Inside Out: A Pagan Tale for the Child Within


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The main evidence for this practice is one sentence in Julius Caesar 's Commentary on the Gallic war , [1] which modern scholarship has linked to an earlier writer, Poseidonius. Modern archaeological research has not yielded much evidence of human sacrifice among the Celts, and the ancient Greco-Roman sources are now regarded somewhat skeptically, especially considering the likelihood that Greeks and Romans "were eager to transmit any bizarre and negative information" about the Celts at a time when the latter were feared and disdained.

However, archaeological evidence from Ireland does indicate that human sacrifice was practised in times pre-dating contact with Rome. Human remains have been found at the foundations of structures dating from the Neolithic period to the Roman era, [ citation needed ] with injuries and in positions that argue for their being foundation sacrifices. In modern times, the wicker man has been symbolically referenced as a part of some neopagan -themed ceremonies, without the human sacrifice. A wicker man is featured in a pivotal scene of the cult British horror film The Wicker Man , and much of the prominence of the wicker man in modern popular culture and the wide general awareness of the wicker man as structure and concept is probably attributable to this film.

While other Roman writers of the time, such as Cicero , Suetonius , Lucan , Tacitus and Pliny the Elder , described human sacrifice among the Celts , only Caesar and the geographer Strabo mention the wicker man as one of many ways the Druids of Gaul performed sacrifices. Caesar writes that though the Druids generally used those found guilty of crimes deserving death, as they pleased the gods more, they sometimes used slaves and thralls when no delinquents could be found.

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One medieval commentary, the 10th-century Commenta Bernensia , states that men were burned in a wooden mannequin in sacrifice to Taranis. Wicker men may be set ablaze during some contemporary pagan festivities. An effigy of wicker or other materials is burnt at the stake for the annual Danish celebration of Sankt Hans aften Saint John 's Eve. Modern wicker men range from life sized to huge, humanoid, temporary sculptures that are set ablaze during a celebration, usually toward the end of the event.

They are constructed with a wooden frame that is woven with flexible sticks such as willow often used in wicker furniture and fencing. Steven Johnson. Time's Shadow. Mary Ann Violin. The Satanic Witch. Anton Szandor LaVey. Tim Harford. Short and Twisted Kathryn Duncan. Dorothea Brande's Wake Up and Live! Robert C. Neon Necropolis. Vol 0: For VIP. Vincent O'Thorn. A Cat Called Elvis. Brian Moses. Scott Barry Kaufman. LSD: Doorway to the Numinous. Stanislav Grof. Dark Matters. Andrew Leon Hudson. Satan Speaks! Maeve Friel.

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By the end of the 4th century, it was the official religion of Rome, numbering 30 million followers—or half the Empire. Christians today might claim that their faith triumphed over the other Roman religions because it was and is true, right and good. That may be so. But one still needs to consider the historical contingencies that led to the Christian conquest, and in particular the brilliant strategy the Christian evangelistic campaign used in winning converts. These are five aspects of that strategy:. Painted by Fra Angelico Strangely enough, Christianity did not succeed in taking over the ancient world simply by addressing deeply sensed needs of its target audience, the pagan adherents of traditional polytheistic religions.

On the contrary, it actually created a need that almost no one knew they had. These gods—whether the state gods of Rome, the local municipal gods, the family gods, the gods of forests, mountains, streams and meadows—were active in the world, involved with humans on every level. They ensured that crops would grow and livestock would reproduce; they brought rain and protected against storms; they warded off disease and restored the sick to health; they maintained social stability; and provided military victories for the troops.

The gods would do such things in exchange for proper worship, which at all times and everywhere involved saying the right prayers and performing the appropriate sacrifices. If the gods were not worshiped in these ways—if they were ignored—they could bring disastrous retribution: drought, epidemic, economic collapse, military defeat and so on. But the key point is that the gods were principally active—for good or ill—in the present life, to worshippers in the here and now. Almost no one in the Roman world practiced religion in order to escape eternal punishment or receive an eternal reward—that is, until the Christians came along.

Unlike pagans, Christians claimed there was only one God and that he should be worshiped not by sacrifice but by proper belief. And, most significant of all, rewards and punishments would be dispensed not only in this life, but in the life to come: either eternal bliss in heaven or everlasting torment in the fires of hell.

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Religion had never promoted such an idea before. Christians created a need for salvation that no one knew they had. They then argued that they alone could meet the need. And they succeeded massively. Jesus cures a sick man who is unable to reach the pool at Bethesda, which contains healing waters.

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Inside Out: A Pagan Tale for the Child Within

Everyone in the ancient world knew that divinity was all about power. Humans cannot control whether it rains or an epidemic destroys the community or a natural disasters hits; but the gods can. They can provide for humans what mere mortals cannot do for themselves. This stood at the root of all ancient religion.

And it became the chief selling point of the Christian message. Christians declared that their God was more powerful than any other god—in fact, more powerful than all the supposed other gods combined. God alone was God, and he alone could provide what people need. The power struggle between the Christian and pagan gods is on full display in a wide range of ancient texts.

Inside Out: A Pagan Tale for the Child Within Inside Out: A Pagan Tale for the Child Within
Inside Out: A Pagan Tale for the Child Within Inside Out: A Pagan Tale for the Child Within
Inside Out: A Pagan Tale for the Child Within Inside Out: A Pagan Tale for the Child Within
Inside Out: A Pagan Tale for the Child Within Inside Out: A Pagan Tale for the Child Within
Inside Out: A Pagan Tale for the Child Within Inside Out: A Pagan Tale for the Child Within
Inside Out: A Pagan Tale for the Child Within Inside Out: A Pagan Tale for the Child Within
Inside Out: A Pagan Tale for the Child Within Inside Out: A Pagan Tale for the Child Within
Inside Out: A Pagan Tale for the Child Within Inside Out: A Pagan Tale for the Child Within
Inside Out: A Pagan Tale for the Child Within

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