I just finished my first book from the ADF required reading list. I choose ” Pagan Europe” . Without the requirements of review in front of me it is slightly difficult to focus on what is asked for this essay bu I will write down my basic thoughts on the book here and now.
I enjoyed the overall account. It is just academic enough to engage me but not put me to sleep for lack of understanding history or principles. It details our earliest known instances of paganism and walks largely thru the path of roman conquest. I thought it was interesting that for a large part of history the Romans and Greeks held house gods or local gods in esteem within the private settings of their homes and also venerated the state gods…often they were not the same as the home gods.
I found with the rise of Christianity ruling families often help the old gods at home and the new god at State. Or held a dual-istic view without quarrel.
I found that MANY European states, tribes, and people did not give up their gods with ease. They fought , sometimes they won, and reinstated the old gods and sometimes they lost and were forcibly converted.
Often time they converted their gods rather than themselves continuing to worship them as saints with slightly altered practices. I’ve learned paganism was not easy to stamp out and has enjoyed many resurgences and renovations.
Sadly due to war conversions we have lost much of our pagan history but much was also secreted away and the spirit of nature speaks again and to many people. Finishing this book withing the wilds of the Wasatch mountains gives me hope. I hear the echos of the gods in the stream or on the wind. It makes me happy and grateful that I hear the song of the old ones.
That I look with modern eyes and still see the story of ancient love played out again and again on this blessed earth. That my feet walk the land and my heart hears it’s whispering…”Come back my child. I am here”
It is easy in this place to see why we hold on to pagan practices. They are for wild hearts not easily ruled by man and law.
I also see that the unknown still terrifies us all. I can see why dualistic thought or the black and white world appealed to my ancestors.
The simplicity of now and connection is still easier for my heart to understand. It does not soothe me to think the dark is out to get me. It does not calm me to think deaths judgement will fall on me-to exhalt or damn me.
The speckled sunlight between maples, the song of the brook, the breath in my lungs, the love in my heart. That is my joy, savior and Resurrection.
That my body will return to the earth, my bones will nourish the land that fed me. My kin will remember and the spirits will receive my life.