Ask a Pagan High Priest

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Hello, EvilM00s here, answering your questions (if any) concerning this often maligned faith system.

G'head, ask me any old thing.
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Here we go again.

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Thank you, Mr. Super Moderator, but I don't believe that's a question.
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Why should we ask you questions because you have a religion?
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Why should we ask you questions because you have a religion?

Because not many people have a realistic understanding of that faith.

And besides, Isn't that the point of this section?
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Why are you pagan?

Why do you think you are "correct" in being a pagan and following such a belief?

Present any proof?

Give a nutshell explanation of what you consider to be paganism?

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Sorry, this is like the 4th or 5th "Ask A" thread where someone tried to be a poster-boy for a religion that was very much chosen to show off their "uniqueness". If you're really into Paganism, that's cool. It really wasn't about you in particular, just that from seeing a few of these already, I have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Just like any other religion, I think that parts of Paganism are very cool. I just don't feel that I should have to settle for a totalitarian belief system based on another person's ideals. I am interested to know how you became a High Priest though.

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@Roph: Wicca, or paganism, or Neo-Pagan Witchcraft, kind of fell into my lap one day while at a bookstore. I found a "beginner's manual" on the subject, and the more I read, the more it appealed to me. It just... felt right, whic as far as I'm concerned is just as good of a reason as any. After all, people want spiritual satifaction from their faith, and Wicca gave it to me.
 
Proof? Well, that's the thing about faith. I don't have any. I just know it works for me, and likewise, I can't say that I am any more "correct" than the Christian, Jew, or anyone else.

Paganism is diverse to be sure; no two organizations, or "Covens", have the exact same take on it. What does appear commonly across the vast majority of traditions, however, is belief in a male and a female principle of creation- we are essentialy ditheistic. Also common is the belief in cycles of nature, and the pattern of birth-life-death-rebirth. We feel that we are all capable of oneness with diety in and of ourselves, that diety is within. Our "commandments" are few; "An'it harm none, do what thou wilt."

@Holk:I think I understand where you're coming from. I have seen a LOT of people cry out "I'm a witch!" just to get a reaction from those around them. They're the ones out in your yard at midnight, dancing nude in the full moon trying to summon demons or some crap like that.   :-[ That's not me. I do not want to shock anyone, nor do I want to convert anyone. But, having recently been the target of faith-based discrimination, I would like to see more people know what it's about.

The high, priest thing? Each body of believers, or coven, typically (but not necessarily) has a high preist and high preistess- they would be like the elders of a church or synagogue. These two are typically the most experienced members of the coven and will likely perform the opening and closing of a group ritual. It just so happens that since my coven last split (amicably,btw) I was the eldest male with the broadest knowledge base, and by consensus was made high priest. I find it very fulfilling. I recently was ordained through the Universal Life Church so I can now perform legal marriages in my state.

Thank you both for your questions!
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Why should we ask you questions because you have a religion?

Because not many people have a realistic understanding of that faith.

And besides, Isn't that the point of this section?


Are you a stereotype of what you're supposing to be?

If Yes: Continue on.

If No: Then this doesn't belong in Ask a Sterotype does it?
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It's fine to answer questions in a thread somebody else has started so long as you fit them. So for example, suiko could answer questions in my "Ask a british person" thread :)

Stupid ones are occasionally allowed. Generally this forum is meant to be semi-serious, though doun't be offended if you really do get asked a stereotypical question.

I don't see how being british is exactly a stereotype and considering that this topic is semi-serious, I don't see why you should have to give a shit why this is posted here, Anski. As far as I'm concerned he's serious about his religion and this is the place to ask him about it. He's not trying to convert you or tell you it's better than whatever religion you are. We're asking the questions and he's answering what we asked, nothing particularly more. So I'm going to kindly ask you to stop busting his balls, Anski. For once an actual successful topic could come out of here if we don't fuck it up.

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The roph sides with grafikal on this issue =o

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I wasn't aware a minister in the Universal Life Church could actually perform legal marriages, due to the ease of becoming one. Pretty much anyone can apply, and the process only takes a few days. I know quite a few people around my age who became ministers just for the fun and title. Why did you decide to become one?




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Very good question, Z. I was introduced to the website by my friend Paul, who now heads his own coven. He told me that ministers could solemnize, which I thought was cool, but I did not want to join. Then he says that if we as wiccan preisthood were backed by an authority of law, even if it is only for marriage, it would be a small step toward our goal of being recognized as a legitimate world faith. I agreed, and signed up.

As a side note, many of the marriages (we call 'em Handfastings) I've performed since ordination have been for gay couples, so it hasn't been THAT handy. Still, it's nice to know that there is a list on file SOMEWHERE of people like me, kept by a national organization, that calls us clergy.
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Do you get a lot of 'DERP R U A DEVIL WORSHIPER' due to general confusion over the Pagan polytheism?
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DO I EVER! The symbol of our faith, the pentacle, is used with the point up. Certain other groups use the same star, but point down. This is supposed to symbolize the horns and beard of the goat. Sometimes my pentacle earrings rotate upside down and I get a few wierd looks. Many people don't know the difference to begin with and assume I'm either a satanist or a hardcore Slayer fan. My daughter really gets shit on, though.

See, as an adult, at least I can appeal to another adult's rationality (usually). At the very least, few adults will tell you you're going to hell to your face. My 10 year old, though, is dealing with other 10 year olds. And in the community we live in (cue banjo music) it seems everyone has a very strong opinion on how other people should act. The  parents' opinions filter to the kids, who then tell my 10 year old girl  "your soul is doomed  to HELL! God hates you! We don't want you in our school/town/Girl Scout troop/whatever!"  :aryan: It's kinda funny, about the GS troop, though, my wife runs it....

I try  to  explain, we don't  even believe in this  Satan character. This is usually met with,  "But you don't believe  in Jesus, either, right?" I agree. "and  you  worship many  gods?" Again, I agree. "Well,  then, Jesus must  hate you  for  worshipping  all those demons!" I  am not making  this up. I  have  been  accused of everything from devil  worship to human sacrifice. The community is  changing,  though; I just  did a handfasting for a baptist pastor's gay son. Dad  was there. He gave his son away.
"
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What books and/or other writings dealing with Paganism would you recommend someone not of the faith to read? Something to get an overview of the religion's tenets and belief system, but something that isn't like reading a textbook.

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Yipe! There are a bunch. I'd say that Scott Cunningham's Wicca: a Guide for the Solitary practitioner Is a pretty good place to start. It was written in...oh, 1989, I think; Llewellen is the publisher. Reading his work is a lot like havng a chat with an old friend. A bit more staid but just as if not more informative is D.J. Conway's Celtic Magic. This was the manual that got me started. Most of Conway's work reads a bit like a letter from a suffy, rich old relative, but it is all highly informative, especially if you like history.

The really (in)famous authors,  like Gerald Gardner or Raymond Buckland should be avoided by the casual reader, or IMO anyone else, either. These authors tend to write in the elitist tone I have come to expect from groups that are less than tolerant of things like race and orientation. And the books are expensive!

If you have a decent spiritual supply store or "occult" bookstore they  could definitely  point you in the right direction.  Failing  that,  check out Borders  or Barnes  and Noble. 

Before I forget (again), thank you Roph and grafikal!
« Last Edit: September 11, 2009, 06:17:41 AM by EvilM00s »
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what are your views of the afterlife, should you believe there to be one.

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I believe that the soul needs to learn certain things before it is given the option to rest, so I believe in reincarnation. I also beleive that in between lives, a soul is allowed a "rest period" of sorts in what the druids called the Summerland, a place of beauty not unlike the Judeo-Christian  heaven. This is also where the complete soul would end its journey through physical bodies and have the option to remain, close to the gods for as long as it chose to do so. The soul could choose another earthly life if it wanted, but those souls are the rarest, wisest, most compassionate kind.

There really isn't a  pagan version of "Hell", as such. To a pagan soul, the worst punishment  is to have to be born again to pay for our karma.

I  have heard of a growing number of pagans who reject the idea of reincarnation  altogether, but I  don't know  enough about them  to say anything else.
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I believe it was Dante who said the virtuous but un-Christian faithful Pagans were the ones outside the Gates of Inferno with no real punishment.

Have you been called a Satanist by an idiot before?
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Yep, sure have. Several times, in fact.

The most recent was at the handfasting I performed for my friend Stephanie and her partner Megan. I officiated the ceremony, and I just kinda figured that everyone knew it was a pagan ritual. (Just as a side note, it isn't that different from a traditional wedding..) Apparently, Megan's parents did NOT know, and took issue with it. I was so sad for poor Meg when her idiot parents stormed out of the rehearsal shouting that it was "bad enough that my daughter is some deviant, but to think this Satan worshipper is going to make it happen!"

Needless to say, Meg was not amused.

I understand, faith is powerful. But shouldn't a parent's love for their child be stronger?
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I understand, faith is powerful. But shouldn't a parent's love for their child be stronger?

if they love their child enough and believe strong enough, perhaps they wouldn't want their child to fall into the hell that they believe in.

Of course, that doesn't discount their ignorance on the subject of your faith.

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That sir, is possibly the heart of the problem.  And it's not like the information isn't out there; there are enough publications that address the facts and fallacies of the faith. Websites, too. Perhaps it's just human nature, this desire to view those not like  ourselves as the enemy, and demonize everything that they may do or stand for.

I will say this: I would rather be criticized by someone who has made an informed decision than by someone who makes an arbitrary one.
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yeah but nobody reads.
And anything other than their belief must be evil.

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Well, it's good to see that some people are opening up their minds to alternatives. I've noticed that those of my generation and younger are really tolerant of others' belief systems, and I love it. Like any societal change, though, this is going to take time, and there are some issues I think are more important than wheter or not some guy in an office decides my faith is "real" or not, like gay marriage or hunger or global warming. I hope it gets some attention in due time, though.

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Huh... Sorry for reviving, hope the thread is still being followed...

1st. How do you feel about John Paul II's apologies for, namely, the Inquisition?

2nd. Aren't handfastings supposed to be "renewed" after a year and a day? (if I am wrong here, disregard the next questions) If so, how is this handled along with the legal wedding (for example, is there any legal support provided by the coven for those who don't want to renew their "vows")?

3rd. What is your position on vegetarianism? Does "harming none" extend to animals?


Notes: The use of "" a lot of times has ONLY the meaning that I don't know if I'm using the correct expressions.
          I'm really sorry if some of the questions I ask are non-sense but there is so much information available that sometimes, when putting it all together, I can't seem to make a final conclusion on some issues...

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Sorry for the delay in gettin to the questions.

Firstly, the pope. My knee jerk reaction is to say he wasn't there how could he possibly be sorry? But then, I suppose he has the authority to speak for his church in all times and in all ways, so since he's willing to acknowledge a mistake on the part of his predecessors, I'll take it. After all, more peace is waht we need, right?

Second, the handfastings. If the marriage is to be legal, I counsel the couple to give it the year and a day trial, then come back and we can do it legally. This has, sadly, not been an issue, since all 3 of the handfastings I've done now have been for homosexual couples. When same-sex unions do become leagal, I suppose I'll offer the same service to them, as well.

Thirdly, veggies. In my tradition, which consists of eleven members, including my piscotarian daughter, the inclusion of meat is a personal choice not covered in our group consensus. I myself enjoy a burger or steak every now and then, but tend to shy away from red meats simply for health reasons- cardiac problems run rampant in my family. A far as the moral implications, I think that as long as the animal is not treated cruelly in its life or slaughtered by, say, drowning or something similarly slow and agonizing, the use of animals for food is fine. Now, some pagans would disagree with me, but I suppose that this is one of the things that makes this faith appealing to me; everyone can make their own choice and not be thought of as a "sinner."

BTW, I like your scren name. Are you pagan, as well?
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