On Breaking Paganism out of the Metaphysical Void of Materialism
October 24th, 2020
So this past week I’ve been requested to answer an extremely good question by Wolf of Woden, which is:
Q: How can pagans break free from the metaphysical void of materialism? The Christian community views paganism as inherently naturalistic - and maybe they have a point - but how can we introduce a more idealistic (in the philosophical/spiritual sense) viewpoint with regards to ancient European religious principles beyond blood and soil nationalism?
A: Firstly, we need to do away with “pagan pride”. Any sort of pride enables folks to “join the club” under the “pagan” label with zero sincere interest in a truly authentic spiritual journey. The path is one than ought to be looked upon with great vehemence and honor, not LARPing experience.
Secondly, direction is needed, as so we need someone who will lead the way by being a living, breathing, and speaking role model to look up to and to be inspired by. Finding such an individual may be difficult because he or she will represent the path. With that said, they would carry a great responsibility to not only uphold the values and teachings of the path, but to master their self. It is not something earned by a degree or a badge of honor. It is a matter of personality, dedication, authenticity, and willpower to determine if they are worthy for such a high position. They must be carefully selected. In addition, it is best that the leader be a man, for men are naturally taken more seriously by the people than a woman is. But also, a woman of equal worth should accompany him to provide him nurture and sound advice, and she should be his wife. A friend would only prove to be too difficult for such intimate and serious affairs. The people need a king and queen as much as they need a mother and a father.
Thirdly, there needs to be much recognition of all of the forms of darkness so that the adherent will be able to identify a threat. Equally, they will need solutions to overcome each form of darkness.
Now we reach a tough situation. Do we choose to convert this path into a traditional numinosity whereby there is a clear victor and loser, a clear beginning and end, a clear right and wrong, a clear good and evil, a clear rise, peak, and decline? It certainly would be glue for the story’s puzzle pieces, but is that our desire? To write (or rewrite) a myth for the people to follow? In one way, it would be an excellent strategy to enlighten and better people, to bring them closer to personal happiness and serenity. In another way, it would be rather limiting because anything outside of the story (path) wouldn’t be understood . . . it would be like trying to see a color that you’ve never seen before. A mystery. And so in this respect, a mythos would not be long-term advantageous to the true truth seeker.
Personally, I would want to send the seeker as far in their spiritual enlightenment as possible and to be as strong, healthy, and independent as possible. So then, while the intentions might be good, it is truly best to not fabricate any story, but rather to let the adherent design their own story and put forth their own revelations. In this way, it binds the adherent more to the path because when we put forth energy into creating something, it becomes a part of us and makes it that much more personal, meaningful, and real. The role then of the leader is to not preach to his people a story, but to inform his people of innate human nature and psychology: philosophy. This both grounds his people and forms better strategies for them. He should work with each adherent in the manner a psychotherapist works with his client: he should listen to them and provide them solutions for their story should they become stuck. Likewise, the leader needn’t be devoid of his own personal story, but still must learn to recognize the difference between his and others’ in order to provide the most balanced and wise counsel.
As paganism entails a wide array of spiritualities, for it to be truly Northern European, individual independence must be its prime and central foundation and goal. The leader acts only as a pillar to uphold the wisdom of true self-discovery and transformation. To impede upon the will of another only stirs feelings of revenge and hatred, however great or minute, and the people’s love for their leader slowly begins to leak; therefore, he should grant his people the personal liberty for them to make up their own minds and choose their own stories, yet provide a law and order than protects them from outside threats (spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical). To protect them, he should be well-learned and familiar with the forms of darkness as well as the forms of light so to recognize them and instantly strategize to repel and destroy those forces. He should conduct his work in both the personal lives of his adherents (should they seek his counsel), in the public (for when he inspires his people with a new revelation of his in the form of a public speech or festival), and metaphysical realm (for when he perceives the darkness within his world and seeks to transform it into light with truth and genuine, true love/empathy).
So I suppose then that laying down the groundwork for the pagan path is more akin to Machiavellian statesmanship, but rather than being limited to the physical public world, it is expanded to the spiritual and metaphysical domains.
Its central theme that would hold it all together is the exposing of darkness (ignorance) with light (information) via upholding personal liberty, willpower, determination, and sincerity. The idea is to get the adherent to realize their own true power, strength, and self-worth and to succeed and live happily, creatively, and peacefully, not just in this one Earthly lifetime, but eternally in spirit, mind, heart, and soul.
This would be the most efficient way to break free of the materialistic view of the world and for the pagan to live and breathe freely and yet remain united under a collective like-mindedness with the special appreciation, stimulation, and nurture the pagan path gives them to advance in their private, public, and spiritual lives.