Innana by Lisa Thiel
The strict definition of theology is the process of studying God. I
prefer to define theology as the process of studying human’s perception
and/or worship of deity, or lack thereof. There are distinct differences and
similarities found in every religion or philosophy. Whether or not the
individual agrees with other religious beliefs or philosophies is
irrelevant. However, I do feel it is important to understand as many of them
as possible to strengthen one's social interaction skills. Knowledge and
tolerance of other religions reduces the possibility of discrimination in
all areas of society, but nowhere is more important than in the workplace.
Development: Buddhism developed from Jainism, an ancient faith rooted in the pre-Aryan Indus civilization. Jainism was primarily concerned with escaping the entanglements of the world.
Deity: Buddha, et. al. Buddhists today worship Siddhartha Gautama as the Buddha, or one who has attained Nirvana.
Disciple: Siddhartha Gautama, born ca. 563 B.C.E., determined to discover the cure for human suffering, and achieved enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. He formulated his teachings and founded the Sangha, an order of monks and nuns.
Scripture: Vinaya Pitaka (Discipline Basket), Suta Pitaka (Teaching Basket), Abhidahamma Pitaka (Metaphysical Basket), Dhammapada (Collection of the Sayings of Buddha).
Doctrine: Four Noble Truths: 1) Life is suffering (dukka); 2) Suffering is caused by craving (tanha); 3) Elimination of craving (tanha) alleviates suffering (dukka); 4) The way to eliminate craving is the Noble Eightfold Path.
Noble Eightfold Path: 1) Right views; 2) Right aspiration; 3) Right speech; 4) Right conduct; 5) Right livelihood; 6) Right effort; 7) Right mindfulness; 8) Right contemplation.
Nirvana: While alive, it is the state of supreme inner peace. Upon death, it is the state of non-existence. Self or soul is the mergence of the five skandhas (threads): a) Body; b) Perceptions; c) Emotions; d) Habits; e) Reason. These disperse at the point of death.
Sects: Hinayana: Follow the teachings of the Buddha himself, and are concerned with personal salvation of the individual through attaining knowledge and sainthood. The goal is to become a saint who has attained Nirvana and is beyond all earthly attachments.
Mahayana: Primarily focus on the Buddha’s compassion for all living beings engaged in a common search for salvation.
Source: ("Religions of the Orient", 3-4)
Development: Christianity developed from Judaism by means of Jeshua (Jesus-Greek). The Jewish prophet, Micah, foretold the coming of a messiah (king) to the Jewish people, who would be born in Bethlehem.
During the time of the prophecy and of Jesus’ travels, the kingdom of Judah was inhabited by the Roman Empire, and was experiencing extreme political unrest. What the Jewish people wanted was another Moses, someone to free them from Roman bondage. Ironically, Jesus did not give the Jews their freedom and instead of strengthening their faith, he preached against it.
After his crucifixion and supposed resurrection, Christianity spread like wildfire among Jews and Pagans alike. Roman law demanded that the people of Judah pay homage to the Roman deities. The empire was threatened by this new religion.
For 300 years, Christians were persecuted. Finally, in the year A.D. 313, Constantine extended complete toleration to Christians. Forty two years after the death of Constantine, Theodosius I made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. Shortly after this conversion, Christians retaliated and persecuted Pagans, a practice that has continued to the present day. Catholicism itself is a combination of Pagan practices and the moral teachings of Jesus.
Deity: Christ, Virgin Mary, Trinity, and numerous Saints.
Disciple: Jeshua, “he who helps”, (ca. 6-4 B.C.E--30 C.E.) was the first son born to Mary and David--a stone mason or carpenter--in Bethlehem (some say Nazareth). His brothers were James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. The names of his sisters have been lost to antiquity.
Greek writers transformed the name Jeshua to Jesus and added Christos (Christ-English) meaning “king”. Jesus was touched by many prophets who traveled through his homeland; he was also influenced by Pagan Roman beliefs.
Jesus’ greatest spiritual influence was “John the Baptist,” who baptized him. The revelation Jesus supposedly received changed his perception of religion. He then pondered this revelation and the morality of Judaism. He preached forgiveness, unquestioning love, compassion, and concern for the poor. He ate with gentiles and tax collectors, aided Jews who had been shunned by other Jews. He accepted women and taught that all people are equal in the eyes of God.
Jesus’ teachings were deeply rooted in Jewish moral law, but he was ostracized by Jewish priests for his questioning of their beliefs. The priests found this to be a threat to Judaism and condemned him to death.
Pontius Pilot, the Roman governor of Judah, ruled that Jesus had not committed any crime that threatened the Roman Empire. In honor of Passover, Pilot would release one prisoner. He offered the Jewish people a choice between Barbarus, a murderer, and Jesus. The crowd chose Barbarus, and requested that Jesus be crucified.
Some scholars believe the Kiaphus, head to the temple priests, had made a prior agreement with Pilot to execute anyone who disrupted the temple during Passover. Jesus was executed by his own people--not the Romans. It was the Jews who placed the crown of thorns on Jesus’ head, mocking him as “King of the Jews.”
Upon his death, Jesus questioned his God, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” He died supposedly around 3:00pm on Passover Friday.
Scripture: St. Jerome’s Vulgate (Latin translation from Greek ca. A.D. 400), Douay (English translation from Latin 1582-1610), Confraternity (translated entirely from basic sources in U.S. 1952).
Doctrine: Catholicism places emphasis on the fatherhood of God and stresses that Christ is the Son of God. It also places emphasis on Christ being physically and spiritually present during Communion.
Catholicism anchors its beliefs on two primary convictions: 1) that Christ is the Son of God and that, 2) God sent Christ to earth to live as human, suffer as human, and die for human redemption.
These two ideas separate Christianity from all other religions. Christ makes himself felt through the influence of his spirit.
Catholics also believe in original sin, as the partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. They believe in the Immaculate Conception of Christ through the Virgin Mary, and salvation upon the second coming of Christ.
Practice: Mass, performed every Sunday, commemorates the death of Christ, and includes the Eucharist Communion (becoming one with Christ through the partaking of bread or wafers and wine). High Mass is the service with music and assisting priests. Low Mass is the service without music and only one priest.
Baptism, performed during the first six months of a child’s life, purifies the child of original sin and acknowledges the child as a member of the Church. Godparents are often present.
Confirmation, performed for an adult supplements baptism and confers upon them all religious duties.
Confession is the act of disclosing one’s sins to a priest to obtain sacramental absolution.
Penance is the act of self-abasement, mortification, piety, or devotion performed to show repentance for sin, i.e.., Hail Mary, Rosary, etc.
Absolution is the act of absolving, forgiving, setting free from guilt, sin, or penalty pronounced by a priest in the sacrament of penance.
Expiation is an act of purification as a means of atoning for one’s sins.
Redemption is the deliverance from evil and the consequences of sin, as through Christ’s atonement
Communion is the act of partaking of the Eucharist (bread or wafers and wine), which symbolizes one’s personal relationship with Christ.
Unction, known as Last Rites, is performed for someone who is dying or in danger of death.
Sects: Roman Catholic: Faith is the assent to truths revealed to the apostles by Christ, which the Church officially interprets and teaches. As head of the Church, the Pope is infallible when defining faith and morals. They believe that the Trinity is three distinct personalities, which are one in nature. Salvation is by God’s grace, which followers gain by faith and obedience to divine law. Damnation is man’s fault by rejection of grace. The final state after death is heaven, for which purgatory purifies the soul, or hell. Upon the Second Coming, Christ will judge all souls.
Eastern Orthodox: Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox were originally the same church, but they split during the year A.D. 1054. Adherents of Eastern Orthodox believe that the Bible is the word of God interpreted by the Church, and guided by the Holy Ghost. The bishops of the church are the successors of Christ’s apostles. The Trinity is one God with three personalities. The Holy Ghost proceeds from God directly, not from Christ. The Virgin Mary is revered, but they do not believe the theory of Immaculate Conception. Unction is offered only as a comfort to the sick. Salvation comes through the Church, faith, and service. Upon death, souls go to heaven, hell, or an intermediate state, which is not only a state of mind, it is also a physical place. They also believe the Last Judgment will be upon Christ’s Second Coming.
Lutheran: The first of the Protestant Reformation, was founded by Martin Luther in protest to Catholicism. The Church began in Germany in 1517, and first settled in American in 1623. Lutherans believe that the Bible was inspired by God, and is the only guide to religious truth. They believe that anyone can approach God directly. They accept the Trinity and believe that Christ is both God and man. They also accept the Virgin Birth, but not necessarily divine conception. They practice baptism and communion, during which Christ is present only in spirit. Man’s sin is in disobeying Christ. Salvation is from God’s grace through repentance and faith in Christ. It is a gift of God to sinful man, and its assurance is without the need of an intermediary, whether it be the Church, sacrament, priest, or saint. Christ will come to judge all souls.
Among many Protestant sects are: Presbyterian, Anglican, Irish Catholic, Episcopalian, Baptist and Southern Baptist, Methodist, Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, Latter-Day Saints, Adventist, Jehovah’s Witness, Scientist Church of Christ also know as the Church of Christian Science, Unitarian Universalist Church, Friends (Quakers), and Pentecost.
Source: (World’s Great Religions)
Development: Philosophy and logical thought. Deity: There is no deity in Confucianism. Confucius was not concerned with humanity’s relationship to divinity. He was more concerned with setting ethical standards to be used in social interaction. He approved of religious practices as long as they did not interfere with strengthening one’s character and quality of life.
Disciple: Confucius (551-479 B.C.E.) founded Confucianism. The Analects, compiled by his students after his death, records his philosophies. The Analects became the basis of Chinese thought.
Scripture: Analects, The Five Classics, The Classic of Changes, Spring and Autumn Annals, Records of Ceremonial, Four Books, Book of Mencius, Great Learning, Doctrine of the Mean.
Doctrine: Five Cardinal Virtues: Jen (benevolence, sympathy, perfect virtue in personal interaction), Yi (sense of duty or responsibility), Li (manners, propriety, good form, ritual governing the various kinds of social relationships), Chih (wisdom, reflected in the sense of right and wrong), Hsin (good faith, trustworthiness, loyalty). The highest of these virtues is Jen, which expresses all the qualities distinguishing civilized man from the savage.
Elder/younger brother; respect/Nobility
Older/younger friend; deference/Humaneness
Practice: None established. However, some Confucianists follow the thought of Mencius or Hsun-Tzu, or Mo-Tzu.
Source: ("Religions of the Orient", 9-10)
(still under research)
Development: Druidism developed from Paleolithic Shamanism or Animism, growing alongside Paganism. The books I have read on Druidism thus far have all tried to prove that Druidism was indigenous to either England or Ireland. I disagree with this theory because these sources have failed to trace the tree and snake worship of Egypt, Rome, Greece, and Asia Minor.
These sources also fail to trace the evolution and expansion of knot work which has existed in China for many centuries. In order to trace the roots of Druidism, the tree and snake cults of these ancient civilizations cannot be ignored. We must also discover the origin of Celtic knot work.
Firstly, the oak tree so sacred to modern-day Druids would have provided sustenance, nourishment, medicine, and the means for artistic creativity. Acorns were roasted and either eaten whole or ground into flour to make bread. The wood, still used to make household furniture, kindled their fires and may have been used to build their homes. Oak bark was used medicinally as an enema or douche to treat hemorrhoids, rectal problems, menstrual cramps, and urinary tract infections. It also reduced fever and was used as a mouth wash. Externally, oak bark was used to treat skin irritations, varicose veins, and was used as an astringent.
The mistletoe, although toxic, was used for heart and digestive problems. Mistletoe was only considered spiritually sacred when it was found growing on an oak tree. This is because it does not grow on oak trees; it only grows on elm trees.
Where Druidism is concerned, this leads me to believe that ancient writers such as Pliny and Caesar mistook an oak tree for an elm tree. They might not have known what they were looking at. After all, they were not native to the area in which they traveled. What might have appeared to be an oak tree to a Greek or a Roman, might not have been an oak tree.
Oak bark was also used to make fabric dye, and was later used as a pigment for ink. Black oak bark was used to make yellow, gold, olive green, and orange dye. English and Valley oak made a black dye, and White oak bark made brown dye.
For all of the above reasons, the oak tree was regarded as the Tree of Life. Why would the mighty oak be so highly revered by early Irish or English civilization when there were many other trees in the area which could have met all these needs and more?
Development: Hinduism developed from Vedism, a polytheistic religion brought to India ca. 1500 B.C.E. by invading Aryan tribes. Early Vedism stressed hope for an afterlife in heaven and lacked the concepts of karma and reincarnation, which dominate Hinduism today.
Deity: Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Kali, et. al..
Disciple: Mahatma Gandhi
Scripture: Vedas and Brahmanas (maintained from Vedic times), Upanishads (teachings and discussions of holy men who transformed Vedism into Hinduism), Bhagavad gita (a synthesis of religious and philosophic speculation; part of the Mahabarata), Mahabarata (a tale of the five Pandora brothers), Ramayana (a tale of the incarnation of Krishna as Rama).
Doctrine: Code of Manu (duties and caste); Kamasutras of Vatsyayana (duties of pleasure); Dharma (doing one’s duty for caste and family by renouncing egotistical desire for the sake of the common good); Karma (the moral law of cause and effect); Samsara (the passage of a soul into bodies as determined by its karma); Artha (the pursuit of material prosperity in relation to Dharma); Moksha (the liberation from earthly entanglements); Asramas (the stages of life appropriate to social and spiritual demands).
Practice: Yoga, prayer, meditation, sacrifice, and shedding of sins.
Sects: Vaishnavism (worships Vishnu), Shaivism (worships Shiva), Shaktism (worships Shakti). For every deity in the Hindu pantheon, there is a sect which worships that deity.
Tantra: The belief that divine union with deity can only be accomplished through intercourse with a woman. Tantrics believe that women are temples of the divine essence. Tantra is an extension of the Kamasutra, and is not a religion. It is more of a philosophy.
Source: ("Religions of the Orient", 5-7)
Development: Islam began among the predominately Semitic peoples in the Near East. A century after Mohammed’s death, it extended from Gibraltar to the Himalayas. Today, most Moslems are from many ethnic groups. About three-fourths are Asian, and most of the remainder live in Africa, where there are ten converts to Islam for every one to Christianity. Islam has its greatest numbers in India and Pakistan, where most Moslems are converted Hindus or their descendents.
Disciple: Mohammed (570-632 C.E.) received a vision of the arch-angle Gabriel, who commanded him to recite all that he had seen in his vision. Due to this vision, Mohammed became known as the prophet of Allah. When Meccan merchants threatened his life, he fled to Yathrib. The year of this Hegira (flight) is the first year of the Moslem calendar.
Scripture: Koran was given to Mohammed by Allah, and was written by Mohammed’s secretaries. Upon Mohammed’s death, these writings were compiled into a book, known now as the Koran. It was originally written in Arabic. The Koran contains many legends and traditions paralleling those of the Bible and Pagan Arabia. It provides the basis of the law of Islam, whose followers call themselves, Moslems.
Doctrine: Islam venerates a simple, all-powerful God. Its founder, Mohammed, is seen only as a prophet, not as a messiah. Islam is concerned with a man’s life on earth and the hereafter. The word Islam means ‘submission.’ Wherever a Moslem’s prayer rug lies is the house of Allah. The conviction that God is omnipresent and omniscient gives Moslems a sense of brotherhood that transcends racial and political barriers. Islam reveres the biblical prophets, contending that Mohammed was the Seal of the Prophets. Islam denies the divinity of Christ, yet firmly refuses to deify Mohammed. Its primary doctrine is pure monotheism and the Last Judgment. Allah is the one and only God, the sole creator and only judge.
Practice: Five Pillars of Islam: 1) Proclamation of the unity of God and belief, as expressed by the creed, “There is no God but Allah. Mohammed is the messenger of Allah.” 2) Prayer performed five times daily, facing Mecca, and on Fridays in the Mosque. 3) Almsgiving, as an offering to Allah and an act of piety. 4) The fast of Ramadan. 5) Pilgrimage of Mecca.
During the Hadj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, three rituals must be observed: 1) The sevenfold circumambulation of the Kaaba; at each turn, pilgrims must kiss or touch the Black Stone. 2) Trot across the valley between the hills, Safa and Marva, seven times to commemorate Hagar’s search for water for her infant, Ishmael. 3) Climb to the top of the Mount of Mercy, and perform a final walk around the Kaaba.
Moslems may not eat pork, gamble, or practice usury, and are forbidden from making images of Mohammed or Allah. For many centuries, women were secluded by Islam. They were forced to wear a burga, a veil covering the entire body, except eyes, hands, and feet. Today, many Moslem women attend college, and are allowed to vote. In many countries, however, some women are still in purdah (veiled).
Many of the restrictions placed on women are not found in the Koran, but from later interpretations of Moslem law. Mohammed himself advanced the status of women. His daughter, Fatima, once preached in a Mosque and may never have been veiled. Mohammed condemned the practice of burying unwanted girl babies alive and taught that girls were gifts from God.
Circumcision, a practice not mentioned in the Koran, was adopted by Moslems. Since early times, many cultures have practiced it as a sacrifice to a fertility god. Mohammed received his first revelation during Ramadan, and proclaimed it as a time for fasting and abstinence. The fast lasts for an entire month, but only during daylight hours.
Sects: Sufi: The Sufi movement originated in the seventh century when Syrian Moslems organized monastic houses. They introduced a saintly hierarchy, asceticism, and a philosophical intent shrouded in the language of earthly passion.
Shiite: Derived from those who differed over the choice of successor, the ruler of all Moslems. Shiites hold that the post is God-given, but open only to descendents of Mohammed through his son-in-law, Ali. Shiites credit Hussein, Mohammed’s grandson, with atoning for man’s sins. Hussein’s death in battle brought their establishment.
Source: (The World’s Great Religions, passim)
Development: Judaism emerged ca. 4000 B.C.E.? as a polytheistic religion among the kingdoms of Egypt and Tyre. The patriarchs--Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the scriptural account--knew God and served him. The transformation from polytheism to monotheism ca. 1300 B.C.E. was brought on by Moses, to whom God gave the commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Not many men before his time could fathom the idea of monotheism. In the three centuries between Moses and the founding of the Israelite monarchy by Saul, the Jews fought with foreign invaders and with their idea of religion. The memory of older gods rose up to challenge the authority of Yahweh. Many Jews accepted the gods and magic of their captors. The reigns of David and Solomon ended in division, with Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Moses’ vision was renewed by the prophets. Still, many Jews hung on to their magical rituals, and the gods of old became Yahweh's chosen Angels.
Deity: Yahweh, and angels: Raphael, Gabriel, Cassiel, Sachiel, Zamael, Michael, Anael. Archangels: Tzaphquiel, Tzadiqel, Khamael, Haniel.
Disciple: Moses, who brought the idea of monotheism to the Jews.
Scripture: Torah (Law), Nebi’im (Prophets), Ketubim (Writings), Talmud and Midrah (Rabbinic Works).
Doctrine: Judaism looks to an afterlife, but its practice is to guide one in this life. Its supreme preoccupation is the attempt to ascertain God’s will in all things. Ideally, the table must be an altar, the home a house of God, and the market place an expression of justice.
Central to Judaism is the doctrine of mitzvah, meaning good deed. Six hundred thirteen mitzvot are listed, among them are visiting the sick, burying the dead, sparing another person’s feelings, prayer, and studying the Torah.
Judaism holds that a man can not escape sin. The fall is not seen as a sin, but a fault continuously repeated because of man’s human weakness.
Jews believe in resurrection and immortality of the soul, but are free to make their own philosophical interpretation. Jews do not recognize the divinity of Christ, nor do they believe that he is their messiah. Judaism is a civilization and, as a people, are linked by a common history, language or prayer, and a sense of destiny.
Practice: Sabbath (Friday), Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), Passover (Freedom from Egyptian bondage), Simchath Torah (Rejoicing in the Law), Purim (Jewish rescue from Haman), Shabuoth (Feast of the First Fruits-handing down of the Ten Commandments), Succoth (marks harvest and rain), Hanukkah (Feast of Lights-Victory of Judas Maccabaeus over Syrians).
On the Sabbath, Orthodox Jews shun work, refuse to travel, use the phone, write, touch money, or pose for photographs. Conservative Jews relax these prohibitions and Reform Jews have abandoned them altogether, but Sabbath is always honored. The Sabbath begins at dusk each Friday when the woman of the house lights the candles with a blessing. Her husband blesses the wine and slices the Sabbath loaf.
On the eighth day after a male child is born, he is circumcised to commemorate God’s covenant with Abraham At thirteen, a boy becomes bar mitzvah--a son of the commandment--and assumes all adult religious duties.
The breaking of a glass during a wedding recalls the destruction of Jerusalem.
At the door of a Jewish home hangs a mezuzah (doorpost), a small box which holds fifteen verses of scripture. As family members come and go, they kiss the mezuzah.
Jews are forbidden from eating pork and shellfish. All meat must be slaughtered quickly and neatly to prevent too much blood from staying on the flesh.
Sects: Orthodox: Insists that they should strictly adhere to the dietary and Sabbath laws. Men and women should be segregated during prayer, and that Hebrew dominate as the language of worship. They believe that the Torah came directly from God as a gift to Moses, and that the Talmud’s interpretations of the Mosaic books were divinely inspired.
Conservative: Attempt to adapt to Orthodoxy to modern life. Men and women sit together, and an organ and choir are permitted, as in Reform temples. Talmudic interpretation of the Torah was a product of its age, subject to revision by a later age.
Reform: Only the spiritual and ethical values of Judaism can not be changed. The practices are secondary, and are designed to dramatize the principles and ideals. Customs which no longer have an impact on the worshiper may be abandoned. The Torah is a repository of ideals, but are not necessarily divine revelation.
Source: (The World’s Great Religions, passim)
Development: Paganism developed as a natural extension of Paleolithic Animism/Shamanism during the Neolithic Era. Goddess worship goes back as far as 20,000 B.C.E., which is evidenced by the discovery of the Venus of Willendorf-a late Paleolithic limestone statuette-found in Austria.
The Venus figure of a standing woman, ca. 9,000 B.C.E., was also discovered in a shrine at Catal Huyuk, Anatolia in present-day Turkey.
Kinship was matrilineal because we are all born of women. On a more scientific note, only the female passes and inherits Mitochondrial DNA. About 6,000 B.C.E., man discovered that he played a role in reproduction. Thus, a new deity was born as a fertility god. To this day, our fertility symbols are phallic. Woman’s role in reproduction was all but forgotten, and we have lived in a man’s world ever sence. Despite this fact, women were highly respected as mothers and keepers of the home and children. Therefore, there were two equal deities-the mother goddess and the fertility god.
This was the first involution, the idea of spirit or deity. Early Neolithic humans began to question the world around them and how it came to be. Thus, we have creation stories, and with them, deity and worship.
The next involution came with the development of agriculture and the domestication of animals. With this development of agriculture and the domestication of animals. With this development, religion developed a structure that revolved around the fertility of the land and animals, and the growth and harvest of crops.
Thus, Paganism evolved as a religion which met the needs of the people. The Paganism of early Neolithic times was not the Wicca we know today, with its spells, charms, and ceremonial trappings. It was nothing more than observing the change of the seasons and working a farm and livestock.
Deity: The mother goddess and fertility god were known by many different names, depending upon the language of the culture which worshipped them.
Practice: The practices of Paganism are nothing more than honoring the Goddess and God, honoring the Esbats (full moon rituals), and honoring the solstices and equinoxes. The other four celebrations are not of a spiritual nature, but do have spiritual connotations. Imbolc is the time for planting seeds. Beltane is the time that cattle are released into the pastures. Lughnasadh is the grain harvest, and Samhain is the meat harvest.
Development: Shamanism was the first religion, which developed during the Paleolithic Era. In the beginning, these early humans had no concept of spirit or deity; however, it soon developed. They were hunter/gathers, whose chief source of sustenance was wild game and plants. Thus, during their rituals, they tried to draw animals into their hunting grounds.
The form of Shamanism I give here is Native American, Lakota to be more tribally specific. Native Americans do have a deep sense of spirit and deity, but I do not know when the concept developed according to a linear time frame. According to the people themselves and their creation stories, they always possessed this concept and I can only take their word for it.
North American Plains tribes remained predominately Paleolithic until the nineteenth century, except for the domestication of the dog and horse. Unfortunately, we have virtually no record of Native American society before Anglo-European encroachment. What few records we do have are from archeological discoveries, and written annals are pictoglyphs, or line drawings, and winter counts found on story skins. Suffice it to say that their religion has been greatly influenced by Christianity.
In my eleven year’s research of Native American culture, the best representative of the Lakota religion I have found is Frank Fools Crow. In the two books written about him, by Thomas E. Mails, Fools Crow was adamant about the fact that there is only one god.
Despite the fact that Fools Crow worshipped a Trinity, acknowledged the four winds, and invoked the aid of spirit helpers (405 Stone White Men), he stressed that these were not deities.
I got the impression that Fools Crow was afraid to admit what his beliefs really were. This is another testament of the Christian persecution of non-Christian religions. Due to such persecution, we may never know what Native American religious beliefs were before Christian encroachment.
According to the story of White Buffalo Calf Maiden, it was she who gave the Lakota their first pipe. This was the very beginning of religious worship among the Lakota people. According to Lakota history, the Pipe was given to them ca. 1200-1500 A.D. when they first entered the plains of North and South Dakota.
It is a symbolic bridge between the spiritual world and the physical world. The red catlinite bowl represents the Lakota people. The stem, usually ash, represents the straightness of speech, mind, and body. Animals carved onto the bowl, a buffalo or bear, represent all four legged creatures. Eagle or other feathers represent all winged creatures. The colored ribbons (red, yellow, white, and black) represent the four winds, and in modern times, the four races of mankind.
The Pipe is central to the Lakota religion, and the Pipe Ceremony is performed at the beginning of all other ceremonies. The Lakota pray with their pipes just as Catholics pray with their rosaries. When Calf Pipe Maiden gave the first Pipe to the Lakota, she also gave them seven bags. Each bag was an understanding of the powers of the four directions, Grandmother Earth, Tunkashila, and Wakan Tanka.
Deity: Wakan Tanka “Big Holy” or “Holiest of Everything”
Tunkashila “Granfather” synonymous with the Son of God and the Holy Spirit.
Tatetob “Four Winds”
405 Stone White Men (Spirit Helpers)
Disciple: Frank “Eagle Bear” Fools Crow was not a disciple in the strict sense of the word. He was one of many holy and/or medicine men among his tribe throughout the centuries. But, he was more than a mere holy man. Frank Fools Crow was the Ceremonial Chief of the entire Teton Lakota Nation. This is a position of status that not even his famous late uncle, Nicholas Black Elk, had achieved.
Fools Crow was loved and respected by all who knew him, and it is my opinion that there will never be another Wichasa Wakan (Holy Man) like him of any religion. Fools Crow performed numerous acts of healing, which many of us would consider miracles. Regardless of this, I do not wish to portray him as a miracle worker. He was just as valuable as a political leader as he was a holy man.
Frank Fools Crow was born June 24 or 27 of 1890 in the Porcupine District of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He never attended a missionary school, and could not speak, read, or write more than a little English. He was taken on his first vision quest at the age of thirteen by his teacher, a holy man, names Stirrup. By 1913, he had conducted his first Kettle Dance. In 1917, Fools Crow became a Roman Catholic, and in August of that year, Stirrup gave his ceremonial pipe to Fools Crow. In 1918, Fools Crow began to use his powers to heal. In 1925, he was chosen as the leader of the Porcupine District and named the Ceremonial Chief of the Lakota Nation.
From 1927-29, he toured with several wild west shows. In 1928, the federal government allowed the Lakota to perform non-pierced Sun Dances for tourists. In 1952, Fools Crow was the Intercessor of the first pierced Sun Dance permitted since it was outlawed in 1881. In 1959, he appeared in a movie called War Bonnet.
In 1973, Fools Crow negotiated a peace treaty with the federal government, which ended the Wounded Knee Seize. In September of 1975, he led a delegation of Lakota to Washington D.C. for a conference with President Ford, and led the opening prayer for a session of the U.S. Senate. June 25, 1976, Fools Crow led a caravan of horse backed riders to the Custer battle field to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Little Big Horn. September 10, 1976, he met with the Lloyd Means Subcommittee on Interior and Insular Affairs and gave a speech regarding the return of the Black Hills to the Lakota Nation. November 27, 1989, Fools Crow died.
Scripture: There is no scripture per se of native shamanism. Unlike most religions, shamanism is extremely individualistic. Each shaman does things his own way. He may receive basic instruction from another holy man on how to conduct the Sun Dance, sweat lodge, or Yuwipi ceremonies. But beyond that, a native shaman is on his own. Any further guidance he receives is through visions.
For traditional native shamanism, I would suggest the books, Fools Crow and Fools Crow: Wisdom and Power by Thomas E. Mails. I do not know of any other books which detail exactly the style of a particular shaman. The Wisdom and Power book contains so much detailed instruction that Fools Crow himself requested that it not be published until after his death.
Doctrine: In native shamanism, not everyone follows the religious duties. Only the medicine people and holy men are required to do this. Spiritual leaders must conduct themselves in a certain manner at all times. Other members of a tribe simply do as they please. The doctrine I give here is that of a spiritual leader, who is not only measured by his healing abilities, but also by his way of life. A spiritual leader must not drink alcohol or use profanity. He must not be prone to violence, be promiscuous, or harbor jealousy. He must live a life of poverty and humility. And, he must love, honor, and try to heal all those who come to him for help. He can never turn anyone away. (Sound familiar?)
Practice: Although each shaman’s practices are different, there are a few traditions which are always the same. These are the Pipe Ceremony and the marking of a Sacred Circle. When the pipe is lit, it is always offered to Wakan Tanka, Tunkashila, Grandmother Earth, and Tatetob, respectively. The Sacred Circle is not really a circle; it is usually a rectangle. Four sticks are placed in the ground with flags tied to them. 405 small tobacco pouches are attached to a string, which is tied to the sticks. Sage is usually laid inside the “circle”.
Source: (Fools Crow, passim)
[I would like to point out here that Native Americans are opposed to the use of the word, "Shamanism," to describe their religion, and to the word, "Shaman," in reference to their Holy Men because "Shaman" is a Sanskrit word. Native Americans are also opposed to their religion and its practices being referred to as "Pagan". However, they will not divulge to the rest of the world how they do wish to be described (probably because it gives them something to bitch about). Although Native Americans respect Mother Earth and White Buffalo Calf Maiden, women are not allowed to be spiritual leaders. They are only allowed to practice medicine. This is because Indian men consider women to be dirty and unclean, due to their menstrual cycle. Thus, women can never be holy. This really upsets me. If they truly feel this way, they should change their story of the Sacred Pipe and say that a man gave it to them, rather than a Holy-woman.]
Sects: There are no sects as such among traditional shamanism. There is, however, contemporary shamanism. Contemporary shamanism appeals to a lot of people because its practitioners do not have to be reservation-born, full-bloods. Also, women are truly respected and acknowledged as holy vessels, equal to men. An adequate representation of contemporary shamanism can be found in Dancing with the Wheel by Sun Bear, Wabun Wind, and Crysallis Mulligan. A good representation of female shamanism is found in Spirit Healing by Mary Dean Atwood.
Development: Shinto is a combination of Taoism, Mahayana Buddhism, and Kami. During the first century C.E., Buddhism and Taoism was introduced into Japan by silk traders from China.
Deity: Amaterasu Omi-Kami, Ninigi-no-Mikoto, Jimmu, Susanoo.
Scripture: Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters) written ca. 8th century C.E., based on oral tradition. Nihon-Shoke (the Written Chronicles of Japan).
Doctrine: Bushido, a medieval code of honor and patriotic action, and the means by which they govern themselves. Before the coming of Buddhism, the Japanese were a completely militaristic society.
Practice: Martial Arts, and meditation.
Source: ("Religions of the Orient", 11-12)
Development: Taoism developed as a reaction to Confucianism. Long before Confucianism developed, the Chinese had already formulated the theory of a cyclic patters of waxing and waning, expansion and contraction. This pattern is known as the Tao. Where Confucianism was concerned with the social aspect of humans (yang), Taoism reacted with a concern for the spiritual aspect of humans (yin).
Deity: The Tao itself is the deity of Taoism. However, unlike other deities, it lacks a human personality save for the perception Lao-Tzu gave it as Mother of the Universe.
Disciple: Lao-Tzu, Chuang-Tzu, and Kuo Hsiang.
Lao-Tzu first formulated Taoism as a means of reforming society. He assumed that by nature, humans are good, and that evil is the result of inappropriate social interaction. Lao-Tzu thought in terms of being generated from non-being and emphasizes spontaneity and constancy. He described the sage as impartial and beyond petty concerns.
Chuan-Tzu was the most distinguished representative of Taoist thought. In the tale, The Carver Named Ting, he summarized his perception of the Tao. He suggested that we live our lives, conserving our vital source in tune with the Tao.
Kuo Hsian felt that the sage need not withdraw from the tangible world to realize himself.
Scripture: Tao Te Ching (Classic of the Way and its Power), written by Lao-Tzu introduced the concept of Tao in relation to that which is changeless and ever-changing. The Tao only follows the laws of its own nature.
Doctrine: The teachings described in the Tao Te Ching are, “There is a thing inherent and natural, which existed before heaven and earth. Motionless and fathomless, it stands alone and never changes. It pervades everywhere and is never exhausted. It may be regarded as the Mother of the Universe. Man follows the laws of earth. Earth follows the laws of heaven. Heaven follows the laws of the Tao. Tao follows the laws of its nature.”
Chuang-Tzu describes the Tao as the inter-penetration of the yin and yang. Tao is the creative/destructive force that brings everything into being and dissolves everything into non-being. Chuang-Tzu taught that all oppositions are figments of reason and imagination. Trough this understanding of the Tao, it lost its deified perception as Lao-Tzu defined it.
Chuang-Tzu also presented a more philosophical system, developing cosmology, metaphysics, and epistemology. Thus, the Tao became transcendental. Chuang-Tzu is concerned with self-transcendence, and makes change the focus of his deliberations. To Chuang-Tzu, opposites are truly one. He holds the ideal that man knows his nature, nurtures it, and adapts it and himself to the universal process of transformation.
Sects: Neo-Taoism, formulated by Kuo Hsiang, teaches that the sage embraces all things, and rises above human affairs while participating in them and responding to problems as they arise. The aim of the wise man is to attain harmony with the Tao by desiring nothing, living simple, and acting by not acting. The Taoist cherishes individualism and solitude as essential to the spiritual life.
Later Taoism, with its scriptures, the Tao-tsang, became heavily influenced by Buddhism. The aim of spiritual immortality sought by early Taoists, gave way to a concern for longevity and physical immortality. Taoist priests became alchemist, magicians, and shamans in search of a magic elixir for immortality. They made charms, practiced numerology, astrology, and foretold the future (I-Ching). A pantheon of deities, spirits, heavens, hells, and purgatories developed. Lao-Tzu became the focus of a temple cult, and monasticism was introduced with the community renewal and a belief in revealed scriptures.
Source: ("Religions of the Orient", 7-9)
Development: Wicca developed during early Neolithic times as temple or ceremonial magic. When Paganism became an organized religion, temples were built in honor of deities. Priests and Priestesses were designated as caretakers of these temples, and they performed ceremonial magic during their rituals. As time wore on, people developed the science of astronomy. The Chinese, Egyptians, Hebrews, and Greeks all looked to the stars, sun, and moon to mark their calendars. Astrology, a means of divination based on astronomy, became the essence of all known ceremonial magic.
The word Wicca is derived from an Anglo-Saxon word, “wicce,” or "wicca," meaning, “wise one.” Thus, Wicca craft or Witchcraft means “Craft of the Wise.” This term was adopted by practitioners in the 20th century as a means to define their faith as a religion.
Deity: Wiccans worship the old Pagan deities, and this worship may vary according to an individual's ancestral heritage, or which style of Wicca being practiced.
Disciple: There are many “disciples” claimed among Wiccans. We must be reminded, however, that these people are founders of particular Wiccan style or denomination, rather than the disciple of an entire religion. If I were to choose a disciple for Wicca, my choice would be Dr. Margeret Murray, whose book, The Witch Cult in Western Europe: A Study in Anthropology, addressed Wicca as the religious remnant of earlier Pagan practices.
Scripture: There is no scripture as such among Wicca, save for a Witch’s personal Book of Shadows. Wicca is an individualistic religion. There are a thousand books written on the subject, and any one of them would be suitable “scripture.”
I would recommend Scott Cunningham’s books: Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner and Living Wicca: A Further Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. These two books give the reader a non-sectarian, detailed look into Wicca as a religion and as a Craft.
Doctrine: The only doctrine Wicca adheres to is the Wiccan Rede, originally written in prose by Vivianne Crowley. Many feel that the Charge of the Goddess, written by Doreen Valiente in Witchcraft for Tomorrow, is a part of Wiccan doctrine, but its strict adherence to is not necessary for one to be a "good Witch". Many rules and stipulations have been added to the Rede to further explain its meaning. The essence of the Wiccan Rede is understood by all Wiccan practitioners, and is always the same. “Do what thy will, but harm none, lest it be in thy self-defense.”
Practice: For all formal rituals and spell-casting, the following is performed: Consecration of sacred space and all ritual items, casting of the circle, invoking the elements. The work is conducted. The elements are released, the circle is un-cast, and the sacred space is purified or neutralized. Wiccans honor the full moon with a ritual known as an Esbat. They also honor the eight Sabbats, which are known as: Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Lughnasadh, Mabon, Samhain, and Yule.
Sects: The sects of Wicca are too numerous to mention. However, the most notable of them are Gardnerian and Celtic. In my opinion, these styles have had the most influence on all other known styles.
Gardnerian introduced the need of ceremonial working tools, a degree training system, and a hierarchy--all of which are present in almost every modern Wiccan style. The Celtic influence is in the observance of seasonal changes and lunar cycles.
I would like to clear up something that most Wiccans either forget or have no knowledge of. The word Celtic is not exclusive to Ireland and its inhabitants, or its descendants. The Celts were a race of people who shared a common geography and language stock. Celtic styles of Wicca include: Witta (Irish), Pecti-Wita (Scottish), Arthurian (British), Cymri (Welsh), Manx (Isle of Man), Teutonic (German), Norse (Norwegian), Gaulic (French), Bohemian (Czechoslovakian), and Galatian (Greek/Turkish).
Styles of Wicca
Development: Founded by Alex Sanders, a Pagan leader who blended Kabalistic practices with Celtic practices. He also incorporated Judeo-Christian practices into his ceremonies. He called himself the “King of Witches.” Read King of the Witches by June John.
Disciple: Gerald Gardner
Scripture: King of the Witches by June John.
Practice: Sanders combined Kabalistic, Judeo-Christian, and Celtic practices.
Development: Founded by Aleister Crowley. Read The Legend of Aleister Crowley by Stephenson and 777 and Other Quabalistic Writings by Aleister Crowley.
Disciple: Alex Sanders
Scripture: 777 and Other Quabalistic Writings
Practice: Kabalistic and Sex Magic
Development: Founded by Zsuzsanna Emese Budapest. Stresses the unity of women and becoming one with the feminine self. She was the first Witch in 300 years to be tried for Witchcraft in California. Read The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries by Z. Budapest and the Cauldron of Change by De-Anna Alba.
Disciple: Z. Budapest
Scripture: The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries
Doctrine: The unity of women.
Development: Early Neolithic Era. Read Egyptian Magic by E.A.W. Budge and Invocations of the Gods: Ancient Egyptian Magic for Today by Ellen Cannon Reed.
Deity: Osiris and Isis, et. al..
Scripture: Egyptian Magic, Egyptian Book of the Dead
Practice: Death Magic
Development: Early Celtic Civilization. An environmentally minded path which claims its origins in the oral teachings of the Tuatha de Dannan of Ireland, the deities who became the Sidhe. Once a secretive group, their beliefs and practices have been made public in the Faery Wicca series by Kisma K. Stepanich.
Disciple: Kisma Stepanich
Scripture: Faery Wicca Series
a.k.a. Fam Trad
Development: Practices and beliefs are handed down from parent to child or grandparent to grandchild over the course of one of more generations.
Deity: Family or individualized.
Disciple: None or family figurehead.
Scripture: Family or individual Book of Shadows.
Doctrine: “Harm not the family, do as thy will.” This is the case in some but not all families. Some families harm their own family members, but no one outside the family except in self-defense. Family Tradders hold knowledge to be sacred and will only impart that knowledge to a direct blood relation. Otherwise, it is taken to the grave. Therefore, Family Tradders feel it is their duty and life’s goal to bear children to continue the bloodline so their knowledge may be passed to the next generation.
Practice: Practices vary from one family to the next. Not all practices are Wiccan/Pagan in nature. However, the knowledge may be taught in a spiritual manner.
Development: The first Wiccan style to make itself known publicly in England in the 1950s. Its founder, Gerald Gardner, is often called the “Father of Wicca.” Many of today’s styles have been influenced by the Gardnerian style by incorporating a hierarchy and degree training system. A very detailed and in depth examination of the Gardnerian style can be found in Janet and Stewart Farrar’s A Witche’s Bible Compleat, Witchcraft Today by Gerald Gardner, and The Meaning of Witchcraft by Gardner and Bryant.
Deity: Cernnunos and Aradia
Disciple: Janet and Stewart Farrar
Scripture: A Witche’s Bible Compleat
Practice: Hierarchy, degrees, Great Rite, and ritual nudity.
Development: Mid-late Neolithic Era. Read Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling by Leland.
Disciple: Ray Buckland
Practice: Fortune telling
Development: Early Judaic history before monotheism.
Disciple: King Solomon.
Scripture: Greater and Lesser Key of Solomon.
Practice: Summoning spirits by use of seals and talismans.
Read: Order of the Golden Dawn, The Greater and Lesser Keys of Solomon and King Solomon’s Magic by Oribello, and the Seals of Moses.
Development: The idea of Satanism was born with the emergence of Christianity. Until this emergence, Pagan deities had both positive and negative personalities attributed to them. These deities soon became the Christian devils and demons, and the Greek God Pan was the Christian model for their Satan.
Only Christianity separated natural law and made one of their deities 100 percent pure and good, and the other 100 percent evil. Thus, the idea of Satanism was born. It was used by the Roman Church as a means to frighten people into conversion. If people refused to convert, the were simply slaughtered. Thus was born the Witch-craze of Western Europe, which lasted from about 1054 (the year that the Roman Church announced its Papal authority) until the year 1717 in London, England.
This was the year that the Masonic Lodge came out in the open, the Ancient Order of Druids was founded by John Toland (also a Mason), and the Anglican Church was formally established. Even though England continued its ban on Witchcraft until 1951, no Witch who was found in relation to or in the company of a Mason or a Druid was ever persecuted for her beliefs. In reality, the “Satanists” of early Christian times were Pagan temple priests and priestesses. The practice of ceremonial magic never ceased; it was merely Christianized.
There are several manuscripts held by the British Museum, one of which belongs to the 14th Century. It is marked as Sloane MS 430, and is titled “Scheme Magicum.” Two famous books were also published during the time of the Roman Inquisition: The Book of Enoch by Dr. John Dee and The Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Henry Cornelius Agrippa. The Book of Enoch was published in the 16th Century and Agrippa’s book was published in 1651.
My point is this: If the Roman Church was so fanatical about eradicating the practice of Witchcraft, why were these books allowed to be published? And how is it that the 14th Century Sloane manuscript survived the Inquisition? The fear of Witchcraft and such Satanic activities as sacrificing babies, burning baby’s fat candles, and raping innocent maidens has its foundation in Christian lies and propaganda, which was used to frighten people to adhere to the Christian faith.
This type of controlling fear is used
to this day in the form of “Hell-fire and brimstone” preaching. Much like
the Inquisitors of times long past, representatives of our legal system use
threats of prosecution based on out-dated laws to make a person confess to a
crime they did not commit or know nothing about. The media uses people’s
fear and natural curiosity about the occult to sensationalize a crime story.
Deity: Satan, Lucifer, Belial, Leviathan, et. al..
Contrary to popular belief, Satanists are not devil- worshippers. A true Satanist bows down to no one, deity or man. To do so would be considered undignified and degrading to the Satanist. Satanic philosophy teaches that we are the Gods and Goddesses on this earth, and if we are to worship anyone, we should worship ourselves.
Disciple: Anton Szandor LaVey
LaVey was born ca. 1954 in Germany, where Death Cults are no shock to German society. LaVey was also greatly influenced by the hypocrisy of Christians around him. He observed men quenching their thirst for carnal knowledge one night, and on the following evening witnessed the same men cleansing their souls in church with their families. This disgusted LaVey, and on the night of Walpurgisnacht-the German equivalent of Beltane-in 1966, he shaved his head and announced the formation of the Church of Satan, which is now located in San Francisco, California.
Scripture: The Satanic Bible, The Satanic Rituals, and The Satanic Witch by Anton LaVey.
Doctrine: The doctrine as such of Satanism is comprised of the Book of Satan and the Nine Satanic Statements.
The Christian Bible has always been considered the “word of God.” Since LaVey thinks of himself as Satan’s representative, he has written the Book of Satan as though it is the “word of Satan.” I have chosen one verse from each of the five parts of this book which best illustrate its doctrine.
1:8 “I break away from all conventions that do not lead to my earthly success and happiness.”
2:6 “No creed must be accepted upon authority of a ‘divine’ nature.”
3:1 “If I love my enemies, does that not place me at their mercy?”
4:1 “Life is the great indulgence-death, the great abstinence.”
5:9 “Blessed are those that believe in what is best for them, for never shall their minds be terrorized. Cursed are the ’lambs of God,’ for they shall be bled whiter than snow.”
The Nine Satanic Statements are as follows:
1) Satan represents indulgence, instead of abstinence.
2) Satan represents vital existence, instead of spiritual pipe dreams.
3) Satan represents undefiled wisdom, instead of hypocritical self-deceit.
4) Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it, instead of love wasted on ingrates.
5) Satan represents vengeance, instead of turning the other cheek.
6) Satan represents responsibility to the responsible, instead of concern for psychic vampires.
7) Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who because of his “divine spiritual and intellectual development,” has become the most vicious animal of all.
8) Satan represents all of the so-called “sins,” as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification.
9) Satan has been the best friend the [Christian] church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years.
Practice: The most important holiday among Satanists is their own birthday. Their two great Sabbats are Beltane and Samhain. They also honor the Solstices and Equinoxes, but they do so six weeks later than their Wiccan/Druid counterparts.
The Black Mass is nothing more than a satiric parody on the religious service of the Roman Catholic Church, but can be applied to any religious ceremony. It is not a magical ritual; it is a psychodrama which laughs in the face of ‘white light religions.’
The two types of Satanic magic are greater magic and lesser magic. Greater magic consists of a formal ritual. Lesser magic involves manipulating a given situation to achieve a goal. Often times, a formal ritual is not necessary to perform lesser magic.
Greater magic also falls under three categories: sex, compassion, and destruction. Sex magic is a love or lust spell, which is usually performed alone because it involves an orgasmic release to cast the spell. Compassion rituals are sympathetic magic. They include spells cast for health, business, material gain, etc. Destruction rituals are just that-they are curses. Satanists curse with a white candle and bless with a black candle.
Sects: Temple of Set founded by Michael Aquino who was once a member of the Church of Satan until he had a dream which led him toward older ideals. His church was founded on the premise that the original Satan was Set-the Egyptian God of the Underworld. Aquino’s style of Satanism is Egyptian rather than simply anti-Christian.
Embassy of Satan founded by Rev. Yaj Nomolos.
Source: (The Satanic Bible, passim)
I would like to clear the air on popular misconceptions concerning Satanism and Satanists in general. Satanists do believe in the Christian God, they just laugh at Him. Many people feel that Satanists are pissed-off Christians, but aren’t most of us? I have yet to meet someone who was born before Christ. Therefore, we are all post-Christian even if our religions are not. Satanists do not rape women, molest children, or sodomize or mutilate animals. Any Satanist who offensively attacks anyone or anything that can not defend themselves, or is of lesser physical, mental, emotional, sexual, or spiritual strength is an abomination to the faith. Satanists do not perform ritual animal sacrifices for the sake of magic. They share the Native American philosophy that humans and animals are related. Satanists do perform human sacrifices by means of hexing. Anytime a Satanist curses someone, he makes a human sacrifice in his own mind-not by his hands. Satanists do believe in Universal Law. If there is just the shadow of a doubt in the Satanist’s mind that he does not wish to perform a ritual, and does so anyway, the ritual will backfire and come back on him.
Concerning the Charles Mansons of the world, there are Satanists who get out of control and take their beliefs too seriously. The most misunderstood Satanic philosophy rests on chaos theory. When the federal building was bombed in Oklahoma City, thousands of Oklahomans came together to help the survivors. This is chaos theory; when something goes wrong in society, people should band together. Why don’t thousands of people come together when only one person is murdered? Because it is not our problem. “Better them than me,” and “Thank God it didn’t happen to someone I love.” This is the general response from our society. It is also a Satanic response. Satanists do not try to stop murderers or serial killers and rapists because they thin out the population and should bring people closer together. However, if someone who is the close friend of a Satanist is hurt by malice or criminal act, that Satanist will do everything in his/her power to defend or protect their dear friend.
There are fanatics in any religion. Iranian terrorists are Moslem. The IRA (Irish Republican Army) is Irish Catholic. The Pogue is Irish Protestant. The Sicilian mafia is Roman Catholic. The majority of our American militants (paranoid schizophrenics) are Southern Baptist Fundamentalists who want to kill everyone who is not one of them. If you are sitting there thinking this is just politics and has nothing to do with religion, let me slap you with a dose of reality. If you scratch the back of a politician, you will also scratch the back of a half-crazed religious fanatic. Take a poll of prison inmates and you will find that about 90 percent of them are Christian, or are claiming to be so they can be paroled. Any religious doctrine can be dangerous, either to the practitioner or to society if it is taken too seriously!
Disciple: Scott Cunningham.
Scripture: Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner and Living Wicca: A Further Guide.... by Scott Cunningham.
Doctrine: It is okay to be Solitary.
Practice: Individualized. Much the same as other Wiccans/Pagans.
Development: Primitive African and Catholic. Modern Voudoo developed from African slaves in Haiti, Jamaica, and other islands and in Louisiana.
Disciple: Marie Laveau.
Scripture: Old and New Black and White Magic and Original Black and White Magic by Marie Laveau.
Practice: Sympathetic magic, animal sacrifice, and necromancy.
Sects: Haitian Voudoo, and Louisiana Catholic (combination of Catholicism with traditional Voudoo).
Read Famous Voodoo Rituals and Spells by Lampe.
a.k.a. Irish Orthodox
Development: Early Irish civilization. Irish Orthodox is a generic term used to identify traditions native to Ireland and her people. Many individual traditions fall under this broad heading, though some believe the only true Irish tradition is that which is pre-Celtic (Pictish).
Disciple: Edain McCoy.
Scripture: Witta: An Irish Pagan Tradition and Celtic Myth and Magic by Edain McCoy. The Irish Celtic Magical Tradition: Ancient Wisdom of the Battle of Moytura by Steve Blamires.
Fifth Degree Test
This test must be given orally or hand written. Each student must score at least 90 percent in order to qualify for their Fifth Degree. Each section is worth 50 points.
Describe the beliefs and practices of each of the following religions: Buddhism, Catholicism, Confucianism, Druidism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Paganism, Shamanism, Shinto, Taoism, Wicca.
Describe the beliefs and practices of each of the following Wiccan Styles: Alexandrian, Crowleyian, Dianic, Egyptian, Faery, Family Tradition, Gardnerian, Gypsy, Quabalistic, Satanism, Solitary, Voudoo, Witta.
Fifth Degree Initiation
Initiate should bring his/her Sword and Robe for consecration.
Nar.: “We are met in this Circle to recognize the acquired knowledge of (hid.?). His/Her perseverance and dedication to the Wiccan path has made us proud. Thus, we acknowledge (hid.?) for his/her achievements.”
P.O. consecrates Initiate’s Sword and Robe. P.O.: “I ask the Gentle Goddess Brighid to suffuse this magical Blade and Robe with Her loving energy by the powers of Earth and Water. I ask the Mighty God Cernnunos to suffuse this magical Blade and Robe with His strong energy by the powers of Fire and Air. May these tools be used correctly and for the good of all. So mote it be.”
Initiate kneels on one knee before the P.O. The P.O. ‘knights’ the Initiate.
P.O.: “With this Sword, I pronounce you, (hid.?), Priest/Priestess of Dove’s Light Coven. Arise and receive your Crown.”
P.O. places the Sword on the Altar and picks up the Crown.
P.O.: “With this Crown comes a responsibility like no other. When you were first initiated into this Circle, you swore that you would stand beside the Wiccan community. Now, you are more than just a follower of the Wiccan path. You are one of its leaders.
(Hid.?) are you prepared to teach other Wiccans all that you know of the Craft?
Are you prepared to discipline other Wiccans, including those of High Order if you see they are violating the Wiccan Rede or any other tenets of Wicca?”
Priest/Priestess dons his/her Robe and retrieves his/her Sword from the P.O. The P.O. places the Crown on the Priest’s/Priestess’s head.
P.O.: “(Hid.?), I present you with your fifth most personal and magical tools. I also present you with the Dove’s Light Coven Book of Shadows. It is the Wisdom of the Craft. Use your tools wisely and guard them well.”
P.O.: Facing the Coven, “You will now join me in honoring our new Priest/Priestess with the Five-Fold Salute. Hail (hid.?)!”
Nar.: “Let it be known to all in this Circle that (hid.?) has completed his/her Fifth and final Degree and has acquired Priest/Priestess status. He/She has been presented with a consecrated Sword, Robe, and Crown, and carries the Wisdom of the Craft. May he/she be steadfast in his/her endeavors. So mote it be.”
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