PDA

View Full Version : A new blog on European tradition and religion



Knowledge Goblin
27 Apr 2018, 02:36
Hi there, I'm new to these forums and wanted to drop off a bit of info. I've started a blog called Europeans Unite which will hopefully discuss European traditions and religion in depth.

I've done 5 Articles so far and would be very happy if you could give them a read and provide any feedback. The writing style is not very refined as I've just been focusing on getting the quantity out there for now and building a base of readers.

I'm not permitted to post links but the site is

WEBSITE REMOVED

I recommend starting from the first article as it will give you more of a foundation of what I'm about and what I write about.

volcaniclastic
27 Apr 2018, 08:28
First off, welcome to the forum!

However, please be advised that you need to make 15 posts that are not in either Introductions or Lols, Quizzes and Games, and that spacing out the dots in your website to remove the link function is still the same as POSTING A LINK.

We'd love to give you feedback on your website. But how about you introduce yourself properly, and contribute as a member of this community before we offer you free constructive criticism on your website?

Thanks,
Staff.

Rae'ya
28 Apr 2018, 00:31
You are also more than welcome to ask questions or start discussions on any of the European traditions that interest you :D We have quite a few practitioners of various European traditions here and quite a few more with an interest in related traditions. Is there a particular tradition or religion that you have a focus in?

Knowledge Goblin
28 Apr 2018, 04:21
I'm trying to write for a broad audience, so I'm writing about a lot of different native traditions. But even writing about one is the same as writing about all of them because European religion is the same no matter where you go, even if the names for the Gods are different and there is a few variations due to divergence over time from the pro Indo European culture.

I'll probably mostly be focusing on Norse and Greek mythology as they are much more well documented, though I want to learn more about Celtic, Finnish and Iberian paganism, as they are probably the traditions I know the least about.

Torey
30 Apr 2018, 02:35
...But even writing about one is the same as writing about all of them because European religion is the same no matter where you go, even if the names for the Gods are different and there is a few variations due to divergence over time from the pro Indo European culture...

That's a pretty bold statement - certainly something of a conversation-starter as we have practitioners of many faiths lurking about in this forum. :)

Rae'ya
30 Apr 2018, 02:50
But even writing about one is the same as writing about all of them because European religion is the same no matter where you go, even if the names for the Gods are different and there is a few variations due to divergence over time from the pro Indo European culture.

I'm afraid that I have to disagree with you here. But it does bring up a good point about Archetypes and the way that human nature causes us to interpret deities in similar roles even when viewed through different cultural lenses.


I'll probably mostly be focusing on Norse and Greek mythology as they are much more well documented, though I want to learn more about Celtic, Finnish and Iberian paganism, as they are probably the traditions I know the least about.

We have a number of followers of Norse and Northern Traditions here, including myself :). We also have many members who follow Hellenic paths, so there should be plenty of opportunities for discussion there. We have specific boards for certain traditions, to help keep things organised and gain the attention of the relevant people. Take a look here (http://www.paganforum.com/forumdisplay.php?18-Pagan-Traditions-amp-Discussion)and feel free to post questions or discussion points.

thalassa
02 May 2018, 08:27
I'm trying to write for a broad audience, so I'm writing about a lot of different native traditions. But even writing about one is the same as writing about all of them because European religion is the same no matter where you go, even if the names for the Gods are different and there is a few variations due to divergence over time from the pro Indo European culture.


So, yes, much of most European cultures (and some others) probably evolved from Proto-Indo-European cultures. And yes, there are many similarities between European traditions, likely homologous to one another from this common origin. However, to say they are the same ignores 1) the influence of the earlier culture that PIE traditions were incorporated over and 2) the evolution of those hybridized new cultures across unique ecosystems in the various regions of Europe. Its an incredibly trite dismissal of history at best, and downright offensive to some practitioners at worst.

Knowledge Goblin
09 May 2018, 12:48
Its an incredibly trite dismissal of history at best, and downright offensive to some practitioners at worst.

Well, of course offence is not what I'm aiming at by any means. However, I don't see why me saying that our European traditions are at their root of the same nature should cause offence. I personally believe it is worthy of rejoice that our traditions and customs have remained as united and intact as they have for tens of thousands of years.

Of course the names of Gods vary, there are changes to myths, some additions, subtractions and changes that i agree are deeply entwined with and personalized geographically and ethnically but nothing that takes away from the fundamental essence of what I, personally, hypothesise as being the root of all European paganism: Neanderthal religion.

I believe, based on archaeological evidence, scant as it is, that Neanderthal religion largely continued as the paganism that was practiced up until the christianization of Europe (not Wicca), especially in northern Europe where there was less pollution with other mythologies.

monsno_leedra
09 May 2018, 13:04
Neanderthal Religion? Now that is a real stretch of things. I could see perhaps the Neanderthal's possibly having a holdover in early Nordic type lore as the Jotuns (Giants). Perhaps even to the concept of cross-breeding between the races as you also see in the lore as well as battles between them.

But a Neanderthal Religion that influences European Paganism, or specifically Northern Europe find it highly unlikely. Especially one that lasts until Christianization takes place.

B. de Corbin
10 May 2018, 02:51
LOL - umma gonna put my foot into this...

To say two things are the same is obviously false. Knowledge Goblin seems to have misspoke when using that word. The better wording, because of the acknowledgement of a long series of changes, would be "influenced."

That an "influence" can continue over an infinite length of time is not only possible, it is undeniable.

Consider:
Factor A influences factor B. Factor B influences factor C, as so on until you get to Z. Despite being seperated by a long series of iterations, It is still true that factor A influenced factor Z. If factor A had not existed, the outcome of Z would be different.

The belief that things exist without a series of past influences, and/or without future influences, is to fall into the illusion of seperate things.

- - - Updated - - -

LOL - umma gonna put my foot into this...

To say two things are the same is obviously false. Knowledge Goblin seems to have misspoke when using that word. The better wording, because of the acknowledgement of a long series of changes, would be "influenced."

That an "influence" can continue over an infinite length of time is not only possible, it is undeniable.

Consider:
Factor A influences factor B. Factor B influences factor C, as so on until you get to Z. Despite being seperated by a long series of iterations, It is still true that factor A influenced factor Z. If factor A had not existed, the outcome of Z would be different.

The belief that things exist without a series of past influences, and/or without future influences, is to fall into the illusion of seperate things.

thalassa
10 May 2018, 04:16
Neanderthal Religion? Now that is a real stretch of things. I could see perhaps the Neanderthal's possibly having a holdover in early Nordic type lore as the Jotuns (Giants). Perhaps even to the concept of cross-breeding between the races as you also see in the lore as well as battles between them.

...the Olympians vs. the Titans.

...the Fromorians vs. the Tuatha de Danann

...pretty much any old gods v. new gods mythos






But a Neanderthal Religion that influences European Paganism, or specifically Northern Europe find it highly unlikely. Especially one that lasts until Christianization takes place.

I agree.


I think the closest someone can get to this is a hypothetical PIE religion. And, someone has actually done the work on this. (https://www.amazon.com/Deep-Ancestors-Practicing-Religion-Proto-Indo-Europeans-ebook/dp/B00JF6RKXK/) Its not something I would practice, but I found the ideas pretty interesting.

Knowledge Goblin
10 May 2018, 07:16
I don't think attention is being paid to my clarification of "the same". I don't at all mean "influenced by"; I mean the metaphysical concepts behind each "school" of paganism can be understood to be of the same nature, and that is not a bad thing.

Unless someone can correct me on this, from my rather extensive research the idea of reincarnation, for example, is a central tenet within all European religion, though in the Norse religion it appears there may have been some Christianizing of ideas by the time Stirluson recorded the Eddas (an oversimplification a Heaven and Hell idea).

Neanderthal and paleolithic man also had this belief. Especially in finds in France, many Neanderthal are missing the bone of the left thigh and the skull. This is because of a ceremonial ritual that would take place at the coming of age, typically 13 years old, the reason for the choice 13 and how we know is rather complex but is it essentially comes down to there being thirteen moons in a year, 13 menstrual cycles and 12 star signs plus a choice of one other celestial body .

The soon to be adult's ancestor would be exhumed, the thigh bone turned into a flute (human thigh flutes are rather common) and the skull's cranium would become a drinking and eating vessel for the adult whilst the rest of the head was either displayed or worn as jewellry. The ancestor's belongings would be "recovered" and the essential self of the deceased was believed to come back to life into the adolescent.

An example of this within the paleolithic era can be found in Cheddar Gorge, modern day England where the skull of one skeleton has been found fashioned into a kind of "cup". If I remember correctly two of the finds were genetically related.

This is, of course the same in more modern pagan practices such as Iron Age burial mounds in Scandinavia and Saxon territories. In addition, some Hindus such as Aghori practice a similair thing.

I could go into more depth here but I'm going to write a full essay on Neanderthal religion in the near future. This is what I meant when I said that European paganism is all, at its heart, the same. It is about the continuation of one's essence over an indefinite time through spiritual excellence, adherance and interpretation of allegory (myths) and eventual perfection.

Myths are not meant to be believed, they are and were meant to be interpreted for their deeper meaning. The reason that on the face of it they all seem disconnected and stupid is so that those who were not worthy could not gain undesserved knowledge.

As Hesiod said, the goods have laid out a path in toil.

anunitu
10 May 2018, 07:48
just in the corner with the peanut gallery.

B. de Corbin
10 May 2018, 07:54
Ok - well, when you get into "the same nature," you are going to run into difficulties with discussion because you have to be able to explain what "the nature of a thing is."

For some, the nature is in the rituals, for others, it is in the documentation (Bible, Koran, etc.), for others, it is a difficult to define spiritual thing.

To avoid difficulties...

... when you discuss the nature of a religion, what are you talking about?

anunitu
10 May 2018, 08:30
Myths are not meant to be believed, they are and were meant to be interpreted for their deeper meaning. The reason that on the face of it they all seem disconnected and stupid is so that those who were not worthy could not gain undesserved knowledge.

Wondering about the highlighted line

Knowledge Goblin
10 May 2018, 10:42
Again, I could and should write an entire essay on this highlighted line.

From my research, I get the invlination that paganism had/has a sydtem of mysteries to it and that the common man had only a fraction of the knowledge held by those who involved themselves within cultic socities such as that of Mithraism, which it can be assumed had something to do with PIE religion as Mithra is depicted always as wearing a phrygian cap, which is of Yamnaya origin and worn more commonly by germanic tribes.

I wish to do more research into this area, but it does not make sense to me that if there was not a tiered system of knowledge what the purpose in priests would have been at all.

Use christianity (yeah, I know) as an example. Why do priests exist? To decipher the scripture and simplify it for the layman. Why do bishops exist? To advise priests and further their spiritual education.

Every religion for obvious reasons has a tiered system of knowledge under which the average person only has a limited understanding.

Paganism is even more "mysterious" if you will, as there were no scriptures to reas as far as we know and so a person would have to learn the lore by word of mouth. IE the knowledge would have to be sought out.

Bartmanhomer
10 May 2018, 12:19
Again, I could and should write an entire essay on this highlighted line.

From my research, I get the invlination that paganism had/has a sydtem of mysteries to it and that the common man had only a fraction of the knowledge held by those who involved themselves within cultic socities such as that of Mithraism, which it can be assumed had something to do with PIE religion as Mithra is depicted always as wearing a phrygian cap, which is of Yamnaya origin and worn more commonly by germanic tribes.

I wish to do more research into this area, but it does not make sense to me that if there was not a tiered system of knowledge what the purpose in priests would have been at all.

Use christianity (yeah, I know) as an example. Why do priests exist? To decipher the scripture and simplify it for the layman. Why do bishops exist? To advise priests and further their spiritual education.

Every religion for obvious reasons has a tiered system of knowledge under which the average person only has a limited understanding.

Paganism is even more "mysterious" if you will, as there were no scriptures to reas as far as we know and so a person would have to learn the lore by word of mouth. IE the knowledge would have to be sought out.
I can't speak on Paganism and other religion but I can speak to Christianity. In Catholicism runs in a hierarchical system. The Pope (Highest), Archbishop, Bishop, Priest, I can't name other ranks. The four that I know of. They run by a hierarchical system in which they achieve but following Catholicism rules. I'm not Catholic but I have some knowledge of how Catholicism. Same thing with Christianity, Hebrew and Islam.

Knowledge Goblin
11 May 2018, 05:28
... when you discuss the nature of a religion, what are you talking about?



Nature: the basic or inherent features, character, or qualities of something.

Inherent: existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute.


So when I say that the nature of all European paganism has the same nature, it is as aforementioned when I discuss the link back to Neanderthal and then palaeolithic religion. It is all about the perfection of the soul, the struggle of reincarnation and the eventually hope of spiritual ascension, and always has been.

MaskedOne
11 May 2018, 06:10
Nature: the basic or inherent features, character, or qualities of something.

Inherent: existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute.


So when I say that the nature of all European paganism has the same nature, it is as aforementioned when I discuss the link back to Neanderthal and then palaeolithic religion. It is all about the perfection of the soul, the struggle of reincarnation and the eventually hope of spiritual ascension, and always has been.


And you've lost me...

Reincarnation is explicitly not a thing in Heathenry. I'm relatively sure that it is not a thing or is at most a very minor thing in Hellenic practice and Roman Practice (there are at least two figures in Hades who by this point would likely love a fate as benign as reincarnation instead of the personalized and eternal fate Hades gave them). It might be a thing in some Celtic or East European practices (I don't know to say one way or another) but it certainly isn't aome constant factor across European belief aystems.

monsno_leedra
11 May 2018, 07:09
I can't think of any "scientific" proven study that says the Neanderthal had a religion or believed in reincarnation. Funeral rites don't specifically indicate a religion or an indication of an afterlife. Yet it does suggest a social system that recognizes a cultural & familial system of sorts, an ancestral system of sorts and some sort of belief system but not specifically a religious system but spiritual system. Probably an animistic (Animism or Animatism) system more than a religious system as we would today define religion.

Lore wise I don't see reincarnation in Hellene mythos as the norm. If and when it is present it is the exception to the norm and not for the common person but tends to occur with the gods. The common people basically drink the waters of forgetfulness and that is the end of their past lives. Their shade stays in the underworld. Though later stories do speak of Heroes who visit or call upon the shades and speak with them if they were famous in life or connected to the hero. Then you have the Orpheus and Bacchic tablets that one was supposed to memorize that would allow you to by pass the waters of forgetfulness by calling upon Persephone and retain your memories. Yet again you didn't reincarnate but were still bound to some level of the underworld. Your living family potentially able to change your status or location in the underworld through offerings, rituals, ceremonies, etc. That or aide in transition your "shade" from the category of restless dead to underworld dead by proper funeral rites and such.

The closest Nordic concept of reincarnation I can think of would be with Ragnarok and the Warriors joining the Gods from the Great Halls to do battle. Yet realistically is that reincarnation?

Knowledge Goblin
12 May 2018, 03:58
There is no reincarnation in European paganism, explicitly in heathenry? What? It is mentioned explicitly many times.

Ok, firstly reincarnation is prominently discussed in Greek religious dialogues that we know of and likely many that are not extant. Orpheus, Socrates, Plato, Xenophon, Pythagoras and many others were advocates of reincarnation and we know from their works that this was not an unconventional belief at least among notary people, and there is no reason to suggest that lay people would have thought any differently.

The reason it is not as heavily mentioned in Roman thought is because the Roman empire had taken in numerous immigrants from across the globe including North Africa, Anatolia and most importantly Jews. Judaism had a tremendous influence over the Roman empire. In fact, one of the main reasons Rome conquered so much of Europe was that the emperor was being threatened because of the debt he owed to money lenders. Feel free to disagree but Roman paganism and to a lesse extent Greek paganism (especially that of Athens) really cannot be used accurately to determine what traditional European religion was like because of just how diluted their religion became. In the Homeric era (Circa 800BC), the religion of Greece can be thought of as PIE but as the era we call the Ancient Era ensued thought changed significantly. Now on to the big topic: Germanic paganism. The Norwegian king Olaf Geirstad was said to have returned from the grave in a dream to request his barrow be opened:

Later, the spirit of Olaf appears in a dream to a man named Hrani, who is instructed to break into the howe, salvage the ring, with the sword named Besing (Bęsingr) and a belt which are to be presented to Queen Įsta for her future son. The man was also bidden to sever the head of the drow though making sure the head was set straight on its neck in the beheading process. The man does as instructed, and the queen gives birth to the future Olaf the Saint.

The Scandinavians also, as well as most of Europe, had a custom whereby the first born son was named after his grandfather if his grandfather was deceased so that his soul could return.

Celts, as you said in Britain, Ireland, Gaul and Iberia also believed in reincarnation:

Alexander Cornelius Polyhistor wrote that the Gauls teach “that the souls of men are immortal, and that after a fixed number of years they will enter into another body.”

and to further prove my point:

Julius Caesar wrote of the Celts in his ‘De Bello Gallico’ that “the principal point of their doctrine is that the soul does not die and that after death it passes from one body into another ... a firm belief in the indestructibility of the human soul, which, merely passes at death from one tenement to another; for by such doctrine alone, they say, which robs death of all its terrors, can the highest form of human courage be developed.”

If you're not going to acknowledge the role of reincarnation in our ancestor's religion, there's really not any point at all because its such a central tenet of the religion. It would be like a Christian saying that Jesus didn't exist.

Finally, the only extant branch of PIE religion that has an unbroken continuation back at least 6000 years is Hinduism. You of course cannot argue that reincarnation is not a central tenet of Hinduism.

Shahaku
16 May 2018, 06:26
I'll start with the reincarnation bit. Reincarnation is a particularly complex topic, even if it looks simple at the surface. There are many different levels, if you will, of the human soul, many different ways of defining it, even within a single religions example. Often the conscious and the spirit/shade are distinguished as different aspects. In many cultures the conscious part of a person is extinguished at the same time their life is, and what moves on is this manifestation of energy, the shade, spirit, what have you.

But that's not always the case. African traditions have a strong belief in ancestor worship, though it is varied from culture to culture, it's a common belief. Africans believe that they can always access their ancestors ghost, back for generation upon generation, and it's usually attached to a statue of some kind. While some of these cultural beliefs incorporate reincarnation, they are few. It's much more likely that the ghost is attached to the family until forgotten or no longer needed, at which time they move into the realm of the Ancestors. Or that they immediately move into the realm of the Ancestors, but are forever attached to their family and can assist from there. There are some African religions that believe in earthly reincarnation, but they also believe that their ancestors can help them, even very distant ancestors, which means that some part of the soul couldn't have been reincarnated, it must remain ethereal to offer assistance. And if you want to get down to it, ancient Africa is the source of all religion, for it's the source of all mankind.

The pagan beliefs of the East in regard to reincarnation are even more confusing and complex, while looking simple at a first glance. They don’t believe that a person’s consciousness is reborn, only the energy of that person, but that energy carries a karmic balance. This is where a lot of the modern day pagan beliefs in reincarnation come from, not Europe. It is perhaps the single greatest thing that pagans have drawn from Eastern traditions, along with the focus on meditation techniques, since the techniques of our ancestors were lost or hard to decipher.

While reincarnation may be mentioned in some European contexts, it’s important to realize that there was a definite afterlife world in most of these traditions. Hades, Valhalla, the Delightful Plain, Tir no Nog (sp?). Many names, but ultimately the place where people go when they die. And generally, people accepted that they wouldn’t be coming back. That was the consensus.

The other thing to realize is that there were often separate orders within one faith, and even more so within a greater culture, and those orders could believe drastically different things. There are always outliers, and those individual outlier, when added together, could be greater than the majority. Modern day Evangelical Christians, the extreme right, are particularly vocal, and have tons of published material, but they don't represent the majority. But, in a couple thousand years, when people look back on this time period in America, they are probably going to say, Oh well, all these prominent people (the published ones) believed in XYZ, the greater population must have believed it too. But it's much more complicated than that, isn't it? So saying that because Plato/Socrates/etc believed in XYZ, does not necessarily mean that it was a common belief or that they were representing the populace particularly well.

Now, on to the topic of monastics and the mysteries. Mysteries are interesting and intriguing. Humanity in general has an interest in anything unseen, or difficult to discover. We’re curious creatures. That meant that by incorporating mysteries, a religion could hold the people’s interest. It’s somewhat manipulative and I don’t like how it’s been incorporated into modern day paganism.

There is a level of education needed to reach be able to understand higher ideas, but to classify those ideas as mysteries and things that can only be accessed with commitment to one group is a bit underhanded. It’s blackmailing a religious commitment from people. But perhaps that’s a little off topic.

The monastic order does hold the mysteries sacred. They do interpret the knowledge gained from those mysteries for the general populace. But they are so much more than that. They are the teacher’s and storytellers. They perform the sacred rites. They bring comfort in difficult times. They are the hand that guides. That is their purpose, and they stand between the worlds. So it is much more than just gaining access to the mysteries, but a responsibility as well.

From what I can find there was no Norse monastic order. Their religion was an integral part of their life. Their rulers were also their religious leaders. And their rulers were determined by popularity, though it stands to reason that the child of one ruler would be in a better position to gain support. So, knowledge of rites, mysteries, etc, was everyone’s responsibility, but especially that of the noble class.

As far as Hellenic traditions go, there were numerous orders and temples, usually dedicated to a particular deity. There were very obvious levels of the monastic order. But what each of those temple’s believed and dedicated themselves to was at times quite different. Some believed in asceticism and others in indulgence for example. They all served a purpose.

And finally on Archetypes. I’m a strong believer in archetypes. There is great evidence that archetypes are a thing. After all, in almost every polytheistic religion you can see gods of farming, motherhood, death, and creation. In almost every culture you see the trickster. And I do think, that as we can trace all of humanity back to Africa, we can see the influences of what the most ancient people believed trickling through history. But too much time has passed for us to truly know what the original faith would have looked like. And the religions of today have vast difference and gaps in belief.

The essential factors of many faiths, outside of deities, can differ greatly though. Many have something that amounts to the Golden Rule. There’s a UU sign that lists them all, it’s pretty cool. But what they held most important outside of that changes. Is death a good thing, a time when you’re moving into a new existence, or an evil thing, a punishment for all the wrong done in life? Is sex good or bad? What values are held highest? What are the taboos? How can one communicate with the divine? These are all things that vary greatly from faith to faith.

And honestly I don’t think it matters. What’s important is that you be a good person in this life.

October
24 May 2018, 11:35
Hi there. Your ideas are interesting and I'm a big believer in archetypes. However, as an archaeologist and a Celtic Reconstructionist, I have to advise you that Rule #1 when dealing with the Celts is to never reference Caesar. Remember that everything he wrote about them was propaganda intended to enrage the people at home so that they would support and fund his wars with the Gauls (because he wanted their gold). So please keep an eye on your sources and where you are getting your information, and make sure it's as unbiased as possible.

Knowledge Goblin
27 May 2018, 04:45
Hi there. Your ideas are interesting and I'm a big believer in archetypes. However, as an archaeologist and a Celtic Reconstructionist, I have to advise you that Rule #1 when dealing with the Celts is to never reference Caesar. Remember that everything he wrote about them was propaganda intended to enrage the people at home so that they would support and fund his wars with the Gauls (because he wanted their gold). So please keep an eye on your sources and where you are getting your information, and make sure it's as unbiased as possible.


Hi mate, sorry for the late reply; I've not been paying much attention to this site as unfortunately it doesn't seem to be very active usually. I'm no professional historian, but I can not understand the logic you use in reference to not quoting Caesar, Tacitus, etc. There really is no such thing as an unbiased source. From what I have learned and indeed indeed common sense would it not stand to reason that the Romans would wish to portray the Northern European people as less civilized than they actually were in order to justify invasion? This is why there are random references in Tactitus to Celtic women offering themselves to anyone, and Romans saying that there were homosexual Celts which the other sources indicate is not true. As long as you compare sources it shouldn't matter whether there is bias, as it would soon become obvious which one is the odd one out and is telling lies. Also, there could be no political motivation to saying that Celts believed in reincarnation; that's ridiculous.