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Jul. 10th, 2008 @ 10:46 pm Cultural Fixation
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Date:July 11th, 2008 12:22 pm (UTC)
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I suppose I'm something of a moderate in that I believe you are doing yourself and your religion a disservice when you do not learn cultural context and understand the extreme importance of it. However, I also believe that Norse paganism was effectively destroyed by the advent of Christianity, and the influence is too much to ignore in any of heathenism's modern interpretations. I think the same can be true for any reconstructionist religion, which is why they are reconstructions. :) Which brings me back to another reason it's so very important to study and live the religion as much as possible. At the same time, I'm quite content to enjoy some of the more pleasant aspects of modernity, such as equal rights for women, and I have no desire to bring back some aspects of Norse/Germanic culture that were prevalant back in the day.
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Date:July 11th, 2008 01:11 pm (UTC)
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Agreed, with my own twist. My family is Swedish on both sides and my mother came to the US when she was 21, so I grew up with a LOT of Swedish/Scandinavian culture and even know the language some. I think one of the reasons why some recons may fixate on the culture is due to a lack of a cultural identity when growing up. My take on it is this: yes, I'm Swedish, I know what it means, but it's not the alpha and omega for me.

I'm also Kemetic Orthodox, and in the House of Netjer there is a strive to understand both ancient and modern Egyptian culture, since you can still see some of the influence of the worship of Netjer in Egyptian Islam and Coptic Christianity. Then again I also think there are very few in the House who have Egyptian ancestry, and thus it's less of a concern than in, say, Asatru or CR.
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Date:July 11th, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC)
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All cultures are fluid, those that survive are the ones that are not static. I take the same approach with regards to my Baltic Faith. There are certain mod-cons which I cannot live without, like a stove.

I think that a successful approach is a moderate one, with an understanding and love of the culture from which the religion/spirituality arose from and how it can be maintained as a living tradition in today's modern western world.

But I do believe that at the heart of it all is the understanding of the cultures from which our respective spiritual/religious paths sprang from. I cannot fathom following Romuva without understanding the culture -- i.e., why do we pray to Saule on a certain day? why is amber so important to Baltic women, and so forth. Cannot practice a religion in a vacuum -- the rich cultural tapestry is needed.