Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Kilts in Ritual?

     In ancient times long before people in Scotland were wearing the Great Kilt/Belted Plaid (Breacan an Fhéilidh) the Celtic people wore the Brat/Cloak. Basically this was a very long rectangular piece of wool fabric fastened by a brooch or fibula. Eventually as time passed on this eveloved into the Feileadh Mor (great plaid) and the Small Kilt (Féileadh beag, filibeg, philabeg) of the 16th and 17th centuries respectively. Many families have their own tartans that are registered and can be found on various websites. In our modern culture we have Military groups, Irish counties, and even Public and Private organizations that all use tartan for one use or another. Basically it is a deeply rooted thing, this idea of being united as a people using a tartan. 

     Today the Kilt is widely recognized as a symbol of Scottish heritage, and even more loosely a throw back to identifying with ones Celtic roots. What can be said is that from the Celtic Brat, the Great kilt developed and from that we have our modern kilt; just like the ones worn in WW1 and WW2. When one wears a kilt they do so not as a costume, nor as a simple piece of garb. It can be a uniform for some, but when the wearer does don a kilt, it is most definitely done so in an honorable veneration of Gaelic pride. It is and should be a statement of who we are and who we identify with. Who are our people and what culture we honor.  

     With so many Pagans wearing anything from monks robes, to fantasy renaissance wear in their rituals I ask, why not a kilt? If you happen to be of the Gaelic Polytheistic persuasion, by all means this should be an option. It should seriously be considered as the main choice for your ritual attire. You may chose to look into your families roots and see if you have any Clan associations, or even see if there is something universal you could wear. If you are apart of a Tuath or Pobal you could adopt and then adapt a tartan design that you all vote on. When I say adapt I mean you could use something that is readily available and then add a stripe or two to it to change it from being 'off the shelf'. What colors would you wear and why. As with all things they should have meaning to you. 

    I would much rather see people united with a group tartan or even each family wearing their colors than people in robes. If people in your group already have their own family tartans thats fine, but to wear your groups colors is a great option. A nice way of looking at it is if one were to join and march with a Pipe Band, you would wear 'their colors.' So, to wear the colors of your Tuath or Pobal does make sense in that respect. For me, it makes more sense culturally to wear something from our peoples history than a style foreign to us. 
     The women could wear an Earasaid, a shawl, a scarf, a ruana, or even long pleated tartan skirts. There are fly plaids, and even things like neck ties, hats, and hoodies people could wear to represent the group they are with; it need not be the kilt itself. There are baby kilts & youth kilts as well. Picture the image of a large group of people in kilts, people wearing torcs, tattoos showing, torc bangles, women with braids in their hair; these are all things that can be done to honor the culture and faith we celebrate as Gaels. One doesn't have to don formal kilt attire either. There is a time and a place for that like all things. I can tell you from experience that wearing a kilt with sandals and a tank top with a torc on during the summer makes me feel closer to my peoples culture and the faith of ancestors than wearing robes any day! Yes, I own robes, I have a few sets. Again, time and place ie. performing legal rites like weddings and such. 

    With companies like Sport Kilt there is no reason why one can not obtain an affordable kilt for their needs. They have many styles that range from casual, hiking, or even more formal. 

Picture if you will: 
     You are having a public ritual and picnic at a local park. You are there with your family, and many other families. The fire is lit, the BBQ is going, the sun is shining, the children are running around and outsiders see everyone in kilts and tartan. Do you think they look on with concern as if you were all standing around in robes? Nope! They see one thing that even they can understand...'a people'. They see culture and heritage. To them it looks like what it should be; a people gathered together celebrating. Celebrating what? Does it matter? Nope! It could be anything or nothing at all. Just being TOGETHER and sharing in good company. So, Why not wear a kilt?! 

* I should add that one does not need to have Scottish or even Irish roots to wear a Kilt. If you're a Celtic Pagan you're already honoring the faith of the Celtic people. So why not honor the culture as well and wear a kilt or don some tartan. If kilts are not your thing, consider wearing the tartan in creative ways like a skull cap or even a shoulder sash. 

Wonderful Kilt related Links: 

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Celtic Feasting & Customs

     Most of us would agree that a language defines a culture. With that there are its funerary practices, styles of art, how they celebrate their faith and honor their Gods and so forth. One thing often left out is how people feasted. Each culture would have its own customs of dinning. For instance the Greeks would have had traditions much different from the Scythians or the Hebrews, just as the Celts would have been different from them and even the Germani (The Peoples East of the Rhine) Among the Celtic tribes, mainly those of ancient Gaul, we have a considerable amount of information. I'm intending to share some of the fragments that we have from historical accounts dealing with eating and drinking. So, grab yourself a pint and lets dig in. 

Plato 4th century BC
   I am not discussing the drinking of wine nor drinking in general, but outright drunkenness, and whether we ought to follow the custom of the Scythians and Persians, and also the Carthaginians, Celts, Iberians, and Thracians, all very warlike peoples, or be like you Spartans, who, as you claim, abstain totally from drink. 

Athenaeus AD 200 Deipnosophistae 
Trans. Philip Freeman 

From Posidonius in his Histories (135-c 50 BC)

   The Celts place dried grass on the ground when they eat their meals, using tables which are raised slightly off the ground. They eat only small amounts of bread, but large quantities of meat, either boiled, roasted, or cooked on spits. They dine on this meat in a clean but lion-like manner, holding up whole joints in both hands and biting the meat off the bone. If a piece of meat is too difficult to tear off, they cut it with a small knife which is conveniently at hand in its own sheath. Those who live near rivers, the Mediterranean, or the Atlantic also eat fish baked with salt, vinegar, and cumin. They also use cumin in their wine. They do not use olive oil because of its scarcity and, due to is unfamiliarity, it has an unpleasant taste to them. When a number of them dine together, they sit in a circle with the most powerful man in the center like a chorus leader, whether his power is due to martial skill, family nobility, or wealth. Beside him sit the remainder of the dinner guests in descending order of importance according to rank. Bodyguards with shields stand close by them while their spear-men sit across from them, feasting together with their leaders. The servers bring drinks in clay or silver vessels resembling spouted cups. The platters on which they serve the food often are of similar material, but others use bronze, wooden, or woven trays. The drink of choice among the wealthy is wine brought from Italy or the region of Massalia (the Greek colony ay Marseilles). It is normally drunk unmixed with water, although sometimes water is added. Most of the rest of the population drinks a plain, honeyed beer, which is called corma. They use a common cup, sipping only a little at a time, but sipping frequently. The servant carries the cup around from right to left. In the same direction they honor their gods, turning to the right. 

   The Celts sometimes engage in single combat during their feasts. Arming themselves, they engage in mock-fights and sparring sessions with each other. Sometimes however, wounds are inflicted and these mock-battles lead to real killing unless the bystanders restrain the combatants. In their ancient times, the best warriors received the thigh portion during feasts. If another man were to challenge his right to the choicest portion, a duel was fought to the death. Others in former days would collect silver, gold, or a number of wine jars. Having received gift-pledges and distributed gifts among friends and family they would stretch themselves out across their shileds on their backs and then someone standing near would cut their throats with a sword. 

Diodorus Siculus (wrote 60-c 30 BC) 
Trans. Philip Freeman 

   Some shave their beards while others allow a short growth, but nobles shave their cheeks and allow the mustache to grow until it covers the mouth. The result is that their mustaches become mixed with food while they eat, but serve as a sort of strainer when they drink. They do not sit in chairs when they dine, but sit on the ground using the skins of wolves or dogs. While dining they are served by adolescents, both male and female. Nearby are blazing hearths and cauldrons with spits of meat. They honor the brave warriors with the choicest portion, just as Homer says that the chieftains honored Ajax when he returned having defeated Hector in single combat. They also invite strangers to their feasts, inquiring of their identity and business only after the meal. During feasts it is their custom to be provoked by idle comments into heated disputes, followed by challenges and single combat to the death. They do not fear death, but subscribe to the doctrine of Pythagorus that the human spirit is immortal and will enter a new body after a fixed number of years. For this reason some will cast letters to their relatives on funeral pyres, believing that the dead will be able to read them. 

Strabo (64/63 BC-AD 21 at least) Geography
Trans. Benjamin Fortson

   There is also a certain wooden weapon like a grosphos, cast by handed not from a thong, and having a longer range than arrows; these they use most of all for hunting fowl. Even to the present day most of them sleep on the ground, and eat sitting on beds of straw. Most of their nourishment comes from milk and all kinds of meats, especially pork, both fresh and slated. Their pigs live in the open, excelling in height, and strength, and speed; in fact it is dangerous for an inexperienced person to go up to them, as it is for a wolf.
   At assemblies they have a peculiar practice is anyone should disturb the person speaking and interrupt him, an officer, approaching him with drawn sword, orders him to be silent with a threat; and if he does not cease, he does it a second and third time, and at last cuts off enough of the man's 'sagus' {"sagi/sagus" which they call lainai -probably a cloak} as to make it useless for the future. 

   As we can see from the Historical accounts there was a common them that seems to connect Feasting Customs, at least across Gaul. The similarities between them and the Brythonic Celts and the Gaels of Ireland are probably very close in custom. If one wishes to become more familiar with the Insular traditions it is best to read as much as you can of the stories that concern or have feasting within them. Here are some I feel provide a wonderful glimpse into the Gaelic and Brythonic culture. 
The Story of Mac Dá Thó's Pig & Hound 

Bricriu's Feast

The Severed head in the Feninan cycle

     Now that we have eaten the 'Heros Portion' so to speak, how can we adopt and even adapt what we know from the lore and the historical accounts into our own Celtic feasting traditions. Those of us that honor the Old Ways might be inspired to use what we have gained here for we will how feast after our rituals and festivals. 

Some modern feasting customs

    If you are like me and value the culture of the Celts, just as much as the spirituality you might wish to partake in some customs and traditions that define our culture in how we feast. It could argued that if the following customs are celebrated, an ancestor from ancient times would still know they are amongst kin folk due to these traditions. Here is a small list of things that you could incorporate into your festivals & gatherings. 

~ When Guests arrive you offer them a sip from a "Welcoming Cup". This beverage need not be alcoholic, though some good choices are Mead, Wine, Ale, Hard Cider, Apple Juice or Non-Alcoholic Cider. We use a drinking horn or a Scottish Quaich. Remember if using a Quaich always use two hands while passing and receiving. 

~ Welcome them in with a hug or a hearty handshake and any good welcoming phrase in Irish/Scottish/Welsh/Manx/Cornish/Breton or even Gaulish. Something simple like, "Céad Míle Fáilte" (Kay-ad mill-uh Fall-cha) is fine if you wish. You could even say this as you hand them the 'welcoming cup'. 

~ Hosting an event should be done with great care. The job of hosting is very serious. You want your home to be clean, free of clutter, organized, and have dedicated room for feasting and even games or dancing. Your home reflects your family. 

~ Try to serve traditional dishes that are in season to which ever festival is being celebrated. Local grown food is always best. Are you serving meats? Can you obtain local organic grass fed free range? Maybe you hunt? so perhaps deer, or wild boar, duck and goose, rabbit, etc.  Can you grow your own herbs and vegetables to be used for at least festival celebrations? Will there be milk, cream or butter? Can you obtain 'raw milk' (tested) instead of store bought rubbish? What about the alcohol, can you homebrew or make the mead yourself? So Much to consider when being a host. 

~ Make sure there is plenty of everything and that no one goes without. 

~ It is common for guests to bring gifts when visiting. Commonly this is often a bottle of wine, mead, or beer. Though there are other gifts might consider like candles, and breads, or even deserts. *Breads served or brought are always best when homemade if possible. 

~ Seating arrangements are taken seriously. Who sits where and why is important. The one hosting the event might arrange a table with pre-placed name cards to avoid confusion. Know your company, who does what for a living, etc. After all this is a feast, they should at least be family or close friends. If there will be new guests, its good to know a bit about them to make them feel special. 

~ Who eats 1st and why. Who is served 1st and how things are passed around the table also play an important role. It is not a grab for yourself free for all. Things are passed right to left. 

~ Have dedicated people for serving food and drinks. Are there teenagers present? They can best be of service to wait on those who need refills, before they can eat. 

~ Someone may be served "The Hero's portion" of the meal. Are there any people of military service, veterans, law enforcement, or even those in the martial arts at your table? Possibly just someone that has accomplished some great deed or feat within their personal lives for the benefit of the "the people" or others within the community. 

~ All offerings, blessings, and callings are done by the Druid/Draoi only. (In the Irish/Scottish language) This includes any portion dedicated as a meal offering left outside or at the table. Unless of course there is a dedicated person who makes the sacrifice for the people. Others may wish to make an offering and in doing so, give them to the Draoi or dedicated person to make the sacrifice on their behalf. Remember most often in Celtic culture 'the people' went to the Druid because they were the mediators between the Gods and the people. They had the power of word and education to be of service, it was their job. Let them be of service. 

~ Toasting should be done by all present and lots of toasting should be practiced. Toasts to the ancestors, the Gods, and Heroes. Just as important is toasting to one another & those whom could not be present at the feast. 

~ At the table there could be stories, songs, poetry and music. Consider having a seisiún "session" after the meal. Sing songs together. 

~ You may also wish to include a Mead Circling which is similar to the Germanic custom of a Symbel. 

~ A proper parting/blessing to your guests is good form. You may wish to offer them a care package of food to take home for the next day or for those that could not attend. I always using the 'welcoming cup' full of Milk and a special spoon I carved from Rowan (protection) to pour milk over the tires of the departing ones vehicle. I do so clockwise while singing a blessing. I generally reserve this practice for those guests that i don't see often that travel long distances to visit. You may chose to use something like this:

A Journey blessing

Sith co Nem Peace up to the heavens.
Nem co doman         Heavens down to earth.
Doman fo nem Earth under heavens
Nearst hi cach Strength in all

Nan Diathan a tha san talamh Gods in the earth
Nan Diathan a tha san neamh Gods in the sky
Nan Diathan a tha sa mhuir mhóir bhòcaich  Gods in the great pouring sea

Dìon nan Diathan air An àite An rud seo.  Protection of the gods on this object. 

Gu robh beannachd na Diathan agus ar Sinnsearan air an àite An rud seo. May the gods and ancestors bless this object.

Manannan bhith leat air gach bealach. Manannan be with you in every pass.
Manannan bhith leat air gach talach. Manannan be with you on every hill.
Manannan bhith leat air gach strutha. Manannan be with you at every stream.
Ruadh, s’raighe, is rèid lein. Headland ridge and lawn.
Gach muir is tir, gach frith is cluan. Each sea and land, each moor and meadow.
Gach laighe sios, gach éirigh suas. Each lying down, each rising up.
An lag nantonn, air barr nan stuagh. In trough of waves, on crest of billows.
Gach ceum dh’an chuart dh’an téid thu. Each step of the journey you go.

Ón áit os comhair àr sùile chuig an áit istigh iontu.  From before our eyes to within them.

~ The host may have a special welcoming & greetings for the Guests at the meal before it begins after the Druid speaks 1st.

~ The Draoi might do a blessings over the meal, over the guests, and over the offerings most likely in Irish or Scottish.

If you are the host you could use this:

Blessings on the Blossoms
Blessings on the Fruits
Blessings on the Leaves and Stems
Blessings on the Roots.

My family often uses this. You may adjust it for your needs. 

We give praise to the Túatha dé Dannan, the Gods of our people and our Ancestors. 
We thank you for this meal and all that has come before it. 

Bless the Field and the Fruit
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Hands and the Harvest
The Brewer and the Brew
and the Home and the Hearth 


Host and host
Hunter and hunted
Hands and harvest
Hearth and hall
Field and fruit
Feast and friends
Cup and contents
Tongues and tales
Singers and songs

Other wonderful Feasts ideas might include:

~ Playing Fidchell, or Chess or other board games. Maybe you are a DnD family? 

Have you ever heard of the New Celtic Card Game called Ard Rí Both children and Adults can play, there are three versions of skill level. 

~ You may wish to have certain topics to discuss but be sure its not NOT business related. No "business meeting like" topics. Remember the Gauls only talked business after a meal, and if interruption in conversation was had it was highly offensive. If this feast is related to something you do with your Tribe, Grove, Coven, etc remember the mood should be Festive! This is not a communication meeting or a time for group business while eating. That is done at other times or after the meal. Perhaps such topics are best left for tea & cookies, lunch type meetings. If there is important issues to be brought up, after the meal would be at least better form. 

~ Divination after a meal might be offered privately or for the group. 

~ Music with dancing can always be fun! Are there any Irish dancers in your family, Sean Nos dancing anyone? If you don't have live musicians, why not make a music play list for feasting, and one for after the feast for drinking, dancing or other merriment. Its nice to have some relaxing eating music and more upbeat tunes after the meal. We live in a time where you could add your playlist to your phone or usb drive and just plug in, hit play, and 'shake yer bum' it's that easy. Let the little ones show you how its done! 

~ Since we are not in practice of carrying swords you could always have hand to hand combat, arm wrestle, wrestle/grapple. But of course what would a Celtic meal be without some real feats of strength? "George, go fight your Father!" There are wonderful practice weapons one can obtain for those braggadocio moments of heated debate during meals where you may wish to engage in combat. Having personally done this many times I can tell you, there is nothing that makes me feel more connected to my ancestors than having just finished swallowing some delicious roasted pork and grabbing my practice sword to defend my stance on an issue. "I call you out on your B.S. 'Mr. know it all', take that!" And of course in good form knowing when to call it, and return to the festivities. 

Know your faith before you mock mine!

I think you should really come to terms with what you believe and either make a choice and follow it or do something else. It is very simple, you can NOT be a Christian and not follow the 10 commandments. Contrary to popular belief they are not in order of what is most important. You can not pick and choose which best suits you. Breaking one is EQUAL to breaking any of them. That is right- Thou shall not kill is equal to Thou shall not steal. Just as Thou shall not covet a neighbors wife is equal to Remember the sabbath day & to keep it holy. 

So, you really like that house down that one street better than your own house, and you really want it? Thats a SIN the SAME SIN as MURDERING SOMEONE!!! Were you thinking about fucking that cute guy, not doing it but thinking about it, yep sin. Same sin as not going to church! And you're a Christian? Watch your thoughts they could be sending you to hell LOL

Now for a moment think about this; Both Jew and Christian take these rules as only some of the rules of their faith. Yes, they come from the Old Testament which in fact makes them a bit more Jewish, but both Christian and Jew believe that these 10 Commandments were actually written by "The finger of 'God' himself". Moses did not write them and bring them down to the Israelites, GOD WROTE THEM on the tablets and gave them to Moses for him to deliver. Now, do you believe that? Because if you don't... You're not a Christian. 

~ But Which God? 

"I am the Lord thy God"
This actually translates more closely to: "I am Yahweh your God" This is the opening of the 10 Commandments. 

I am Yahweh your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: you shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me, and showing loving kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
— Exodus 20:2-6

So, This God Yahweh. He is a Hebrew God, a God who proclaims he is and should be the ONLY God of the Isrealites. Why? Was his competition causing problems? Pretty bold for a God to step out of his pantheon of other Gods and say screw you guys, Im more powerful and better. Btw- these people over here (The Israelites) they are mine now, I claim them. As the Christians would call him "GOD" or God the Father; What do you really know about him? I dunno, how about the fact he just admitted to being a jealous God. One who will punish you if you do not follow him. Hey God, thanks for all those options! LOL He's clear when he says, he's Not the only God, but pick me- pick me, I'm the best and greatest and if you do this I will reward you (he's never really clear how you'll be rewarded), and if you don't you will be punished. Yea, nice God ya have there, but no thanks. Oh yea, he smote entire cities killed tons of people, tried to destroy the earth by a massive flood but choses Noah and allowed his son (Jesus - btw: not his real name) to die and suffer. Great Father-God right there. Oh and I forgot, his promise of ever living after life in heaven that Jesus mentions is ONLY FOR JEWS. But Jews don't really have a "heaven" by traditional/original belief. You have to be Hebrew to be Gods chosen people. After all Yahweh is the one who professes that he should be the only God of the Iseralites. 

But wait - Did Yahweh exist before this and who was he? Was he apart of a larger Pantheon of Gods? It is pretty clear he was a deity from the Iron Age that was connected to 'the sky, and storms'. What about his Wife? (more on that later)

Best God ever, NOT! Thou shall not kill, but its okay if God punishes and kills entire cities? It's not okay to murder we can all agree on that one right? Don't forget the book of Deuteronomy and Leviticus where it is allowed, and encouraged. Yep, you can capture a Pagan in your village, bring them to the boundary of your town line and stone them to death. WHAT?! Yep, God allows you to KILL PAGANS. Says so right in the Bible. Throw rocks at them until they are dead... Nice God. I am the Lord thy God ~ Thou shall not kill, but... kill Pagans, thats okay with me. FUCK THAT! Constant biblical contradictions. 

Faiths like Judaism, Christianity, & Islam are all Middle-Eastern Hebrew and Arab faiths. They all claim to be the only way to salvation or heaven. That each one is the right way. Each has a holy book, each has a prophet, and a God that for way too long people have killed others for because their God told them to. Ask yourself, what does this faith have to do with your ancestral roots? Are you a Jew, are you an Arab? If not can you see how this faith isn't really aimed at you or your ancestors. Again, not who my ancestors were, so I don't care about their faiths. Tolerance and Respect is very important, they often demand it for their faith but fail to have it for anyone else! 

So, What about Jesus?

To be a "Christian" You must FULLY believe in the following 10 statements

1. Jesus was born of a Virgin

2. Was the ONLY son of God

3. Is the ONLY way to salvation

4. Performed the following miracles: 

1)Calms a Storm on the Sea of Galilee with a wave of his hand.
2) Heals the demonized man at Gerasa
3) Raises Jairus's dead daughter back to life
4) Feeds crowd of 5 thousand
5) Heals a man who was born blind
6) Changes water to wine
7) Cures a Centurions servant with no contact
8) Heals the paralytic at the pool- man who couldnt walk for 38 years.
9) Reverses the drought of fish. After a fruitless night of fishing on the Sea of Galilee, Peter receives a command from Jesus to lower his nets again. This time so many fish are caught that Peter’s nets begin to break.
10) Heals the demonized in Synagogue at Capernaum. 
11) Heals Peters monther-in-law and many sick.
12)Heals the leper
13)Heals another paralytic
14) Heals the woman who touched him. 
15) Walks on the lake and stills the storm
16) Feeds four thousand people
17) Heals the blind, mute, and demonized son in Peraea
18) Heals 10 lepers
19) Raises Lazarus from the dead
20) Curses the fig tree and it withers
21) Resurrected himself from the dead
22) After rising from the dead he supplies an abundance of fish

5. You believe in the resurrection of Jesus: That he Died on the Cross & Rose from the Dead

6. You believe in Sin

7. You believe that by believing in and praying to Jesus (ONLY) you will be saved during life and after death because you believe he died for your sins. You don't pray to God, you pray to the "Son of God"

8. You believe in heaven and hell.

9. You believe that the Bible is the actual "word of God". That there is no higher authority of Gods Laws. The Old Testament and The New Testament, You follow all of the 10 Commandments, etc. 

10. You believe in One God that exists in 3 persons also known as the Holy Trinity: Father (God aka. YHWH) Jesus Christ as the only son of God the Father, and the Holy Spirit.

    ~   If you do not believe in ALL  of these things then by definition than you are NOT a Christian, you are something else. You can not pick and chose what you want to believe and call yourself a Christian! That is a fact. That is not how the Religion works!!!!  If a Vegetarian eats a little fish now and then, maybe an egg once a month then they are not a Vegetarian by definition, they are something else. 

There are also things you can not do if you are a Christian. A small example list is as follows: (This is based on the Christian belief that the Bible is the highest authority of Gods Law) 

Shaving - Lev 19:27
Cursing - Eph. 5:4
Gossip - Lev 19:16
Football on Saturday - Exod. 20:8
Eating Lobster - Lev 11:10
Eating Pork - Lev 11:7
Wearing Cotton mixed with other fibers - Lev 19:19
Associating with women who are having their periods - Lev. 15:19-20

After all of this are you a Christian? What God/Lord are you worshiping? You cant pick and choose. Make a choice, and have the guts to follow it through. It's not hard to understand that your ancient ancestors lived just fine with their own Gods for many thousands of years before Christianity even existed. And it wasn't until then that they got along well enough without being ruled by a foreign faith pushed upon them without a choice. You know what? I have a choice, and my choice is to follow my heart and listen to it. That is why I follow the path of my ancestors and have no fear. The Jews and Christians can keep their God, their Lord, their Jesus. I don't believe in sin, I don't believe Mary was a virgin, I don't believe he died on the cross and came back from the dead. Why?

~ Sin never existed outside of the ancient Hebrew world. No other faiths have it. Do the Hindus have it? Did Native Americans have it?  What about the Celts and Norse, the Balts, Slavs, Thracians, Scythians, Etruscans? Nope. It's based on Fear and Guilt they try to instal for control. 

~ Do women get impregnated from God? No! He didn't look like his brothers and sisters; yes Mary and Joseph had other kids after Jesus (Yeshua) which means Joshua. How do women get pregnant? Only one way that I know of- Intercourse; and if that wasn't with her Husband Joseph then she would have been stoned to death while pregnant because that was their law. She could have been unfaithful, or she could have been raped, possibly even by a Roman solider? Regardless a mother protects her unborn child, and she does what? LIES!!! "An angel came to me from God and said...blah blah blah." Why? So she doesn't get brutally murdered by having an entire village throw rocks at her face until her brains ooze out of her head, thats why. 

~ Death on the cross? You can not die and come back days later. Its a story is symbolism, allegory. But people saw him?! That means he didn't die on the cross because there were many accounts people saw him afterwards. So he didn't rise from the dead, he simply wasn't dead. Were they not giving him pain killers while he was up on the cross? Those herbs in the water they washed his wounds with were pain killers. Why was he buried in a private tomb? Why do the Stations of the Cross show the moon out while putting him in the tomb? Were they possibly taking him out of the tomb? Possibly I dunno, moving the body or even reviving/healing him? If I saw someone days later after being killed I'd call that a ZOMBIE. 

Jesus is basically a Pagan God himself...well, "basically." 
The last supper was a passover supper and he breaks all Jewish tradition. He breaks bread and shares it saying to take and eat it as it is his body. Think about it, bread is his body. What is bread? Bread is grain, it is the fertility of the land and hard work of the fields, the harvest. He then is a grain god, and is about the threshing floor, the process of transforming grain to bread, about the winnow and the chaff, about separating and opening. But, he's not the grain really. Grain has to be harvested, just like he was explaining that he would be harvested. But bread is not grain, it is bread; its the grain that has undergone transformation. Its alchemy. He is the bread, the sustainer, the God of the field, "John Barleycorn", he's a Pagan Deity in this aspect! But wait, there is more.

He also took a cup and said something about, "take this all of you and drink from it, for this is my blood"...etc. Really, eat his body and drink his blood? Yes, cannibals and vampires lol Oh, it was wine? Well in all good things Dionysian he then becomes the fermentation of the vine, the produce of the vineyard, the magic of fermentation, and associated again with products of reaping, and harvest. He is not the grape, nor the vine, he is not juice he is the wine. Hey that rhymes! The point here is if his blood is the wine, he is associated with a process of fermentation - transformation, just like the grain to the bread. The grains of the fields transformed, they have to be winnowed on a threshing floor, made into flour, and undergo a transformative process before baked into bread. No doubt a Matzah, a passover bread made of eggs, wine, wheat, barley, spelt, rye, and oats. These were cooked in about 18 min or less as tradition has it the Israelites didn't have time to let their bread rise as they fled Egypt. This does NOT mean they didn't have yeast in them, it means they didn't allow time for the yeast to rise. 

*** Speculation but possible - Could this new covenant be about yeast? Something that "rises again"? We know the wine had wild yeast in it for fermentation and wine was used to make the Matzah. Perhaps the bread at the last supper was a leavened bread? Just a thought. Again, Yeshua was definitely not acting within Jewish tradition when he said those words at his Passover meal. He broke tradition and that was a big no-no to any Jew. It could even be argued that he wasn't trying to form a new religion but rather reform Judaism. Thats the big one all Christians miss. 
~ Don't even get me started on Catholic thought about this. That God gives the Priest magical powers to actually transform, NOT through symbolism but actually transform the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus. Listen again, the actual body and blood of Jesus. Transubstantiation, Look it up! Btw: It wasn't invented or used prior to the 11th century. Yet Today every Catholic takes part in this each Sunday. Not really, do you know any Catholics that go to Church every Sunday? LOL. Keep holy the sabbath for them is only on Easter and Christmas. 

Here is another provoking thought. Is it possible that God the Father (Yahweh) is not God the Father Jesus was talking about in his sermons? Think about where Yahweh comes from, who he is, his story/lore and his over-all nature in the Old Testament. Could it be suggested that Jesus was actually a messenger, teacher, prophet, whatever of the real "all powerful creator" sent here to teach us and remind us about love etc showing that the Father of Jewish Old Testament  isn't actually the real father at all, but a deity that stepped in with his own agenda? Hey just a thought. If you read everything Jesus supposedly talks about 'His Father' none of the characteristics of the Old Testament God seem to fit. 

These are some other things to consider:
The Bible might be inspired by divinity but its a peoples book and therefore can be dangerous to base any form of credibility in its pages. It is a work that you read in your own language which by all means does not read the same way in its original texts. Translation upon translation, things omitted and taken out, edits, etc all make this book unreliable.

So.. The Dead Sea Scrolls. They are older and perhaps the most accurate of Old Testament, they are written in Hebrew Aramaic, and Greek. But we often see that even simple words can differ greatly! 

Things like God creating mankind in his own image. When it reads - We created you in our image. Thats plural.  Because at one time the Hebrew God was not a sexless being. He had a consort. 

Words like 'Adam' - was a Hebrew word not meaning the name of an individual but it means 'human race'. 

With things like the Gospels, they are not 1st hand accounts of Jesus and his life, the 4 gospels are not a reality!
Mark was the 1st to be written and that was in 70 AD. None of them were 1st hand accounts. None of them actually met Jesus. Christianity existed for 300 before there was a New Testament. Yep, re-read that again and ask yourself why are you even reading this 'Bible'

So, who were the authors then of this New Testament?

I think all of these authors had a goal and an agenda, they included stories that met their agenda. The real author lies about their identity by telling stories that place them along side Jesus. This is a fact and provable. 

Greek is the oldest and most common language of the Roman world and this is what we have written about Jesus that is used to create a later giant following used Globally. These people in charge of the writing wanted Romans with money to form a religion, one that could be used for power. Constantine did so in his religious political agenda for control we all know this.

There are so many stories that were not in the Bible that people accept today like they were. 
For instance, there no three wisemen at Jesus birth... no Gold, frankincense, and myrrh. We often see the gospels don't agree. This with so many mistranslations over the centuries simply prove the book is unreliable as a source of faith. 

Every translation is an interpretation!

At Jesus death:
The women ran away, they were afraid....

The original page was destroyed or deleted, or even lost. It was most likely on the back of another page that didn't make the book. Then someone much later added 8 more verses #9-20 of the story of his resurrection. Why, because people were so dissatisfied with Marks gospel and how it ended abruptly. It became common practice to edit the bible to support new religious beliefs. Mother church had an official translation and ONLY a priest could interpret the content. You had to go to them for your questions and guidance. 

You could not translate the Bible from Latin or Hebrew or Greek on your own without persecution. It was forbidden to own an unlicensed bible, and you would be put to death for heresy. The bible was not for everyone, it was priests only. Did you hear that... You were put to DEATH for owing an "unlicensed bible". Thou shall not kill?

Stories added like the one found in the King James bible where Jesus catches a woman committing adultery (John 7 and 8)
 Jesus says let them without sin cast the 1st stone. This was never in any of the original books. It was a story people told about him and then added at that time because of how they felt Jesus might have acted in that situation.

The Bible has been trimmed, cut, embellished and even mythologized to the point of romanticism so many times even the basic messages have been lost. 

Back to the Dead Sea Scrolls - 
Not every piece is account for. Back in 1947 many fragments and even entire scrolls were stolen and sold off. Might there be tons of info missing that is untranslated or even lost forever that tells us another story, are there more scrolls out there still in a desert cave that would give us insight?  

So who decides what is cannon? Why do they chose this over that? I feel the agenda is politics and not religious. Books edited out like the Apocrypha which means "hidden things" or secret teaching are not accepted as accepted cannon but they give an alternative source to understand things that were rejected.  That any book which contradicts what they accept to be cannon is rejected and considered heresy and then punishable by torture and death. Very Christian LOL

You could look at The Book of Enoch. "He walked with God and then he was not, God took him." 
He was removed from Hebrew texts but why? Was the message of promoting the notion that God is angry and vengeful, to where Enoch shows God as compassionate and caring about human welfare somehow controversial and not fitting to accepted texts. I think so. 

The Nag Hammadai have 52 texts and were compiled around the 2-4th centuries by The Gnostics. Many of the texts were burned and destroyed because they did not fit the political agenda of the established message. For instance the Gospel of Thomas. It offers a very different form of Christianity with a very different Jesus.
So, what about his missing years? Where did he travel? His teachings are often very foreign to Jewish practice!

Look at Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Look into the Gospel of Mary - written 2nd Cent AD
He shared things with her that he didn't share with his other disciples. It has even been written that he loved her more. Why? I dunno, maybe she was his wife? The established church was a men rule over women system, and this takes hold and forces her story out. The Roman world operated on a male dominate system and you see her story disappear out of history. 

What of the Garden and the serpent? God doesn't want you to pursue knowledge. Why wouldn't God want you to have knowledge? The serpent granted knowledge to mankind instead of keeping it and hiding it from them. If God loves you so much why can you not have knowledge? Why is knowledge forbidden? The Church places blame on Eve not the serpent
Well what about Lilith? What about the people outside of the Garden? Mentioned but never discussed.

~ 1st cent ad The book, The life of Adam and Eve which based on an original Hebrew script offers a glimpse at the life after their expulsion from the garden. You see a more detailed story of Cain & Able, Seth, 30 sons and 30 daughters. 

Okay "God"
The Israelites in 8-9 century BCE give us Hebrew inscriptions - that "God" had a wife. Yahweh and his Asherah.  She is mentioned more than 40 times in 9 different books. Often as the Queen of heaven. She worshiped as late as the 7th cent bc and her symbols are a tree and a serpent. It could be suggested that the Adam and Eve stories are derived from older Goddess myths. Though in later stories and in books like Deuteronomy she is banned, she is not tolerated or accepted as being even related to or apart of Yahweh. Why? Because to the Israelites God 'became' but wasn't always, a sexless deity, and had no consort. But only among the Israelites was "he" a sexless gender.  The concept of El and Elohim, etc were not original to their concept of God. The Gnostics show her as an equal, as a mother with her husband Yahweh as a Father in Heaven (sky) by the gnostics. Earth Mother, Sky Father... very-very common in the ancient world. Look at Proto-Indo-European religion. The symbols connected to Asherah are no doubt connected to the Garden of Eden stories, the tree and serpent. Don't forget these stories were told in Mesopotamia long before they became adopted by the Israelites. 

Books like Revelations are very odd! 
Look at John's Apocalypse - which comes from the Greek and means "a revealing or an unveiling"; not the end of the world doomsday type of event. It is about a prophet that has a vision. There were other books just like it that didn't make it in the final draft like, The Apocalypse of Peter.  This was just one of 20 books of revelation that were kept out of the standard Bible that people accept as "The Bible" today. In Peters story it offers a guided tour of heaven and hell where Peter is shown by Jesus what hell and torture is like. Its pretty entraining. 

~ ALL Bible stories are censored and edited.  

Who was this Jesus? 
He was actually born around 4-7 BCE, during the reign of Herod the Great, so we live on a wrong calendar. LOL, Nice thanks a lot Churchies. 
He was not born in Bethlehem, but in Nazareth. We know this by Roman census which for taxation they kept good documentation. So why they story? The Messiah was suppose to be born in Bethlehem, so they changed their story to fit his role. What about his life before he was a prophet? His Lost years? He had 4 brothers and a few sisters, about 7 kids or more in his family and they get lost later in his life story because of the importance of the "Virginity of Mary".

Born of a Virgin?
In Hebrew the original text Mary is called - "Almah" which simply means a young woman, one of marital age. It wasn't until the translation into Greek where the translators thought this meant virgin. They ran with this virgin title with an attempt to justify Jesus as a Messiah in his fulfillment role of the Old Testament prophesies. All of a sudden he was divine and a miracle child. Young woman of marrying age does not mean Virgin! Kinda a big deal. 

Want a different perspective of Jesus as a child? Read the Infancy Gospel of Thomas was Jesus Brother. 

 Who was Jesus mentors? Perhaps John the Baptist aka John the dipper. It could be said that he was Jesus 1st cousin. 
It was written that Mary was kins woman of Elizabeth... 'John's Mother'. They probably grew up together, John was the big guy, well known, many thought John was their teacher and Messiah. John was popular and dangerous because the Jews didnt like being a conquered people from the Romans. The Romans eventually had him arrested, sent to prison, and beheaded. 
This is when Johns followers begin to followed Jesus, and why not, Jesus was probably right there beside John helping him, especially if they were family. 

So were his miracles real, or did his followers help him publicly so more people would follow him? His messages were directed the poor people. He threatens the status quo.  He tells people to quit their jobs and to leave their families. Yep...leave your family! WHAT? No thanks Josh, I love my wife and kids! It was women that contributed funds to his ministry - Because he had no job, no money to eat or drink. Mary is mentioned again as his benefactor, maybe Mary was his wife? She was not a prostitue but a victim of a churches agenda to take away power from the female role in all things spiritual. The Bible is very clear about the 'role of women.' They are NOT equals, very Abrahamic and even Roman. 

So many get stuck on titles.
Things like "The son of man"... In Aramaic, Bar 'ěnoš. simply meant "a person." It's like saying 'someone'. It wasn't really connected to any Messianic meaning. But he did know the scriptures and tried to step into a role that already existed. His primary task was to recreate the kingdom of David on earth and to liberate the Jews. Did he actually claim he was the Messiah? His message was about renewal, revolution, change, and fulfillment of the old prophesies. He was trying to fulfill that common people were equal to the wealthy. This resonated with the occupied Jews. The Romans see him as a threat because he has a political agenda; He was after all a revolutionary. Think about this for a second, at one time people in Germany were upset about foreign influence in their homeland and Hitler rose to power exploiting our nation, a nation of Germany for Germans. Eh hem, Jeusus was all about his land being returned to the Jews. Its political and although not exactly the same, its still social/political. Jesus simply used religion to reach the people with his messages for liberation. 
He told his apostles there will be 12 thrones to rule over the 12 tribes of Israel. His mission was non military. But if thats what their role was to be, what was Jesus role? Was Jesus to be the "New King of the Jews? 

He was a passive holy man type figure, but by allowing his followers to call him Messiah this was like waging war on Caesar himself. He could have easily told them not to call me that, but he didnt. The religious hierarchy and the Romans plotted his death for being someone who was starting a movement that could create a war. A week before passover in Jerusalem, Jesus enters the city on a donkey.
He humbly riding on a donkey fulfills this old image of prophecy to show Jews present who he thought he was... the promised Davidic King, the Messiah. He was starting a rebellion by doing this. Roman rule did not fancy such demonstrations, and action would be taken on account of his public political statements. 

At the Temple he looses his temper over financial corruptions and makes a scene. Stating, "this house of God which is for prayer for ALL nations, has become a house of commerce." Doing so he becomes a vice of judgement. Ultimately this sets the course to his death. He shouts and whips people, was he trying to ignite a political revolt. The question here is; was he delusional in who he thought he was as the Messiah, and how he perceived himself?  So he was arrested on a charge of sedition.  He was to be put to death with no hearing, or formality as we see in the bible, but thats not Roman practice. Also its held at night, on a holy day, at passover, all of which was illegal. Doesn't make much sense. With a crime written above his head, "king of the jews" which he never said he was, he was placed in a private tomb. Why?

Three days after his death "3 days" huh..? The moon dies and is reborn after 3 days. 
It was in the private tomb of his uncle - Joseph of Arimathea who put him there. When passover is done, a final rite and final resting place would be in order, and the body was taken for a 'final burial'. Why was his body missing when the women went to check on him? He was missing because he died hours before the sabbath and had to be later prepared for final burial. BUT was he deliberately removed to create speculation, and controversy, and were the gospels written to promote his divine origins? His followers were the ones that make him into the Messiah, its they who elevate him to a status which is still seen as divine. So, he either died on the 'Cross' (probably not actually a crucifix) because lets face it, he was tortured and there are no accounts to people surviving a Roman death sentence. Unless it was an inside job? Unless they took him down and he healed and was moved? If people did actually see him 3 days later it was because he wasn't dead; Not that he rose from the dead. OR there was a type of hysteria surrounding their belief in what he programmed them to believe. Who knows? Not really a care I have. 

~ Anyway, Not my circus, not my monkeys. This is not my faith. The details I find interesting for study but thats it. I will not worship a man that "might" have existed a few thousand years ago who isn't even of 'my people'. My Gods are much different. Jesus - if he did exist probably had a good message, one that is no doubt over seen and lost! His message, I think is pretty basic: don't be a dick! Anything past that we really have no clue about. 

I think Christians should really come to terms with what they believe and either make a choice and follow it or do something else. Educate yourself on your faith for starters before you preach to me. It is very simple, you can NOT be a Christian and not follow the 10 commandments. You can not pick and choose within your faith, your religion does not allow for that. If you want to that is fine, lots of people do that, but they can not be defined as a Christian. There are things that define you as a Christian; Either follow those things or do something else. I am not an anti Jew or an anti Christian, I am though against uneducated masses that feel the need to push their faith into my life. You have a choice, I have choice, thats the beauty of life. The nice thing is, if you choose to "shove your dove" into my life I will kill it and feed it to my children. Birds taste good. Know your faith and don't mock mine; now go eat your stale Jesus chips and have a pleasant day!