Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cernism: The Social Remaking of Wicca

There are a lot of ideas that need to be incorporated in this post, so I will just enter them in no particular order to speak of. To start with, "Cernism" is a pagan tradition that probably ties more of Indo-European cultures together than does Odinism. Celto-Gallic peoples lived in ancient France, Germany, the all of the British Isles, Iberia, the Italian peninsula, Scandinavia (Gotland Island), and even the Slavic countries (ex. Poland) and Greece (the "Keltoi). Any European-descended person could lay claim to being an heir to the Cernic tradition. It seems to be at least a stronger cultural-geographical bond than is Odinism. Although the name of the male stag god "Cernunnos" may have existed primarily in central Europe and down to Cisalpine Gaul, expressions of it were clearly found elsewhere.

When Gerald Gardner and company started "Wicca," they set out to create a universalist faith which mixed Celtic spiritual traditions with traditions outside of Europe (ex. Egyptian goddess "Isis" as an idol). It probably should be pointed out that the pentagram had been adopted into Euro-pagan circles for a few centuries. To add insult to injury, many modern Wiccans have used their religion as a political front to what they see as male-dominated, conservative Christianity. To quickly sum all that up, there has been a large amount of deliberate unfairness and slander from both sides and on many levels.

We could just ignore all of that and do our own thing, but the one strong blowback from all of this is the real or perceived rivalry between Christians and pagans. Greek communities are overwhelmingly of the Greek Orthodox denomination of Christianity. However, as folkish people they have no problem honoring their pagan ancestral path. That is a model which we should follow. Even if a person was of Celto-Gallic descent, and was a strong Catholic, why would they have any problem merely partaking in a ceremony which honors the tradition of their ancestors? They wouldn't need to take any oath, or "worship" anything. There can be a distinction between a "religion" and a "spiritual tradition." Of course there will be those who will take it much more seriously, and that could be the one difference between the modern incarnations of the Cernic tradition and the gods of ancient Greece. I don't know of anyone who considers themselves a believer of the ancient Greek gods, although "Gaia" is often floated around by the global elite/universalist crowd as part of a political agenda.

The following is a book review from Amazon.com user "templar357" regarding the book 'Wicca for Men' (Drew; 2000). Some of the latter part doesn't support our emerging position very well, from either our Christian or pagan ideal consensus, but it does bring up a lot of food for thought, and it accurately describes the current status quo:

I find myself trying to break away from the unforgiving, intolerant religion of my fathers, only to be shunned by the largest, fastest growing pagan religion in the U.S. It seems that after several millennia of abuse from the "patriarchal" religions, women have taken the only religion that does not oppress them or make them look like Jezebels and tried to make it their own. Thing is, they made it almost exclusively their own, projecting the same attitude toward men as has been shown to them for so long. Well, this book sets the record straight by pointing out that there is a room a plenty at Gods (esses) table. This book embraces all that is male (The Horned God) and introduces HOW TO EMBRACE THE GODESS AS WELL. This book is a true reconciliation between the two sexes. I started reading this book to affirm my place in the Wiccan religion. Only to find out it had already been done, and now know the real difference between a REAL witch, and these scissor-happy, man hating, neo-feminist "earth mothers" I always seem to run into. This book not only points out the incorrect way many Wiccan covens practice this religion, but also assures the curious and spiritually destitute man that Wicca, in fact, means MALE WITCH. (Sorry, ladies) However, this book takes it one-step further. I now realize the true beauty in seeing a gender duality in divinity because I found out that the Goddess (portion of Divinity seen as female) has never hated me nearly as much as I feared her.

Guys, I am happy to report that SHE IS NOT A THREAT and will welcome you with arms open, not closed. She loves and cares for our father and the reverse is true. THEY ARE THE SAME. I feel the Gods rage in this book as he explains through the author the hurt and outrage he feels to this day when it came to be that man had forsaken his wife, his partner. His best friend, his soul mate. OUR MOTHER.

Now that I have digested and assimilated this new philosophy and religion, I see God and myself in a very different light. In doing so, certain things have happened almost literally overnight.

I have come to know a peace I have never known before and it is through tears of joy that I can now release a lifetime of bigotry, sexism, rage, hate and pain. Simply put:

The Goddess has helped me heal.

Now I understand the conceptual philosophy of gender duality attributed to all things divine and profane, I feel that I know now who my mother is.

And she is so...very...beautiful.

I have been shown that to accept my mother DOES NOT MEAN I MUST FORSAKE MY FATHER. It is the piece missing from the myriad of one-side confusion myself and others have been raised to believe. I now see women in a completely different light as a result of seeing myself differently the product of seeing The Almighty differently. This book IS NOT MEANT as an affirmation for men to reassure them that their conception of divinity must be REPLACED, but EXPANDED. Things began to click with me instantly while Ishtar smiled. All she wanted was for me to know who she was. Moreover, to know that although I may have never known WHO or WHAT she was, she has never forgotten who I AM. More is the pity. Better late than never I suppose.

This book is a calling to all male pagans Wiccan and non-Wiccan alike, to now join our sisters in reuniting the planet as a family and not strangers. Though I would venture to say that a reference to the Goddess as the "consort" to the God would be met with equal disdain from the True Wiccan Woman and earth-mother alike, it also serves to show them how equally distasteful it is to us to have the God referred to by the same title. Unless of course, you mean consort as "partner," that is.

That IS what you meant, right?

THIS BOOK IS FOR MEN AND WOMEN BOTH. To enlighten the man about the Ways of the Wood, while setting the record straight with our fairer counterparts as to equality and "practice what you preach." Ladies, I love you all. Please know that we (men) are coming from the same battle torn, madhouse that is modern religion and we are just as bruised, bloody and hurting as you were when you left. We are glad you have capitalized on a little known secret and exposing it to the world, but please remember that those who started this ball rolling in the 20th century meant to re surface something beautiful and a LOT of those pioneers...

WERE MEN. Buckland and Gardener to name but a few. Remember the witch who helped repeal the anti-witchcraft laws of England in 1951? O.K. that, my dearest sisters was a MAN. Quite a few of these guys were in fact, freemasons, like myself. And it is by no means a coincidence that our initiation rituals are so similar. No coincidence at all, ladies. So when you see one of us staggering toward your camp, hungry, beaten and torn, understand that a kind word, a hot meal and a warm bed can do more for a person in that condition (male or female) than a closed door ever could. See what I have come to understand is that the God (or the conception thereof) did not do this to all of us. HIS INSANE FOLLWERS DID. They took off his horns and replaced them with guns. THIS IS NOT THE GOD. This wrongful conception of masculinity must stop and this book subtly points that out. Even if you are a soldier and have been to war, you want to show me how brave you are?

Try changing a diaper tough guy. Lets see how bad you REALLY are.

We are not just soldiers and conquerors. We are husbands, fathers, lovers and protectors. We are the hunter, the farmer and the Holy Man. When did we loose sight of our roles and responsibilities AS MEN?

When did the farmer become the executive, the warrior a soldier? When did the hunter become a poacher, and the father a deadbeat dad? When did the husband become a tyrant and the father become just a picture on somebody's wall. But most importantly:

What about Mom?


When we did that, we kicked out our wives and mothers as well, tossing out the baby with the bathwater, turning our women into slaves and thus begun the Ruination of the World.

Read this book. Because it can change yours.

Blessed Be :-}

In the Cernic tradition, it appears that the female is largely in charge of facilitating spiritual matters on this planet. I don't think that is an innate rule, but the historical record seems pretty clear on that point. As to how this idea merges with Druidic traditions, which were present in ancient Gaul, I have no idea. It's a complete mystery to me. I do seem to get the idea, from reading a bit about Cernism and possible related traditions, that the Cernic tradition strongly influenced other regions in the ancient world, even if those regions were still primarily of a different pagan tradition. For example, within regions which were strongly Wotanist in faith, there seems to be almost like an alternate spirituality which sounds very similar to Cernism; and yes, it seemed to be very female-oriented. There also seemed to be a strong tolerance between different pagan traditions in pre-Christian Europe. This is perhaps because they may have overlapped each other, and many ideas were mixed together. In the book 'Creed of Iron' (McVan; 1997), Ron McVan argues that "Wotanism" was really the main stem of European paganism. I would argue that Cernism, or forms of it, were more widespread in pre-Christian Europe. Even Stregheria shares much in common with Cernism, and like many expressions of Ásatrú, it shares common origins. Cernism is more purely European than "Northern European Wotanism."

"Ásatrú" is another term for Wotanism or Odinism. Some denominations of Ásatrú appear to be following something much closer to Cernism than to Wotanism. Some followers of Ásatrú appear to be following almost like a form of "folkish Wicca," and that leads us to the key to the entire "Cernic Rite movement." The reformation of the very ancient European pagan tradition, which was present all over ancient Europe for tens of thousands of years. I mean more ancient than the Norse or Mediterranean Europeans, of whom many adopted these traditions after their migration eastward many thousands of years ago. What we are really talking about here is a spiritual tradition which goes back forty thousand years or longer.

Lastly, as part of this, and this is the most important point of all, the "Christian vs. pagan" thing needs to finally be put to rest; or at the very least, those unreasonable Christians and Wiccans should be kept away at a safe distance. To be very clear, I am referring specifically to the unreasonable, not to all Christians and Wiccans. In fact, this milieu could be fertile ground to begin this movement. Males and females should be considered as equals, but we need to accept the fact that at least a few exceptional folkish women will be the chief "facilitators" of spiritual matters and ceremonies, as well as the figureheads of small and large groups.

Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but it would be nice to select a word to be the equivalent of what "hearth" is to Odinism, or to what a "coven" is to Wicca. In other words, a word for a small community of Cernic native believers. I was thinking of perhaps calling it a "bodina," which an ancient Gallic word which seems to mean the same thing as "midgard." Bodina is the origin for the modern French word "borne," which is translated as "milestone" or "landmark," or even "frontier." It almost sounds like a world which could describe the general area that you live in.


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