This article is excerpted from the Rocky Mountain Pagan Journal. Each issue of the Rocky M

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This article is excerpted from the Rocky Mountain Pagan Journal. Each issue of the Rocky Mountain Pagan Journal is published by High Plains Arts and Sciences; P.O. Box 620604, Littleton Co., 80123, a Colorado Non-Profit Corporation, under a Public Domain Copyright, which entitles any person or group of persons to reproduce, in any form whatsoever, any material contained therein without restriction, so long as articles are not condensed or abbreviated in any fashion, and credit is given the original author.! THE MEN'S CIRCLE (c)1986, by Robin The April meeting of the Men's Group at the home of Wayland Smith discussed the theme of "Gods and Archetypes in Every Man". This was partially inspired by the book, "Goddesses in Every Woman". As always, we got off on a number of side roads in our conversational journey, some of them as interesting as the main topic. One of those side roads was the relationship between modern Christianity and modern Paganism, a topic which has been expounded upon in recent issues of this journal. From the point of view of individual Pagans, there seem to be two attitudes. Some people came to feel, perhaps quite early in life, that the version of Christianity in which they had been raised was detrimental to their psychological and spiritual health and have now rejected it totally. Others, like myself, gradually came to feel that while Christianity had a lot to offer them and was fine for many people, it lacked some essential spiritual vitamins that they themselves needed. Some of this difference in attitude comes from differences in the individual, but a lot seems to come from the difference in the particular version of Christianity involved. I was raised as a Catholic, and came to the Craft with an appreciation for colorful ritual and ceremony, and an awareness of its potentialities and power. The Catholic reverence for the Blessed Virgin helped also. There is quite a contrast in these areas with mainstream Protestantism. In retrospect, perhaps my first step toward Paganism came when I helped write a new Catholic ritual for small groups, to be performed without a priest. We submitted it for formal approval and never got a word back. Even excommunication would have been preferable to being ignored. A few months after my First Degree initiation I went traveling around Italy with my old friend Ron. We visited some catacombs near Rome and it was surprising how strong the psychic impression left by the early Christians still was after eighteen centuries and thousands of tourists. Still more surprising was the type of psychic impression. It felt very close to what one feels in Circle with one's fellow coven members. That, and some historical hints, suggest that in its first few centuries Christianity was more similar to contemporary Paganism in what it offered people than most of us are inclined to think. What we now call psychic and/or magical abilities seem to have been commonly accepted, priests were much more a part of everyday community life than religious leaders are now, many women had substantial power and influence, and a lot of individual interpretation went on. What happened to change all that? I'm inclined to agree, at least in part, with Buck Jump, our resident Heretic. Institutionalization was and is the culprit. Institutions have bureaucracies, and bureaucracies by their nature stifle individual interpretation. They also develop rigid power structures, and these can't tolerate people outside the structure developing power through special abilities, psychic or otherwise. A contemporary example of this is what happens to a rigidly organized corporation that suddenly computerizes its operations. People who formerly were inconsequential in the power structure now have considerable power through their special technical knowledge and access to information. The whole pecking order is thrown into disarray, and the resulting turmoil is fascinating to watch from a safe distance of course. A friend described this happening at the Rocky Mountain News a few years ago. We Pagans are still a ways from large scale institutionalization, but sooner or later we will start feeling the pressure. It probably won't be sudden, it took Christianity three or four centuries to get there, but we should start thinking about alternatives now. The pressure can be subtle there are a lot of nice things you can do with institutions that are hard to do without them. Building a college for example. A couple of years ago I went to a class reunion at my old school, L'Universite de Notre Dame du Lac The University of Our Lady of the Lake famed for football and the administration building's golden dome, surmounted by a gold statue of Mary, Virgin and Mother of an Aspect of the Christian God. From the ground the campus seems open and meadow like, but from the top of the library it looks like a college in a forest; white buildings surrounded by the tops of trees, and over it all a golden statue of the Queen of Heaven. At the time I thought, "What an appropriate school for a Witch to have atten ded." Now I'm tempted by the thought, "Wouldn't it be nice if we Pagans had one of our own." Be careful what you ask for, you might get it! _____Robin .........from R.M.P.J. 8/86

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