When people think of Paganism often times the word Wicca comes to mind and of course Wicca which worships the Goddess is considered a woman's religion. Hence most people think of Paganism as a woman's thing. However Pagan men are very involved both inside of Wicca and out. There is Druidism, Astruar, Kemetics, Santeria, Voodoo and a slew of other Pagan religions out there still being followed.
The fact of the matter is Paganism was birthed thanks to the efforts of some very strong men. Several notables would be Alister Crowley called the "Great Beast". He was an alumni of the "Golden Dawn" system and went on to found the "Order of Theleme" which is based on Egyptian Paganism. Alister would have strong impact of Gerald Gardener who founded Wicca. He borrowed several concepts from Crowley and employed them into Wicca. Charles Leland did a study on Italian witches or Streghas in the Northern part of Italy. His scholarship maybe shakey by today's standards but he made an impact. Sir James George Frazier wrote the Golden Bough which would be helpful in identifying trends in Paganism or patterns. Raymond Buckland founded Seax Wicca where in a man could act as a priest instead of using a priestess in drawing down the moon. Several other Pagan men are discussed in this chapter like Ober Dell and Scott Cunningham.
Bonewits is a scholar par excellence. He discussed several types of Pagan trends if you will. The first being Paleopaganism this is following the original pagan religions as they were practiced in ancient times. Such pure Paganism really does not exist anymore as time and religious coercion have lead to them not being practiced. Very common now a days is MesopaGANISM THIS IS WHEN different religions influence each other and start soe thing of a blend. Hinduism and Buddhism would be such. The Native AMericans, African slave and Irish servant worked together. Their ideas cross pollinated. In this day Neo-Paganism is a new trend. Resurrecting an old faith based on todays standards or modifying a Mesopagan faith. One example of a new Religion would be the Church of all Worlds found by Ober Zell. It is based on the story "Stranger in a Strange Land" Finally there is re constructionist which uses scholarship to find out about ancient ritual and practice them that way. this guys tend to frown on organized clergy or leadership.
Bonewits then goes to examine the different religion out there. The variety caan be astounding along with their denominations. If Wicca does not cut if for you with it's female centeredness then you can be a Druid, Astruar or Kemetic follower. Bonwits does say that there is an undercurrent of eroticism in Wicca where as the Modern Druids open thee gateway andd focus an thee deity. Santeria and some of the West African religions may not be too open to Caucasians due to past racial discrimination. Astruar or Norse religion has some follower that feel only Northern European should be admitted. There is some homophobia in their ranks.
More important than the history is the analysis of role played by men in the Pagan movement. Priest and wizard are the first chapter. Priests are everything to the congregants : leaders, advisors and counselors. Bonewits laays claim that being aa priest is a calling or something you are born to do. Wizard are those who study the arcane arts sometimes in solitaire. They use magic and herbs.
In every society there has been a conflict between clergy and warriors. In the North and in Roman society the Warriors won out. In England and Ireland there was a balance. When the Romans came they could not conquer the Northern Europeans. They conquered the brits and Celts by wiping out the Druids. Islam helped to wipe out the Ancient Egyptian Religion.
Warriors and Artist are also discussed. The author gives a run down of names of the various artist that are inspired by their faith. Warriors while not violent believe it is an obligation to defend someone whoo is weaker or in trouble even at risk to their own life. a couple pagan faiths even have warrior codes. Hunting is done only for food and reverence is given to the spirit for providing the food. All the animal is used.
With regards to homosexuality let us say it is highly tolerated in the pagan community in general andd that ancient societies were very tolerant of certain forms of homosexuality. In fact eveen some of the ancient Gods practiced it.
Pagan men and women must respect each other as the God and Goddess incarnate There is also discussion on child rearing and there are spell in the final chapters. Excellent book I look forward to reading more of this author's work.
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