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September 8th, 2004


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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: bitchybitchy
Current Music: "Burn That Bridge", -JB

(31 comments Leave a comment)

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[User Picture]
From:criedwyddwen
Date:September 12th, 2004 03:44 am (UTC)
(Link)
Perhaps they were.

Sometimes people gain the courage to take the first step but if they are met with a seemingly overwhelming obstacle once 'outside the box' they cannot manage the next step. So they retreat. If they were met with support & understanding, they can manage to go further.

Example, I have a friend who is/was Christian ... and a Catholic convert, no less. But he was growing disenchanted with his adopted Catholicism and began to investigate witchcraft/wicca. At first he was extremely concerned about going to hell ... after all, they had pounded that into him, that following any other religion would result in eternal damnation.

I spent many a conversation with him pointing out the similarities between Wicca and Catholicism, telling him that learning about other religions surely wasn't sinful, and that he could always 'go back' if he decided it didn't work for him. I even told him about Christopaganism. Fast forward a couple months, his progress is slow but I don't hear the fear anymore. He's reading, learning, discussing, growing.

I know pagans don't proselytize. But we should welcome new seekers with gentleness and support ... for some, merely asking for information is a huge leap of courage.

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