Continued persecution of polytheists in Indonesia

I have just now come upon this very unfortunate story, which should be read carefully and reflected on. The indigenous tribes of Indonesia, called Orang Rimba, of whom about 3,000 are left, are being persecuted by corporations that cut down their forests and Muslims that force them to convert.

To encourage reading of the story, I will quote a missionary mentioned in the article:

“For now we are focusing on the children. It’s easier to convert them – their mind isn’t filled with other things. With the older ones it’s harder,” he says. “Before Islam they just believed in spirits, gods and goddesses, not the supreme god Allah. When someone died, they didn’t even bury the dead, they just would leave the body in the forest. Now their life has meaning and direction.”

Words fail me to describe the heinous evil and hatred expressed by this man.

Statement on last article, with Hymns of purification and celebration

Dionysos

Having been many times attacked unfairly for my last article on Hispala Faecenia and Paculla Annia, I find myself compelled to deliver the following statement, in ten points:

1-As a devotee of Zeus, among other Hellenic Deities and Divine figures, I wrote the last article in honor and vindication of Dionysos, who is a Son of Zeus. May I be blasted by the thunderbolts I adore and damned in the underworld I fear if my intentions were not meant for that purpose as well as the common good.

2- It is extremely important to avoid cultural appropriation: If one is not Greek, has no Greek ancestry or comes from a land not historically settled by Greeks, they may pay homage to Dionysos as guests (visiting a friend, visiting Greece, etc.), but to become devoted followers to Dionysos (or what is worse, priests) is unfair to the Greeks, and unfair to their own ancestral Gods. Perhaps the worship of the Roman God Liber (the counterpart of Dionysus) could extend beyond Italy, although I believe that would also acknowledge Roman imperialism. Polytheism is an ethnic mode of religion; tradition and ancestry and pantheon are all connected intimately and inseparably, a rule not made by any man but established by history itself. Don’t be tricked into thinking that a God entirely foreign to your ancestry and ethnic culture can really “call you” to his service. Only ancestral Gods call us, through the blood of our ancestors, and everything else is personal desire and cultural appropriation. If your ancestry in Celtic or Germanic, do not worship Dionysos as if you were Greek, because he had no connection to your ancestors; you should honor your ancestors by worshipping mainly their Gods. This rule applies to everyone.

Continue reading

Good and bad polytheists (part 10): Hispala Faecenia and Paculla Annia

HISPALA FAECENIA

Dancing maenadIn the late 3rd and early 2nd century BCE, the Roman Republic had been already in effect an empire, reigning over Greeks in the South of Italy, Carthaginians in Africa, and Iberians in Spain. Of all these peoples, the Greeks were the most notable and famous; the extreme renown of Alexander’s military victories were backed by the cultural influence of Athens, Pergamon and Alexandria. Alexander’s empire had indeed brought about a Hellenistic age in which Greek culture was preeminent throughout the Mediterranean and beyond. The traditional Romans were naturally jealous of the Greeks , but they were also alarmed at the looseness that began to creep into their lands. The Greeks, by that time, unfortunately suffered often from a decline of tradition; many corrupt philosophies, all rejecting tradition, were in competition and growth, taking advantage of Hellenistic multiculturalism. The Greeks in South Italy and beyond thus had a bad reputation among the Romans, and not without reason; hedonism and cultural innovation, at the expense of tradition, were marks of the Hellenistic age that the Greeks were promoting. The generally traditional structure of Roman law and culture was therefore in some danger, but never did the alarm go so far as in 186 BCE.

Continue reading

Regional languages declining in India; extinct language revived in Europe

The extent and influence of imperialism on regional language and culture is nothing new. The Romans were guilty of it wherever they made a province. Nowadays, however, modernism and nationalism are the new enslaving masters of regionalism. I read an article published today concerning the many languages of India; the contents both pleased and disappointed me. On the one hand, there is a great effort to preserve and record regional languages, but on the other, those languages are declining, because of either migration to cities for better pay or policies of centralization that neglect to provide for schooling in a regional manner. From 1,652 languages about 50 years ago, the number has dwindled to less than 800 in the present time. That is to say, half of the number of languages were lost within the short period of two generations! And what’s worse, about a quarter of the surviving ones are endangered.

Continue reading

Good and bad polytheists (part 9): Gaozu and Qin Shi Huang

GAOZU (born Liu Bang)

Emperor GaozuThe region where the early civilization of China flourished reminds us of Mesopotamia. It began in the far east along the Yellow River with the Xia Dynasty, and then expanded under the Shang Dynasty to include the Yangtze to the South. A third dynasty, the Zhou, then proceeded to overthrew their predecessors and ruled over a larger territory until 771 BCE. After that time, the Zhou kings lost power and their dominions gradually underwent fragmentation, until 475 BCE when four mature states began to engage in wars of domination. This situation, which is known as the period of Warring States, went on for several centuries, and was also accompanied by the competition of many philosophical schools, particularly Confucianism, Taoism, and Legalism. A further complication arose when one of the four contending states, Jin, was divided into three parts following a civil war, one of which was the Han. This partition shook the balance of power and facilitated the domination of China. Consequently, within a hundred years, the intensity of alliances and wars increased. The Chu and Qin were the largest and most warlike of the states, although the Qin proved far more successful: They were victorious in most of their battles and they also claimed succession to China after they defeated the last remnants of the Zhou dynasty in 249 BCE. They afterwards fought for 25 years till they established the first empire of China. By this time, a peasant by the name of Liu Bang was already a young man providing feudal labor for the new Qin emperor.

Continue reading

Good and bad polytheists (part 8): Vercingetorix and Brennus

VERCINGETORIX

Coin_VercingetorixThe Celts were a large ethnic group of peoples that inhabited what is today France, Britain, Western Spain, Austria, Bohemia, South Germany, North Italy, Belgium, Slovenia and parts of Croatia and Serbia. They were a warlike and fertile people who increased their numbers, expanded and migrated from time to time in search of land to accommodate them. Their culture, already beautiful, also benefited from trade and exchange with the south, and therefore by the 1st century BCE, we hear of large and prosperous cities in Gaul (the ancient word for France). By that time, they had already clashed several times with Rome in the north of Italy, because of pressure from expanding Germanic tribes to the north, and the Germans were also interested in expanding beyond the Rhine river. Unfortunately for them, not only the Germans were interested in expansion, but also the Romans, who had defeated the Carthaginian empire 100 years before and taken all their lands. The Celts thus fell between two powers and pressures. To make matters even worse, Rome in 59 BCE was under the power of two ambitious men of different parties: Pompey, who had lately returned from conquests in the east, stood with the senatorial faction, and Caesar, jealous of his victories, opposed him on the plebian side. Pompey was rich from conquests and new provinces, but Caesar was in debt from his consulship, because (among other reasons) he spent vast sums of money to feed the poor to increase his popularity. At first, Caesar, who was governor in North Italy, considered conquering Dacia (today Romania) in order to get out of debt and get into fame, but he found a better opportunity with the Celts to the North. In 58 BCE, the Helvetii, a confederation of five Celtic tribes inhabiting modern Switzerland, prepared for a migration to the west in order to avoid pressure from the Germans. There was news that their leader Orgetorix intended to rule all Gaul, but this may have been a rumor from Caesar to justify war. When the Helvetii requested peaceful passage through Roman territory in south Gaul, Caesar (the governor of the province) deliberately refused, knowing this would provoke war.

Continue reading

Good and bad polytheists (part 7): Chanakya and Ashoka

CHANAKYA

arthshastra-350-x-225_041515115802[1]This Indian sage was a Brahmin (priestly teacher) who flourished in the latter part of the 4th century BCE. Several traditions attribute different events to his life, but it is universally agreed that he was, first, the counsellor of Chandragupta Maurya, the man who became the first emperor of India, and secondly, the author of the Arthashastra, a book on government, law, and kingship that the emperor followed. It is said that Chandragupta was born only a peasant, or according to another source, in the middle class of warriors, but Chanakya inspired him to raise an army and conquer his neighbors. Considering the bad effects of imperialism, condemned here in previous writings, this action might seem unjust and impious, hardly qualifying Chanakya as an example of a good polytheist. In reality, however, imperialism was (unfortunately, we must say) the best direction to take during that time, and Chanakya, as a priest, would have understood the case. Alexander III (commonly called Alexander the Great) had died a few years before in 323 BCE, and his failed attempt to conquer India was now repeated by his generals and governors. Seleucus Nicator was already emperor over a vast territory in the west by 312 BCE, and was threatening to add India, already partly controlled by governors left by Alexander, to his dominions. There is no positive evidence that Chanakya hated the invading Macedonians, but he must have been concerned about the fate of the Indian peoples if they were to become subjects to foreign powers and cultures, and therefore advocated an Indian empire as a response. And indeed, it was not too long before Chandragupta, after he had conquered some eastern territories and assassinated two governors of Alexander in India, clashed with Seleucus in 305 BCE. The subsequent war lasted for a short time, and because Chandragupta had a powerful and well-trained army, it ended on good terms, where Seleucus agreed to marry his daughter to him, in return for several hundred elephants, useful for Seleucus’ ambitions in the west.

Continue reading