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Occasionally I wandered in where I was not wanted and gave truthful answers.
Sometimes I even did it deliberately. A little disruption now can prevent disaster later.


This is a page from the third version of Technopagan Yearnings. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at www.neowayland.com/C550866538/E20051228042819

The myth can be more comfortable than the truth, but the myth can keep us from growing

Wicca is not thousands of years old. At best it can be dated back to the 1950s.

Modern Neopaganism has about as much to do with the pre-Christian faiths as an flashlight does to a oil torch. It may do some of the same things, but it doesn't do everything that could be done before, and it does things that couldn't be done before.

Those statements would be enough to get me flamed by some of the Pagans today. But why? I didn't attack the belief structure. I didn't stand up and deny the validity of Wicca or Paganism. All I said was that the history is fairly short.

Since the late 1980s, there has been a growing acceptance that the Neopagan faiths are at best reconstructions. There is no unbroken line stretching back centuries. Even in the lines that do exist, very little of the entire complete knowledge and wisdom was handed down.

One reason is because the knowledge doesn't apply anymore. Why should I know how to hitch a team to a plow when there are tractors? Should I learn how to shoe a horse or change a tire? Which is going to do me the most good today?

Another reason is because the geography is different. It wasn't all that long ago that most people were born, lived, and died in a fifty mile radius. In that case, knowing which rock formation perfectly framed the sunrise on the summer solstice was important. But when people can live hundreds or thousands of miles from where they were born and grew up, that knowledge goes by the wayside. Knowing the edible plants in Oxfordshire or the Black Forest isn't going to help you in Paradox, New Mexico.

So why do we do it? Why do we reach back to what was?

We need to feel like we belong. We need to connect with what passed before us. This is natural and healthy. We recognize those who have gone before, and hopefully learn from their experiences as well as our own.

But why do we reach out when we know the information is wrong? Why do we hold on to the myth?

I'm not sure, but I think a lot of it has to do with romanticizing the past. It's our longing for the good old days, when men were real men and women were real women.

If we define our status by what we belong to rather than what we have done and will do, maybe we have forgotten that the gods want us to live our own lives.

Take me for example. I used to belong to a very active online Pagan group. It wasn't unusual for me to post on three or four different subjects a day, and I started about two or three subjects a week. I was in the habit of thinking "witchy," and I could do it at the drop of a hat. I didn't think anything about it, it was just something I did because I belonged to that group.

Well, since Yule, I've been trying to do a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday schedule on this blog. But I have gotten out of the habit of thinking "witchy," especially for something that is an original topic. Or at least my original thoughts. Some of my thoughts have changed since then.

I used to do it because I knew some of the people who would read it. That's not necessarily true anymore. I don't know if what I write here will be validated or not. I've gone from a very friendly and supportive atmosphere to just talking to anyone passing by. I'm taking my chances, so I have to offer something more than the reader could get at the average Pagan website.

It's a completely different mindset, and I have to think harder about what I am going to say. At the same time, because I have thought about it, I've learned more about my beliefs than I would have if I was following someone else. In my case, belonging wasn't my last stop. I hope to "belong" again, but I have no idea when or if that will happen.

It can make you feel very safe, having that certainty stretching back into the dawn of time. But it is not the truth, and it may be hobbling you.

My three posts today tie together I think. And now I have to figure out what to write about on Friday.

Posted: Wed - December 28, 2005 at 04:56 AM

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A narrow slice of life, but now and again pondering American neopaganism, modern adult pagans & the World.

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