Greetings, colleagues.

I understand this may be a somewhat cringe-worthy subject. However, this is an important question. I will not go into boring detail on myself. I will simply say that I have been studying and observing both ancient and modern Paganism off and on for about 15 years. Entirely for the good of that observation and study, I would like to ask the community 3 questions.

1.) I have noticed the importance of masculinity and femininity in the occult. To those of you that are fellow students and observers, you know exactly what I mean by this. It is my observation that I do not see a correlation between the true nature of masculinity/femininity and the modern Pagan community. Can anyone comment on this?

2.) Taking into account what both the dogma and scriptures of Islam say about polytheists (and perhaps more importantly the history attached to it), what is the reaction/feeling/stance of the modern Pagan community and how do you reconcile this with the culture/behavior/lifestyle of ancient Pagans?

3.) Though this is PURELY anecdotal, in my experience modern Paganism has been less a gathering of the educated faithful and more a place of hiding for the socially inept and the timid. In my experience, this has been such a severe issue that I actually have the urge to avoid modern Pagans on the rare occasions that I encounter them. Can anyone comment on this?

As you read these questions/statements, I am sure at least one of you will misinterpret my genuine interest for something offensive. This is NOT in any way, shape, or form my intent. This is genuinely a fellow student coming to a point in his learning where he can no longer rely on his own judgement and must, therefore, reach out to other perspectives. Thank you all for your time!

P.S.
- Please structure responses/arguments appropriately and refrain from ad hominem (name calling) and other fallacies to keep this thread from becoming toxic. Thank you!

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"Please structure responses/arguments appropriately"

I shall do so , according to what I think is appropriate...;)

1. Actually , I have taught for 23 years , what could be termed occult

knowledge , including alchemy...one of the mistakes often made by writers ,

teachers , readers , and students of the occult , is the strict interpretation

and separation of masculine and feminine energies , which is predominant

until one crosses the abyss , and embraces the energies in the cauldron of

Da'ath , wherein is contained the totality of knowledge and energies of all

the other dimensions...

Until they are ready , the beginner must see the separation , not the unification ,

for otherwise it has been known to drive students mad , or incapable of integration...

As we enter different time phases , or perceptions of time , as well , the perception

of strict separation changes as well , as dimensional walls become thinner...this has

moved and manifested in cycles through what we call the ages or aeons...

2. As Islam really is :

I.S.L.A.M.

I , Self , Lord , And Master , it is the recognition of the self as the ultimate ,

not any outer manifestation of some deity by whatever name...

Now , dependent on one's mental state , if one was schizophrenically inclined ,

then a polytheistic mindframe might be the ruling factor in the psyche...

As ancient cultures , in general , either elevated , embraced , or endured those

touched by the gods , so to speak , I see no paradox in this position...

3. Perception of others is determined by the filters one is perceiving through ,

and interpretation of information received and processed...

As I read the way you structured your sentences and questions , I perceived

one who likes to control their situation , or has to , to be able to integrate their reality...

No slight meant , just an observation , through my filters...

Perhaps more of a sense of humor might assist you in assimilating the chaos factor in

modern Paganism...I know for myself , that has been the saving grace , so to say...

I am extremely serious about my work , path , practice / adeptship , and teaching...

Yet , without recognizing Murphy , Fubar , and Snafu , as the reigning deities of our

modern society , pagan and otherwise , I would have *really* gone bonkers long ago...

Best to you , good fortune on your quest !

Haha no slight taken at all, good sir! You are very perceptive. I couldn't help but laugh as you hit the nail on the head. Yes, I do attempt to control the situations I find myself in. Long story short, it can be chalked up to a survival mechanism. :)

An excellent reply with much food for thought. Thank you!

1.  It's important in some paths of the occult.  Not at all important in others.  Paganism is a VERY broad umbrella.

2.  What do we care what anyone else says about our various paths?  This isn't a competition.  How do I reconcile what about ancient culture/behavior/lifestyles?  That's a pretty broad brush.

3.  Religion in general - ANY religion - attracts people who feel powerless, who need an ally in their lives, who need someone or something to lean on.  Obviously not everyone does, but a great many do.   This is not specific to paganism.  

1.) I have noticed the importance of masculinity and femininity in the occult. To those of you that are fellow students and observers, you know exactly what I mean by this. It is my observation that I do not see a correlation between the true nature of masculinity/femininity and the modern Pagan community. Can anyone comment on this?

Well, there are in fact several movements today in both the Feminine and Masculine arena's which should be quite apparent.  On the Masculine side we movements like "Third Way" and "Red Pill" and of course the ubiquitous "PUA" movements (Pick Up Artists), and on the Feminine side various empowerment movements, etc.  I don't think this is limited to any particular religion, Pagan or otherwise.  The Pagans of old recognized these differences within the framework of Duality, which of course is a major part of Hermetic paganism.  This is a massive topic, but in a nutshell there are all sorts of dualities in reality, of which the Masculine and Feminine are an example. 

With regard to the modern pagan community, well what I see is a very large and mixed bag of viewpoints here.  There are those who view the Yin and Yang as a bucket of black and white paint and would love to take a stick and mix it together until all they see is grey, and then there are those who celebrate the differences because they know that opposites are what make existence possible.  As Allen Watts pointed out, "What is it like when you die? What was it like before you were born? Are they not the same thing really? The blank where "you" are not... shows you the life where you "Are".


2.) Taking into account what both the dogma and scriptures of Islam say about polytheists (and perhaps more importantly the history attached to it), what is the reaction/feeling/stance of the modern Pagan community and how do you reconcile this with the culture/behavior/lifestyle of ancient Pagans?

This question seems a bit wandering to me. Islam formed from many tribal religions with a mix of Abrahamic thrown in as a sort of framework as I understand it historically.  You have the Sufi's and others who are of a mystical bent, and the orthodox who proclaim paganism/polytheism as "heretical".  For the most part I think Islam, Judaism, and Christianity all have orthodoxies that pretty much are against any form of paganism, and they all have their mystical sects that are a little more lenient towards paganism, modern or historical.


3.) Though this is PURELY anecdotal, in my experience modern Paganism has been less a gathering of the educated faithful and more a place of hiding for the socially inept and the timid. In my experience, this has been such a severe issue that I actually have the urge to avoid modern Pagans on the rare occasions that I encounter them. Can anyone comment on this?

Possibly, at some gatherings.  I would argue that there are also many places where good ritual, scholarship, and true evolution of paganism, magick, etc are being advanced. Have you attended an OBOD group? or a serious paranormal investigative group?  This is the cutting edge.   The "weirdos" live here - and that is because those who get labeled as "weirdos" are those who are not satisfied with the comforts and what society terms as "normal" but would rather go to the edge and see beyond the "normal".  Why are some people "socially inept and timid"? Maybe they know this, and are looking for answers when society never had any to give.  But I find that to be a pretty broad brush - there are many who do not fit this mold, but then, perhaps it has been hard for you to find them for the very same reason! They are also wary of those who are just in it for "kicks" or because they are looking for someone to hang on to.

You know there are pagan scientists, researchers, medical doctors, engineers (myself in that one), and any other field you can think of.  Rupert Sheldrake comes to mind with his research into Morphic fields.  Terrance Mckenna comes to mind as well, you should listen to hi several talks on You Tube if you have not already.  Allen Watts the philosopher.  Just to name a few.

Very interesting.

As far as the Islam part goes, no matter the sect their stance on polytheists is very firm. I elaborate in my overall response further down this post. While I'm not sure about Judaism, I know that at Vatican II the Church canonized the Doctrine of the Righteous Pagan, which is supposed to not only lift any yolk of oppression from the Church (keyword supposed to lol) as well as allow all righteous pagans through the gates of heaven. The Quran and the Hadith are very, very clear on what to do with polytheists and all other religions not "of the book". The only way that question would seem broad is (and please do not take this as an insult!) if the reader had no knowledge of "what both the dogma and scriptures of Islam say about polytheists (and perhaps more importantly the history attached to it)".

Regarding your other replies, no I am not familiar with OBOD. I have spent some time with a serious paranormal group, however I was the only pagan and I was there for consulting purposes basically. The "ghost hunters" I met were very logic oriented and empirical minded. Most of them were Christian or Agnostic.

I've started reading into Mr. Sheldrake and Mr. Watts (who from what I've gleaned seems to have been influenced by or has parallels to Kierkegaard). Excellent, excellent stuff. Thank you! I will also look into the OBOD group. I think part of my experience may be largely related to geography in the sense that I tend to be far from the denser populated pagan communities.

"1.) I have noticed the importance of masculinity and femininity in the occult. To those of you that are fellow students and observers, you know exactly what I mean by this. It is my observation that I do not see a correlation between the true nature of masculinity/femininity and the modern Pagan community. Can anyone comment on this?"

Sounds like Wicca. Not all Pagans are into this duality.

"2.) Taking into account what both the dogma and scriptures of Islam say about polytheists (and perhaps more importantly the history attached to it), what is the reaction/feeling/stance of the modern Pagan community and how do you reconcile this with the culture/behavior/lifestyle of ancient Pagans?"

I'm not a Muslim, nor do I want to be one. Why? I think Islam isn't for me. I don't have a problem with Muslims in general, because most of them do not practice their religion from a literal stand point, but, rather a more metaphorical one (Jihad is an internal struggle...). If they did otherwise, we'd have a lot bigger bloody mess than what we currently have.

I feel no need to reconcile what I do presently with what was done in ancient times. I do not live in ancient times. I live now. What I find useful from the past, I use and what I find not useful, I don't use.

"3.) Though this is PURELY anecdotal, in my experience modern Paganism has been less a gathering of the educated faithful and more a place of hiding for the socially inept and the timid. In my experience, this has been such a severe issue that I actually have the urge to avoid modern Pagans on the rare occasions that I encounter them. Can anyone comment on this?"

Uh, maybe, they aren't the ones with a problem. Perhaps, you should reflect upon this.

Wow, folks, thank you so much for the great responses!

Combining these responses, what I hear is that the overall consensus regarding question 1.) and it's inquiry on the balance of masculinity/femininity is that this is not always a thing? The first reply mentioned Da'at which, and correct me if I am wrong, isn't so much about the masculine and the feminine as it is about a state of being as all spheres of the Sephirot become one. A state, from what I understand, is only percievable from the Malkuth sphere. To simplify my understanding of the masculine and the feminine, one could almost say that within the physical universe or the Akasa, all forms of energy are the masculine and all forms of matter are the feminine and the animation of existence is the union, or "love-making" if you will, between those two energies. From what I understand, this "love story" is played out in ripples of micro/macrocosmic echoes seen in everything from physics to sexual dimorphicism. (Not ruling out Asexuality in which something houses both energies within oneself to produce life, which if I remember right is one of the big things about the Holy hermaphrodite in Hermeticism.) I guess what I should really ask is if it would be reasonable to state that modern paganism seems out of balance towards the feminine? Someone else mentioned groups like Red Pill and the PUA community but those have no relation to the modern pagan community, as far as I know. As the basic reply was "this is not always the case", can someone direct me to a spiritual path/practice that implicitly does NOT put any importance on the balance of these energies?

For question 2.) I think I was too vague. What I was referring to was my observation of Islamic culture, the historical aggression against neighboring polytheistic communities, and the dogma involved that does not allow polytheists the protection of the Dhimmi status and the Jizya tax. Polytheists, or all pagans not "of the book", are on a serious shit-list with Jihadis and traditionalists alike. The Hindus, especially, have felt the bite of Islam on more than one occasion and I'm not referring to the Cashmere region bordering Pakistan, but to the campaigns against India in which whole cities of women, children, and the elderly would commit ritual self-immolation as their men and boys fought to death outside the city to buy them time. For reasons well documented, whole cities of pagans thought it better to burn alive than be captured. I think it is reasonable to say that most modern pagans are very wary of Christianity, and with good reason. I do not, however, see that same caution applied to it's counterpart Islam. I see actually the opposite. I simply wonder if this is a scenario ruled by "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" or if it is the sign of a weak foundation of education in the modern pagan community. I don't know if I can buy the explanation that we do not concern ourselves with the past as I also feel it is reasonable to state that we, as a community, have deep poignant ties with our past and ancestry.

Lastly, in regards to the responses on question 3.), I think it is reasonable to state that the road of Paganism, and especially Magic(k), is quite overgrown and it can be easy to step off the path and think you are still on track. What I mean by that is, how do we distinguish fantasy from reality? The few modern Chaos practitioners I have met have what I feel is a relatively healthy outlook on the subject. The consensus I receive from those I have met is basically "I use what works and I ignore the rest." The timidity I was referring to is what I find in those who, I believe, are rooted solely in fantasy. Because of this, their stance on what they believe is weak and they are easily defeated in any level of debate. I know this feeling all too well. What really started me on the path to educating myself was the frustration I would feel when Bible-Thumpers would engage me in debate. I knew that what they were saying was either wrong or used out of context, yet without the knowledge of scripture they possessed I was unable to structure a valid argument even to support the truth. Likewise, I feel this is a very serious problem in the modern pagan community. However, not only do I see that this problem is rarely if ever addressed, I also notice that the community as a whole has taken to the celebration of "do what thou wilt" in regards to a freedom of spirituality that could just as easily be described as being lost or having a lack of direction instead of celebrating "do what thou wilt" in regards to following through with what you desire to accomplish. This has become enough of a problem that the modern pagans I refer to regarding my personal experience will, for lack of a better term, just "make shit up" or fall back on pop-culture.

I want to address the last part of your response.

How do you determine what is "real" and what is "fake"?Especially when it comes to something as subjective as magick.

All religions pagan or otherwise were made up by someone at some point.Are you solely basing legitimacy on how old or how many people follow said teachings?Pragmatism or "I use what works and ignore the rest" isn't a litmus test for the truth.What works for one may not for the other.

People get too hung up on trying to prove what's real.When all it boils down to is do they believe it.I'm sure if you discuss your topic with an atheist and or anti-theist you'd be hard pressed to make a convert.

I think believing that you found the "Truth" leads to a fundamentalism that you touch on on your second elaboration.Most people come to paganism because they want to get away from that sort of thing.I was a re-constructionist for years I was so caught up in what was done that I couldn't do.It didn't help me or anyone around me.

Nowadays I much prefer syncretism to a ridged truth. 

I heard a saying that religion is the teapot.Spirituality is the Tea.

((How do you determine what is "real" and what is "fake"? Especially when it comes to something as subjective as magick.))

Well, that's exactly what I am asking. I keep in mind the old saying, "no one has a right to destroy another's beliefs by demanding empirical evidence." Also, I understand that magick is very subjective, however could it not be said that to say it is infinitely subjective is to open the door to a world that has no room for error? I think to Spinoza's writings in which a square is a square, a triangle a triangle, and a circle a circle. One can not perceive a triangle circle, because they are not of the same nature. In order for a triangle to be a circle, it must forfeit it's 3 angles to become round, and therefore cease it's existence as a triangle. Likewise, even with the subjective nature of magick, musn't there be that which is what it is? Or, more easily explained, that which exists or is "real" and that which isn't?

I definitely am not trying for converts or claiming to have found any truth. These are just questions and statements directly related to the nature of those questions. Things that I would consider to be "real" are those phenomena that produce a measurable effect, even if seemingly by chance. I feel that this can give validity to the subjective nature of magick. The self-practitioner who is to magic what the health enthusiast is to Cheng style Tai Chi. Whether or not the magickal effects are "real" by any empirical sense, they have enough effect on the psyche to produce an effect in the individual whether through change of physical health, life outlook, confidence, etc. I think we can agree that these are very real, very measurable changes. If we can agree on that, then can we also agree that there are "magicks" that do not produce any measurable effect? If we do we agree, then would not those be considered as "not real" or "fantasy"? If we can not agree, then I would ask what the point of it all is? Something infinitely subjective that not only produces no effect, but that can not be communicated from one individual to another. There is a very real truth, I feel, to the philosophy that every man must find his own enlightenment. However, what use is that enlightenment to the whole if it cannot be communicated for replication? Even in close circles of like minds?


I wholeheartedly disagree , Nephele...

*No one has a right to demand evidence*

They may ask me politely if I have evidence , or not...

And if I tell them I don't give a flying you know what

about evidence , that is my right , and I do not give

them any right to pursue it further , without me wuppin'

their ass , as I consider that harassment...

If they have such a need for proof of something , then

I want proof of how many centimeters , they can stick

their head up their ass , while delivering a dissertation

on the need for evidence for my belief in their existence ,

compared to their need for why I believe what I do...

And I want the mathematical proofs delivered in eleven dimensions...;)

And to both of you...

Once one can think , and visualize in multidimensions , one has no

problem seeing the intersection of triangle , square and sphere , in

co - existent space...please see the thread on the eleven dimensional

mind again...then apply the practice of visualizing objects in eleven

dimensional space , even far beyond what is described in some videos there...

Most humans are stuck in seeing in three or four dimensions...

And I note you did address that , Nephele...;)

However, what use is that enlightenment to the whole if it cannot be communicated for replication? Even in close circles of like minds?

“What we have forgotten is that thoughts and words are conventions, and that it is fatal to take conventions too seriously. A convention is a social convenience, as, for example, money ... but it is absurd to take money too seriously, to confuse it with real wealth ... In somewhat the same way, thoughts, ideas and words are "coins" for real things.” 
― Alan W. Watts

Whether or not the magickal effects are "real" by any empirical sense, they have enough effect on the psyche to produce an effect in the individual whether through change of physical health, life outlook, confidence, etc. I think we can agree that these are very real, very measurable changes.

I can agree somewhat with you on that.

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