September 8th, 2004
|10:11 am - Eliade and Jung will destroy your mind!|
I realized recently that we scholarly people like to do something strange.
Fluff-Bunny Newbie: What's a good book on Paganism? How do I learn about my religion?
Scholarly Pagan with Ego: Read Eliade's Myth of Eternal Return. You'll understand things better. Or Joeseph Campbell's Hero with 1,000 Faces. Or get yourself some Jung. And don't call him Jung, call him Young.
FBN: This will make me a better Pagan?
SPE: Of course! You'll know about the collective unconscious! You'll understand how myth is an expression of primordial time. You'll see how there are no original myths.
FBN: Oh. Is that what Paganism is about?
SPE: Well, no. It's about personal experience.
FBN: But why am I reading this then?
SPE: Because they're important. It gives you tools to talk about your religion.
FBN: But I don't know what my religion is about! How will I talk about things I don't have an experience of? It'd be like having a hammer and no nails!
SPE: I use my hammer all the time. In fact, I'm using it now to make my point to you.
FBN: Oh, I see. I'm going to go back to being Christian. Thanks anyway.
SPE: [muttering under breath] Obviously, FBN wasn't cut out to be Pagan anyway.
Why do we do this? Shouldn't our first recommendation be: Go out into the woods, sit there, and wait for something to happen. If nothing happens, pretend it did, because that's just as valid as anything else out there. ?
I think we're messed up, and we need to re-think things.
Besides, pointing people to Jung and Eliade is just going to mess them up.
Current Mood: bitchy
Current Music: "Burn That Bridge", -JB
Most important recommendation to a fluffy-bunny newbie: "Use your own methods of discernment. Do not believe everything anyone (including me) tells you, nor everything you read. Do read everything and talk to everyone, and then make up your own mind."
Beyond that, Jung and Eliade as introductory texts for Paganism 101? I've never heard of that. The authors, to my knowledge, aren't even Pagan. I think both are interesting and valuable in their own right, but not to define my faith.
I do think Scott Cunningham is a good author (I wouldn't recommend Silver Ravenwolf or DJ Conway, however. :-) ) His history may not be the best, but then his faith isn't grounded in history. His approach is mystical, that is, personal experience with Deity. That is to me as valid as anything else.
If someone is citing false history as a foundation of faith (ie, don't trust Christians. Look what they did to us during the Burning Times), then and only then does it become necessary to offer up an alternate view, citing sources. If, however, some people choose to worship the Great Goddess because they saw her in a vision, historical documentation becomes irrelevant. Historical studies can be a valuable source of information about the Gods, (and is for me), but is not the only available paradigm.
Your advice about going into the woods is excellent, and absolutely vital.