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In this 1994 compendium of pagan spirituality in the Western world, Dr. Crowley reviews the concepts and history of paganism and how the various traditions have evolved into their current forms. Again, as with most of her work, she approaches the material from a psychological as well as a spiritual perspective. She explores in depth the Way of the Celts, the Norse and German traditions, traditions of North-East Europe, and Wicca as a syncretistic contemporary tradition. Her treatment of The Way of the Goddess and the God is particularly insightful. She discusses the necessity of the return of the Goddess to restore the balance that has been stifled by pervasive patriarchy over the last four millennia; then she cautions against the danger of over-correction.
All extremes in religious, political and spiritual thought produce an equal and opposite reaction. The dominance of our spiritual life by a sterile maleness returned many to the worship of the Great Goddess. An imbalance in our outer society towards valuing only male activity and the male sex brought forth feminism and encouraged many, both men and women, to develop the feminine within themselves. This was of great value to men, because it returned them to a part of themselves which had been suppressed and repressed by Western society. This was male caring, creativity and joyfulness. This, however, is only one side of the lost male, which Pagan religion has needed to recover. The male is also hunter and warrior. This is not random violence or killing for the sake of it, but the use of male strength which is needed by Nature; the strength which protects, nurtures and guards the weak, and which prevents the powerful from oppressing the powerless. Having come to terms with the Goddess, many men now wish to come to terms with their own male energy. They are searching for the God.
In the 1980s we had the concept of The New Man. He changed nappies, wept buckets at the movies, and was never angry. He harboured a permanent guilt complex because his organ dangled, and hers did not, and he took upon himself the sins of the male world. It was man who had persecuted women, burned them at the stake, had unleashed the dogs of war. If his ancestors had done it, then he too had done it. He was guilty by birth. Many caring men emerged from this phase frustrated that by seeking to minimize their maleness, they had not found themselves. Men had found their inner feminine. They may have rejected the stereotypical male role in which they had been brought up to play, and chosen other careers and other patterns of life; but there was still something missing. In rejecting the Judaeo-Christian God, all masculine deity had been abolished...
To play their role in society, men must come to an understanding of how to use their male energy for greater good. The aim of the Pagan religion is not to produce men who think they are women, but men in touch with their maleness. For this, worship of God as well as Goddess is necessary...
In our modern era, both men and women have suffered from false Images of what they should be. (pg 124-25)...
On Paganism as a way of life as opposed to a Sunday morning religion:
Paganism may not have a complex set of commandments, but social ethics are strongly emphasized in many Pagan traditions. É It was also important to help weaker members of society because to fail to provide for the needy was to fail in honor. The attitudes of hospitality and generosity which were encouraged in Pagan society were important for the well-being of the community, but they were also important for the spiritual evolution of the giver. Attachment to material possessions binds us to the world of the transient. These things are to be experienced and enjoyed, but they are not to be clung to; for in the end, all passes, all changes. Paganism teaches:
That in the darkest time,
There is hope of another day;
That in the time of suffering,
We shall know release;
That all beauty is transient,
And though we honour it while it flowers,
Yet do we give greater honour to that which endures and abides:
Love, Honour, Wisdom, Truth, Courage and Compassion.