Saturday, October 4, 2014

Emergent Paganism (a brief observation on current events)

Paganism does not proceed according to some plan or theory. Paganism is the natural religion of humanity, and, therefore, anything and everything that humans do in the realm of religion, with the single provision that this activity is engaged in in relative freedom from coercion, is Paganism.

Only two groups of people are qualified to attempt the truly Herculean task of providing any sort of systematic explication, or, more accurately denoted, logos, concerning this thing called Paganism: priests and philosophers. Everyone else is free to do as they please: to pray, practice, invoke, believe, sing, chant, dance, bless, curse, etc, however they see fit, or not, if that is their choice. Those who are uninstructed are also free to speculate and theorize, but their contributions to knowledge are of the same quality as those known as "young earth creationists".

But even if one were to agree with the above, then there is still the question: who are the genuine priests and philosophers of modern Paganism. Or, more to the point: Do such creatures even exist? For my part, I would tend to say, simply, no, they do not. Or at least it seems wisest and most prudent to assume their non-existence as the only defensible default position, and to only abandon this in the face of overwhelming, extraordinary evidence.

Then is there no hope?

On the contrary.

As has always been the case, and as will always be, Gods willing, we are still free to pray, practice, invoke, believe, sing, chant, dance, bless, curse, etc, however we see fit, or not, if that is our choice. And there is one thing, in addition, that we must do, if we wish to understand what we are doing (and it has always been only a small minority who chooses to pursue that desire with any energy, or with any real hope of success): We must study.

Homer. Plato. Vergil. Ovid. Plotinus. Proclus. Cicero. Seneca. Porphyry. Iamblichus. Apuleius. Macrobius. Epictetus. Marcus. Plautus. Lucretius. Celsus. Julian. Horace. Flaccus. Ptolemy. Plutarch.  Statius. Manilius. Herodotus. Xenophon. Fronto. Livy. Thucydides. Aristotle. Gellius. Ammianus. Et cetera. The Gods have preserved these for us. Study them, or keep silent. Better yet: study them and keep silent until many years of study have yielded at least some small measure of genuine understanding.

If we practice and study fervently and piously, then the Gods will reward us greatly. A new Paganism will emerge. A Paganism that is truly our own, while also being truly ancient. A Paganism that is deathless, like the Gods, but also living and ever changing, like the Cosmos in which we live, and of which we are a part.