Creator of chains, oh so strong and so binding
Warping a faith I once so defended
A mockery now as they hide behind fear
Hated by none more than he penned the weapon
Live as your values may guide every choice
Live not for the fear of no greater sin
Than they who surpass it by wielding the tool
Saying to you what they and none other
Interpret as only an actor can do
Words to be sharpened in each, their own way
Creating the fear that you know today
I wrote then of deeds that are long ago passed
Passing still further as words here you read
Fiction, it was; a dream many shared
Now spoken as truth – as prophecy’s king
While ever I mourn for the damage I cause
Lives ever altered by naught but a dreamer –
Creator of words that grow stronger by day
Now, to my readers
Now must I pray
I must plead, even beg
That you live as you will
Be not the target of bearers of fear
Power is yours, not in that oft recited
Found in the tales I wrote – ever gruesome
Chosen for naught but the terror instilled
My tale, a dream, wrote not for your ears
I am the author that wrote the worst tales
Creating the thoughts that in some may not change
In those who have long lost the faith in their way
Because of I, a man, namely John;
Once who opposed such an empire; Rome
Shamed now to say that the guilt is all mine
For I become bringer of strength to corruption
I am the Revelator – tool of their power
Putting to shame the evil I fought
A shame I will bare now forever and more
As dreamer, and writer; creator of fear
The greatest of prophets, that not did I want
Revelations of John –
He is I, but I’m naught
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.
Cyprian of Carthage once wrote in a letter that, for most people, it is difficult to overcome “what is deeply and radically engrained within us”. Though Cyprian was discussing his interest in, and later conversion to, Christianity, he was referring to the difficulty that any person might have in embracing a new point of view; one that was introduced later in a person’s life. Cyprian’s environment was pagan in nature, so Christianity would be the new belief to which he was being exposed.
Approximately 33 percent of the world’s population is Christian. 23 percent is Muslim, and an estimated 14 percent consider themselves to be Hindu. Wikipedia listed the annual growth of Christianity as 1.3 percent, almost equal to the world’s overall population growth of 1.2 percent. Of that number, only 0.13 percent are converts to any form of Christianity. The numbers may be dull and confusing, but ultimately, they help to enforce Cyprian’s view that it is difficult to let go of an inherently ingrained set of beliefs.
And though no true numbers exist to measure the world’s combined IQ changes over the years, it is rare to find a religiously-affiliated individual who will listen to an opposing viewpoint, as an open-minded audience. Ultimately, the end-all absolute answer to any question involving religion comes down to one word – faith. Regardless of numbers, facts, theories, ideas, history, or any other tangible examples, faith becomes the answer to any question or argument that otherwise has no logical answer.
The Center for the Study of Global Christianity estimated that around 41,000 different Christian faiths exist today. That’s over 40,000 different interpretations of the exact same book – one that specifies it is simply a “version” of the original book of stories that were put together as a method of conversion (often through fear). Over 40,000 different faiths that consider themselves Christian are so set in their ways that they can’t even agree on the interpretation of a single religion, let alone listen to any other viewpoint beyond that.
A great number of people, religious or not, believe that humans are not animals, but are, in fact, better than animals. The majority of Christian faiths attribute this to humans having souls (only their faith is proof that nothing else does). However, if humans were not animals, themselves, we, as a species, would not hold within us those animalistic traits that are passed down from one generation to the next. In the wild, young learn by imitating parents. They do what they must in order to survive. In most cases, wild animals must not think for themselves, lest they develop traits that will prevent their survival.
The Christian viewpoint that humans are not animals would imply that we hold within us no instinct for survival. We learn everything we know as we live. This would automatically imply that all human beings are open-minded, which would create an environment in which all people, regardless of faith, would listen and absorb any information provided to them. Keeping this in mind, wouldn’t the viewpoint that humans are not animals be a contradiction in itself, where religion is concerned?
It is because we are animals, born with traits developed over millennia, that we grow to imitate our parents. In a wild environment, that is the one trait, above all, that would keep us alive. As “intelligent” beings, the idea of faith, passed down from one generation to the next, seems to be one of those ideas that are near impossible to alter. Coupled with fear, ignorance, and shear stubbornness, it becomes what Cyprian of Carthage was referring to when he wrote of the difficulty in altering what is, “deeply and radically engrained within us”.
A few key points to suggest in any religious discussion -
So, someone sent me this in a message the other day, knowing how ridiculous I find ignorance and intolerance to be. The title of this blog and a little commentary follow the excerpt -
Pray before the recitation: IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT. AMEN.
Then say: 1 HAIL MARY
In Petition (1st 27 days): Hail, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, my Mother Mary, hail! At thy feet I HUMBLY kneel to offer thee a Crown of Roses -Snow white buds, closed, hiding their beauty and purity, as Jesus was closed in your womb, to remind thee of thy JOYS -each bud recalling to thee a holy mystery; each ten bound together with my petition for a particular grace.
O Holy Queen, dispenser of God’s graces, and Mother of all who invoke thee! Thou canst not look upon my gift and fail to see its binding. As thou receivest my gift, so wilt thou receive my petition; from thy bounty thou wilt give me the favor I so earnestly and trustingly seek. I despair of nothing that I ask of thee. show thyself my Mother!
PRAY THE CREED, OUR FATHER, 3 HAIL MARY’s, GLORY BE
NATIVITY- Detachment from the World
FINDING IN THE TEMPLE – Obedience to the will of God
Pray After recitation: HAIL HOLY QUEEN, SPIRITUAL COMMUNION, then:
In Petition: Sweet Mother Mary, I offer thee this Spiritual Communion to bind my bouquets in a wreath to place upon thy brow. O my Mother! Look with favor upon my gift and in thy love obtain for me the following petition: THAT YOUR WILL BE DONE IN THE NOVEMBER 2012 ELECTIONS AND THAT OUR COUNTRY CHOOSES GOD.
Pray: HAIL MARY then
O God! Whose only-begotten Son, by His life, death and resurrection, has purchased for us the reward of eternal life; grant, we beseech THee, that, meditating upon these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
May the divine assistance remain always with us. Amen And may the souls of the faithfully departed , through the mercy of God rest in peace Amen. Holy virgin, with thy loving Child, thy blessing give to us today. In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Referring to the title, this seems to be another example of something so far from religion being sucked into religion…no, one specific branch of a religion that almost always seems to find a way to contradict itself and invalidate itself, regardless of how harmless an aspect of the belief may be. Now, let’s try to count how many of the religion’s own rules have been broken, and let’s see how oxymoronic this passage is…
First, I know that the person who sent this is Catholic. Catholicism was the original, modern abortion of a religion that mutated from the original Mysteries, pagan mythology, and even Christian beliefs that came before it. The second Orthodox commandment reads, “You shall not make for yourself an idol”. Considering that there is only one lord and king in the faith, wouldn’t that either make referring to the queen a blasphemous statement, or referring to her as the queen mean that she is God’s wife? After all, a flock cannot be reasonably ruled by two separate sets of rulers.
Granted, original scriptures did include God’s wife (not every reference could be removed and some still exist in today’s texts), as far as I know, no major Christian faith has ever considered Mary to be his wife. (My theory has always been that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit once was written as Father, Son, and Mother.) However, much was removed in the Middle Ages, when a male-dominated society wouldn’t stand for any female entity more powerful than men.
Invoking Mary’s name alone would have once been blasphemous, especially considering the apparent age of this “ceremony”. The location (also included in the original e-mail) was in New Mexico, where many of the country’s oldest religious outposts can be found. Yes, it was once a part of Mexico, where the Spanish landed and where the Virgin Mary is revered as a saint, but, having lived there, I can’t recall a time when anybody referred to her as the queen.
Now, all that aside, it is common, through far from Orthodox, to include such pagan-similar ritual during prayer. However, using a flower to symbolize anything (another reference to worshipping a false idol), let alone weaving it into a crown (and yes, I get the symbolism) in the manner worded almost reads like a spell, not a prayer. Granted, ancient spells do exist to invoke various angels, but this is the first I’ve heard of an invocation of Mary which, again, would be considered blasphemous not that long ago. Even the manner of the prayer would lead to accusations of witchcraft, as far less has sparked far more. Invoking mercy or help might be different, but the “Queen” herself makes this ritual sound very pagan.
All of this aside, and regardless of the origin or basis of this invocation, I am slightly confused at the insertion of assistance with the upcoming election. First, I believe that God would be a little more interested in politics. But, I guess since both sides worship him, he must abstain this time around. The ceremony itself couldn’t have been created as an election protector, since New Mexico has not always been a part of the country. This does fall under the freedom of religion thing, which is fine with me, but praying that the country chooses god, with no regard for other faiths…well, honestly, I guess that would be the Christian thing to do.
For some odd reason, there seems to be an increasing amount of end times talk as the most recent (and falsely publicized) iteration of Armageddon approaches. As if it weren’t hard enough already to get a straight answer as to why Apocalyptic prophecies are associated with heathen religions, in the first place (considering that the latter are baseless, false religions created by the Satan that original Christians apparently didn’t even realize existed), try asking why each approaching supposed day of judgment is definitely “real”, while all that were “real” and passed must have been more tricks of the Devil. The only true answer to both these questions is one simple word – fear. The wider the umbrella of fear that a religion can create, the greater chance it has of increasing its customer base and either fleecing followers out of what little money they may have, creating an ever-growing pool of followers over which to rule, or (and usually) both. One recent discussion resulted in an answer along the lines of, “…because we wouldn’t be here if it had already happened.” Don’t ask; I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one.
The truth is that the version of Revelations contained within Biblical texts is one of many that were written around the same time – which, even according to past Christian leaders (including Saint Dionysius of Alexandria, around the year 260), was neither written by the man that it’s attributed to, nor written at the time that other Biblical canons were written. Saint Dionysius pointed out that significant differences existed in both the way the canon was written and with its sophistication. Apparently, his observations were ignored, as were the fact that, around the same time, numerous books of revelation were written by Jews, Christians, and even pagan religions. As Christianity was only beginning to come into its own, authors chose to write their versions and attribute them to the various disciples, reasoning that they were writing in the spirit of those who came before them. Not one of the books found to date has matched the styles or educational levels of any other Bible canon contributors.
Apparently, though, this was a known fact to Christian leaders since the religion’s earliest years. Origen, known as the father of the church, was one of its earliest historians and philosophers. Even this was not enough to protect him as others realized what power they could wield through fear. Origen was condemned as a heretic around 300 years after his death because his teachings, though some of the first in Christian history, were “wrong”. He, of course, had the nerve to state that all things, including animals, stars, human, angels, and even demons were interconnected. If this were true, his teachings would have diluted the fuel behind the religion’s greatest tool. As he was being branded as heretical, so were a list of other books of Revelation, which coincided with his (and early Christian) teachings. These included The Secret Revelation of John (which undoubtedly differed in style from his canon and the current Revelations that he has been credited with authoring), The Gospel of Truth, and Thunder, Perfect Mind. Not only were such books banned, but church leaders went so far as to outlaw everything other than Catholic-associated texts and to denounce spiritual leaders who were educated.
Even today, the effects of religion on illiterate masses can be seen throughout the world, from America’s deep south (also known as the Bible Belt) to the sands of Arabia. In fact, one of the most fundamental and contested differences between Sunni and Shi’a Islam is the idea that all people (versus only an Imam) have the power to reach Allah. Imagine the power that religious leaders would lose if they determined that all people should be able to pray to God, ask about and interpret the Koran, or question why a passage is skipped, ignored, or included as a method of altering the context of a sermon? As Catholicism has demonstrated throughout history, it is much easier to control a population with a handful of literate religious leaders, who watch over a flock of, well, sheep. Those followers can’t always be held responsible for their beliefs because they know only what they’re told by the one person who they have grown up being told to trust. Their ignorance isn’t blind, but it is often taken advantage of. As literacy became a more popular trait to have, history shows that Christianity began to branch out more and more, based on the understanding of texts by people of all walks of life.
This increase in literacy and its association with free thought is exactly what Tertullian was trying to avoid in the third century. He demanded that followers only listen and “accept the rule of faith”; going so far as to condemn ALL questions as heretical. Even as he represented the beliefs of a man who asked questions of those around him, Tertullian found a way to eliminate others’ search for knowledge. It should go without saying why he chose the most vivid and horrific version of written revelations as the only legal Revelations to include in Catholic teachings.
Tertullian’s association with Revelations is further shown by his intentions to outlaw what he called “secret books”. It must only be coincidence that when iterations of various authors’ revelations were found at Nag Hammadi, a religious site in Egypt, they were referred to as Apocryphon, or “Something Secret”. Outlawing questions might seem to many as extreme, but you’re also able to read this. If you weren’t, who would you turn to as a source of information and how could you be sure that whoever that person is, they would be telling you the real truth, rather than their truth?
Athanasius, another early Christian leader, was an ally of Constantine, the Roman Emperor who became Christianity’s savior by declaring it Rome’s official religion (but did not get baptized until his death bed, so that he could continue his lifestyle without fear). Apparently, Athanasius knew then what scholars believe now – that the “beast” referred to in the Bible’s Revelations referred to Roman rulers. He omitted any such reference from the book, in an effort to appease Constantine, while keeping the fear associated with all of that overzealous fire and brimstone.
However, Athanasius then did something that many Christian sects might still do today. He exchanged the references of the Emperor as the beast with his only true competition – other sects of Christianity (which he referred to as heretics). He made it known that the heretics (among them, the Arians, or followers of exiled priest, Arius) were not real Christians and were, apparently, yet more tools of Satan. His reasoning seemed to mimic that of Tertullian, who worked to essentially ban education a century before Athanasius took the reigns. Athanasius, though, took it a step further by denouncing even educated spiritual leaders, reasoning that all human thinking was evil. Christians, then, had absolutely no choice but to listen and obey, without question or thought, the words of yet one more religious leader who valued power above all else.
IRONY ALERT – Arians, today’s illiterate and ignorant version of Hitler’s supposed “perfect” people, were once considered heretics in their first appearance in Christian history.
Today’s Arians hate Jews, though they worship one as their Savior. They hide behind the writings of his disciples to explain why they should be allowed to do to others what Romans did to Jesus, a Jew. Jesus was never baptized, nor was “Christian” a term used to describe his followers until long after his death, so there is little argument that he could be anything other than Jewish.
Early Arians were exiled and condemned by “true” Christians. They were identified by Athanasius as Antichrist. Antichrist is an idea that was stolen from the Jews. Some Arians today will say that Antichrist will be a Jew (or anything else that a specific person or group feels like hating and turning against).
Conclusion – A group of Christians, their forbearers condemned by Christians, worship a Jew and use his teachings as a reason to condemn Jews. The whole stealing ideas from other religions thing is just icing, since we know that, without the help from Jews, Arians would have never been able to fathom such a complex idea.
Now, I know that nobody’s perfect and I like it that way. But, sometimes, people try so hard to be different that they alienate themselves from those who would accept them as who they are, not who they want the world to see them as. This desperate need to feel different among the different, just to be able to have something cliquish to brag about, has lead to some embarrassing moments for people who get called on their bullshit.
One thing that has aggravated me for years, and which (in a futile effort to understand various trains of thought) has always provided great fuel for my agony, has been the lengths that some people go, in order to convince themselves and others of the legitimacy of certain systems of belief. I will try and explain this a bit better because I don’t want to come off sounding like people can’t believe what they want (I have a religion of my own, as well).
My issue is with the followers of systems of belief who think that they are re-igniting ancient religions, or who think that their “religion” was something powerful when, in fact, such a belief system never even existed. Ok, I get it, people want to be different, even though everybody already is. Some want to be so different that they do everything possible to be seen as different, even among the different. In such an effort to be noticed by pretending not to care if they’re noticed, people seem to let common sense and dignity fly out the window, while they invite stupidity and blind ignorance to the party.
That having been said, I am tired of people trying to brag to me that they are Pagan (as a religion) and they worship “Paganism” with their “Covens”. They try to say that Paganism is an ancient, super special religion that believes one thing or another, depending on whomever organized that specific group.
“Oh, cool!” someone says. “You dress in black and use words that I heard in the last Twilight movie! I’ll be your friend and we’ll show everybody how better we are than them, while telling them that we don’t really care what they think!”
Once again, people are entitled to their beliefs. But come on, saying that you follow Paganism with your Coven is about as historically accurate as telling people you celebrate Kwanzaa, like the slaves did. If someone’s religious ideals appeal to you, great. But do a little research….the slightest bit. Please. Don’t put up your blinders because you want to fit in with the misfits. Don’t lose your common sense in an effort to prove to the world that you share the same beliefs as the imaginary ancient worshippers of your iteration of a religion that never existed. Anywhere.
As for that follower of Paganism, proud of her Coven, common sense should have told her right away that wait, how often had the word “Coven” even been used before the witch and vampire craze that began less than a decade ago? I’m not saying that it’s a new word, at all – just that it was never used to describe religions until someone heard it and thought it would be a cool way to make a system of belief sound exotic. The word, itself, dates back to around 1500, and originally referred to a group of witches – especially a group of 13. Even though witches had existed for eons, “covens” had not.
But one day, along come a few movies and books that mention the word in or out of context and suddenly, every under-the-radar, meet-in-the-dark religion refers to itself as a coven. I’m sure it wouldn’t even take long to find a coven of trekkies!
Ok, so maybe you were just so used to hearing the word that it didn’t stand out as an odd association to this new, super-duper ancient religion. They call themselves Pagans and you say, “Hey, people don’t like Pagans, so I’m going to be a Pagan, in order to [INSERT REASON](fit in, fit out, piss parents off, piss church off, stand out, have an excuse to scream at my parents, give myself a reason to tell everybody I need a therapist because nobody understands me). Honestly, if the latter is your reason, it’s because you don’t understand yourself – don’t blame other people…but that’s beside the point.
Paganism, by definition, is NOT a religion. It is a classification of religions that encompasses any system of belief not related to Christians, Muslims, or Jews. In other words, pagans are heathens, and vice versa. My religion encompasses set beliefs and I am a pagan. I don’t pass my religion off as an ancient order of naked dancing chanters.
Wiccans, too, are still pagans. Today’s Wiccans, though, only vaguely resemble the pagans of old, and the true worshippers will say the same thing. Those who have researched their beliefs and understand themselves are in it for themselves. If you’re reading this, ready to steam and flame me in a comment, think about it…why would you be steaming if it wasn’t true? Don’t lie to yourself by saying that you’re different and only your super ancient but not ever a religion religion accepts you.
You accept it, not the other way around. You do it for whatever reason you inserted above, or you wouldn’t have closed your eyes to the possibilities that, “Hey, how does my grand dragon master level 33 priest know the ancient love spells created by a barely known sect of a European religion that used spell ingredients that we can’t even buy here in our country?” The super duper grand dragon master might say that it’s ok to substitute American Mandrake for European Mandrake and you say, “Cool, he must really know what he’s talking about, now – they used the name of a root that all witch stories mention.”
At this point I should note that, if anybody who is reading this (and who may be fuming) has heard the previous statement before and not questioned its logic, I’ve got a little bad news. American Mandrake isn’t related to European Mandrake, and has none of the properties that those druids were seeking when they cooked up their potions. I know this because I, too, brew certain potions that require ingredients unavailable in this country. I follow some recipes for formulas that were recorded thousands of years ago and were found in the ruins of great civilizations. “What are these concoctions of which he speaks?” You may be asking…unless, of course, you’re avoiding acknowledging any of this because of those blinders. The potions I brew do, in fact, date back to, and beyond the creation of the definition of “Coven”, and they pre-date almost every civilization ever known. My concoctions, my amazing and proven formulas, are known to us as beer. Yes, I do make my own and yes, I have made varieties whose ingredients were recorded by some of the same religions that are being exploited today.
So, decide for yourself that you want to be different, for whatever reason, while ignoring that you are already different – which is what makes you who you are. But you don’t just want to be different, you want to be different from the different, so you find an exotic-sounding clique – not bothering to look into anything because you can trust anybody who will do anything to prove how different he or she is, especially when it comes to creating a group with some sort of niche that makes onlookers buzz. Ignore the ceremonies and spell books that were re-created from a dead, runic language, but which somehow, list ingredients that are, conveniently, found at your local grocery store. Do whatever you can to make yourself believe that you know about your religion’s history, while ending any religious discussion by starting a fight or running away because of a lack of, well, anything. But, whatever you do, don’t visit the next town over, where there’s another Coven, calling themselves Pagan, but not your kind of Pagan. The only similarity is the misguided name, for no apparent reason other than to tell the world, “Look at me, I’m different! And Fuck You for looking at me because I’m different!”
It goes without saying that, for the majority of us, the culture in which we are raised; the culture that plays such an important role during our formative years is what will most affect and shape our beliefs and decisions for the rest of our lives. Whether our cultures are religiously-based, racial in nature, or socially elite, human beings, for the most part, will continue to follow the views that have been instilled within them. Beliefs and ideas may grow and fester from generation to generation, leading to both positive and negative outcomes. The amount and nature of such influence is both learned and subliminal – it may be taught outright in school, or it may be developed as a subconscious method to not anger family or friends. Regardless of the varying environments and influences, though, every culture is ultimately affected by the influences to which they are exposed.
The reason for all of the above influence and environment writing has to do with today’s topic – something that I’m confronted with a lot, but something that, if you put a little thought into it, is very easy to prove right (or wrong, depending on how you’re confronted). The discussion starts off in many ways, the easiest to describe would be this – “If Christianity (or any particular religion) isn’t the true/real/only/yaddayaddayadda, then why did God answer my prayers, or why did my sister see winged “angels” that saved her?” ” Why did I flat line for a few minutes and find myself being torn apart by demons, before Jesus came and told me to be good so I could be saved?”
First, pay attention to the source. Though it may have happened before, I have personally never encountered a devout Hindu suddenly becoming Christian after seeing an Angel. Second, as with most stories today (and which automatically gives you a point from which to approach) is that these stories are modern in nature. Depending on the story you’re told, it is very possible that you’ll be given something to think about, whether you’re a skeptic, open-minded, or (dare I say it) a religious person who might actually be interested in hearing the true nature of things.
Let’s start with culture’s role, both physically and mentally, on believers of what they are told. If you’re in a hurry, I’ll throw in a quick tidbit – angels weren’t depicted with wings until some time during the gothic ages. The beings on which today’s angels are based were wingless and much more humanoid (after all, we were all made in His “image”). A quick comparison between Bible versions helps to back this up. And even though the farse that is the King James Version is, itself, relatively new, it is what most people today are familiar with. The following is Its Genesis 3:24, which mentions, simply, Cherubims (those little guys will be discussed later):
So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way , to keep the way of the tree of life.
And, though the KJV is modern in the grand scheme of things, one even more recent version, the Bible in Basic English, or BBE, has found an alternate translation of the same text:
So he sent the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden he put winged ones and a flaming sword turning every way to keep the way to the tree of life.
This is but an example of the mutations that have always plagued, and will forever continue to plague, what may have once been a harmless system of belief. For though the choirs of angels (of which the Cherubim are some of the highest) weren’t developed until the middle ages, only two actual angels (originally wingless) were named in the Bible. Notice, in the latter example, that any reference to ancient religions have been removed – replace, instead, with the symbolic imagery of the modern angel.
Cherubs, themselves, have been traced, through literature and art, as far back as the Assyrian civilization, which has been dated through the 25th century, BC – long before even Judaism was acknowledged. And though they have been winged through their history, only very recent Bible iterations have mentioned wings (though verses in older versions mention them above or around a particular throne or location). Perhaps, this was a method, developed over time, to pass the attributes of pagan deities on to those faiths who sought to destroy them. By removing the wings of Greek, Roman, and other cultures, then passing them to the supernatural beings of Judeo-Christian belief, church leaders who created such damaging portrayals and alterations in the Middle Ages would have even more proof of Satan’s time-traveling Plagiarism through Anticipation antics.
Once again, though (a previously-recorded example), it’s curious how a heathen reference, especially one associated so closely with eroticism, lust, and love, would become the symbol of a Roman saint. The intermingling of certain aspects of the various pagan religions throughout Europe was thought to help integrate the locals into Christianity, while allowing them to maintain a small portion of their own belief which, after time, would fade into the oblivion that is a history written by the powerful clergy. But, I digress…
It has been said that the “fish” symbol known to most Christians today has been a mark of the religion since its inception. Romans had banned the worship of the Godman, Jesus, so his followers were forced underground. The story goes that the little fish – those two circular fragments – were drawn upon landmarks, walls, and doors, as a marker to signal other Christians of the location of fellow believers.
But what connection does a fish have to a young, diverging Jewish sect? Most Christians today would associate the symbol with the story of Jesus filling the fishermen’s nets with fish. If that were true, though, how would it be that a group of people who believed in miracles over math choose for their representation a symbol of purely mathematical nature? The true origin of the fish makes much more sense than its invention as a secretive marker.
Generations before Jesus, there existed in Greece some of the most historically renowned mathematicians, philosophers, and thinkers. It may only be coincidence that the majority of them were initiates into a belief system upon which Christianity modeled itself, but it is far from coincidence that two of these figures, also sometimes referred to as Godmen, were renowned for, among other things, filling the fishermen’s nets with fish. One of the men was a mathematician, named Pythagoras, though he is lesser known for being a renowned philosopher. However, his discovery of the sign of the fish, was purely mathematical, not philosophical.
Pythagoras discovered that two circles of equal size, when meeting at the center of the circles, created what is now referred to as a Christian symbol. However this symbol has pagan meanings long before it was leeched by the followers of me,Jesus. The fish that was created was a symbolic joining of two elements – spirit and matter. Archimedes, another exceptional mathematician and scientist, noted that the ratio of size to length of this fish was 153:265. This translates to the controlling ratio of an equilateral triangle, and can now be traced passed early Christians and directly to the man whose Pythagorean theorem is still taught to geometry students today. It can’t be mere coincidence that both his theorem and the “measure of the fish” relate to the triangle.
And though the number of fish that Jesus filled the nets with is not always mentioned, those who do include a number choose the random one of 153 fish. That is quite a seemingly random number to be included in the story of a man whose life is based on miracles, not mathematics.
But if that’s not a truly Christian story, there must be at least one that surrounds a symbol held sacred by Christians. What about the story of Constantine, who dreamt that Jesus presented him with a symbol that he was to wear on his shield as he led his armies to victory? Today, tellers of that tale have altered the story to fit their beliefs, as they have done with so many others. Current mythology states that the symbol presented by Jesus was that of a cross. But even though Constantine lived in the third and fourth centuries, the cross and crucifixion would still have been much too common to warrant a sacred dream foretelling victory. The historical truth is that Constantine was presented with the symbol Chi-Rho. This pagan symbol was often used as a marker, and it was a common symbol of good luck. Even this, though, is beginning to morph into a pro-Christian symbol. Apparently, as they have throughout history, Christians, having realized that more and more people are being made aware of the Chi-Rho, have begun stating, themselves, that Constantine did not see a cross, but a Chi-Rho. This is because, according to new researchers, the Chi-Rho is a Christian symbol created when Constantine wore it into battle as a Christian (though he was not a Christian at the time of the battle).
Even the cross, itself, which today is automatically associated with Christianity, was subject to a hostile takeover. Jesus was not the first to be depicted on a cross. He was also not the first to be crucified for his beliefs. He was not the first to have reincarnated and healed others, and he was not the first to have risen from the dead. The figures upon which Jesus is based existed in every previous culture and civilization. Bacchus, Osiris, Dionysus, Attis, and Adonis are just a few of the names by which he was known while he lived, performed miracles, became ostracized, was put to death, and then resurrected or recreated himself.
Conspiracy food for thought – the “measure of the fish”, or vesica piscis, is a symbol common to many beliefs, including Christianity and Kabbalah. It has also been used as a symbol in Freemasonry. By today’s logic, doesn’t anything with the slightest connection to the Freemasons warrant belief in a deep, dark, world domination conspiracy?