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(45,558 posts)
Mon Dec 24, 2012, 12:36 PM Dec 2012

All this talk about Co-opting pagan rituals is starting to sound a wee bit over the top....

Did anyone stop to think that the Druids adopted stuff from the people who came before they did because what they were doing worked for them.

And don't forget that the people who trekked out of Africa in the dawn of Humanity took their spirituality to the rest of the world where the region and the environment shaped the religion that came after .

We have always, we humans, been picking things from here, there and everywhere jumbling them together to make something that works for us.

Religion and spirituality have been a part of the Human Animal since the first person looked up at the wonder of the night sky and realized that there is something out there that is bigger than I am.

And so it began.

The religion, the mythology of the state, the way we deal with tragedy when tough times comes, comes from something in all of us, grounds us in something. And we can trace that back to that very first person who looked at all those stars that stretched from horizon to horizon and asked why am I here.

Don't get me wrong, I don't believe in an after life or an omnipotent God, it's just that the Pagan rituals in the time before Christianity were there as an assurance that they would make it to Spring and renewal. And why do we capture that same feeling even though it is ancient, let it overtake our emotions and bring us to celebrate the old with the new.

Because, my dear DU community, we are human.

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All this talk about Co-opting pagan rituals is starting to sound a wee bit over the top.... (Original Post) WCGreen Dec 2012 OP
Dammit, that's beautiful, Chris! CaliforniaPeggy Dec 2012 #1
I think all the talk comes LWolf Dec 2012 #2
When it comes down to it... WCGreen Dec 2012 #3
Very well put. TDale313 Dec 2012 #6
"It's the insistence that it be exclusive to them." 99Forever Dec 2012 #10
It really all goes back to Horus I believe. JaneyVee Dec 2012 #4
I finally watched Religulous last night Kolesar Dec 2012 #5
Yes, we humans are borrowers and thieves and mimics and nothing is new under the sun.... Moonwalk Dec 2012 #7
What you said... nt Bigmack Dec 2012 #9
Cultures develop, rise and decline... WCGreen Dec 2012 #11
Yep! You've got it. It's actually the same as......... socialist_n_TN Dec 2012 #13
Bravo!!!! Well Said! nt Mojorabbit Dec 2012 #28
Religion: humans' first invention and possible seed of humans' extirpation n/t UTUSN Dec 2012 #8
Perfectly said. K/R RZM Dec 2012 #12
Surely we are human. And Borrowing from other religions is something we have done for centuries... Sivafae Dec 2012 #14
I just don't see it they way you do... WCGreen Dec 2012 #17
Wow....okay Marrah_G Dec 2012 #19
oversimplification datasuspect Dec 2012 #15
Sure I do... WCGreen Dec 2012 #21
Whatever it's called, it just makes sense: REP Dec 2012 #16
Well, they did and shed alot of blood doing it Marrah_G Dec 2012 #18
It's not about forgiving Christian behavior. WCGreen Dec 2012 #23
Kicked and recommended. Uncle Joe Dec 2012 #20
One culture absorbing the practices of another = history. nt cecilfirefox Dec 2012 #22
its one thing to adopt and I love that idea. Its another thing to co-opt to kill another roguevalley Dec 2012 #24
The first Human Animal who looked up at the stars probably failed to.... OldDem2012 Dec 2012 #25
Religion is something humans do DonCoquixote Dec 2012 #26
All of which means, keep UG in Christmas!!! Squinch Dec 2012 #27


(150,631 posts)
1. Dammit, that's beautiful, Chris!
Mon Dec 24, 2012, 12:43 PM
Dec 2012

We are indeed human. We still stare up at the night sky, and wonder.

I am reminded of the time my family and I went to Hawai'i to see the solar eclipse in 1991. Now, even though I full well understand what's happening, still I felt a shiver as the moon eclipsed the sun...

I understood the fear of long-ago people as they watched. Understanding doesn't mean that you can't be affected emotionally by what you're seeing...


(46,179 posts)
2. I think all the talk comes
Mon Dec 24, 2012, 12:45 PM
Dec 2012

because some who are militant about xmas being "their" holiday don't acknowledge its pagan roots, or connection to the time before christ, or the meaning the season has for the rest of the world. It's the insistence that it be exclusive to them.

I like the idea of capturing a universal yearning, celebrating the old with the new. I'm more pagan than christian, but I don't mind celebrating the "son" as well as the return of the "sun." I don't mind saying "Merry Christmas," although I'm more likely to stick with "Happy Holidays," since it's more inclusive. I like Christmas music that includes christ, as well as more secular holiday music.

A fully inclusive time to gather, to share, to celebrate coming out of darkness, both physical and metaphorical, to embody the peace on earth I wish people would faithfully cleave to all year long...however we celebrate, I think it's good for us.


(45,558 posts)
3. When it comes down to it...
Mon Dec 24, 2012, 12:51 PM
Dec 2012

Who really cares what they think. They are the one's who are to be pitied because they don't really understand humanity. It also shows, to me, at least, that they are missing the grand scheme of things.


(7,820 posts)
6. Very well put.
Mon Dec 24, 2012, 01:53 PM
Dec 2012

I am Wiccan, but love Christmas and do see it as more universal than just a Christian Holiday. I celebrate it with my family and have no problem wishing others Merry Christmas. But I find the "war on Christmas" stuff both ridiculous and offensive since its whole premise is that there is something evil with being inclusive or respecting other people's beliefs or traditions. And because of that, I do see the irony in the fact that many of the Christmas traditions do predate Christianity or have been assimilated from other paths.


(14,524 posts)
10. "It's the insistence that it be exclusive to them."
Mon Dec 24, 2012, 02:52 PM
Dec 2012

Yep. Kind like the marriage thing.

I've seen less selfishness out of most 5 year olds than some "good christians".


(31,182 posts)
5. I finally watched Religulous last night
Mon Dec 24, 2012, 01:28 PM
Dec 2012

Got a free month of Netflix and a new TV.
"Walk like and Egyptian"


(2,322 posts)
7. Yes, we humans are borrowers and thieves and mimics and nothing is new under the sun....
Mon Dec 24, 2012, 01:59 PM
Dec 2012

...is this your first time having that rather banal revelation? We get into much more heated arguments over this when it comes down to people who want tribal tattoo even though they don't know what it means, or, not too long ago, a huge brouhaha over the pic of an Occupy protester wearing a Palestinian scarf though he wasn't Palestinian. That's when such things really become a can-o-worms on the DU.

On the one hand, we give objects meaning, scared or otherwise, and when we do so, we expect others to either know that meaning and respect it, or not use it because they don't know what it means and so can't respect it. Like not wear a Native American headdress if one is not Native American and of rank to do so. On the other hand, we are perpetual shoppers at the human mall. When we see something we like, we want it and we hardly care if it has some other more important meaning. "Look! Featured headdress! Cool. I want one!" And alas for those who did invent it--or develop it, or whatever--and have put more meaning into it than it probably deserves, there is no saving anything from being stolen, reappropriated or transformed. Nature of the human beast.

What else is new? But you totally miss the point of WHY pagans are pointing out to Christians the roots of Christmas celebrations. There is a religious war in America going on. It's a war by fundies to turn everyone, by hook, crook or force, into a Christian. To make sure Christianity is preached in courthouses, public schools, and public parks, be it with ten commandments, creationism or manger scenes. And the one way Christians are doing this is by saying, "All this stuff you love about Christmas (Santa, trees, etc.) is ours and ours alone and if you want to enjoy it you have to be one of us." In other words, they use the liberal guilt that we'd use to keep that Occupy guy from wearing a Palestinian scarf ("you don't know what it means, don't wear it!&quot to get people into church. Want to have a Christmas tree? Go to church as only those who do have the right to have a christmas tree.

And THAT is why pagans and other are making what might seem to be mountains out of molehills. Because if we don't take these War-on-Christmas Fundies down peg after peg with facts, if we don't point out that they don't own any of this and if they want to be Christian they should enjoy none of it--rather than vice versa, then they will continue to do what they've been doing for the last twenty, right-wing-media years. Trick, bully, coerce, and try to shoehorn us into their theocracy. They will try to convince us that only their elite tribe is entitled to any of it, so we either join or do without.

Given those stakes, I hardly think that anyone is going even a "wee" bit over the top with all this talk of co-opting pagan rituals. If anything, I think we should be doing a hell of a lot more of it. Harder, meaner, and without an trace of mercy. The history of Fundie Christianity is one of ruthlessly driving religions into extinction not only with torture, fire, intimidation and force, but also by cannibalizing them, ingesting what rituals and gods they liked, so it all became Christian. I see no reason to show any fundie restraint or courtesy when their oh-so-obvious aim is to steal all the toys and claim that only they and those who play their game get to enjoy them. What is wrong and unfair is wrong and unfair, and I don't think we can scream loud enough or go far enough over the top in keeping them from doing this yet again, this time with the media at their backs rather than the inquisition.


(45,558 posts)
11. Cultures develop, rise and decline...
Mon Dec 24, 2012, 02:55 PM
Dec 2012

One set of Pagans is conquored by another and they in turn usurped the power of their gods and folded them into their god and on and on and on...

Here in this country, you are free to worship pretty much how you like. But even the most irreligious people I know celebrate the start of the return of the bounty of spring.

We have free speach, as well, and that also extends to displays of dangling crosses, sprigs of misteloe and festive Christmas Tree pins.

Here is the real deal for the United States, there is no legal decree that you or anybody else can not practice the rites of winter, spring, summer and fall. Please don't decry people who are celebrating this time of year with trees and festivities because it's part of our nature.

I could see your point if pagan worship was outlawed, but don't blame the rest of us for what the romans Catholics did 1600 years ago.

The changing of the seasons are still important, ingrained, if you will, to us now even if we don't celebrate harvest rituals. The rhythms of the world are the same now as they were in ancient times.

Foist your anger at the ass holes on Fox News, if you will, but in the rest of America, they are just enjoying the Holiday Season when we get together and drink too much, fight and storm home mad just like everyone has done for tens of thousands of years...


(11,481 posts)
13. Yep! You've got it. It's actually the same as.........
Mon Dec 24, 2012, 03:00 PM
Dec 2012

all those years in the wilderness when left leaning people shut up and let the RW have control over the public discourse. We only started to stop the bleeding around '04 when a lot of people with leftist sentiments starting speaking out. This is the same principle. If we DON'T point it out, we become marginalized in the public discourse. Plus, it's the truth.


(480 posts)
14. Surely we are human. And Borrowing from other religions is something we have done for centuries...
Mon Dec 24, 2012, 03:03 PM
Dec 2012

But, it is one thing for a one pagan religion to borrow from another and even address the god/dess by another name.

It is another thing for a religion, such as x-itanity, to brutalize, kill and destroy one religion and then take from it what they like and call it theirs. And then bitch about how we are not honoring "their" rituals.

We pagans are keen to remember the burning times and the destruction of polytheistic beliefs that were indigenous to people of the lands that were "saved" by the x-tian religion.

We pagans are happy to share, but don't take from our systems of beliefs and then condemn us. THAT is bullshit.


(45,558 posts)
17. I just don't see it they way you do...
Mon Dec 24, 2012, 03:29 PM
Dec 2012

So are saying that it's okay for another Pagan culture to come into an area, defeat the indigenous folks and take over their culture is okay if it's Pagan on Pagan but not okay if it is Christian on Pagan.

Pagans were brutal as well. All over Europe before 200AD it was a brutal battlefield of Pagan on Pagan warfare.

In the US, you are free to do what every you want. Which ever way you wish to worship this time of year you can and enjoy the rituals despite what some ass holes say to you or when Fox News rants about their silly War on Christmas. You are guaranteed that freedom by The Constitution.



(26,591 posts)
15. oversimplification
Mon Dec 24, 2012, 03:04 PM
Dec 2012

you obviously have no knowledge of the history of christianity and the roman church.


(45,558 posts)
21. Sure I do...
Mon Dec 24, 2012, 03:43 PM
Dec 2012

I have studied the spread of Christianity for a very long time.

I know all about the meaning of the Pine Trees, the Mistletoe, and the timing change for Jesus birth because anyone with half a brain knows that Jesus was born in the early summer. The Easter Rituals and fasting was implemented so the livestock could rut and not be killed to make sure the heard lasted.

But I also studied the pre-Christian societies in Europe and they did the same as the Catholic Church did when they conquered other tribes. The Norsemen were Pagans and brutalized Europe all the way into the 1200's.

I'm not excusing anything that Christians have done over the last 2000 years. I made it clear that I am not a Christian. All I ask is that you recognize that the Christians weren't the only usurpers of sacred rites. All conquering tribes degraded the religion of the vanquished because they knew it would cause problems down the road.

What I am thankful for is I can enjoy the spirit of this time of year for what it is, the end of one season cycles and the beginning of the next. It's about renewal, contemplation and celebration of another turn of the seasons.


(21,691 posts)
16. Whatever it's called, it just makes sense:
Mon Dec 24, 2012, 03:10 PM
Dec 2012

It's cold and dark in most of the world, and the harvest is done and it's too cold to plant. So planning and preparing for a festival with lights, food, gifts, fun, family, etc occupies that time and makes that dreary season go by faster, and when it's over, the days are longer and it's time to start planning the next planting (only now, the days are just longer and less dreary).

I don't care what it's called but I do like the celebration. Plus my birthday is the 26th.

Happy Everything, everybody!


(28,581 posts)
18. Well, they did and shed alot of blood doing it
Mon Dec 24, 2012, 03:30 PM
Dec 2012

I'm not quite sure the purpose of your post. But I will say it feels like you are telling us to just forget history because it's all about Christianity now. I haven't seen all the posts that you are talking about So I am really trying to get a feel at where you are coming from in this.


(45,558 posts)
23. It's not about forgiving Christian behavior.
Mon Dec 24, 2012, 03:59 PM
Dec 2012

It's about what has been happening since our ancestors grouped together to try and make sense of the world. When they did, they created rituals and legends and tales of origin that served that grouping of people.

When you settle down and plant crops in an area, there is a lot more free time to devote to thinking about the world around you. The Mysteries of life, if you will.

This happened all over the world, wherever there was a culture developing.

As the eons piled up, many of these sects, if you will, were taken over by others and the others adopted the gods and traditions of the vanquished just like the Christians did when they spread like Kudzu across Europe.

So for thousands of years, pagans were battling against other pagans and gods were killed off or usurped, traditions were destroyed and then reconstituted in another form. One thing is that they all have stuff in common. From the first person who looked at the sky and saw there was a connection between the way the sky changes and when planting was best, religions were born.

What I think is people place too much emphasis on the Christians as if everything was hunky dorry and everyone was great until the Christians came to be. It's just not the case.

They killed maimed and destroyed cultures and traditions or co-opted them. That's not what I am saying didn't. In fact up until about ten years ago, I felt the exact same way about this.

And again, I am not a Christian. I'm just looking at this as human being with a connection I can feel to those who lit the light to rejoice that another season cycle was finished and another was about to begin.


(3,526 posts)
25. The first Human Animal who looked up at the stars probably failed to....
Mon Dec 24, 2012, 09:22 PM
Dec 2012

....keep an eye on the large predator that attacked and ate him.

At that point, any study of the stars probably became a group activity complete with look-outs.


(13,617 posts)
26. Religion is something humans do
Mon Dec 24, 2012, 09:50 PM
Dec 2012

Because, unlike computers, we have to deal with things that do not make rational sense when we find them, and we cannot wait to have them analyzed before we deal with them. When you read people like Joseph Campbell (hero with a Thousand faces) or James Frazer (the Golden bough) you see that religions, despite the protests of their priests, resemble each other, and part of the reason is why that is our human experience is common. We all live, work , love, die and because not everything in life can be laid out on a table like a math problem, we use myth, story and art to deal with certain things. Granted, Social Sciences are taking over a lot of what used to be relegated to the shamans and vicars, but they are still in their infancy, as far as human history goes.

You could wipe out memory of every religion tomorrow, not one temple, mosque, church, left, and human being would make new religions because Myth is a human need. When you see Che Guevara on a T-Shirt, or hear Rush Limbaugh on the radio, you are seeing this same myth building process at work. Part of the problem comes in when we do not acknowledge that we are telling stories, because instead of us making a narrative, we become controlled by it.

Part of the problem we are dealing with in the 21st century is that we cannot admit that a lot of the "facts" we believe are myths we told ourselves, myths that might have been useful before, but are not now. You can look at anything from Gun Control, to Pollution, to economics, and part of the problem is there is a religion we made up around certain things, and that religion is what destroys any ability to think or act clear. Yes, Economics may have some facts in it, just as religion may have some history in it, but facts and history are by products, because the goal of any economic theory is to SELL A MYTH. Marx and Ayn Rand may have both insisted they were not trying to form a religion, but any conversation with a devout Marxist or Objectivist will clear that up.

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