Intro to Pagan Theology Spring 2011 Gaspar Final Project
Week 1: Theology What is Theology?
One man's theology is another man's belly laugh. ~ Robert A. Heinlein
The best theology would need no advocates; it would prove itself. ~ Karl Barth
Theology is never any help; it is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn't there. Theologians can persuade themselves of anything. ~ Robert A. Heinlein
The full diversity and complexity of religion must be embraced if any sense at all is to be made of the world’s religious experience. ~ Greer, A World Full of Gods
Week 2: Tradition, Myth, Poetry The influence of poetry and liturgy
“We must remember that our modern physical and social sciences are the children, not the parents, of these ancient musings.” ~ Teish, Jambalaya
“Hear ye the words of the Star Goddess, She in the dust of whose feet are the hosts of Heaven, whose body encircleth the universe.” ~ Charge of the Goddess, Gardnerian BOS
“Heathens regardless of denomination look to lore to define the structure and practice of their beliefs.” ~ Krasskova
“Once in the month, and when the moon is full, Ye shall assemble in some desert place, Or in a forest all together join To adore the potent spirit of your queen.” ~ Aradia
Week 3 & 4: Deity/ Deities What are some ways we understand God/dess? What are some ways we understand the Gods?
…since human beings are male and female, if we seek to imagine God "in the image of God” that is, ourselves- both male and female metaphors should be employed. ~ McFague
“Polytheism's diversity is radical and thoroughgoing, and should be recognized as such, as well as celebrated for this wondrous variety.“ ~ Lupus, Polytheology
Faith is both meaningless and irrelevant. We know what we experience; it takes no leap of faith to assume the reality of deities we have directly encountered. ~ Paper, Deities Are Many
The gods are not unchangeable and eternal in their being, they are dynamic and expanding, just as equally as humans are. ~ Lupus, Polytheology
The occult knowledge gained in ritual is inevitably faint, difficult to interpret, and does not insure positive outcomes. It does, however, provide significant depth of insight into one's personal relationships and a deep awareness of the existential reality of one's connectedness to a universe of events in process. ~ Wise, Hidden Circles in the Web
Week 5: Phenomentology / Epistemology What are some ways we understand the Gods?
Wicca is a mystery religion. While this designation does not fully define the religion, it highlights the fact that modern-day Witches seek to understand mysteries about reality beneath sensory experience and beyond rational thought. ~ Wise, Hidden Circles in the Web
She lured me into experiences, prompted me to formulate new words and reconsider the definitions of old ones. She made sure I met the right people, in the right places, at the right time. ~ Teish, Jambalaya
“The relationships with the deities are reciprocal There are no prima facie obligations on either side of the relationships.” ~ Paper, Deities Are Many
The experience of the sacred and the experience of the community partaking of the sacred has become a powerful undercurrent in the ongoing community battle between lore and UPG. ~ Krasscova
Week 6: Immanence, Transcendence, and Embodiment What is the relationship of Deity (or Deities) to the things we can see and touch? How does the divine manifest in the world?
“From our experiences, we also learned that not only is everything related, but everything is alive. ” ~ Paper
“But in the traditions which are economically dependent on undomesticated plants and animals, the relationship with divinity is different; virtually every individual will communicate directly with divinity and receive revelations in response.” ~ Paper
“The gods of polytheism are not separate from the cosmos, but part of it, sharing a common world with one another and with all other things.” ~ Greer, A World Full of Gods
“One of the underlying themes surrounding the beliefs and practice of nature religion is the celebration of interconnectedness.” ~ Shaw, At the Water's Edge
Week 7: Relationality, Worship, and Devotion How do we relate to deity? What is the relationship of God/dess to herself, or of the Gods to each other?
“… every culture, given the monotheistic exception, celebrates and offers thanks to the divine pair, from a simple acknowledgement of the first of a set of offerings to the magnificent rituals of complex civilizations. “ ~ Paper, The Deities Are Many
“In the Craft, we do not believe in the Goddess--we connect with Her” ~ Starhawk
“What the gods ask of humanity, in turn, is not abject submission, but respect, love, and cooperation.” ~ Greer, A World Full of Gods
“As persuader, God/Goddess takes account of the needs of each individual and the needs of the whole universe and encourages us to achieve our own ends in ways that will increase the beauty, harmony and creativity of all beings in the web of life” ~ Christ, She Who Changes
Week 8: Cosmologies How did the world come into being? What is our place in it?
“The Goddess became filled with love, and she gave birth to a rain of Bright Spirits that filled the worlds and became all beings. " ~ Faery Creation Myth
“All things are bound together, all things connect. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls also the children of the earth." ~ Chief Oren Lyons, Onandaga Nation
“The Four Paths of creation spirituality tell us what matters Delight Darkness, suffering, and letting go Creativity and imagination Justice and celebration” ~ Matthew Fox
Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation. ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
"This is our truth, that only Nothing is, and Nothing is a universe of Bliss.“ ~ Crowley
Week 9: Death and the Dead What happens after death? How do we appropriately relate to those who have died?
“Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.” ~ Eskimo Proverb
“Yet even as we grieve we also remember and honor the sacred cycle of life, death, rebirth and regeneration, celebrating the births of our children born this year, and our own vital connections to the Earth and each other, in which we ground our hope.” ~ 2010 Spiral Dance
“One does not evolve spiritually in a vacuum. The strength of one’s spiritual House depends on the integrity of one’s lineage. By this, I mean being in right relationship with our ancestors. This is attained by honoring them regularly, rightly, and well.” ~ Galina Krasskova
“Almost all witches believe in reincarnation. It is probably true to say that they share this belief with the majority of the human race...”~ Farrar, The Witches Way
“We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk
Week 10: Theodicy Why is there evil and/or suffering?
Life isn't like a book. Life isn't logical or sensible or orderly. Life is a mess most of the time. And theology must be lived in the midst of that mess. ~ Charles Caleb Colton
“[The gods] might well, as suggested by the theologies of many Pagan religions, be content to establish relationships with those people who do believe in them and worship them, while leaving others to the worship of other gods. ~ Greer, A World Full of Gods
“Earth-based spiritual traditions are rooted in community. They are not religions of individual salvation, but of communal celebration and collective change. ~ Starhawk, Truth or Dare
Week 11: Ethics and Justice On what basis do we distinguish between right and wrong? How can we live our ethics personally and socially?
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” ~ Reinhold Niebuhr
“In a universe comprised of interconnected events, one's ethical decisions need to be formulated in the broadest possible context of relationships.” ~ Wise
While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God's creation. ~ Maya Angelou
“Polytheism in religious belief is reflected in the recognition of moral complexity...." ~ Greer, A World Full of Gods
“Wiccan ethics are positive, rather than prohibitive. The morality of witchcraft is far more concerned with 'blessed is he who' than with 'thou shalt not'. " ~ Farrar, The Witches Way
“To the witch, self-development and the full realization of one's unique yet many-aspected potential are a moral duty. That which helps evolution forward is good, that which thwarts it is evil... " ~ Farrar, The Witches Way
Week 12: Celebration What is the role of joy and pleasure in Pagan religious life?
“The rising of the erotic force is the rising of a great transforming power. When the erotic is strong, domination falls away, the pornographic must retreat, and authority can no longer maintain its hold.” ~ Starhawk, Dreaming the Dark
“Be strong, o man! lust, enjoy all things of sense and rapture: fear not that any God shall deny thee for this.” ~ Book of the Law
“Goddess/God does not exist in a realm apart from joy and suffering. Our joys and our sufferings are shared, responded to, and become part of the life of Goddess/God. The more we enjoy life and increase the joy in others, the more we contribute to the life of God/Goddess..” ~ Christ, She Who Changes
“All religions have days of celebration and Wicca is not exception. These holidays are most commonly referred to as sabbats, from the French word s'ebattre, which means to rejoice, frolic and revel. That is exactly what these days are: times to celebrate life and to rejoice in what the year has given us at each point.” ~ Wicca for Men