The Cunning Arts....

Discussion in 'Pagan' started by 17th Angel, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    I have noticed... (to my dislike) There isn't much life in the Alternative rooms... So I have picked a random subject lol and I am chucking it out far down the field... Hoping to get some movement at least......

    The cunning arts! So, that is just another word for witchcraft or paganism.... Right? Wrong... There are many connections to the stereotypical titles of witchcraft and paganism... But digging deeper, which I am currently doing there is so much in this not just a religion... (I tend to see religion as a hobby) This is a way of life... The old ways.... What has made me EVEN more interested in finding out about the cunning arts is, Devon... Where I live... That was it's bread and butter... Some pretty interesting customs/folklore/just the overall culture... We even had our freaking language/dialect.... I am from Devon and never knew this... lol I must learn it.. Anyway getting distracted slightly... The cunning arts.... What do you know about it? share your thoughts perchance?
     
  2. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    It's not another language.. Well kinda.. It is how I speak already lol... Ignore my Devon Language comment..... :rolleyes:
     
  3. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    I'm of the opinion that the cunning arts are the same thing as witchcraft or occult practices or folk magick or folk healing.

    The specific term used tends to vary with the circumstance and the person you happen to be talking with. The practices are all of the same general type.

    And just like witchcraft, and folk magick, etc. are not actually specific religions (but can be an important part of one's religion if one chooses, and ANY religion), I don't think it's accurate to describe cunning arts as a religion.
     
  4. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    It can be introduced to any religion? So, Islam? Or am I not quite understanding what you meant lol...
     
  5. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    Magickal practices are explicitly forbidden in a number of religions, but that doesn't mean they are absent. For instance, in Christianity there are some pretty clear prohibitions in the Bible against magickal practices such as working with spirits, performing divination, etc. yet there is also a long tradition of exactly these things among devout Christians.

    The cunning folk found in England since the coming of Christianity have been almost exclusively Christian. Owen Davies' book "Cunning-Folk" provides plenty of documentation regarding this. Another clearly documented set of evidence that Christians have practiced magick (despite the prohibitions in Christianity) can be found in books like "Ancient Christian Magic" edited by Marvin Meyer and Richard Smith. You also only need to look as far as the classical grimoires such as the Key of Solomon, etc. to see what working magickal systems, largely Christian, looked like.

    I don't know much about Islam but I do know that there are magickal practitioners in Muslim nations too, despite any prohibitions. There was a news story just recently about a practitioner of magickal arts who was found guilty of this practice and put to death for it in Saudi Arabia. Magickal arts are not new to the Muslim world either -- back in Jesus' day they had a name for magickal practitioners in the east: Magi (the root word where we get the word "magic" and "magick".)
     
  6. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    You are like a fountain, a fountain of knowledge.
     
  7. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    (I am putting this here, I was going to try and make it another thread, but I doubt it would go too far...)

    Bgru! I am from Devon, that's right a Devonian, now, looking back at their.... My ways of life religion and so on and so forth, christians (which is the majority here) are bascially like... Invaders.... I have no real strong faith in any sort of being what-so-freaking-ever.... BUT, I feel like I should be taking up "cunning arts" and "paganism" Simply because, that is what my people did..... I have never really looked into this as much as I have the past two days... And I feel like this is what I should be doing lol.... But, would that be right? Doing it just because my people lived that way?
     
  8. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    The history of the UK is a history of invaders. Christianity is just one of the more recent ones. Before them, it was the Romans, and the Vikings, and the Angles and the Saxons, the Celts, etc. I'm not sure if there is anything like a "native Briton" left either genetically or culturally; and it would probably be pretty difficult to figure out who they are and were!

    That being said, people who are in the UK or from the UK have a lot of cultural heritage to draw on should they choose to explore it. You could easily focus on the specific area where you are from or where you live now (Devon in your case) as there is a lot of folklore that you can tap into to enrich your spiritual path. If you feel most drawn to Christianity there is no reason to give that up in order to explore your cultural and folklore heritage. If you feel most drawn to a Pagan path the option is there as well.

    There are quite a few different modern Pagan paths that are around. There is Wicca, if you are interested in the teachings of Gerald Gardner and his spiritual descendants. There is Druidry, in its various modern incarnations. There is also the reconstructionist path, where practitioners research a particular cultural group and point in history and attempt to recreate that in a modern context (i.e. Celtic reconstructionists, Saxon reconstructionists, etc.) And there are also many many eclectic Pagans who do not align themselves with any specific group but work with what fits for them personally.

    Any of these paths can focus on a specific cultural group or geographical location for those who are inclined that way. For instance, there are Wiccan groups that focus on one particular culture and mythology for their work. There are lots though who are more generic in their approach.

    The best advice is to research, read, ask questions, and search! One good starting point for Devonshire folklore is Sarah Hewett's 1900 classic, "Nummits and Crummits." There are copies of it floating around and rumours that it will be reprinted so you should be able to track down a copy. (Libraries are excellent resources too -- there's no reason to spend money when you can borrow!) There's also a lot of material at Internet Sacred Text Archive Home that can be read online for free. (Look in the England section, as well as the section for Neopaganism/Wicca in particular.)
     
  9. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    Awesome! Again you are Mr. Amazing. I have also found this Pagan federation group lol.... And they are in Devon I have asked if they have any links/references to the history/culture/ways/and so on..... *adds that site to favourites* This site is really good! Thanks.
     
  10. Impqueen

    Impqueen Queen of the Imps

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    I think viewing Christianity as an 'invasion' is a little unfair. There was very little blood shed after all :p It was more a triumph of spin and persuasion, and in many cases 'do as your lord says' ... and he says 'Christianity's great'.

    How many generations worth of your ancestors were Christian? Does their belief mean nothing, simply because Christianity came after some form of paganism? 'It's what my ancestors did' is never a good reason for doing anything. What do you want? What do you feel? ... Seeking wisdom in the past is fine, but just because it's from the past doesn't make it wisdom.

    I know agnostic pagans... and it's certainly possible to be an atheist witch (i.e atheist user of witchcraft as opposed to atheist Wiccan, that wouldn't work). One can view the gods as symbolic constructs which are invoked in order to stimulate some aspect of the self ...
     
  11. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    When you get to the point of wanting to connect with people in your area who are practicing Pagan and/or magickal spiritual paths, be sure to look through Witches' Voice - 09 November, 2007 - 3:39:14 PM They have listings for individuals, groups, stores, classes, etc. for everywhere in the world. Listings are free and are regularly checked, with "dead links" deleted from the listings.

    They also post a lot of user-submitted essays on all sorts of topics. While not necessarily authoritative, they do give a good overview of the diversity of the modern Pagan community.

    And regarding Impqueen's comments about how Christianity came to the UK -- I think some might disagree that it was a bloodless coup. For instance, the history of England has a lot of blood spilled just over competing factions of Christians (Catholic v Protestant), then there's the witch hunts (the name Matthew Hopkins is infamous in that regard for sending people who were accused of being non-Christian to their deaths), and then there is the whole noticeable gap in the Druid religion which I don't think can be honestly attributed to a willing conversion.
     
  12. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    I posted quite a long{for me that is} post yesterday It has magically vanished along with all my other posts.... When I grow enough effort I will try to remember what I typed and re post... For now I can't be bothered... heh.
     
  13. Impqueen

    Impqueen Queen of the Imps

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    The Catholic vs Protestant problems came a long time after the UK was converted to Christianity. I thought the witch hunts sent those accused of being witches or devil worshippers (i.e Christian heretics) to their deaths, they weren't accused of worshipping Thor, for example. So again it's not a problem with the conversion of England but a problem arising within the already Christian country. As for the Druids; they may or may not have been forcibly converted but as no record from their side of the story survives, we can't really know. Assuming that a lack of records means they were forcibly converted is something of a leap, especially as they don't seem to have been big on recording things anyway.
     
  14. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    Does it really matter when they happened? The point was that Christianity brought plenty of bloodshed with it. The conversion of Britain to Christianity, regardless which sect you look at, seems to have involved bloodshed.

    Actually, the worship of other gods was one of the primary theological justifications for the inquisition; there's an essay on the topic at this webpage that discusses it. (Note the section "Theological foundations for the Inquisition" in particular.)

    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. We do know that the Druids did not commit their teachings to writing and have to rely on the writings of (rarely ever sympathetic) outsiders for the bits and pieces that we do know about them. When the Romans invaded Britain they saw the Druids as their main opponents and were therefore determined to eliminate them. The Romans made a point of destroying Druid holy sites and passed laws to outlaw Druid religion in the lands they controlled.

    Druids were not the only religious group that suffered at the hands of the Christians who would insist that theirs was the "one true way" -- there is a history of how Jews have been forcibly converted (or worse) at sites like this one. Conversion to Christianity was hardly a gentle process across Europe let alone in the British Isles.
     
  15. Bruce Michael

    Bruce Michael New Member

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    You are quite correct Impqueen. If they were invading, where did they come from?

    Christianity is a Middle Eastern religion, but it didn't spread from the Middle East to Europe.

    Christianity came to Europe via Ireland and the Irish missionaries. Places like Iona hold special significance.

    I once saw a TV program that expounded upon the idea that, early on, Christian refugees from Syria landed in Ireland. It gave proofs of place names and street names- and also racial identity. It would be interesting to see today, with DNA testing, whether this is true.


    Blessing,
    Br.Bruce
     
  16. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    Ummmm... what about Rome, and the Roman Catholic Church? That's in Italy, which is part of Europe the last time I checked.

    Christianity existed in Rome even when Rome was officially Pagan. There's lots of historical evidence about the early Christians being persecuted in Rome -- for instance, Nero blamed the fire in AD 64 on the Christians. In AD 313 Rome was declared officially Christian by the Emperor Constantine.

    The first missionary to Ireland however is believed to have been Palladius, who died sometime around AD 475-461. Most consider Ireland to have converted to Christianity thanks to the work of St. Patrick, who died either in AD 461 or in AD 493 (depending on which historical figure was the "real" St. Patrick -- there are two candidates!)

    In any case, Ireland wasn't considered Christian until more than a hundred years after Rome was, so it's highly unlikely that Ireland was the starting point for Christianity in Europe.
     
  17. Impqueen

    Impqueen Queen of the Imps

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    I wasn't suggesting that the history of Christianity isn't bloody, just that the immediate conversion of Britain wasn't an invasion.

    I didn't think the English witch craze was really connected to the Inquisition... which I thought mainly targetted Jews and Christian heretics. I'll go off and read the essay.
     
  18. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    It could be argued that any influx of newcomers to the British Isles wasn't "really" an invasion. Regardless what we call it, it still means that a new cultural group came to the shores of the British Isles and had an impact on the people who lived there. It's also part of the historical record that many of these waves of newcomers involved bloodshed and at least some conflict.

    The essay linked earlier was specifically about the Inquisition. For information about the witch hunts in the British Isles, check out The Great Witch Hunt: The Persecution of Witches in England, 1550-1660 - [2003] AukULRev 3; (2003) 9(4) Auckland University Law Review 1152 I'd also suggest Owen Davies' books "Witchcraft, Magic and Culture 1736-1951" and "Cunning-Folk" for solid historical information about the witch hunts as well as cunning folk and folk magick practices in the UK prior to when Gerald Gardner appeared on the scene in the 1950s.
     
  19. Eclectic Mystic

    Eclectic Mystic Member

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    What's the most that can come of this? Studying nature so that you can manipulate it is like studying the chemical analysis of water so that you can become a better sailor.

    Magick is not to be confused with magic. There is nothing cunning about it as it in fact seeks to solve all the effeminate gibberish that detracts one from their True Will which is one-pointed. Don't forget, also, that the ability to deceive is directly proportionate to one's ability to be deceived.

    Without trascendence, certain dead-weight-losses will never be accounted for when left soley to lunar energies. Look at Persephone who was bound to Hades. What a waste. Look at the she-bitch Hecate, whose "cunningness" is simply a last-resort attempt to deny her barren wretchedness and envy. Compare her to the more unassailable Artemis who is more united with her fellow gods. To be such a good archer one must be vigilant of subtlties but not idly caught up in them.

    Nature is not just, only precice. The oh-so-overrated theory Darwinism supports siblicide under the premise that the older sibling is more "fit" when in reality the older sibling is, due randomly to its age, only more fit at that moment-- ignoring the unmanifested yet very real potential of the younger sibling. Unfortunately, no kind of witchcraft or plant and animal magic by itself can account for this deadweight loss. If the younger sibling counters with the same visciousness it is only continuing this DWL trend of Darwinism.
     
  20. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    Interesting opinions, Eclectic Mystic, but personally I don't agree with much of what you posted just now.

    I'm not sure where you picked up the impression that studying the cunning arts, or magickal spirituality in general, is like "studying the chemical analysis of water so that you can become a better sailor." Some who study and work magick focus on theurgy -- magick for the purpose of communing or uniting with the Divine and thus perfecting one's self/soul. Others, who study and work magick for more practical ends, tend to see the Divine as not merely transcendent but also as immanent or present in Creation. To ignore the Divine in Creation in order to focus exclusively on the transcendent strikes me personally as a rather peculiar way to honour the Divine.

    The statements about specific goddesses, and sexist derogatory judgements about what others might or might not be doing just betrays a shallow understanding. Deities are not mere stereotypes any more than people are. To truly understand a deity, or to grasp the motives behind why someone might be working for a particular goal, we need to work long and hard to get to know them. I've been with my spouse for nineteen years now and I am not foolish enough to assume I know everything there is to know about him -- why would I think that I could judge a stranger, or a god or goddess, based on less information?

    And I really don't know where you were going with the anti-Darwin commentary. The cunning arts are related to science in the same way cooking and music and the arts in general are related to science -- we can gain a lot of insight by approaching them in a scientific way, and can be more effective by being aware of the science, but there is a huge amount of art involved as well. And art is about emotion and spirit, which are hardly reducible to equations.
     

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