This forum is a place for laying down and then debating down or fortifying up the principles we as pagans live by.
In each section there will be a sticky outlining the position(s) and the reason for them and from there separate threads in the sections are for either disagreeing with the central premises and outlining evidence why, or for providing additional substance to the main principle.
"A belief that cannot be defended is a belief you do not deserve to have"
Keep it civil and keep refutations direct and evidential.
We don't care if you think we're "problematic shitlords" for our principles. Yelling and naming is the lowest form of all debate.
If you cannot provide measurable evidence-based science for your position then you're not worth listening to.
From Works and Days by Hesiod. A very well known example, and also an old one. May as well add it to the list. Ovid's Roman version is basically the same thing.
Or if you will, I will sum you up another tale well and skilfully — and do you lay it up in your heart, — how the gods and mortal men sprang from one source.
First of all the deathless gods who dwell on Olympus made a golden race of mortal men who lived in the time of Cronos when he was reigning in heaven. And they lived like gods without sorrow of heart, remote and free from toil and grief: miserable age rested not on them; but with legs and arms never failing they made merry with feasting beyond the reach of all evils. When they died, it was as though they were overcome with sleep, and they had all good things; for the fruitful earth unforced bare them fruit abundantly and without stint. They dwelt in ease and peace upon their lands with many good things, rich in flocks and loved by the blessed gods.
But after the earth had covered this generation — they are called pure spirits dwelling on the earth, and are kindly, delivering from harm, and guardians of mortal men; for they roam everywhere over the earth, clothed in mist and keep watch on judgements and cruel deeds, givers of wealth; for this royal right also they received; — then they who dwell on Olympus made a second generation which was of silver and less noble by far. It was like the golden race neither in body nor in spirit. A child was brought up at his good mother's side an hundred years, an utter simpleton, playing childishly in his own home. But when they were full grown and were come to the full measure of their prime, they lived only a little time and that in sorrow because of their foolishness, for they could not keep from sinning and from wronging one another, nor would they serve the immortals, nor sacrifice on the holy altars of the blessed ones as it is right for men to do wherever they dwell. Then Zeus the son of Cronos was angry and put them away, because they would not give honour to the blessed gods who live on Olympus.
But when earth had covered this generation also — they are called blessed spirits of the underworld by men, and, though they are of second order, yet honour attends them also — Zeus the Father made a third generation of mortal men, a brazen race, sprung from ash-trees; and it was in no way equal to the silver age, but was terrible and strong. They loved the lamentable works of Ares and deeds of violence; they ate no bread, but were hard of heart like adamant, fearful men. Great was their strength and unconquerable the arms which grew from their shoulders on their strong limbs. Their armour was of bronze, and their houses of bronze, and of bronze were their implements: there was no black iron. These were destroyed by their own hands and passed to the dank house of chill Hades, and left no name: terrible though they were, black Death seized them, and they left the bright light of the sun.
But when earth had covered this generation also, Zeus the son of Cronos made yet another, the fourth, upon the fruitful earth, which was nobler and more righteous, a god-like race of hero-men who are called demi-gods, the race before our own, throughout the boundless earth. Grim war and dread battle destroyed a part of them, some in the land of Cadmus at seven-gated Thebe when they fought for the flocks of Oedipus, and some, when it had brought them in ships over the great sea gulf to Troy for rich-haired Helen's sake: there death's end enshrouded a part of them. But to the others father Zeus the son of Cronos gave a living and an abode apart from men, and made them dwell at the ends of earth. And they live untouched by sorrow in the islands of the blessed along the shore of deep swirling Ocean, happy heroes for whom the grain-giving earth bears honey-sweet fruit flourishing thrice a year, far from the deathless gods, and Cronos rules over them; for the father of men and gods released him from his bonds. And these last equally have honour and glory.
And again far-seeing Zeus made yet another generation, the fifth, of men who are upon the bounteous earth.
Thereafter, would that I were not among the men of the fifth generation, but either had died before or been born afterwards. For now truly is a race of iron, and men never rest from labour and sorrow by day, and from perishing by night; and the gods shall lay sore trouble upon them. But, notwithstanding, even these shall have some good mingled with their evils. And Zeus will destroy this race of mortal men also when they come to have grey hair on the temples at their birth. The father will not agree with his children, nor the children with their father, nor guest with his host, nor comrade with comrade; nor will brother be dear to brother as aforetime. Men will dishonour their parents as they grow quickly old, and will carp at them, chiding them with bitter words, hard-hearted they, not knowing the fear of the gods. They will not repay their aged parents the cost of their nurture, for might shall be their right: and one man will sack another's city. There will be no favour for the man who keeps his oath or for the just or for the good; but rather men will praise the evil-doer and his violent dealing. Strength will be right and reverence will cease to be; and the wicked will hurt the worthy man, speaking false words against him, and will swear an oath upon them. Envy, foul-mouthed, delighting in evil, with scowling face, will go along with wretched men one and all. And then Aidôs and Nemesis, with their sweet forms wrapped in white robes, will go from the wide-pathed earth and forsake mankind to join the company of the deathless gods; and biitter sorrows will be left for mortal men, and there will be no help against evil.
The practice of worshipping one deity without denying others is called Henotheism.
Henotheism was the term used by scholars such as Max Müller to describe the theology of Vedic religion. Müller noted that the hymns of the Rigveda, the oldest scripture of Hinduism, mention many deities, but praises them successively as the "one ultimate, supreme God", alternatively as "one supreme Goddess", thereby asserting that the essence of the deities was unitary (ekam), and the deities were nothing but pluralistic manifestations of the same concept of the divine (God).
The Vedic era conceptualization of the divine or the One, states Jeaneane Fowler, is more abstract than a monotheistic God, it is the Reality behind and of the phenomenal universe. The Vedic hymns treat it as "limitless, indescribable, absolute principle", thus the Vedic divine is something of a panentheism rather than simple henotheism.
So really many deities tend to become the expression of one ultimate reality that again expresses itself in many ways. To claim to know there is no ultimate reality or that only particular separate deities exist, or that only one spirit exists - just sectarian hubris. In personal meditations I've seen deities transform into others, changing from one message or meaning depending on the spiritual lesson I needed. It is a particular language of the soul. It is in the material world that objects have defined attributes, where logic dictates that A = A. The spiritual is not bound by those rules.
@FourOne - after reading about Wralda recently and posting the quotes about the Vedas, I'm reminded that the conception of Wralda is more panentheistic than theistic. Wralda is not a character as such with defined attributes like an "Odin" is (despite him being written as a king that was later deified in the OLB much to pagan chagrin) but it is very much like that ultimate reality, a cosmic spirit "limitless, indescribable, absolute principle". Then the aspect of Jrtha as Mother Earth, and the three daughters Frya, Finda, and Lyda would not make it a hard monotheism either. In fact it is similar to the Samkhya school of India where there is the spirit principle of Purusha and the material ground of Prakriti. The female "Earth" and the male "Sky" or Ouranos.
That is the answer I expected. Experience from past lives and predispositions from the samskaras. The fact that everyone is different is yet another reason why dogmatic systems that try to force everyone to be the same never work.
In fairness: Purusha and Prakriti and Varuna do continually seem to run together and become confused, despite a clear attempt to conceptually separate them.
And if Varuna is the manifest and unmanifest, I can go with the possibility of Varuna being the Purusha whose desire is the creator/creation of ALL that is.
In this possibility, I can agree that we could simplify things to say the creation of the cosmos is no different to the creation of Rta, since Rta is the Law of Becoming and Satya its unchanging source, the Truth of Being.
But I do think it is important to keep these things distinct if possible, Rta as a concept that is in all nature/becoming, but is separate and prior as a concept which governs it.
So I can go with that possibility. Or one can attempt to separate out Purusha and Varuna -- they are named separately, though it's really hard for me to tell what exactly is the inner logic there, and I can see why it would be easier just to simplify the equation.
And with this even -- rejecting the Upanishadic notions and respecting Purusha's role as sacrificial cosmic man rather than Absolute Principle as he's seen in the Upanishads -- it could be Varuna as that which splits up the man Purusha, divides it, creates distinctions and change from out of Being or the Distinctionless primordiality, is the creating desire which causes Becoming to manifest along with Rta....
@wolpertinger Mountain climbing isn't an end in itself, but is important spiritual training to fight the real war. There are also many temptations which it takes strength to avoid - especially temptations which you have previously succumbed to - fapping is one example. Plenty know that fapping is a waste of time and detrimental - few quit it.
This ties in to your basic point, but the Abrahamic religions all see the world as linear and see it as something wrong. The entire Abrahamic story is that Yahweh or Allah wants the world to obey him, but it for some reason won't. He has to keep coming up with revelations and solutions to fix that. One day he will finally fix it, ending the world and rewarding his believers. The whole idea that there is a problem with the world and that it revolves around obedience is ridiculous to us. The right way of obeying is the "rules of the game" you mentioned, that you win if you get it right.
Of course, even in their new world or paradise, there is no reason to believe it could not go wrong again. According to different versions of their own story, things went wrong twice in the past even when things were perfect. No "original sin" or Devil around to blame for those things. I mean the rebellious angels and Satan, and the sin of Adam and Eve.
You could conceivably send yourself a message in a bottle and find it in a subsequent incarnation, but it would have little apparent meaning to your subsequent incarnation unless the content of the message was so broad as to be applicable to anyone who found it. In fact the more specific the message, the more meaningless and difficult to recognise it would become.
Specific memories have very little in the way of direct, transferable value, it's the aggregate meaning gleaned from an array of memories forms that persists. If we were to be bombarded by extra-existential stimuli we'd quickly go insane. It would degrade the sharpness of perception and hinder the formulation of new memories.
@ollerus I think they all are applicable under the circumstances in which they are worshipped. I think the Greek legend of the Amazon warriors came from Scythian fighting women who worshipped their version of Artemis. May you have a daughter like that! You would say if you were a Scythian Amazon. We are simply living in one matrix, so called western civilization, derived from democratic societies of the past. But that's not the only way to live, nor have a society. Even Loki shows a way to live in which tricks and wits can bring you great bounty like a magical hammer or a foldable boat. And yes, even an eight legged horse. I think the magic of polytheism is that it admits that not one way of living is the final and total correct one.
The waterfalls thing is from the writings of some bishop, maybe multiple bishops mentioned it. It was part of a list of things they complained about people doing. This included sitting on rooftops to watch the sky at certain times of year, rituals at crossroads, sitting under waterfalls or near water sources, and making offerings to the dead at mounds. Though under the waterfall might mean near it, as it is possible to sit near the top of a waterfall or near the bottom(under). It immediately reminded me of purification and meditation practices within Shugendo, if they meant it was directly under the waterfall. There was something heathen and religious about it, or something so innocuous would not have been complained of by bishops. I am trying to think where I read that.
As for the Irish sources, the term is imbas forosnai. The practices of the druids and filid involved certain postures, sensory deprivation, fasting, sitting in place for long periods of time(in a confined space) and possibly breath control(one exercise involved breathing while laying down with a heavy weight on the chest), and contemplating poems given by a teacher. Older practices included offerings to the gods with all that. We have some of these mentioned in myths, some in books of terminology, and some in treatises for the filid. Some of these practices continued into the 17th century with the filid, it was English domination over all of Ireland that made them decline. The English attempted to change Irish society and dismantled the legal and class systems of the Irish. Though some might hesitate to compare these to yoga and class them with shamanic practices instead.
Understanding Dharma as a concept is not as difficult as understanding the dharma of each substance in relation o the universe. What is the dharma of man? Of woman? Of an adult? The dharma of the white race vs the others? Aligning your mind with the origin of dharma is what is crucial in order to understand where to go from here.
This one is significantly longer than Ion, but its still pretty short and manageable. It is a discussion about virtue, with a focus on its teach-ability, between Menon, a high-caste Thessalonian, and (of course) Socrates. It begins with the question of whether or not virtue is something you are born with, or whether it is brought about by circumstance (also theres a brief remark about how Greeks are the only inquisitive people on the earth).
Well, first they must figure out exactly what virtue is. Menon begins by declaring that a man's virtue is managing business, helping his friends, hurting his enemies, and staying away from trouble, and that a woman's virtue is keeping the house in order and so on. Socrates then inquires about what makes these all similar, all virtues? Managing a house and managing business both require temperance, therefore temperance is a more universal sex-neutral virtue. Menon then lists off some more virtues such as justice and courage, but Socrates again inquires about their common attributes. He goes on a tirade about how if you asked a person what color is, you wouldn't respond by naming off colors.
Then, Menon provides a revised definition of virtue: to rejoice in what is handsome, and to be able to provide such things. Socrates responds to this by asking whether anybody would want anything bad for themselves, to which Menon responds that people would only do such a thing out of ignorance of the good. Striking the first part from his definition, we now are left with being able to provide handsome things. Of course, this definition is once again inadequate. You must also provide these things justly and fairly. Therefore, virtue is more to do with acting in accordance with what is just. Socrates then demonstrates that we don't ever learn anything new, because our souls are ancient and they have seen everything before, learning is just a matter of remembering knowledge. He demonstrates this by taking one of Menon's slaves who had never been educated, and by asking him a series of questions, showed that he inherently understood such an academic subject as geometry, it was just a matter of reawakening this knowledge. Thus, they seek to determine whether virtue is knowledge or distinct from knowledge.
If virtue is what is good, then it is knowable if there is no good that is external to knowledge. They list off some good qualities such as health, wealth, cleverness and so on. However, each of these things can be misused, so the one thing uniting all of them is sensibility, or wisdom. You are not born with wisdom, therefore it must be something that can be taught. Who might the teachers of virtue be? Socrates suggests the Sophists, however Menon responds that you would be more virtuous not interacting with the Sophists at all. So then he goes to some examples of virtuous Greeks, and asks whether they had their sons educated in virtue, and by whom. They educated them in patrician crafts such as archery and sailing and such, but curiously not in virtue. So, why are there no teachers of virtue? Well, for one not even the virtuous among us agree about whether or not it is teachable, and if they are unsure about such a thing, how would any of the rest of us have a clue? Therefore, it is deemed unteachable. Since it is unteachable, it cannot be wisdom or otherwise knowledge.
Next they get into the difference between right opinion and knowledge. Both can guide you correctly, but knowledge is more valued because it is immutable. So, since virtue guides us along the right path, it must either be knowledge or right opinion. Well, since it can't be knowledge, it must be right opinion. Where does this right opinion come from? The same place that the Oracle's prophecies come from: the Gods. Those that act with virtue do not know virtue, but yet they emanate it and are guided by it. (There may be some similarity to the idea of avatars here, but I'm no expert on that) In conclusion, virtue is given to us by the Gods.
This one was a little confusing to me, so I may have messed up somewhere in my summary.
I'm pretty sure there's a line in Celtic Heroic Age about how the Celts used divination not to attempt to alter what's foretold, but to decide how best to prepare for it. I think that aligns with how Odin prepares for Ragnarok by building an army despite knowing his fate.
Another way of expressing the clay analogy is feminine-masculine. The Old Europeans were somewhat autistic so to speak, and the female domination of the society kept it stable, so that when the masculine Aryan culture came in, they cultured the old euros and gave them Spirit. The Aryans therefore shaped the “clay society” of women.
Speaking of Glima here is a very good video on the subject: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ic2L8AYvyyo
Glima in general deals with head control and taking your opponent to the ground, like a combination of Muay Thai and Judo. Glima focuses on the idea that your opponent could have a knife and pull it out at any time which is why in glima competition points are scored based on putting your opponent on the ground while being able to stand away from him.
Another very INDO martial art to take part in would be joining a Hema group. From what I know of the practice American Hema groups are more larpy and do not research the history or tactics behind swordplay but there are a few that are very good. In Europe it seems to be a bit better and you can finda youtube channel here where they use sharp swords to train: https://www.youtube.com/user/holmganghamburg/videos