Writings on the Reformist Idea

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Writings on the Reformist Idea

Postby Gaius Florius Aetius » Thu Mar 30, 2017 5:02 am

Dear friends,

in the last weeks I have sat down and pondered about many a debate I was involved in and watched from the sidelines. And one thing became more and more clear to me, that we can not deny that the Roman Religion movement is basically set up by two different factions, which can be called Traditionalists and Reformists. I have the greatest respect towards Traditionalists, for they did such a great amount of groundwork, and we need them and their work for the future to stand the test of time. However, I am also clearly a Reformist. Now in the daily debates and stuggles, I often felt I could not present my arguments as well as I wanted, so I went into a sort of recess to formulate ideas and gather thoughts, where I stand, where I come from and what possible avenues I see to consider.

In the last weeks I have written three Essays or Treaties. I understand that some points may sounds controversial to some, but I present them here only as first start of a debate, to start a process where we, as I hope, see more clearly where everyone stands and what can be achieved together. This is the first time I try to formulate these ideas, and as such I try to explain also from where I come, so you can place my ideas. We all have in our time a background. We are not a tabula rasa, unto which anything can be planted. We have personal histories and we have a history of our culture, we can not just pretent to be empty boxes into which anything can be put. I tried to take this fact into consideration, and hope the text enlightens my motivation. If not, feel free to ask.
Advice is judged by results, not by intentions.

- Cicero
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Re: Writings on the Reformist Idea

Postby Gaius Florius Aetius » Thu Mar 30, 2017 5:05 am

ARGUMENT FOR A REFORM OF THE ROMAN CULTUS

by Gaius Florius Aetius


“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.”

- Abraham Lincoln



The more I learned about the Roman Cultus Deorum, the more I became convinced, it has the best choice to lead the Western Civilization into the future, that it is the best Pagan-Polytheist tradition to restore our Spirituality in a modern era. The connection to the Roman culture, which was advanced in its time, the connection to the Greco-Roman sphere of philosophy and thinking, and the relative modernity of Roman citizens, makes the Cultus Deorum a worthy contribution to religious life of the present and future. Of that I am deeply convinced.

We are, however, still in the early phases of restoring the Cultus, and I want to contribute my view to this ongoing process with this short treatise. There are, generally speaking, two different approaches, the Reconstructivist and the Revivalist or Reformist movement. Now from the title alone you can guess my argument is for a careful Reformist approach, and I will try to bring my reasons and an outlook of what exactly I suggest to be reformed.

My premise on religion is first and foremost, that it always evolves and changes. In a way I have always found it problematic that the Roman Religion has so many sources, for if we look at Asatru, Celtoi or Rodnovery, they are far better off, for the lack of writing spares them the debate about this level of the “true way”, and they could start off easier. I am sure this is one of the main reasons the Roman Religion lacks so far behind. The early Germanic, Slavic and Celtic movements during the 19th century were at much greater liberty to re-invent their respective Pagan movements, for there were little to no written sources which could be used for theological argument. Simply said, nobody could really say in their movements “you are doing it wrong”. Sometimes knowing a fracture of something can be worse than knowing nothing at all. And this is our situation. We have fragments, and that may distort the idea much more, since there is a habit that some Traditionalists hold a random fragment of what we know like a sort of sacred text, as if the writings of a Cicero or Ovid were the Bible.

In my years in Asatru I have learned that, no matter how much we try to distance ourselves, our idea of religion is profoundly influenced by Christianity, and this zeal to have “the right way” existed in the early days of Asatru just the same, even though it strikes me as something actually quite un-Pagan.



WHY CHANGE IS NECESSARY

What many Traditionalists underestimate is, with all due respect, how much the mentality of people changed. Now the History of Mentality is alas a heavily neglected field, but any professional historian agrees that each epoch and era has its different mentality, and that these mentalities changed profoundly over time. We as modern people have an entire plethora of modern ideas about virtually everything. We had a Kant, a John Locke, a Rousseau, a Nietzsche, we had Freud and Marx, Adam Smith and Thomas Hobbes and many others. While not everyone is so educated to know all the detail of these, these thinkers shaped our perspective on life, and so it differs, as I see it, from that of the Ancients in a very fundamental way.

Now the disagreement from the Traditionalists, if I understand them right, is from the aim of religion itself. I hope I do them justice trying to grasp their arguments here. What I heard from them mostly was this: Religion is to serve the Gods, to honor the contract as the Ancients did, so it is not necessary to adapt, since the aim is solely to please the Gods, so to speak, and we have to re-adapt to how life was in the past.

Now I would have two interjections to this. The first is a historic-darwinistic one. The Old Covenant failed history. It is as simple as that. Now I know it is fashionable among Pagans to blame some evil scheming Christians for the fall of the Pagan ways, but I think that is a comfortable self deceit. If the Old Covenant with the Gods fell, it fell for reasons. People were at some point no longer satisfied with the definition of religion of the old times, and in the direct comparison, they CHOSE Christendom. Yes also many very converted by force, but especially in the Roman Empire, since Christianity was oppressed, we have to assume that it had some very attractive aspects to offer, that were attractive enough to risk persecution and casting oneself out of the “good society”. It would be hubris of the highest degree if we entirely ignore those chosen conversions as a mere accident of history, or some evil plot, as if the Christians had been like scheming Sith Lords, who like villains in some Hollywood movie seduce people to the dark side.

I am quite open to consider what these reasons were, but in short: both the way Christendom was organized, as well as how it redefined the idea of religion, apparently was speaking to the people. It has been an established idea so firmly planted into our thinking, that I find it moot to just want to pour it all out and try to rewind the clock of history. Emotionally I understand why people want this. For us Pagans, the overtaking of Christianity, the destruction of our temples and our cult, is a deep wound, a trauma, and many have this desire for revenge by wishing the same now upon Christianity: they want it just removed without a trace.

Frankly, I do not think that is either possible, nor it is something I would wish. Christianity contributed to Western Culture, and despite me rejecting the largest part of the Galilean ideas, there are ideas inside of it, which I value. Now you may say, fine, but anything valuable Jesus said, was in some form also said by Cicero or Marc Aurel.

And that is exactly the point. Christianity did not overtake Rome by some scheme, turning it entirely around, it picked up actually quite a lot of ideas and concepts that fitted especially Roman thinking to succeed. So it is by no means the totally alien element to Rome that some make it to be. For me, Jesus is a man, a teacher like any other, like I read Confucius or Buddha: as writer, speaker, thinker of ideas I can share or deny. As Pagan I do not share any of his religious ideas, but as Philosopher some of his ideas about life and living make sense to me. Like I am inspired by other sources, like Nietzsche or Aleister Crowley or Lao-Tsu. The early history of Christianity and Paganism had been one of mutual influence. Not only did Christianity adapt from Paganism, but also Paganism adapted Christian interpretations, like trying to bring a Neoplatonist view on the nature of the Gods. Apparently people desired a more personal connection to a God, and this desire is something we have at least to recognize and not entirely deny with references to “how it was”.


AGAINST A REDUCTION TO ORTHOPRAXIS


And that leads me to the second point why I regard change as necessary. I reject this idea religion should be again reduced to a mere Orthopraxis. Simply said, I regard this as outdated and historically refuted form of religion. It was good for its time, no doubt. Early on, the aim of religion was to create Civilization in the first place, so it was mainly to regulate life, to give people a sense of being in their place. Civilization as it was then, was in its infancy, and there was no room for individual development. One simple reason is, that the vast majority of people simply had no time. Let's be honest here: our idols, the Ciceros and Senecas were in an extremely privileged position. They had time for themselves, time to read books, time to write and discuss and refine themselves. For almost everyone else in past societies this was luxury. Western Civilization had to advance in methods of agriculture in the Middle Ages and in technology in modern times, to even enable an individual development. You simply can not develop as individual, when 95% of society works literally from the moment you wake up until the evening. For almost everyone outside the lofty life of a Cicero, life was hard work every moment. They had almost no leisure time, and as such no means for personal development. That was what I call the Old Covenant. People had this contract with the Gods, that was a relation of Serf and Patron-Lord, and people were expected to fulfill their duties and that was the end of it. Refinement of the spirit was the privilege of a microscopic few, and it had no part in Religion.

Orthopraxis means to return humanity to that level of religion, to an entirely exoteric meaning of religion. You do the right actions, speak the proper words, do the traditional gestures, and that is it. Now the proponents of this Reconstructivism claim, this would lead to a benefit of more personal freedom, for without an Inner Teaching, people would be free to develop spiritually as ever they chose. Now the false perspective this induces is, that it evokes a dualistic view on religion, a black and white thinking, like religion can either only be totally hollow, reducing itself to a mere mechanistic set of practices, or overwhelm people with moralistic and ideological slavery, which usually is attributed to Christianity as the negative example. I beg to differ here. At least to my mind it is quite thinkable that one fashions religion so it does have an Inner Teaching, a spiritual message, without binding people slavishly into a Procrustes bed of claiming to have “final truths”. Of course, it is the easier way to entirely discard any Inner Teachings, fearing the risk of ideological oppression, and the risk is undoubtedly there. But the reality is, that people seek meaning, they seek guidance, and if religion does not offer this, especially in our times where people can chose from many competing religions, spiritual systems and worldly ideologies, do we not doom ourselves to marginality right away, if we offer nothing on this play-field but a series of orthopractic rituals?

If we confine the Roman Religion to this idea of Orthopractice, it will speak to a microscopic few, and then what good is that? Would that please the Gods? Would that even be a Covenant, when we have a dozen people in each country for any foreseeable time? Would that do the Gods honor?


A NEW COVENANT

What I suggest is the idea that we form a New Covenant with the Gods, and I take my proof from history as it happened. The Old Covenant ended. The temples fell and the idea of religion changed in ways which apparently were more attractive to people. Today the overwhelming majority of religious followers all over the world follow religions WITH an Inner Teaching of sorts. Now if we attribute history as it happened to the planning of the Gods, we have to assume that what happened, happened for a reason, namely to teach us new perspectives, and we would do the Gods a disservice, if we entirely refute the ideas added to religion of the vast span of 2000 years.

A New Covenant must be made, one that takes into account how humanity changed. Especially as Roman, I see the Gods as arbiters of Civilization. They want our progress, our maturity, and as I see it, this includes spiritual progress. Now I do not suggest we write our own holy rules, that would be not Pagan. Pagan is freedom, individual liberty, personal responsibility, freedom of choice and standing before the Gods by yourself. But that does not mean we can not suggest ideas, and that a religion of the presence has to confine itself to any idea of the past. I regard the past as heritage, and as a son inherits the house from his fathers, so he treats it with care, but he makes it his own and adapts it to the new needs of his own time. If we look at Asatru, at the Celtic Druids or Wiccans, I think we can see a way how a religion remains open to the liberty of individual interpretation, but still carries some spiritual and ethical meaning. Religion in our modern times must give people meaning, it must help personal development, both in character as well as in spirituality. Striking this New Covenant takes into account that we accept how humanity developed was according to the will and design of the Gods, for denying that reality would mean the Gods sort of forsook humanity, and I can not take such an idea as meaningful.

I must, at this point, express my doubt on the traditional division between Sacra Publica and Sacra Privata. The idea is that we have a mere orthopractic cultus as community, and all spirituality is relegated to a sort of private quirk, and I find this a profoundly unsatisfying idea. I wish to at least in part break through this stark division. While we can not have an official true teaching, I do not think our Cultus must remain entirely hollow in terms of Inner Teachings, and we can at least offer interpretations and ideas, suggest them, that a particular Deity, a Myth or a Sacred Day also transports an idea, either of worldly or of spiritual meaning. I think we can speculate about these things as sort of semi-public ideas without confining spiritual perspectives and interpretations entirely to the Sacra Privata. To me that feels more like an immunization strategy to change: “you can do as you please in your home, but we Traditionalists want to monopolize the Public Cult”.

That does not mean we have to adapt in every way, that we have to blindly accept any changes, anything that changed in mentality and spirituality in the last 2000 years, but it means we take it into account and accept we develop a New Covenant with the Gods. Such a Cultus Deorum Novum takes into account, that today the individual stands before the Gods and that we are less tribal than people of the past, that we seek personal, individual development, self realization, that we seek the Gods not only as protectors, but rather as Mentors and Guides, as Teachers who help us grow spiritually, to elevate our insight and our spiritual qualities. What makes us Pagan and what sets us apart from Christianity is that we have no pre-defined, enforced Inner Teaching, but that does not mean it has to be absent. This is the ongoing task of the future and something we can not simply write or define ahead now. It is what can organically grow over time, locally, as each local group goes into discussion and debate and develops these ideas, each group and each local community for itself.


STREAMLINING PRIESTHOOD AND CALENDAR

One concrete suggestion I am making here is a plan to rework both Priesthood and the Festival Calendar. Both are important elements of any religion, so they deserve special attention. Now we know, almost all Priests in ancient Rome were layman, often politicians or Patricians, with little to no spiritual expertise, and even the Pagan critics of Christianity, like Emperor Julian, agreed that this from of Priesthood was an inferior way to organize Priesthood. Now of course, since we have no final and true message, but a set of interpretations, our Priests can not have this function like a Christian Priest or a Muslim Imam, like a lawyer. But there is that element of community, of guiding people in your Parish, taking personal care, having an ear and a word of advise, to console people in need, that I connect with the idea of a Priest. The Priest is a helper of the people in his community, so he serves both, the people and the Gods and his duty is a balance to both. The modern Priest helps the people to find their way to the Gods, and to develop their spirituality under the guidance of the Gods. He can not merely be a bureaucrat of the Gods, not merely a functionary of cultist actions. He must set a personal example, and for that I argue that in the long term we work to establish a professional Priesthood, people who make the office their life, who learn not only in terms of theology, but get a broad education of human and natural sciences, so that the Priest is indeed an adviser and supporter of the people trying to find their way, guided by the Gods. It is by this personal example, the depth and integrity of the character of each individual Priest that we will make a much greater impression, than by any elaborate set of rituals or teachings.


Then there is the topic of the Calendar. I do not want to go into the details how religious calendars and meanings change; we all know this is so. Since my view is that the function of religion is two-sided, serving the people to advance spiritually AND serving the Gods and not only the latter, so should the calendar reflect this just the same.

The reality is that the calendar of the Old Covenant is filled with way too many sacred days, festivals of so many different meaning and emphasis, that it tends to overwhelm people and hinder any focused work. One of the main goals of a festival calender is to remind people of the sphere of the Divine, to understand the Cosmos and their place within it. If we now have 150 sacred days, we split the attention, and who could really look with zeal and desire towards so many special days? When almost ever day is special, none is.

If look at other Pagan ways, we see the Eightfold Circle of the year has become the standard for many of them. The truth is, that is is a later addition, and not a really historical system, but the advantage was so overwhelming, that it was adapted by a vast majority of Pagan movements. Now I do not advocate we adapt it, since it is too alien to the Roman Year, but I suggest we work out a system, where a small number of festivals is selected as Great Festivals, led by the idea to have an even set of Festivals of great importance, spread over the year and we carefully reform these festival days to broaden their meaning and work out their spiritual ideas, so that we have about eight to ten Great Festivals. Then we would have Sacred Days of intermediate relevance, and mere Memorial Days, where we mainly remember an idea without any larger rituals to be performed. This would have of course merely the role as suggestion, not as rule. If any individual or local group decided to alter this, it should be to the regional groups to decide so. But what we need are modern, palpable introductions with a modernized structure, and sorting out the many sacred days so people can focus and are not overwhelmed by the mass. If we look at Asatru, Wicca and other Pagan ways, we see that writing good books is a core for success. A vast number of people start as sole practitioners, and those people need something in their hands to do by themselves, something that feels cool and exciting, and not like a chore.

Such Great Festival days have to be unique, they have to give people tools and suggestions what they can do, traditional where we can, and newly created where it is prudent, so that each Festival feels unique and memorable and people eagerly look forward, and have fond memories of it afterward. That is what makes holidays like Halloween or Christmas so powerful: they are rare occurrences, they are very unique and give anyone something personal to do, like dressing up for a Halloween party or gifting or seeking Easter Eggs with the children. Such “things to do” should be part of any Sacred Day or Festival of our calendar, for it will make our religion much more attractive than just one Dude monopolizing the stage and speaking.


FINAL THOUGHTS

I understand that many things I write here must feel threatening to Traditionalists, and I sympathize with this. There is much comfort in the known and keeping things as they are. But we do not live in the luxury of comfortable times. Everywhere Western Civilization is at risk, grind between the millstones of Atheism and Islamism. These are troubled times. I firmly believe the Roman Religion is humanity's best answer to Religion and spiritual development, for the Roman Civilization was the first modern civilization, and many of our ideas and outlooks were first formed in Greece and Rome, and we can and should built on these foundations. But reanimating them means to bring them into a modern age, to make the form adequate for our time. History never stops, it moves on with a certain merciless quality.

In this situation, our task as Roman Cultores is of the greatest importance, for our duty is not only to ourselves, but to fight for our Western Civilization and its identity. We are in the duty, as I see it, to create a Cultus Deorum which can truly speak to the people of our time and not remain an obscure niche interest for a tiny few. This is what I see as the obligation of our times, and this Cause is greater than any individual's quirks and preferences, as much as we may respect them. We must rise to the occasion. Leniency and comfort in the old ways is a luxury we can, at the massive challenges of our time, not afford, but we must push forward with an attractive and meaningful manifestation of the Cultus Deorum, fit for the present and the future.
Advice is judged by results, not by intentions.

- Cicero
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Re: Writings on the Reformist Idea

Postby Lucius Metilius Niger » Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:39 pm

very interesting, Aetius.
I'm also in favor of a "reform" / simplification of the traditionnal roman orthopraxis in Sacra Publica, for the simply fact that 2000 years period separate our ancestors and us, that Sacra Publica isn't Political any more, or only depending to a State interests or any "legislation" (Lex is Dogma). Modern Romanitas is a Spiritual Community/Nation who cannot bring Religio (Sacra or Privata) in a ultra-traditionnalist maneer, but many many sorts. For appreciate these many (poly) sorts to celebrate, we need to be no dogmatics or integrists (like monotheists). We need solid basics, of course, but needs to be also inclusive and tolerants, and not hesitate to make experimental search and innove sometimes.
Lucius Metilius Niger
 

Re: Writings on the Reformist Idea

Postby Gaius Curtius Philo » Thu Mar 30, 2017 4:11 pm

Salve Carissime amice Aeti,

We meet again on the fields of intellectual battle :P As always, I will say what I want however I want and I expect from you the same treatment. Let us mock and destroy each other here and later grab some tea to drink together.

Without further ado, my response:

1) On th Failure of the "Old Covenant", as you called it, and the attractiveness of christianity: The Christian Faith was not persecuted as much as some like to believe, thr level of persecution varying a lot from tim to time and usually as a direct result of christian violance. Christianity wasnt even a majority in the Roman Empire when Constantine became Emperor. He and Theodosius forced christianity onto the People.

Regarding the darwinian aspect of Christianity's survival, I frankly find it funny that you of all people cite that argument my friend. You who live in a country being taken over by foreign peoples. Islam is now the fastest growing religion in the world. By your argument that makes all other religions inadequate. We should all be muslims.

No, I do not believe the fact that ignorance and barbarism triumphed over reason and liberty makes ignorance and barbarism good things. It is not that enslavement was the order of the day in ancient times that we must all be slaves. I will not bow to a God that treats me as a slave because I am agains't that by Principle. The might of ignorance and fanaticism is immense, but I will not immitate it to gain numbers. That is self defeat in my opinion...

2) Refutation of the Strawman of Orthopraxy: I am sorry my dear friend but you have, as you love to do, concucted a strawman fallacy here. Religion (in the sense MOST people understand of the word) is not seen as JUST Orthopraxy by Traditionalists. The Roman Religion is an Orthopraxic religion. And that just means that it is BASED on the correct practice. That does not mean that different Religious Beliefs do not exist in this system, only that none are dogmatically ans tyrannically ENFORCED. In the Roman Religion, no one can put their finger on your face and say "You are not a Cultor" because of something you believe.

The idea that religion was made to create civilization is in itself an immense fallacy as well, that has been successfully debunked by scholars. If civilization created religion how can religion create civilization? And why would people create civilization with that tool instead of another? With that are you saying that a mother that does a rite to make her child better after a sickness did not believe her child would get better because of it? If that is your view you are far off the Razor of Logic...

The idea that people in ancient times didn't have time for individual religious practice is another complete idioticy lol Sincerely, do not speak if you don't know what you are talking about amice, come now. The Romans had almost half the year in holidays. And if you count the worktime itself it wasn't that different from a modern worker. It was actually a bit easier... People had so much time that they tended to do DAILY rites. Hell, even in the Middle Ages when life was harder people worked a LOT less than we do now. Burgois would start making people work more using the argument (and I kid you not) that it would stop them from staying all day at the tavern, which was considered sinful...

The idea that the relationship between Gods and Man was that of Serf and Lord also shows you have no idea what you are talking about. The Roman Religion was primarily a religion of Freemen. A Religion in which people would maintain VOLUNTARY relations with the Gods. It was a relationship of mutual assistance. Serf-Master relationship is what we find in Abrahamism, the religion you want us to emulate.

The idea that spiritual reflexion and belief were the privilage of the few is baseless and makes no sense at all. We have literally thousands of inscriptions that demonstrate how fervently many romans held their love and belief in the Gods. Just because this wasnt FORCED upon them doesn't mean it didn't happen. Your view of the "Old Covenant" is distorted and baseless.

You also do not seem to understand what we wish for our religion at all. You think we wish to discard all Philosophy and all Beliefs. That just shows you were not listening what I told you time and time again. The romans had traditional beliefs. A myriad of them. And we teach these beliefs to people as well. We teach them of the Roman Virtues and of the things that Roman Society held dear. But we do not FORCE it upon them. If you say that "to be of the Cultus Deorum" you HAVE to believe in X, you are forcing X on people, there is no other way of putting it. You can illude yourself on the notion that you are not, but as soon as you say that the religion holds THIS thought as its necessary philosophy you are marking those that don't ascribe to it as Non-Cultores. And who are You to tell anyone if they are or aren't cultores? We teach people philosophy and values. But we do not Force it onto people. If that makes it "hollow" to you, I find your understanding of "fulfilling" disturbing...

3) The Argument that the Gods wanted to teach us X with the destruction of the religion, and how X is coincidentily what you propose: I don't buy that, sorry... I agree time passed and that we must make adaptations to our current needs and limitations, but that's it. There is nothing in our current society that mandates a complete change of the Roman Religion. For me your proposal is actually something that would damage us. You want to make us identical to all other mainstream religions out there. I'm sorry, but we are not. If that bothers you, if you need to be a slave, then by all means join your local parish. Our religion brings an actual CHANGE. It brings an actual fresh perspective.

To be very honest with you, you are not a "Reformist", you are a Reactionary. You want to conform the CDR to the same principles that currently dominate religion. In that my friend I hope you fail miserably lol For if you do not fail, you will have killed something very special, very unique in this world. And that would be a shame.

4) About how in part you want the same things we do but dont know it because you NEVER listen to half of what I say:
You want to suggest spiritual beliefs and ideas? Wow... So do we. Real shocker, right? Not like I haven't told you this a thousand times before :P The difference is we never IMPOSE a view on others and respect the views of others without question. Maybe you see that as "not trying to suggest values", I call it not being a dick.

Orthopraxy here serves as an intermediary to all roman beliefs. We all do similar rites, even if our beliefs differ. We talk the same language. It was this orthopraxy that made Ancient Roman Society a Hallmark of tolerance and religious diversity, something unfortunetly lost at later times. We are more traditional in the Sacra Publica, in part, PRECISELY so that we can accomodate all viewpoints and together do the same rite independently of the view. That doesn't mean we dont incentivize reflections after the rite. So much so that we actually told our sacerdotes (I don't know where you were on that conversation since you clearly didn't hear it) that it would be nice if you pondered and talked about the God you were serving and what they represented. " What makes us Pagan and what sets us apart from Christianity is that we have no pre-defined, enforced Inner Teaching, but that does not mean it has to be absent." This is not an Un-traditional line of thought. You just never seem to understand what traditionalists tell you because you always assume the worst instead of actually listening. How many times have I had to correct you when you came with false assumptions about those around you? Learn to listen more, Aeti, and talk less. If I can teach you anything, it would be that.

Roman Religion taught me values that were not strong in me before entering. It made me want to talk more to my biological father. It helped me notice that I cannot expect him to be a good father if I am not a good son to him as well. It made me value Promises a lot more. It made me value liberty and freedom of speech. This is what th current "Hollow" Roman Religion taught me, amice :)

5) The Idea that believing that the religion died = the Gods forsook us: This idea makes no sense in the context of a Free Relationship. If the religion's survival depended on the Gods' will alone, leaving humanity as a passive agent, then humanity is no more than mindless slaves of the Gods. That is not what our religion traditionally thinks. Mankind was free to enter into relations with the Gods and it was free to leave it. It left it and that brought down upon it an age of hate and bigotry never seen before, but even so the Gods respected Mankind's decision.

6) On Priests:
We advocate the freedom of anyone to become a priest of any deity. We do not believe in controling who can call themselves a priest. The only thing we do is scruttanize those that we select to be OFFICIAL priests for the Sacra Publica. And as you well know, we teach these priests all the basics, not only of how to perform a roman rite, but of what the Roman Religion was and of the Virtues of our Ancestors. In that sense we "traditionalists" don't deviate much from what you think. You simply weren't paying attention, again.

7) One Calendar to rule them all, One Calendar to find them, One Calendar to bring them all and in the darkness bind them, in the land of Aetia where the shadow lies:
You are erecting another strawman fallacy, my dear friend. The ""'Old Covenant""" does not advocate for everyone following a gigantic calendar. The RR maintains the FULL Calendar as a reference point, but each community TRADITIONALLY would have their own local calendar. Why force everyone around the world to have one calendar? Who are YOU to dictate what festivals are important and what aren't? Local groups define the local calendar, we in the higher strata must not limit their knowledge by limiting their possibilities. The full calendar should be shown so people know what to pick to suit their needs.

And the current Pagan Movement would KILL to have such an advanced knowledge of how many festivals and where they are. They use their current system out of necessity, not choice. We are the lucky ones on that regard.

8) Writing a book explaining it all: We are already doing that ;)

9) Final Thoughts: My beloved friend, you know how much I like you. But you can be pretty hard headed and downright stupid when it comes to hearing people out. Half of what you propose are things "traditionalists" already DO or plan on doing. The other half is crap, full of fallacies and half baked ideas of how other people think, which just show how little you listen to those around you because you are too self absorbed, but nothing is perfect :P

You speak of it beig comfortable to living in the known and doing things as they are as if you were being revolutionary. It is quite funny actually. YOU are the one that wants to do things like everyone else around you. YOU are the one that is instinctively trying to force the Cultus to conform to your preconcieved notion of what a Religion should be. You are the one who is comfortably in your chair demanding things to be just like you are accustomed to. You are a Reactionary. The fact that you don't notice it is rather hilarious.

I now leave you with this quote that I AGREE COMPLETELY with, by a very good friend of mine:

"In this situation, our task as Roman Cultores is of the greatest importance, for our duty is not only to ourselves, but to fight for our Western Civilization and its identity. We are in the duty, as I see it, to create a Cultus Deorum which can truly speak to the people of our time and not remain an obscure niche interest for a tiny few. This is what I see as the obligation of our times, and this Cause is greater than any individual's quirks and preferences, as much as we may respect them. We must rise to the occasion. Leniency and comfort in the old ways is a luxury we can, at the massive challenges of our time, not afford, but we must push forward with an attractive and meaningful manifestation of the Cultus Deorum, fit for the present and the future." - C. Florius Aetius.
"Ignis aurum probat" - Seneca
C. Curtius L. f. Vot. Philo Aurelianus
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Re: Writings on the Reformist Idea

Postby Gaius Florius Aetius » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:32 pm

THIRTY-THREE THESES FOR THE REFORM OF THE CULTUS DEORUM

by Gaius Florius Aetius

Preface.

I write these thirty-three theses, for the sake of streamlining my own ideas, and thus to make them more presentable and digestible for future discussions. These Theses are led by the idea that Religion can and should be reformed from time to time, and by the idea that the Old Covenant with the Gods of Olympus as it was needs to be advanced by a New Covenant or New Deal. It is born from my believe that civilization has altered, the mindset of humans has changed and that new times require readjustments, or a religion ceases to speak to the questions of a time, and we would risk to perish again, as our forefather, when they were too inflexible reacting to the new times.

This is by no means a full list and may be worked as debate and experience make it reasonable. I am firmly led by the idea that free people must freely negotiate and create with their own mind, their own insight how the Cultus Deorum can and should stand the test of time, without any preset censoring of what is allowed to debate and what isn't. We stand at a crucial time, when both Atheism and Islam challenge the Civilization of the West. In this situation, our task as Roman Cultores is of the greatest importance, for our duty is not only to ourselves, but to fight for our Western Civilization and its identity. We are in the duty, as I see it, to create a Cultus Deorum which can truly speak to the people of our time and not remain an obscure niche interest for a tiny few. This is what I see as the obligation of our times, and this Cause is greater than any individual's quirks and preferences, as much as we may respect them. We must rise to the occasion. Leniency and comfort in the old ways is a luxury we can, at the massive challenges of our time, not afford, but we must push forward with an attractive and meaningful manifestation of the Cultus Deorum, fit for the present and the future.




1. There is but One Spirituality, and the Gods are the Light Manifested, the Creators, from which all light, abundance, truth and virtue flows.

2. There is only one Family of Gods, and since the Gods are love and desire the development of all sentient beings, they revealed themselves in their grace to all beings and civilizations, but often under different masks or distorted by this lack of understanding of the people in their time.

3. The Gods are Eternal and without limit. They always have been and always will be, for they are Principalities, ideas manifested as Will and Individuals.

4. The Gods are Light and Love, since Love is the Character of the Cosmos, to bring all beings to their full fruition. The Gods are arbiters of Civilization and Progress. They do not desire us remaining at their feet as slaves or servants, but they are Teachers, Mentors, Parents and Elder Brothers and Sister, who want our spiritual and intellectual development. All their doing is to our advance, but we have to take it up ourselves as free beings. The Gods show the way, but we have to do the work.

5. Since humanity evolved slowly, like all sentient life, so the Gods revealed to us ever newer and more refined perspectives over time, so while the Old Ways were sacred for their time, as the Gods lead us to greater understand both of Nature and of Ourselves, both through science as well as through more developed spirituality, so must the nature of the Cultus evolve and adapt.

6. The Aim of Religion is the spiritual refinement and advancement of all sentient beings, since we all partake in the Divine Light of the Gods, which surrounds us and lives within us. We are not separated, cast away things, but enlightenment hidden within matter. The Aim of Religion is to nurture and develop that light within each of us, to refine our intellect, our ethicality and our spirituality. Reason, Heart and Spirit are the three cornerstones of development under the Guidance of the Gods.

7. We acknowledge that there is a continuous passing of New Eons, when a new perspective is revealed or developed, and the Cultus must adapt to these new views, so that people find their way to the Gods under the new, changing circumstances. It is not proper to go to the Gods in outdated ways, for you would speak through an alien mind from a perspective alien to you. While you should respect those who chose to stick to the Old Ways of going to the Gods, seek to educate people to find an honest way, which is in accordance with the Times and the Current Eon. We acknowledge we live in a New Eon, as it is called, where every Man and every Woman has his or her Divine Part, and the right to find and follow it.

8. We understand thus, that the Old Covenant with the Gods is past, and we seek a New Covenant with the Gods, based on our modern, advanced understanding. We know each such Covenant is temporal, although usually for a thousand years or more, but with each New Eon, the contract with the Gods must be renewed and changed according to the new realities we have been opened up to.

9. The Old Covenant was the Covenant of Sacrifice. It was so, because humans still lived in a narrow, materialistic sense, so they needed sterner regulation. The aim in our days is to advance the Soul, the Mind and the Character, so our Offering is the Offering of the Heart and the Offering of your Good Works, of which is outer, material offering can only be a symbol.

10. The New Covenant with the Gods is called Cultus Deorum Novum (CDN). It is reformist, based on the Roman Cultus Deorum, which it takes as groundwork to be brought into the modern time. The goal of the CDN is to uncover the spiritual truths hidden behind the Cultus, and carefully reshape the Cultus so it speaks to the modern practitioner and refocuses on development of the Spirit and the Character of the Individual.

11. The Focus of the Cultus is always the individual, since from the individual comes all progress and development. It is a hallmark of our modern time, that we liberated the individual, and we only bind ourselves as free men and women as we see fit, as we can unbind ourselves at any time. No individual should be judged either by reward nor by punishment, by any clandestine association. While we seek to establish community and a community spirit, this is the Community we create and dedicate ourselves to by our Free Will, not a bond that is cast upon us, and thus the Cultus must likewise be made, as voluntary association of Free Men and Free Women, each responsible to the Gods alone.

12. Religion and Politics must be kept strictly separate spheres. So we stand for a secular society. The virtue and wisdom the Gods teach must be taken on out of free will, for only then it retains it's character of being a virtue, each individual for himself. Forcing or coercing people to one religious, spiritual or ethical idea is the ruin of humanity. It is that we prove ourselves by our choices, so when you take away the choice, you undermine the aim of religion, which is the conscious development of the individual.

13. The Cultus Deorum Novum shall streamline and redevelop the idea of Priesthood. Instead of a way too huge mix of Priests, it is prudent to reform Priesthood to be more efficient and fitting to the demands of our time.

14. It is suggested that the Priesthood is organized in local networks, from bottom to top. So there is a Shrine Keeper as lowest rank, which oversees a small region. Then there is a Temple Priest, who oversees several Shrines in a larger region. Above that is the National or Super-Regional High Priest, who organizes the nation or the larger region. Such regions should not be too large, so large Nation States should be divided into reasonably large regions. Each shrine, temple and region is dedicated chiefly to one God or Goddess, and that Priest is then at the same time Priest of this God, and Organizer of that Region. There may be any number of additional Priests dedicating themselves to any other God, but the chosen one of the region remains the Spokesperson for that region under which the others should work.

15. The Temple Priest, the middle rank, is the most important level, since on that communal level, the Cultores internally decide the details, since the CDR is built with a maximum of freedom, the local Temples shall be communes which govern themselves in any details of the Cultus.

16. The role of the Priest is to be reformed also in a personal way. It is not enough to just fill an office, one must have certain personal character abilities. A Priest serves equally the Gods and the people of his Parish. He is adviser, helper, friend, caretaker, guide and councilor of the people in his group and his region, both the Cultores of the Gods, but also all people in his local community.

17. A Priest should cultivate a personal demeanor fitting to a messenger and servant of the Gods, also in his outer appearance. Traditional clothing is not required, but in the rituals, the Priest should be dressed clean and decent. A fully traditional clothing is not mandatory.

18. There is no body that can make anything mandatory, any regulations concerning Cult Practice are always recommendations, for each individual is free before the Gods. However, the CDN may have for public rites some basic standards. These are only decided locally on the Temple region, so that each regional group decides the details for themselves.

19. The Cultus Novum is based on the Twelve Olympian Gods, the customs and traditions of the Roman Religion, which we regard as our role model and inspiration. We take the traditions seriously, but regard them as suggestions, not as a chain that binds us. We aim to reform them, but not totally overthrow them. Each regional group has to find the degree and way how they do this by themselves, and then the local group sets up a set of rules and guidelines, which develop over time, while staying true to the roots and original ideas. It must be a careful balance between tradition and reform, developing like a living thing. We inherit the House from the Ancestors, we make it our own with respect to what was, but not being slaves to the past.

20. The aim of cult and ritual is always two folded. We give the Honor to God and Ancestors, which they deserve as our Patrons and Guides, for what they created is what we inherit, and it behooves the gentleperson to give thanks to what was given to you. That is the side of pious duty.

21. Second, the aim of cult and ritual is to understand the cosmos, to extend your intellectual and spiritual insight, to attune yourself with the forces of the cosmos in a tangible and meaningful way. The rituals, festivals and Sacred Days are there so you understand the cosmos and the Gods better.

22. It is thus prudent and reasonable, that the Form of the Cult adapts to the time, so it speaks to the people of it's time. This is a careful act of balance, for the original idea must not be lost or distorted, but also the idea of each festival and sacred day must be dusted off from time to time to see what the timeless idea behind it was. It then can be clothed in regional preferred forms.

23. The task of the Cultus Deorum in the future is to write text and books which present the nature of Religion, the CD, the Sacred Days, Festivals and all contents of our Religion in modern language, fitting for both the single practitioner, as well as newly formed local groups, so to advertise our Religion. While old texts are interesting for historians, most of them are too complex and convoluted to be of real help for the new practitioner. Guides and books are to be written that suggest what single practitioners and small groups can do, how to start, in simple, digestible steps and not overwhelming new Cultores with tomes of old and a plethora of 2000 year old rules. Such methods are more likely to drive interested people away.

24. The Calendar of the Cultus Deorum Novum is to be reworked. It had in past times developed into a mess of overlapping and unclear meanings, many meanings have been very temporal or regional, and there is such an abundance of sacred days, that it disperses the focus. The future goal is to streamline the sacred days into three tiers: First the Great Festivals, which are to be 8-10 great holidays, where the most important ideas and principalities are highlighted. Then regular Holidays of intermediate meaning for smaller ideas, and finally mere Memorial Days, where we just remember an idea.

25. Each Great Festival has to be made so it is both unique in character as well as memorable, so that every Cultor looks forwards to it, and has fond and special memories of it, so that the mind of the Cultores gradually understand the Divine in the Cosmos better. Each such Great Festival shall gather special customs, traditions and private habits to practice on these days. We gather these from the past as far as it is reasonable, but also create new traditions and habits, where it makes sense.

26. The structure of the rituals is to be reformed in such a way, that the small sized group is the ideal target group. This is the best form of future religion work, so people have a community they know, which is locally organized, and the cult practice involves everyone, so that there is not, like in old times, one Priest who entirely monopolizes the stage and they laymen just sit and listen. People in our times want to partake, they want to do things, but merely watch the performance of someone else. A modern cult has to take this reasonable desire into account, if we wish to speak to the people of our time.

27. While there should be an official recommendation for the Great Festivals, the Intermediate Festivals and the Memorial Days, this is of course just of recommending character. Each local group as well as each individual is free to chose a Minor Holiday, and give it greater importance. It is however advised that for the sake of unite the chosen Great Festivals are at least attended and given reasonable dedication.

28. Each Cultor is advised to make a Shrine to the Ancestors, a Lararium. Ancestor Worship is an integral part, and the pious duty of any Cultor, for the Ancestors build what we inherit, and it is prudent to give them thanks and remember them. By experience, having an Ancestor Shrine in the house as focus of prayer, ground the Cultor and reenforced the virtues of duty, responsibility and tradition. We owe those of the past, both our individual Ancestors, but also that of our tribe.

29. Exterior form is only worthy, when it accompanied by interior dedication of thought, feeling and spiritual devotion. While the traditional form is of greatest inspiration to us, and we preserve as far as we can, we must fill form with content. If you just blabber formulas before the Gods, but your heart and mind is elsewhere, the Gods will not listen to you. On the other hand, we have to put effort into the Outer Form, for effort and work are the outer proof of the dedication of the heart and both are two inseparable parts. You are the Offering, your love and devotion to the Gods, your honest will to be led and taught by them, but the material offering and the form of the rites are your proof that you do not speak lightly. We take a form of the rituals of the past as great role models and inspirations, but not as a chain that binds us.

30. The Cultores are advised to seek a closer personal connection to one or a few Gods of personal choice, to seek their Patronage and guidance, and in turn devote themselves to a God or Goddess of choice.

31. The Cultores are advised to invite the Gods into their daily lives. Better is daily small practice, than neglecting the connection to the Gods and then overcompensate.

32. No Priest shall monopolize the connection between Cultor and God. Every Cultor can speak directly to the Gods, and seek council, guidance or protection as he or she sees fit.

33. No Organization shall monopolize the Roman Polytheist Religion. We are all free men and free women, given reason, heart and spirit by the Gods to make use of it, to develop ourselves, the way we practice religion, the ways we pray and how we form communities as ever we as human beings see fit, and none shall tell the other that his ways are not allowed. We should not be judgmental. If the way of a community is not your way, then move on and be no busybody, giving unasked advice.
Advice is judged by results, not by intentions.

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Re: Writings on the Reformist Idea

Postby Gaius Curtius Philo » Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:08 pm

A Response to the XXXIII Aetian Commandments:

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:1. There is but One Spirituality, and the Gods are the Light Manifested, the Creators, from which all light, abundance, truth and virtue flows.


Cannot be enforced without compromising the freedom of thought of individual cultores.

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:2. There is only one Family of Gods, and since the Gods are love and desire the development of all sentient beings, they revealed themselves in their grace to all beings and civilizations, but often under different masks or distorted by this lack of understanding of the people in their time.


Cannot be enforced without compromising the freedom of thought of individual cultores.

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:3. The Gods are Eternal and without limit. They always have been and always will be, for they are Principalities, ideas manifested as Will and Individuals.


Cannot be enforced without compromising the freedom of thought of individual cultores.

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:4. The Gods are Light and Love, since Love is the Character of the Cosmos, to bring all beings to their full fruition. The Gods are arbiters of Civilization and Progress. They do not desire us remaining at their feet as slaves or servants, but they are Teachers, Mentors, Parents and Elder Brothers and Sister, who want our spiritual and intellectual development. All their doing is to our advance, but we have to take it up ourselves as free beings. The Gods show the way, but we have to do the work.


Cannot be enforced without compromising the freedom of thought of individual cultores. Although most of that is pretty much what Traditional Cultores already think. Startling, no? Lol

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:5. Since humanity evolved slowly, like all sentient life, so the Gods revealed to us ever newer and more refined perspectives over time, so while the Old Ways were sacred for their time, as the Gods lead us to greater understand both of Nature and of Ourselves, both through science as well as through more developed spirituality, so must the nature of the Cultus evolve and adapt.


Traditional Roman thinking. Wow, besides the fact that you want to force your views on other amice, you have some quite traditional roman views! Nicely done. :P

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:6. The Aim of Religion is the spiritual refinement and advancement of all sentient beings, since we all partake in the Divine Light of the Gods, which surrounds us and lives within us. We are not separated, cast away things, but enlightenment hidden within matter. The Aim of Religion is to nurture and develop that light within each of us, to refine our intellect, our ethicality and our spirituality. Reason, Heart and Spirit are the three cornerstones of development under the Guidance of the Gods.


Cannot be enforced without compromising the freedom of thought of individual cultores.

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:7. We acknowledge that there is a continuous passing of New Eons, when a new perspective is revealed or developed, and the Cultus must adapt to these new views, so that people find their way to the Gods under the new, changing circumstances. It is not proper to go to the Gods in outdated ways, for you would speak through an alien mind from a perspective alien to you. While you should respect those who chose to stick to the Old Ways of going to the Gods, seek to educate people to find an honest way, which is in accordance with the Times and the Current Eon. We acknowledge we live in a New Eon, as it is called, where every Man and every Woman has his or her Divine Part, and the right to find and follow it.


So much preconceptions in so little space. What You call "outdated" some might call "matured". What you call "new" some might call "the same thing we have had for at least the past 200 years". Sincerly amice, you trying to sell your view as "new" is almost hilarious. You're standing on the Truly outdated system. Not because it is Old, but because it is based on Slavery and Control. You want to make the Cultus 'business as usual'. You want to take out what makes it unique. What makes it beautiful. You sell yourself as a reformist, but you are in truth a reactionary.

You contrast the "Old Ways" with the "Honest way". Who are you to say who is being honest and true to their hearts and who is not? Who are you to judge others? You are no one. I am no one. We are only individuals and we cannot force our individual perspectives on others. That is why the Cultus does not make such mockery of the divine, such commandments. Thought is free in our religion.

I ask you this: Isnt it possible that a new Eon has started in your lifetime? As in Now. Isnt it possible that the Cultus is growing precisely because it is different from all these slave religions you so hold dear? Don't you worry maybe that You might be the one advocating for a dying trend that is in itself "outdated" to the current times? Think about that for a bit.

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:8. We understand thus, that the Old Covenant with the Gods is past, and we seek a New Covenant with the Gods, based on our modern, advanced understanding. We know each such Covenant is temporal, although usually for a thousand years or more, but with each New Eon, the contract with the Gods must be renewed and changed according to the new realities we have been opened up to.


Cannot be enforced without compromising the freedom of thought of individual cultores.

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:9. The Old Covenant was the Covenant of Sacrifice. It was so, because humans still lived in a narrow, materialistic sense, so they needed sterner regulation. The aim in our days is to advance the Soul, the Mind and the Character, so our Offering is the Offering of the Heart and the Offering of your Good Works, of which is outer, material offering can only be a symbol.


Prove to me that humanity was less spiritualized then than now.

People acted differently then than now. That does not mean they were less spiritual. Your prejudice with the ancients is sad and shows your utter blindness to what they truly were. "Materialistic" isn't opposite to "Spiritual", you cannot have a happy life if yout basic material needs are not fulfilled. You cannot have happiness without stability. Your view of spirituality is a view of a privilaged few who do not know what is Real material deprevation. What is Real violence, hunger, lack if infrastructure, etc. You speak of what you do not understand and for that you make yourself up as a fool amice. It is a pitty because you are a very intelligent and kind man. Only in this subject do I see you make a laughing stock of yourself.

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:10. The New Covenant with the Gods is called Cultus Deorum Novum (CDN). It is reformist, based on the Roman Cultus Deorum, which it takes as groundwork to be brought into the modern time. The goal of the CDN is to uncover the spiritual truths hidden behind the Cultus, and carefully reshape the Cultus so it speaks to the modern practitioner and refocuses on development of the Spirit and the Character of the Individual.


Thus spoke the prophet!

Again you show your prejudice to the CDR by assuming that the CDR does not promote the devlopment of the spirit and the character of the individuals. Where was the Mos Maiorum when you were forming such prejudiced views? Where were the individuals who toil to best follow the Gods for their own personal growth? You spit on all that with no second thought and instead of trying to learn from it you judge it with half-baked assumptions that you take out of your behind. And that is sad.

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:11. The Focus of the Cultus is always the individual, since from the individual comes all progress and development. It is a hallmark of our modern time, that we liberated the individual, and we only bind ourselves as free men and women as we see fit, as we can unbind ourselves at any time. No individual should be judged either by reward nor by punishment, by any clandestine association. While we seek to establish community and a community spirit, this is the Community we create and dedicate ourselves to by our Free Will, not a bond that is cast upon us, and thus the Cultus must likewise be made, as voluntary association of Free Men and Free Women, each responsible to the Gods alone.


You love to contradict yourself. It is funny lol You create a whole list of things that define exactly what your "New" Cultus would be and then you say it is all bullocks and that people can think what they want. Decide amice, are you a servant of Libertas or of Servitus? Because you unconsistently seem to prostitute yourself to two mistresses.

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:12. Religion and Politics must be kept strictly separate spheres. So we stand for a secular society. The virtue and wisdom the Gods teach must be taken on out of free will, for only then it retains it's character of being a virtue, each individual for himself. Forcing or coercing people to one religious, spiritual or ethical idea is the ruin of humanity. It is that we prove ourselves by our choices, so when you take away the choice, you undermine the aim of religion, which is the conscious development of the individual.


Contradictions gallore. And it is impossible to keep Religion out of Politics because Religion is Communal and Communities are organized Politically. If you mean Keep Religion out of STATE politics I would agree with you though ^^

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:13. The Cultus Deorum Novum shall streamline and redevelop the idea of Priesthood. Instead of a way too huge mix of Priests, it is prudent to reform Priesthood to be more efficient and fitting to the demands of our time.


Cannot be enforced without compromising the freedom of thought of individual cultores.

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:14. It is suggested that the Priesthood is organized in local networks, from bottom to top. So there is a Shrine Keeper as lowest rank, which oversees a small region. Then there is a Temple Priest, who oversees several Shrines in a larger region. Above that is the National or Super-Regional High Priest, who organizes the nation or the larger region. Such regions should not be too large, so large Nation States should be divided into reasonably large regions. Each shrine, temple and region is dedicated chiefly to one God or Goddess, and that Priest is then at the same time Priest of this God, and Organizer of that Region. There may be any number of additional Priests dedicating themselves to any other God, but the chosen one of the region remains the Spokesperson for that region under which the others should work.


You cant force people to be under a priest. Temples and Shrines are individually owned and people should not be forced to be under any or have any of them speak for them. Priests arent spokespersons. What happened with "keep politics out of religion" just a few Commandments back? You're a real treat in contradictions amice lol

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:15. The Temple Priest, the middle rank, is the most important level, since on that communal level, the Cultores internally decide the details, since the CDR is built with a maximum of freedom, the local Temples shall be communes which govern themselves in any details of the Cultus.


That at BEST creates a dictatorship of the majority. People should not be forced to adhere to any communal decision om what they should THINK. Thought is not controlled in the Cultus and should never be.

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:16. The role of the Priest is to be reformed also in a personal way. It is not enough to just fill an office, one must have certain personal character abilities. A Priest serves equally the Gods and the people of his Parish. He is adviser, helper, friend, caretaker, guide and councilor of the people in his group and his region, both the Cultores of the Gods, but also all people in his local community.


Do I smell thought police? Yes I do. A priest does not need to have "personal character" better than anyone else. They need to do their job correctly. Who will judge the "character" of these priests? You?

A priest can be an adviser, a guide, a friend, but a shy priest that still does their job dilligently and with pious love for the Gods should not be punished for not being able to fulfill your Demands.

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:17. A Priest should cultivate a personal demeanor fitting to a messenger and servant of the Gods, also in his outer appearance. Traditional clothing is not required, but in the rituals, the Priest should be dressed clean and decent. A fully traditional clothing is not mandatory.


A "messenger of God" aye? Now where did I hear that one before... hum...

Of the rest, I agree with you :P oddly enough. You use full traditional clothing if you can. But if you cant, just be respectful and clean.

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:18. There is no body that can make anything mandatory, any regulations concerning Cult Practice are always recommendations, for each individual is free before the Gods. However, the CDN may have for public rites some basic standards. These are only decided locally on the Temple region, so that each regional group decides the details for themselves.


You create Absolutes and then dissolve them. Tell be Aeti, is there anything concrete about you or is it all just this mess of half-steps forward and back?

All of this is already done in the CDR. This is not new... Sacra Pro Populo (regional rites) are decided by the regions themselves. You are not bringing anything new to the table besides your prejudice and misinformation.

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:19. The Cultus Novum is based on the Twelve Olympian Gods, the customs and traditions of the Roman Religion, which we regard as our role model and inspiration. We take the traditions seriously, but regard them as suggestions, not as a chain that binds us. We aim to reform them, but not totally overthrow them. Each regional group has to find the degree and way how they do this by themselves, and then the local group sets up a set of rules and guidelines, which develop over time, while staying true to the roots and original ideas. It must be a careful balance between tradition and reform, developing like a living thing. We inherit the House from the Ancestors, we make it our own with respect to what was, but not being slaves to the past.


Agreed. That is what we are currently doing. Just because you disagree on what we As A Group decided should be maintained doesn't mean we didnt think it through :)

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:20. The aim of cult and ritual is always two folded. We give the Honor to God and Ancestors, which they deserve as our Patrons and Guides, for what they created is what we inherit, and it behooves the gentleperson to give thanks to what was given to you. That is the side of pious duty.


Cannot be enforced without compromising the freedom of thought of individual cultores. The "aim" is of individual interpretation. But that is traditionally one common aim aye.

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:21. Second, the aim of cult and ritual is to understand the cosmos, to extend your intellectual and spiritual insight, to attune yourself with the forces of the cosmos in a tangible and meaningful way. The rituals, festivals and Sacred Days are there so you understand the cosmos and the Gods better.


And to open the 17th Chakra and reach Nirvana lololol

Cannot be enforced without compromising the freedom of thought of individual cultores.

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:22. It is thus prudent and reasonable, that the Form of the Cult adapts to the time, so it speaks to the people of it's time. This is a careful act of balance, for the original idea must not be lost or distorted, but also the idea of each festival and sacred day must be dusted off from time to time to see what the timeless idea behind it was. It then can be clothed in regional preferred forms.


Traditional approach. Nothing new.

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:23. The task of the Cultus Deorum in the future is to write text and books which present the nature of Religion, the CD, the Sacred Days, Festivals and all contents of our Religion in modern language, fitting for both the single practitioner, as well as newly formed local groups, so to advertise our Religion. While old texts are interesting for historians, most of them are too complex and convoluted to be of real help for the new practitioner. Guides and books are to be written that suggest what single practitioners and small groups can do, how to start, in simple, digestible steps and not overwhelming new Cultores with tomes of old and a plethora of 2000 year old rules. Such methods are more likely to drive interested people away.


Already being done. Lol Come on, Aeti, you know this. Don't you have anything new to bring from this schizofrenic mess that is your CDN besides slavery of the mind?

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:24. The Calendar of the Cultus Deorum Novum is to be reworked. It had in past times developed into a mess of overlapping and unclear meanings, many meanings have been very temporal or regional, and there is such an abundance of sacred days, that it disperses the focus. The future goal is to streamline the sacred days into three tiers: First the Great Festivals, which are to be 8-10 great holidays, where the most important ideas and principalities are highlighted. Then regular Holidays of intermediate meaning for smaller ideas, and finally mere Memorial Days, where we just remember an idea.


Cannot be enforced without compromising the freedom of thought of individual cultores. Who are YOU (or anyone one; or any organization for that matter) to say are the most or least important festivals? As I said before in another response, I don't buy that "One Calendar to Rule them All", Sauron lol

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:25. Each Great Festival has to be made so it is both unique in character as well as memorable, so that every Cultor looks forwards to it, and has fond and special memories of it, so that the mind of the Cultores gradually understand the Divine in the Cosmos better. Each such Great Festival shall gather special customs, traditions and private habits to practice on these days. We gather these from the past as far as it is reasonable, but also create new traditions and habits, where it makes sense.


That should be done to all festivals. All of them should be fleshed out and well studied...

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:26. The structure of the rituals is to be reformed in such a way, that the small sized group is the ideal target group. This is the best form of future religion work, so people have a community they know, which is locally organized, and the cult practice involves everyone, so that there is not, like in old times, one Priest who entirely monopolizes the stage and they laymen just sit and listen. People in our times want to partake, they want to do things, but merely watch the performance of someone else. A modern cult has to take this reasonable desire into account, if we wish to speak to the people of our time.


A festival has more parts than just the sacrifice. And I find those parts a lot more important for social participation than the sacrifice itself. People are more interested in taking part of activities, there is no demand for people to actually take roles in the sacrifice itself... Actually most people I know whould be too afraid to screw up for that. But in the end all of us participate in the after banquet and all the preperations leading to the rite and all the festivity that follows. Debates and reflections can also follow.

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:27. While there should be an official recommendation for the Great Festivals, the Intermediate Festivals and the Memorial Days, this is of course just of recommending character. Each local group as well as each individual is free to chose a Minor Holiday, and give it greater importance. It is however advised that for the sake of unite the chosen Great Festivals are at least attended and given reasonable dedication.


So... now you DON'T want to change the Calendar officially? So you are basically saying to do nothing different and slapping onto it the hip title of "New". Seriously, I don't know sometimes why you bother.

So basically you don't want to change the dates, you just want a group to "recommend" which would be more important... For what purpose? Why cant we just make a guide to all the festivals and let local communities decide for themselves what is important? The more I read the more your proposal seems like nothing wrapped onto an empth bag. The main difference being that the bag is still worth something.

You wouldn't be suggesting half of what you suggest if you actually took the time to listen to what people tell you.

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:28. Each Cultor is advised to make a Shrine to the Ancestors, a Lararium. Ancestor Worship is an integral part, and the pious duty of any Cultor, for the Ancestors build what we inherit, and it is prudent to give them thanks and remember them. By experience, having an Ancestor Shrine in the house as focus of prayer, ground the Cultor and reenforced the virtues of duty, responsibility and tradition. We owe those of the past, both our individual Ancestors, but also that of our tribe.


Traditional. Nothing new.

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:29. Exterior form is only worthy, when it accompanied by interior dedication of thought, feeling and spiritual devotion. While the traditional form is of greatest inspiration to us, and we preserve as far as we can, we must fill form with content. If you just blabber formulas before the Gods, but your heart and mind is elsewhere, the Gods will not listen to you. On the other hand, we have to put effort into the Outer Form, for effort and work are the outer proof of the dedication of the heart and both are two inseparable parts. You are the Offering, your love and devotion to the Gods, your honest will to be led and taught by them, but the material offering and the form of the rites are your proof that you do not speak lightly. We take a form of the rituals of the past as great role models and inspirations, but not as a chain that binds us.


I really would like to meet this "traditional cultor" that does rites with their mind elsewhere and goes to all the trouble of doing a traditional roman rite whilr at the same time not caring at the slightest on his relationship with the Gods. This fellow you found is an odd one indeed, because I never met that type of "traditionalist" myself.

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:30. The Cultores are advised to seek a closer personal connection to one or a few Gods of personal choice, to seek their Patronage and guidance, and in turn devote themselves to a God or Goddess of choice.


Most cultores already do that... Traditional. Nothing new here...

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:31. The Cultores are advised to invite the Gods into their daily lives. Better is daily small practice, than neglecting the connection to the Gods and then overcompensate.


Traditional. Nothing new here...

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:32. No Priest shall monopolize the connection between Cultor and God. Every Cultor can speak directly to the Gods, and seek council, guidance or protection as he or she sees fit.


Traditional. Nothing new here...

Gaius Florius Aetius wrote:33. No Organization shall monopolize the Roman Polytheist Religion. We are all free men and free women, given reason, heart and spirit by the Gods to make use of it, to develop ourselves, the way we practice religion, the ways we pray and how we form communities as ever we as human beings see fit, and none shall tell the other that his ways are not allowed. We should not be judgmental. If the way of a community is not your way, then move on and be no busybody, giving unasked advice.


That is already how this is done.

Sincerely you didn't add anything here and the things you did try to add were basically mental slavery or prejudice, so much so that even YOU yourself contradicted it afterwards, basically making it meaningless...

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Re: Writings on the Reformist Idea

Postby Gaius Florius Aetius » Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:07 pm

Philo, with all due respect, you are hunting your own shadow. This is not starting a dialogue. Half of what you say is not what I write or suggest, like we should take on Islam by my logic, or like I had said we should make the Roman Religion a slave religion like Christianty.

Then you seem to presume a level of reformist on the tradtional side, that at least I do not see. I have read and heard plenty of Romans for whom religion was supposed to be merely a bureaucratic act. If you advanced beyond this, all the better. But why do you pretent the Traditionalists like I describe exist merely in my imagination, like they were some invisible friend Harvey? I never said our religion died, I never said the Gods forsook us, I never said to dictate a calender, merely design and suggest one, asf asf. You disagree with points I never said.

You write more than once, that I want to force people, when I wrote MORE than once, we can make SUGGESTIONS and OFFER interpretations. I never said any of these ideas are to be forced. Who do you think I am, Mao-Tse Dong with the Red Army behind me?

And then you play word games with me, calling me reactionary, and your traditional ideas reform, because they are, as you say, brought back anew. Sigh. Sorry, I do not participate in such word games. I talk about ideas and content.


Overall you must respod to some other Aetius, for you just see what you have in your mind and think I said. Nothing I see in your text looks like an actual reply to anything I wrote. So I have nothing to say to fantasy discussions which exist mainly in your thinking alone.
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Re: Writings on the Reformist Idea

Postby Gaius Florius Aetius » Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:10 pm

For those who prefer hearing, I read my first text, "Argument for a Reform of the Roman Cultus", in youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzMhOXyHV5Y
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Re: Writings on the Reformist Idea

Postby Gaius Florius Lupus » Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:16 pm

Salvete amici!

This is a very interesting discussion with well elaborated thoughts. Many good points have been made.

The Religio Romana has undergone many changes during antiquity. There is no doubt about it. The cult was Hellenized, some gods became more important, others lost importance. It was never static, so there is no justification to reject any kind of change in principle.
And the Cultus Deorum, as it is practiced here, has already undergone many reforms. The language is English instead of Latin (which I had preferred), animal sacrifices are not mandatory (a very reasonable decision), et cetera.
I agree with Florius Aetius that there remain still more things to do, the calendar being one of them.
Romans had no regular weekends, they only had these dies festi. In our modern times we have Sundays (Solis dies) and sometimes Saturdays (Saturni Die) off every week, so we do not need that number of dies festi. It makes therefore sense to emphasize a few of them and have others just as "memorial days" as suggested. The Romans had no weekdays but regular market days to structure the months. This is also outdated in our time. Our supermarkets are open every day. We should therefore include weekdays dedicated to the celestial gods as it was introduced in late antiquity. Romance languages even have maintained the Roman names of the weekdays. It is a reasonable reform, since it agrees with our daily life.

However I reject almost all of Aetius' other theses, mostly for the same reasons as Philo Aurelianus.
Aeti, you want to impose a particular interpretation of the gods onto us that many do not share. Yes, I am one of those "traditionalists" who take the sacra publica as a bureaucratic act, and I do not want this to be changed. This is why I would even prefer everything to be in Latin, because I do not believe that it is necessary to understand what is said. It is just a ceremony. If some people want to have spiritual feelings during the ceremony, it is also okay with me, as long as they maintain their gravitas.
We cannot impose a centralized priesthood on the Cultus Deorum apart from the flamines and the augures. The cult of every god is independent and free to have its own internal hierarchy and rules.
However you can have your own Cultus Deorum Novus (not "novum", since cultus is masculinum) within the Cultus Deorum, just like the Eleusinian Mysteries. This is fully legitimate. And there you can establish the suggested hierarchy of priests. Maybe this is exactly what you want to do considering that you even mentioned a new name (CDN).

Adjustments to the modern age are indeed necessary. Many of them have already been done, like the above mentioned change of language and removal of animal sacrifices. More needs to be done. Here Aetius is right, which is why I would suggest he should become member of the new Collegium Pontificum. Aetius understands how the neo-pagan community thinks due to his experience with Asatru. We need people like him.
But I would also like to thank you, Philo Aureliane, that you made it clear where the limits of any reforms are. We do not want a religious dictatorship and we do not want a form of "Wicca lite for Roman use".
The sacra publica should never try to explain the nature of the gods and the world to us. Leave this to philosophy. The res publica (which includes the sacra publica) should never become spiritual or esoteric, but still not be secular. The Religio Romana is our state religion. the sacra publica is for the state. Spirituality is for individuals. This is why we have the sacra privata. And if this is not enough, then we have also the option to found a religious societates within our Republic. This should certainly be able to satisfy the spiritual needs of every citizen.

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Re: Writings on the Reformist Idea

Postby Gaius Curtius Philo » Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:37 pm

The problem Aeti is that I've seen debates in which you participated with traditionalists and I notice that you always assume things from them that they did not say, so I doubt most of the people you say actually Think what you proposed. Mostly, I think you just misunderstood what they said.
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