Borrowed Rites

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    Many customs associated with holidays have their origins in pagan holidays and beliefs. Why do non-pagans seem to readily incorporate some pre-Christian customs (the Easter bunny, Easter eggs, Christmas trees, Yule logs, wassailing, Candlemas, Jack-o-Lanterns, trick-or-treating, May baskets, May poles, wheat weaving, corn dollies, etc.) while other pagan customs often engender fear or strong opposition (Goddess, pentagrams, tarot cards, balefires, chanting, covens, circle casting, dumb supper, sabbats, etc.)? I do not see this fear associated as much with the more unfamiliar customs of other minority religions in the United States. (Hindu, Shinto, Buddhist, etc.) as with Wicca and Voudou (proper for ‘Voodoo’).
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    User Detail :  

    Name : WitchWomon, Gender : F, Religion : Dianic Witch, City : Southfield, State : MI Country : United States, 

    Dawn M.

    I think the Christian church usurped what they thought would keep the locals happy, while denouncing those that seemed to go against the dogma of their religion. I am terribly offended by this. I too am a practicing witch, and am often condemned for my practices, though since moving into the “Bible Belt” I have had a tendency to be very private about my beliefs. I feel that if I don’t, it might just be the “Burning Times” all over again.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Dawn M., Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Wiccan, Age : 36, City : Bay City, State : TX Country : United States, Occupation : Homemaker, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 


    The reason we accept some rites and ban others is because of the way they’ve been presented to us over the years. In the early days of Christianity, all the clergy sought to convert the world. The easiest way to convince the pagan barbarian tribes to join was to incorporate the festivals they held so dearly into Christianity at face value, while at the same time changing the rite entirely to fit the church’s catechism and canon law. This gave the clergy a foothold. Over the years, they kept what festivals or rites they felt they could control and did away with others by dubbing them satanic and evil. To an ignorant peasant, an educated wise priest seemed in his own way mystical, and if he told you you would burn in fire forever if you didn’t do things his way, the peasant probably believed it, being so afraid he capitulated. Over the last 2,000 years, we in the West have had it ingrained in our heads from birth that certain things were just plain evil and satanic, not realizing that it’s thought of that way merely because of 2,000-year-old religious propaganda. The reason we don’t think of Eastern rites and such as being evil is basically that we’ve had far less time (about 500 years or so) to be told they are evil. Plus, unless you travel, those of us raised here in the West still don’t even know or understand Eastern rites and even eastern thinking, which in so many ways is very different from ours. In this latter case it’s a simple case of “out of sight, out of mind.”

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    Name : Zac, Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 19, City : Pensacola, State : FL Country : United States, Education level : High School Diploma, 


    The thing is, Wiccans do the exact same thing! They so adamantly condemn things like animal sacrifice and even (seeing as you are Dianic) the fact that most early pagan cultures (and even early Wicca) were just as male-centered as Christianity is! It’s all a matter of things that are deemed culturally unacceptable. Halloween is considered ‘secular’ in most modern Christians’ eyes, and thus harmless. Pagan concepts adapted into Christianity are oftentimes viewed as secular additions, and oftentimes have Christian ‘origins’ made up for them (Santa Claus and St. Nick, for example). I don’t see very much strong opposition of things like tarot cards and sabbats except by people who also condemn Christmas trees and Halloween, personally. Plus, the practices accepted by Christians really -are- pre-Christian, whereas the Goddess in the concept you are used to and tarot cards are not. This makes a lot of difference.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Jack, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Gay, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 19, City : Oshkosh, State : WI Country : United States, Occupation : Student, Education level : High School Diploma, Social class : Middle class, 
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