March 2012

Human sacrifice

A historical reality

 

Some neopagans would prefer to believe that human sacrifice was never a part of ancient paganism, but of course it actually was. The archeological, historical and literary records provide far too much evidence of this for any reasonable person to doubt it. Some cultures practiced human sacrifice as an occasional ritual act of great power, an exchange between humanity and the world of the divine in which a thing of great value (a human life) is offered up in anticipation of a great reward. Other cultures practiced human sacrifice on a massive scale, slaughtering hundreds of victims at a single ceremony. These acts are repugnant to us today, and with good reason.

The Julian Society

A Pagan Religious Order

 

The Julian Society is (or was) a religious order dedicated to the memory of Julian the Apostate, last pagan emperor of the Roman Empire. Why do I say “was”? Because the last new entry on the Society's blog is from 2009, so the extent to which they are still an active organization is unclear.

Problem People

And Perplexed Pagans

Anyone who has ever been part of a small group knows that such groups are often vulnerable to being derailed by people with issues. This applies to every type of small group, from political activist organizations to pagan circles. It may even be more common among pagans, though, because the nature of pagan religion is such that it is more likely to appeal to people that see themselves as outsiders. That isn't a bad thing, but while some people are outsiders because of their unorthodox opinions, other people are outsiders because they just plain can't get along with other people.

Christopaganism

And Anti-Christian Bigotry

The rather inelegant word “Christopaganism” refers to syncretic religious practices combining Christian and Pagan concepts. Not surprisingly, Christopaganism is condemned by a lot of Christians, because Christianity historically has made exclusive truth claims. Paganism, of course, has not, so the condemnation of Christopaganism by many Pagans is not so easily explained.