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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in pagan revival

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Labrys & Horns: New Second Edition

I'm pleased and proud to announce the release of the new second edition of Labrys and Horns: An Introduction to Modern Minoan Paganism. Since the publication of the first edition in 2016, we've expanded our pantheon and sacred calendar, created a new standard ritual format for both groups and solitaries, and developed a set of spiritual practices that we all share.

When I say the second edition is expanded, I mean it. The first edition, in print format, is 140 pages long. The new second edition clocks in at 243 pages.

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Reviving Ancient Religion: How does shared gnosis work?

It takes a number of different approaches to build a revivalist spiritual tradition like Modern Minoan Paganism. We started with some of the usual reconstruction methods: ancient artifacts and art; archaeological information about cities, buildings, and homesites; astronomical building and tomb alignments; myth fragments recorded by later writers; dance ethnography; and comparative mythology. But even with all those methods stacked together, we still ended up with holes to fill in order to create a functional modern spiritual practice. In the case of Minoan religion, those holes are pretty big.

What do we use to fill those gaps? Shared gnosis.

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A Homeland More of Time Than Place: In Search of an Anthem for the Pagan Revival

Is there an anthem of the Pagan Revival?

Short answer: No, although it sure would be nice to have one.

Probably the closest we get to a New Pagan anthem is “Gwydion Pendderwen”'s 1981 We Won't Wait Any Longer:

We Won't Wait Any Longer

 

We won't wait any longer,

We are stronger than before;

We won't wait any longer,

We are stronger!

 

We have trusted no man's promise,

We have kept to just ourselves,

We have suffered from the lies

In all the books on all your shelves,

But our patience and endurance

Through the Burning Times til now

Have given us the strength to keep our vow.

 

Chorus

 

You have grazed away the heather,

You have razed the sacred grove,

You have driven native peoples

From the places that they love;

Though your greed has been unbounded,

You have felt the pangs of shame

Each time you trod upon the Mother's name.

 

Chorus

 

Though you thought you had destroyed

Each memory of the ancient ways,

Still the people light the balefire

Every year on Solstice day;

And on Beltane and at Samhain

You will find us on the hill,

Invoking once again the Triple Will!

 

Chorus

 

Through the ages many peoples

Have risen and have gone,

But dispersed among the nations

Of the world we linger on.

Now the time has come to take

The sacred Cauldron of Rebirth,

And fulfill our ancient pledges to the Earth!

 

Chorus

 

Kudos to Gwydion, who considered himself a Muse poet in the Gravesian tradition, for being the first to dream of a fine, rousing anthem for the New Old Religion(s). Alas that his aims generally outpaced his abilities.

As an anthem, We Won't Wait Any Longer hasn't aged well. The Pagan World has marched on in the last few decades, and the song's specifically Wiccan imagery reads more exclusively now than it did then.

Likewise, while fully endorsing the song's sentiments, I've always felt that it was weakened by the fact that it specifically addresses itself to...whom? Christianity? The Church? The non-pagan world in general? In any event, to them: the bad guys of our story.

To this, my attitude is: Why make our enemies the center of our discourse? F**k 'em! Let's direct our anthem to ourselves, or to our gods.

Well, there's no reason why, as New Pagans, we need an anthem, or—in what is, after all, the Wonderful World of the Many—anthems. Perhaps some day someone will write one that we can all get behind.

Until such a time (if any), my own nomination for New Pagan Anthem goes to Daniel Pemberton's We Shall Go Home/Song of Exile*, from the 2004 film King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

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A Pagan Revival in 13th Century France

What happens when you turn loose a bunch of over-educated, under-employed intellectuals on a prosperous society in the throes of social ferment?

Apparently, you get a Pagan Renaissance.

It happened in 20th century America. It also happened in 13th century France, during what—ironically enough—is known as the Age of Cathedrals.

The parallels between the two periods are striking. In both, new agricultural techniques produced a burgeoning population, a thriving mercantile class, and unprecedented prosperity. This, in medieval France and elsewhere, was what financed the building of the great cathedrals such as Notre Dame de Paris. Students from all over Europe flooded to the University of Paris.

There they learned Latin and read the Classics. There they learned about the old paganisms.

Alas, there were no suitable jobs for most of these sons of lesser houses. The system produced far more educated people than it could employ.

So a rising tide of clerici vagrantes, “wandering clerics,” washed across Europe: getting drunk (when they could afford it), getting laid (when they could manage it), and writing rhyming hymns in Latin to the old gods of the pagan world, especially (as one would expect) to Venus and Bacchus.

(Several collections of poetry and hymns from this medieval pagan renaissance have survived to inspire and delight us today, notably the famous Carmina Burana (that's CAR-min-ah, not car-MEE-nah), which in turn inspired German composer Carl Orff's pagan oratorio of the same name, one of the landmarks of 20th century pagan art.)

According to British historian Elliot Rose, these literary New Pagans—whatever the seriousness of their paganism—hooked up with the Old Pagan witch-wives of Europe to create a newly reinvigorated Witch Cult which, a hundred years later, would give rise to, and fall prey to, the horrors of the Great Persecution. Well, maybe.

Eight hundred years later, here we are again.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Astounding Pagan Revival

Really, in the long history of human religion, the Pagan Revival has got to be one of the most surprising—and unforeseen—developments of all.

One of the things that's most amazing about it is that, as a mass movement, the Revival Paganisms are largely composed of—and driven by—individual choices made by isolated individuals across the world.

Without benefit (for the most part) of personal or social pressure, people have again and again thought—and felt—their way back into the Old Ways. One by one, we look at ourselves and we say: I am pagan. Every day, it happens again. It's happening to someone even as you read this.

In the history of human religion, such a thing is utterly unprecedented.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Even, one hopes--when the time comes--to death. "The Religions of Yes." Anthony, that's brilliant. I plan to mention your name whe
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Your welcome.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Unlike the twin monoliths of fundamentalism and materialism paganism offers an alternative that says yes to life and all it's expe

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
We Got Us a Goddess

(Tune: If I Had a Hammer)

 

We got us a Goddess

she got us in the morning

she got us in the evening

all over this land

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