The Pagan Man?

By Leca
@lecanis (16664)
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
May 10, 2007 7:01pm CST
Right now I'm reading a book called "The Pagan Man: Priests, Warriors, Hunters, and Drummers" by Isaac Bonewits. I picked it for two reasons: 1) Because my husband has always complained about the lack of books on Paganism that don't seem to be written with a female reader in mind (even if written by men). 2) Because I've liked other books of the author's. I'm halfway through it,and I'm really enjoying it so far. But it's leading me to ask a few questions of my fellow mylotters. If you are a Pagan man, what particular type of Paganism do you practice? Do you feel out of place at gatherings sometimes? Are you a leader in your group, and if not, do you feel like you could be one? Do you also find that there are a lack of resources for you? For others who want to reply, with their experiences of men within their groups, or friends and loved ones, feel free. =)
3 people like this
5 responses
@filmbuff (2909)
• United States
11 May 07
This has an awful lot to do with the Individuals who are involved and what type of paganism they practice. Many of the wiccan based groups are matriarchally oriented almost to a fault. It has always been my impression and belief that the imperative is that a balance should struck and maintained between all things, especcially that of the male and female, ying and yang or whatever methaphor that one wishes to use. I think many of these wiccan based religions are a rebellion and backlash for the male domination of religion and spirituality and has been very heavily identified with feminism and female empowerment. That being said, I have seen and been a part of wiccan groups that did strike the balance to mimic that of nature by holding both sexes to be equal and doleing out the tasks and responsibilities fairly between the two. Individual personalities and egos seem to play a large role here as well. I did have a male friend who was heavily into the Celtic, because he identified with much of beliefs and the male empowerment that existed there as well. We had many conversations that sadly I can't remember very well-- to the point of not knowing much at all about the celtic belief or deity system. What I do recall is many of the similarities that we noted between Celtic and Native American beliefs which is the path that I walked the most. More on that later in this post. I've seen some discussion here about "drummers," and thought I would shed some light on the subject from a Native American view. Drums and drummers have always played a large part in Native American (and many Native cultures worldwide) spiritualism. Much as tobacoo smoke is used as a vessel to carry our thoughts and prayers to the powers that be, the drum is said to be the canoe that guides our spirits in inward, or on out of body journeys into the spirit world. So the drummer has the very sacred task of protecting the travellers as they are abroad, guiding them and calling them back to our 'normal' world or plane of exsitence. The issue of the sexes is very different in Native American cultures, and based largely on the beliefs of the individual tribes. In some the women play a larger role, in others the male and in still others either or both can be the "primary" person of medicine (read power). Your husband might want to look into some of the Native American beliefs and practices to find something that is geared a bit more towards him that also at the same time very complimentary to most pagan and wiccan belief systems. There are some books I can recommend. The Carlos Castenada books are decent if one reads between the lines and is good at figuring out the hidden meanings and decyphering the various symbolism involved. Some of the books written by Sun Bear are very good as well. My personal favorite though is written by a woman. (although I can't remember her name, I think it is Genie Graham Scott) I was literally shocked at how much infomation she provided that so closely mirrored my own tribal teachings both in belief and application of actually telling somebody "this is how you do this." Much of what she teaches are closely held secrets and to be honest I'm glad someone is sharing them with the world at large. (I'm more glad that someone isn't me) While she doesn't paint the whole picture, she gives a very good starting point. I think the book is called The Shaman Warrior if I remember correctly.
2 people like this
@missak (3311)
• Spain
11 May 07
This is wonderful! Thanks for calling my attention to this! I kew in ancient cultures drums were the most important language to access Gods, but I didn't know that idea remained in the Natif American culture. Please come to my discussion on Natif American religion and put a little light on my misconceptions!
2 people like this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
11 May 07
I think it's funny that you talk about the similarities between Celtic and Native American beliefs, as these are the two I am closest to and know the much about. While I claim Celtic beliefs as my primary religion, over the years I have learned much about Native American beliefs as well, because my heritage is half Irish and half Native American. I would agree with you that there are many similarities. On the male/female issue, I think you have some really good points. Many of the groups that are so matriarchal are essentially acting out of a backlash against male dominance in the area of religion by the so-called "mainstream religions". Personally a part of what I really like about my own Celtic path is that most roles are seen as possible to be held by either gender, which really appeals to me because in mainstream society I am often told that I am not feminine enough, or that I should either be completely feminine or completely masculine, which is of course silly. That's also part of what interests me with my other heritage, the Native American one, with such a strong history in cross-gender roles. Thanks for providing the information about drumming. =)
@brothertuck (1257)
• United States
11 May 07
We have a group that gets together each week, the members are a southern baptist, a druid, a wiccan, and me, I'm not actually sure what I am. I was brought up protestant, learned eastern religion, wicca and druidic teaching, and the teaching of Anton LeVey. The brand of Satanism that Anton taught is a very male oreinted religion. In most of my beliefs I am dominant, so I tend to lean towards the teachings of Anton LeVey. I was trying to look for a book written similar to the one you describe but I'm not sure of the author or title. I just know that the author is a retired policeman and a wiccan. I enjoyed it because of the point of view. I gave it to a friend so no longer have the book available. Another thing I have to say is to find a copy of the original Wicker Man and watch it as it is more of a druidic and male dominated view rather then the new Wiccan, woman oriented religion of the new version.
2 people like this
• United States
11 May 07
I just found the book, the Wiccan Warrior, by Kerr Cuhulain. For the Wiccan man it is an excellent book.
2 people like this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
11 May 07
Thanks for your response! Oh, you know, the one I can think of that is a retired policeman is Kerr Cuchulain (looks at comment) oh duh. lol I do really like his books as well. I like looking at things from both a female and a male perspective when possible. (I tend to have a lot of male interests, though I am female.) I have noticed that there are a lot more people who call themselves druids (or Celtic Reconstructionists, which is what I am), that are male, as opposed to Wicca which is dominated by females. In fact, reconstructionist religions of any type (Asatru, Hellenic, Celtic, etc) tend to attract more males.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
11 May 07
Why should you feel out of place? In fact, I would think conversations do not usually stray to religion - unless it was a religion setting or group. So why should you be bothered if you are pagan? You should be proud of what you believe. :P
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
11 May 07
No, I'm not talking about outside of actually talking about religion. I'm talking about inside religious groups, festivals, rituals. According to my husband, and the book I'm reading, men who are pagan sometimes feel sidelined or unimportant because in recent times it has become viewed as so much a "women's religion." Since I'm female myself, I'm asking others to help me get a perspective on the whole thing. I am very proud of what I believe, by the way! And thanks for responding, even if you didn't exactly get what I was trying to say. I wasn't feeling well yesterday, so it's possible that I didn't explain it very well in the first place.
• Singapore
11 May 07
Oh... I beg your pardon. It was my fault that I misread it. Anyway I have never thought of pagan as male or female till you mentioned it. Hmm... seems that the females branches are better known. Then again the books I have are all written by males. :P
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
11 May 07
*nods* Many of the books are written by males, but even those (according to my husband) are written like the expected reader is female. I hadn't really noticed it, but I'm not really that big on gender roles anyway, so I probably wouldn't notice. It is true that the branches that tend to have women are the most heard-of ones. Pretty much any time I mention my own religion (Celtic Reconstruction) I have to explain what it means, even sometimes to other pagans. And I'm a minority in my own branch being female, according to the gatherings and such I've been to, and the online communities I've been involved with.
@missak (3311)
• Spain
11 May 07
I feel I can't answer your questions, but I wanted to focus on something that perhaps change my point on all that: did you (or actually the author of your book) realy said Drummers? That means musicians that play the drums for spiritual purposes? Like specially afro-americans do? I am very interested in religions with a spiritual path that involves music, specially when it is drums. But now my point is: do afroamerican religions also fit in paganism? Or were you and your writer talking about something totally different and I am just misunderstanding it?
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
11 May 07
The author really did say drummers. The drums (and other music) are pretty common in spiritual practice among pagans. In fact, there is something called a "drumming circle" where people specifically get together to play drums as spiritual practice. As to whether african religions fit into paganism... that's hard to answer. Most scholors and pagan authors would say "Yes", however sometimes people of specific religions reject the "pagan" label for a number of reasons. It has negative connotations to a lot of people, and because it is such a broad category, includes a lot of very different beliefs. Does that make sense?
1 person likes this
@missak (3311)
• Spain
11 May 07
Yes, that makes sense... althought it is complicated :). Ok so you are talking about other drummers, wurely western ones... I didn't know they exist and it is really interesting. Well, I know they were present in ancient Grece until Plato made some writings forbidding some rithm expressions, but I thought that made ritual music totally disappear in Europe... so I am impressed and I want to know more about your experiences on that.
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@filmbuff (2909)
• United States
11 May 07
For more on drumming, check my response below missak.
2 people like this
@agfarm (930)
• United States
11 May 07
Lecanis...This is an interesting discussion. I am not Pagan .....all though I am Fascinated with Paganism . I do not fully understand Paganism ; therefore , I cannot speak with erudition. But I am of an Open - Mind. I believe ther is More to Paganism , then the Childish stories " around the Campfire ". Can you just give me an example ( from your point of view ) what Paganism is ? I used to be a Catholic , but I started having More questions , then answers about the Church's divinity. As of right now....I am resolved to going back to my Native-American way of thinking. Before Religion was imposed on this great Nation.
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
11 May 07
Paganism is a really hard thing to define. It's essentially a group of religions as opposed to a single religion. There isn't much that all the pagan religions have in common, but Pagans tend to believe in more than one deity, have respect for nature, and celebrate the turning of seasons. It's easier for me to talk about my specific religion within Paganism than about Paganism in general. I'm a Celtic Reconstructionist, which means that I follow a modern reconstruction of the religion of the Celtic peoples of Europe. I say "reconstruction" because the imperfect historical record, and therefore there are often things in my practice that aren't exactly like that of my ancestors. There are several deities that I worship, Gods and Goddesses alike, and I view them more as close family and friends to be loved than Gods to be feared or worshipped exactly. The biggest focus that I have in my personal spirituality is the idea of personal responsibility for my actions. The Gods will let me know what I should do to please them, but there isn't really any "sin" or "salvation". If I do something, I expect to have to deal with the consequences of that action. I have to weigh the impact of everything I do on myself, other people, and the world. I came to this belief system when I was a really little girl, and it was followed by my great-grandmother. I didn't know much about it except that she followed a different religion than anyone else I knew, until I started having dreams about a particular Goddess... and then my great-grandmother started really teaching me. At the time, "Celtic Reconstructionist" wasn't a term we used, but when I heard it later it completely fit me. I was interested by your mention of Native American ways. I'm half Native American. When I was younger, I learned quite a bit of Native American spirituality, but over the years the Celtic side has just kind of been more influencial.