Beyond The Wand

Showing posts tagged history
(Photo reblogged from braindr0ppings)
deconversionmovement:

Neanderthal Demise Due to Many Influences, Including Cultural Changes
ScienceDaily (Feb. 7, 2012) — As an ice age  crept upon them thousands of years ago, Neanderthals and modern human  ancestors expanded their territory ranges across Asia and Europe to  adapt to the changing environment. In the process, they encountered each  other.
Although many anthropologists believe that modern humans ancestors  “wiped out” Neanderthals, it’s more likely that Neanderthals were  integrated into the human gene pool thousands of years ago during the  Upper Pleistocene era as cultural and climatic forces brought the two  groups together, said Arizona State University Professor C. Michael  Barton of the Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity and School of  Human Evolution and Social Change.
Read More

Quite interesting.
Fun fact for subscribers: unless all of your ancestors are from Africa, you probably have Neanderthal ancestors.

deconversionmovement:

Neanderthal Demise Due to Many Influences, Including Cultural Changes

ScienceDaily (Feb. 7, 2012) — As an ice age crept upon them thousands of years ago, Neanderthals and modern human ancestors expanded their territory ranges across Asia and Europe to adapt to the changing environment. In the process, they encountered each other.

Although many anthropologists believe that modern humans ancestors “wiped out” Neanderthals, it’s more likely that Neanderthals were integrated into the human gene pool thousands of years ago during the Upper Pleistocene era as cultural and climatic forces brought the two groups together, said Arizona State University Professor C. Michael Barton of the Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity and School of Human Evolution and Social Change.

Read More

Quite interesting.

Fun fact for subscribers: unless all of your ancestors are from Africa, you probably have Neanderthal ancestors.

(Photo reblogged from academicatheism)

It’s that time of year…

…When the fluffy bunnies come out in full force to insist that each and every aspect of Christmas was deliberately appropriated and stolen from the pagans by the Catholic Church, up to and including Jesus himself, who is “really” the sun god Mithras warmed over or some nonsense.

Unfortunately, it just ain’t so.  Many pagan practices weren’t stolen, but retained and reimagined by the now ex-pagans.

The Christian Jesus isn’t a copycat of anyone.  Yes, he shares many tropes in common with other godmen and deities - the same tropes that people just assumed went with godhood in that day.  To say Jesus was a “copy” of any of them would be like saying that the vampire Angel is a “copy” of the vampire Lestat because they both drink blood and they both burn in the sun.  The truth is simply that they both do what people expect vampires to do these days.

Jesus isn’t a copycat so much as another main character in a genre, so to speak, of a type of religion that was popular around the first century.

Of course, saying that Christianity could not have possibly been inspired by the religions of the day because of this or that difference (“Mary was a virgin who didn’t even have sex with a god!  Nobody else has that!”) would be sort of like saying that the vampires in The Lost Boys couldn’t have influenced the vampires in Buffy the Vampire Slayer because Buffy’s vampires didn’t hang upside-down by their feet while sleeping, had a different method of siring new vampires, and besides, their prosthetics weren’t exactly alike!

For more information, I recommend Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth, which illustrates the real parallels while debunking the pseudohistorical claims out there.

The Golden Age Syndrome

Why do so many people believe in a “golden age” in the distant past - eg, Eden, Atlantis, or the Satya Yuga?  Why do so many people fervently believe the world is headed for certain destruction in the near future?  The answer lies in the way our minds process and store information.

I am so in love with Anubis2814’s channel.  OuO

Re-think Columbus Day.

This is Samhainween?

It’s commonly known that our holiday of Halloween originated from the Celtic festival of Samhain.

But did it?

In fact… probably not.  Samhain was an exclusively Irish festival, and there’s no evidence that it even remotely resembled our Halloween.  As far as the claim that the Church deliberately “replaced” Samhain with Halloween, even that doesn’t hold up.

Go here to learn more.

Edit: Fixed link.

(Photo reblogged from lindentea)

Two reasons pagans are gonna get our asses kicked.

1. The opposition has way better marketing and advertising.
You can get a free copy of the Bible, Koran, Book of Mormon, etc. extremely easily.  On the other hand, materials on pagan religions are often costly and/or hard to find.  This is because most people putting information out there are just in it for the money.  And that leads us to another issue…

2. Most of the people writing about and/or defending paganism are our own worst enemies.
The majority of people putting information out there are just in it for the money.  This means that plausibility is higher on the list of priorities than accuracy - which results in books stuffed to the gills with baloney.  Not that there’s anything wrong with making believe in a little baloney for magical purposes now and then, but only if you understand that it isn’t factually true, and you’re not trying to convince others it’s factually true.

One egregiously bad book, Witta: An Irish Pagan Tradition, claimed that the potato was an ancient Irish symbol of fertility.  If you don’t know what’s wrong with that claim, you need to hit the history books yesterday.

Most people create straw men to attack and burn down themselves, but these people are doing the work for them.

Here are a few straw warriors I keep seeing pagans and witches releasing on the Internet:

  • Real witches never sacrifice animals.  (It may be uncommon today in Western society, but in times past it was extremely common.  Some still carry out these ancient practices.)
  • Pagans/witches are peaceful goddess worshipers.  (Except when we’re not.)
  • Pagans/witches aren’t Satanists because we don’t believe Satan exists.  (Some of us do.  Some of us even take the position that even Yahweh exists; some even worship Yahweh, while others take the position that he’s not the sovereign creator of the universe, just a major attention whore.)
  • Satan was invented by the Christians, who took the image of the Horned God and made it into a boogeyman to convince the pagans to convert to Christianity.  (Then what’s Satan doing in the Book of Job, an Old Testament book?  The evil!Satan trope started with apocalyptic Judaism, which rose up some time before Christianity.)
  • Paganism is one of the oldest religions.  (Anyone who says this can be disregarded as hopelessly ignorant; paganism is a class of religion, not a religion in and of itself.)

So, what can we do?  We can stop making absurd statements about paganism that can be easily knocked over by anyone with a half-decent knowledge of history, anthropology, and modern religion.  We can try to make good information easier to find.  I’m not talking about reposting the Wiccan Rede and herbal correspondences for the 9021st time or quoting Yog-awful books like Raymond Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft.  I’m talking about:

  • Studying as much as possible so you can give the best possible answers to questions people have and recognize baloney when you see it.  Don’t just read books written for pagans and witches; read history/anthropology books, watch documentaries, and read websites and magazines on archaeological discoveries.  Discovery.com is one place to start.
  • Respecting that not all pagan paths are sweetness and light and worship of the divine feminine.  (Every time I see another person telling people that I worship the goddess by telling them that it’s what all pagans/witches do, I want to scream.)
  • Seeking out pagan wikis and filling them in with verifiable information and promoting them.  You don’t have to do it in a proselytizing manner; just make do your part to make sure the information is accessible for people who want to learn and understand more about pagan beliefs.  This one looks promising.

May whatever forces you believe in speed you.

    Eostre: Ancient Goddess or Medieval Myth?

    Many pagans take it for granted that Easter originated as the celebration of a goddess named Eostre or Ostara.  But did she really exist?  There’s some controversy over the matter because the earliest known mention of Eostre comes from the writings of a medieval monk named Bede, and even then they were rather vague.  Aside from the writings of Bede and the Brothers Grimm (who may have been inspired by Bede), nary a scrap of evidence for this goddess has ever been found.

    The article Eostre and Easter Customs has a good article on the subject.

    Get over Salem and the Burning Times already.

    Many witchcraft/pagan websites or YouTube channels I visit bring up the Burning Times, that infamous point in history when thousands of people were executed in a moral panic instigated by the Catholic Church or the Salem witch trials.  Yet without fail, a far more recent witch-hunt that took place in the US and Britain is invariably omitted.

    Unlike the Burning Times and Salem, these witch-hunts aren’t taught in history.  Maybe it’s because they happened at a time when the US was more occupied with other things to really take notice.  Or maybe it’s because they’re not old enough to consider “history” yet.

    The “Satanic Panic” was a moral panic that took place from the 1980’s-1990’s.  The seeds for the hysteria were planted back in the early 1970’s when Mike Warnke published his book, The Satan Seller, in which he describes his life as a college student being secretly involved in a nationwide Satanic cult.  (Warnke has been completely discredited by former college friends, but he still has followers who believe him.)  In the 1980’s, Dr. Lawrence Pazder published Michelle Remembers, which he describes the horrible Satanic abuse “remembered” under hypnosis by Michelle Smith.  Michelle Remembers was also discredited, but not before sparking a witch-hunt in the era of Michael Jackson and Nintendos.  There were no gallows or stakes, but people were imprisoned for life or sentenced to death nonetheless.  Memories “retrieved” under hypnotherapy took the place of spectral evidence.  When no physical evidence could be found, people invented more and more elaborate excuses to explain its lack.  (The Satanists used portable crematoriums to dispose of the bodies!  Nobody ever noticed the pregnancies of the women who produced babies for infant sacrifices because they were too fat!  The cops are part of the conspiracy and are covering it up!) 

    Although the hysterics have died down, there are still people who believe this nonsense today - and some of them work for the government.

    So, forget about the Burning Times and Salem for now.  Educate yourself on the latest witch-hunt of the Western world - the one that isn’t as dead as it ought to be yet.

    Satanic Panic @ RationalWiki
    Satanic Ritual Abuse @ Religious Tolerance
    Satanic Media Watch & News Exchange
    Satanic Scares & Their Debunking