Friday, April 22, 2011

Passover Seder

I am a pagan man. I also have some very logical issues with some mainstream religions and some unfathomable negative emotional reactions to them. Jason Mankey over at Deep Pagan Thoughts, posted an article in which he made a few logical arguments against, as he puts it, holidays that celebrate death. He places the Jewish Passover among them.

I found the timing of this article rather odd, as while I share some of his logical conclusions, I had just attended a Passover Seder and enjoyed every minute of it.

As I spend a little more time around the Jewish community, I get more and more confused about the difference between Pagans and Jewish folks. They are tribal. They sing songs about brave women. Their feasts are full of symbolic meaning. The love and acceptance flows. There are prayers for the healing of the ills of the world with a very current context.

I could feel the energy of the Seder and Passover. I found that amazing given that as far as I could tell the gathering consisted of two Jewish people and a few pagans. So, this was not an orthodox event. Half the time people just winged it but I did experience the flavor. Quite frankly, the ritual food was terrible. It was supposed to be. This is a remembrance of their slavery and the Exodus.

After the formal feast, there was real food, which I really enjoyed. I had a good time. Then Jason reminded me of the story Passover celebrates from a pagan mindset. It does celebrate some very violent stuff and the lore makes the cultural claim of slavery rather dubious in my mind. Though, I did disagree with Jason from time to time. Specifically, Jason wrote,

If anyone asks me why I'm not a monotheist I'll point to this story [Passover] every time. And don't give me that "your Greek Gods were jack asses" argument either. People take the above stuff literally, Pagans and ancient mythology, not so much.

I work with Hermes a great deal. I may not believe the literal truths of the myths but I do believe those myths reveal the essential character of the god. Hermes, among the other attributes I love, is a trickster and thief. I take the lore very seriously, which is likely why I have such a hard time with the followers of the desert god. I believe the lore, which is extraordinarily violent and war-like, reveals his essential character as well.

That said, their god has a kindly and loving lore too. I am sure this is what I felt from the egregore-like Spirit that moved about the Passover table. Yes, while I cannot fathom my emotional reactions to some monotheistic systems, I stand by my logical conclusions. That said, I felt that peace. I acknowledge the contradiction. There is something else here.


nutty professor said...

Very nice observations, thank you again. I have always wondered if the monotheistic religions, including Judaism, were truly monotheistic. Sure, the violent desert god is present, but there are also a good number of lesser(?) unnamed deities that come along for the ride. Personally speaking I often experience what you feel as an "unfathomable emotional response" as a kind of spiritual Confusion.

Robert said...

Confusion is a very good way of saying that. I suppose that is correct. It doesn't explain the severity of the reaction but it can explain part of the cause.

Lavanah said...

Darling, come east one spring. The ritual food doesn't need to be awful (although admittedly, matzoh is matzoh, but some of us look forward to it.) And we actually discuss the ritual, the events, the Haggadah, and what came before, and what followed after. And prepare to stay-we do drink all the wine mentioned...