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Thread: Lies about Arawn and other Gods

  1. #1
    Thane Doc_Holliday's Avatar
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    Lies about Arawn and other Gods

    I have recently been very interested in the Welsh God of the dead and the underworld, Arawn. During the times of the Pagan Celts he was considered a wise and just ruler of the underworld, generally fair and upright. And the underworld he oversaw was a "land of peace and relaxation".

    However with the advent of Christianity in the lands of the Welsh Arawn began to be demonized due to his association with death. Soon he became a symbolic equivalent of the Christian Satan, overseeing Hell and snatching up the souls of the "damned" as if such a thing existed in the Welsh Pagan mythos.

    I have no problem with fundamentalists believing these things, as that's what fundamentalists do and I can't lose all my hair over it. But when Pagans themselves answer questions from new practitioners using anti-Pagan propaganda as a source, it's incredibly frustrating. I almost take it personally that this kind and just divinity is being so defamed today by those who claim to represent him. It takes all of two seconds of research to eliminate these misconceptions.

    Anyways this isn't a rant, I guess I'm curious about others experience with anti-Pagan propaganda in learning the faith, or of any opinions of this issue. Or this can be lost to the annals of PF
    Last edited by Doc_Holliday; 09 May 2020 at 22:47.
    White and Red 'till I'm cold and dead.
    In Days of yore,
    From Britain's shore
    Wolfe the dauntless hero came
    And planted firm Britannia's flag
    On Canada's fair domain.
    Here may it wave,
    Our boast, our pride
    And joined in love together,
    The thistle, shamrock, rose entwined,
    The Maple Leaf Forever.

  2. #2
    PF Ordo Hereticus MaskedOne's Avatar
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    Re: Lies about Arawn and other Gods

    It's not something that I generally pay a great deal of thought to beyond the basic premise of ignoring certain sources. It'd probably become more of an issue if I put more dedicated effort into searching through the history of specific Powers than I have recently but I've been focused in other areas for a while. My only real thought on the issue at the moment is to be careful not to start seeing deliberate propaganda where it may not be. The Prose Edda is a fun case, it was written by a Christian that certainly had an impact on it but we've had people claim that hey, maybe Ragnarok was entirely thought up by Snorri and the evidence is less than compelling.
    "It is not simply enough to know the light…a Jedi must feel the tension between the two sides of the Force…in himself and in the universe."
    ―Thon

    "When to the Force you truly give yourself, all you do expresses the truth of who you are,"

    Yoda

    Yoda told stories, and ate, and cried, and laughed: and the Padawans saw that life itself was a lightsaber in his hands; even in the face of treachery and death and hopes gone cold, he burned like a candle in the darkness. Like a star shining in the black eternity of space.

    Yoda: Dark Rendezvous

    "But those men who know anything at all about the Light also know that there is a fierceness to its power, like the bare sword of the law, or the white burning of the sun." Suddenly his voice sounded to Will very strong, and very Welsh. "At the very heart, that is. Other things, like humanity, and mercy, and charity, that most good men hold more precious than all else, they do not come first for the Light. Oh, sometimes they are there; often, indeed. But in the very long run the concern of you people is with the absolute good, ahead of all else..."

    John Rowlands, The Grey King by Susan Cooper

    "You come from the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve", said Aslan. "And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth; be content."

    Aslan, Prince Caspian by CS Lewis



  3. #3
    Thane Doc_Holliday's Avatar
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    Re: Lies about Arawn and other Gods

    Quote Originally Posted by MaskedOne View Post
    It's not something that I generally pay a great deal of thought to beyond the basic premise of ignoring certain sources. It'd probably become more of an issue if I put more dedicated effort into searching through the history of specific Powers than I have recently but I've been focused in other areas for a while. My only real thought on the issue at the moment is to be careful not to start seeing deliberate propaganda where it may not be. The Prose Edda is a fun case, it was written by a Christian that certainly had an impact on it but we've had people claim that hey, maybe Ragnarok was entirely thought up by Snorri and the evidence is less than compelling.
    Yeah although I think Snorri shows evidence of some negative bias in the tone of his writings, I do not believe Ragnarok is wholesale fake and I see what you're cautioning against, good point. I think here Arawn is quite plainly being misrepresented but I've concluded that it's mostly teens and children perpetuating the lies so I'm not too bothered. I sort of forgot that there is a massive <18 Pagan community online, and not that it's a bad thing, but sometimes things that are written and appear to be absurd are in fact just childish. So I try to have grace.
    White and Red 'till I'm cold and dead.
    In Days of yore,
    From Britain's shore
    Wolfe the dauntless hero came
    And planted firm Britannia's flag
    On Canada's fair domain.
    Here may it wave,
    Our boast, our pride
    And joined in love together,
    The thistle, shamrock, rose entwined,
    The Maple Leaf Forever.

  4. #4
    PF Ordo Hereticus MaskedOne's Avatar
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    Re: Lies about Arawn and other Gods

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc_Holliday View Post
    Yeah although I think Snorri shows evidence of some negative bias in the tone of his writings, I do not believe Ragnarok is wholesale fake and I see what you're cautioning against, good point. I think here Arawn is quite plainly being misrepresented but I've concluded that it's mostly teens and children perpetuating the lies so I'm not too bothered. I sort of forgot that there is a massive <18 Pagan community online, and not that it's a bad thing, but sometimes things that are written and appear to be absurd are in fact just childish. So I try to have grace.
    Arawn could easily be a victim of rather profound amounts of propaganda. My familiarity rapidly starts to fade once one leaves the realms of Hellenic and Norse pantheons. I have a very limited familiarity with Sumerian Powers and I generally recognize names of Hindu Powers but my knowledge of the Celts borders on nil.

    In the area of general research fails and misrepresentations, it probably doesn't help anyone that some prominent Pagan authors fail at research forever. Granted most Pagan research fails tend toward white-washing rather than negative propaganda but every once in a while some rather silly side effects creep in when you can't easily white wash both sides at once.
    "It is not simply enough to know the light…a Jedi must feel the tension between the two sides of the Force…in himself and in the universe."
    ―Thon

    "When to the Force you truly give yourself, all you do expresses the truth of who you are,"

    Yoda

    Yoda told stories, and ate, and cried, and laughed: and the Padawans saw that life itself was a lightsaber in his hands; even in the face of treachery and death and hopes gone cold, he burned like a candle in the darkness. Like a star shining in the black eternity of space.

    Yoda: Dark Rendezvous

    "But those men who know anything at all about the Light also know that there is a fierceness to its power, like the bare sword of the law, or the white burning of the sun." Suddenly his voice sounded to Will very strong, and very Welsh. "At the very heart, that is. Other things, like humanity, and mercy, and charity, that most good men hold more precious than all else, they do not come first for the Light. Oh, sometimes they are there; often, indeed. But in the very long run the concern of you people is with the absolute good, ahead of all else..."

    John Rowlands, The Grey King by Susan Cooper

    "You come from the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve", said Aslan. "And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth; be content."

    Aslan, Prince Caspian by CS Lewis



  5. #5
    Thane Doc_Holliday's Avatar
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    Re: Lies about Arawn and other Gods

    Quote Originally Posted by MaskedOne View Post
    Arawn could easily be a victim of rather profound amounts of propaganda. My familiarity rapidly starts to fade once one leaves the realms of Hellenic and Norse pantheons. I have a very limited familiarity with Sumerian Powers and I generally recognize names of Hindu Powers but my knowledge of the Celts borders on nil.

    In the area of general research fails and misrepresentations, it probably doesn't help anyone that some prominent Pagan authors fail at research forever. Granted most Pagan research fails tend toward white-washing rather than negative propaganda but every once in a while some rather silly side effects creep in when you can't easily white wash both sides at once.
    Fair enough, my knowledge definitely starts to fade south of the Alps. Yeah Arawn was certainly the victim of some early propaganda (and the lasting cultural residue) when Wales was freshly evangelized. And the Celts overall aversion to recording their sacred histories has left us with little historical record to counteract the common negative folk perspective. Thankfully the Mabinogion itself saves some of Arawns upright and honorable personality, and is a good rebuttal against negative portrayals. Additionally we know that most gods of the Celtic lands were demonized after conversion, especially those with chthonic traits. This together shows that the idea that he was a devilish god of terror, torment, revenge and hell, are likely christian scare tactics.
    Anyways, he's the victim of early propaganda, and these days I think it's mostly naivety that keeps it alive since we now largely know it to be false. And yes I agree that the pagan literature community could use some more rigorous scholarship at times. I suspect the reason a pagan author would perpetuate negative propaganda would simply be due to laziness. Going with the first source they see, as it were.

    I hope this didn't ramble too much, it's been a long day
    White and Red 'till I'm cold and dead.
    In Days of yore,
    From Britain's shore
    Wolfe the dauntless hero came
    And planted firm Britannia's flag
    On Canada's fair domain.
    Here may it wave,
    Our boast, our pride
    And joined in love together,
    The thistle, shamrock, rose entwined,
    The Maple Leaf Forever.

  6. #6
    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: Lies about Arawn and other Gods

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc_Holliday View Post
    I have recently been very interested in the Welsh God of the dead and the underworld, Arawn. During the times of the Pagan Celts he was considered a wise and just ruler of the underworld, generally fair and upright. And the underworld he oversaw was a "land of peace and relaxation".

    However with the advent of Christianity in the lands of the Welsh Arawn began to be demonized due to his association with death. Soon he became a symbolic equivalent of the Christian Satan, overseeing Hell and snatching up the souls of the "damned" as if such a thing existed in the Welsh Pagan mythos.

    I have no problem with fundamentalists believing these things, as that's what fundamentalists do and I can't lose all my hair over it. But when Pagans themselves answer questions from new practitioners using anti-Pagan propaganda as a source, it's incredibly frustrating. I almost take it personally that this kind and just divinity is being so defamed today by those who claim to represent him. It takes all of two seconds of research to eliminate these misconceptions.

    Anyways this isn't a rant, I guess I'm curious about others experience with anti-Pagan propaganda in learning the faith, or of any opinions of this issue. Or this can be lost to the annals of PF
    I don't know much about the Celtic pantheon, but demonized deities are sort of my speciality... so I know that frustration very, very well! I have an affinity with cthonic and death deities, and almost all of them have all been demonized to a certain extent. My primary focus is Northern Tradition, and with the bulk of our extant Lore being heavily Christianised it can be tough to sort the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Especially when it comes to the Jotnar deities. I also work with literal Demons from the Goetic pantheon, so yeah.

    I'm not sure that I'd call it 'anti-paganism' exactly... more like an endemic misunderstanding or disconnect with the concept of death and the afterlife. So many people nowdays are frightened of death and supposedly dark or morbid topics. There are societal taboos and altruistic conceptions that cause a lot of neo-pagans to focus entirely on 'love and light' topics to the exclusion of everything else. And when we are talking about Death and the Underworlds, there is still so much fear and misunderstanding that it's much easier for many pagans to throw their hands up and say 'oh no, we don't believe in that, we are purely white and good and you have no need to fear or ridicule us'. So I suppose I see it as a symptom of societal bias rather than any organised anti-pagan sentiments.

    (Also, ha-Satan is not a Christian deity, but a pre-Christian Abrahamic entity with a rich and much maligned history. The Devil is a Christian entity and entirely his own kettle of fish, and is I believe who you meant to reference above ).

  7. #7

    Re: Lies about Arawn and other Gods

    All death gods were cast as villains in christianization. Hell itself is a dimunization of a goddess, named Hel. The christian religion implores it's followers to escape death by accepting the murder of the better man as atonement for their innumerable sins.

    My boat is named Arawn, btw, lol. My favorite rod is Loo. My children know that rods are just rods, and boats are just boats - but my boat, and my rod, are something else /
    Last edited by Rhythm; 26 Jun 2020 at 07:55.

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