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Being Nice.


Guest jape
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I would like to start a conversation about why people are nice. Mainly because I am not, so I want to understand the matter. And it is in this part of the forum because I want a magickal perspective as well if any such ideas come to mind. It is a 'basic' thing. Most would see it as a 'given' and easy to explain. I have plenty of experience in various shades of life and magick and my own opinions, they will come in later. For now, I am asking beginners and experienced folk also, young and old, to examine this particular basic requirement of social living. From all angles, obvious to esoteric. Alien viral life forms living in human brain and manipulatinbg RNA accepted in the mix. Lets just see where it goes please.

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I am not nice either. So like you i would love to know more about this. For some reason people like me. I do try in vain to push these friends off cliffs and somesort but they keep coming back and with that at a guess its because either the cliffs arent as high as i thought or they can fly.

of course it also helps that most friends are a part of my imagination.

But in truth out there in the real world i find not many others are nice either. In fact people as a whole wouldnt pee on their own mothers if they were on fire. Unless it meant some sort of money hand out. For a nation who says they hate people not having manners they seem to have little themselves. Call me an old fart which i am but how many would admit to being plain old mean. not many.

Or worse they are too nice. the sort who contain a sickly have a nice day attitude and spout out about karma being the reason they have won the lottery. Of course as angel and devils go in this world nice can also be nasty.

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I remember once hearing my mother referred to as "a people pleaser" and it wasn't until I looked at myself a good few years later, that I understood what they meant. When I meet people for the first time or have visitors come and stay at my home I am constantly trying to make sure they feel at ease. I constantly pander to them ("Are you warm enough?", "Would you like another cup of tea?" "Are you hungry?")

If they admit to a fault, I instantly try and reassure them by telling them about my faults. My mother again, always used to say "Never say anything to someone that you think might hurt their feelings. If it'll hurt you, it'll hurt them". I suppose her philosophies have rubbed off on me. However, this only transfers to people who treat me in a similar fashion. If I am crossed, betrayed or treated unfavourably (or this happens to my family and close friends) then the offending person is never given the opportunity to repeat the action. I don't do physical or magical harm, that's not my way (I leave retribution up to karma and it rarely lets me down). It costs nothing to be nice and mentally it can be very rewarding whereas not being nice can become all consuming and downright unhealthy, I know because occasionally I succumb to it and it doesn't help.

 

I feel good when I perform my smatterings of magic to help myself and others. To be honest it would scare me shitless to try and use it to harm someone. No matter how angry I get, the wellbeing of my own sanity and fear of unleashing something I couldn't control is enough to stem the urge. others-233.gif

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On the whole, I am with Sinistra.

 

I was born into and brought up in an evangelical xtian family. Part of the family's group psyche is to be good, do good and be nice as far as humanly possible to all of God's (theirs) creatures! When that is indelibly part of the way that you are educated as a child, then it is not easy to lose it. As I have grown older and particularly since I moved away from xtianity to find my own spirituality, I have (I think) found a more balanced way of thinking and reacting. I can still be good/nice but I can also react quite differently in defence of somthing I believe or someone I protect. I do not easily permit liberties to be taken and do not suffer fools gladly or with any ease :)

 

I have a belief in "group psyche" in that if you spend time within a group (of whatever persuasion or whatever circumstance) and you get to know those people and there is a vested interest in getting along with them, then a group mind begins to develop. It doesn't mean that everyone adopts the same way of thinking, believing, reacting etc but that each "input" to the group has a collective effect.

 

So, if you are party to such an arrangement, and it happens to be amongst those who are habitually "nice", then surely "nice" you will tend to be as you join in and are part of that group?

 

When you choose to start thinking, believing, reacting more independently, then you would probably move out of the closeness of that group and either walk your path alone or find another group which better fits the way that you are?

 

I am not sure that this is lucid thinking nor a universally acceptable theory, but it is one that I have been considering for some time since being trained to provide counselling in a group therapy manner .......

Edited by Naomi
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ok - throwing out some initial response ideas.....

 

 

self preservation (be nice to ensure you do not get eaten by reflex, assuming the lack of being nice equaes to you being unpleasant rather than neutral)

 

self absorbing (be nice to get nice, I scratch your back now you have to scratch mine mentality)

 

guilt (ex catholic speaking here)

 

pride (makes you feel good to be nice)

 

superiority (be nice to others less fortunate than you and gloat about it - bugs me a lot this one)

 

insecurity (be nice so others with thank you and notice you)

 

nature (depends on the kind of nice, but for me this rings most true - I am part of all things and although I weigh and balance what type of nice and what / who gets it from me, I feel I am keeping the energy flowing, but I am only free to give nice if I am feeling positive, if that makes sense, I find it hard to be nice when I am feeling grumpy)

 

fear (be nice or get got)

 

mainly becasue we interact with others, all of the above is moot if you are truly solitary I suppose.

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I would like to start a conversation about why people are nice.... to examine this particular basic requirement of social living.

 

Interesting post....

 

Ok just a quick reply with my first initial thoughts.....

 

Perhaps people are nice partly due to evolution. We would have to 'be nice' to form social bonds, to connect with others and form groups. Safety is in numbers. Protection and help and support can be found within a group therefore it would be in the best interest of the individual to 'be nice' to others to be accepted as part of a group. Not being part of a group could be dangerous..ie dodging the sabre tooth tiger!!!!

 

Also perhaps its in our best interests to be nice to find a mate/sexual partner....

 

Generally I think its good to be nice! I try to treat others how I would like to be treated.

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Here's another thought that's just come to mind. I can't remember either of my parents discussing other adults in a derogatory way in front of me and my other siblings. Both of them always saw the good in people and it wasn't until I was an adult in my 20's that my mum would divulge family secrets and "skeletons in the cupboards". I'd like to say I have done the same with my kids, but not so. Consequently they don't hold back in showing their displeasure with folks and "take no prisoners" as they say!

 

Hope I'm making sense here as it's getting late. sleep-040.gif

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I think that the idea of “being nice” is one that’s as old as man, stemming from parents whose hormones told them not to leave the screaming child outside to be devoured by wolves, but instead cosseted and nurtured them and encouraged the growing child to “play well” with others.  The idea of “niceness” ties in with compassion and kindness, loyalty and love, spreads out into areas of society where people sat on judgement and decreed what was considered the “nice” way to behave in society – in short, “niceness” is what informs our morals.  IMO.

 

As for me, I wouldn’t describe myself as “nice”.  I try to be kind, where I can, and I try to find balance so that the best course of action can prevail, but I am not really a nice person, I don’t think.  I am too full of faults (you can PM me with a list, I’ll have them all on my own checklist :P ) but what I do try and create is balance that tips in the favour of the nicest outcome.  But what that “nice” outcome is very much depends on where I am and what it’s for.  For here and for work I am not at all nice when it calls for it.  I make tough decisions that  I don’t enjoy making, and I piss people off with the decisions, and I worry (constantly) that I’ve made the right decisions and I can be ruthless and cruel.  But I make the decisions based on what I believe to be best and what will oil better the wheels of whichever mechanism I’m operating in.  Here, it might mean that I have to tell someone to shut up (nicely of course!) in the interests of allowing another voice to be heard, whether or not I agree with either.  That is the “nice” outcome to achieve, but by being dictatorial and arbitrary I am not being nice.   It’s a double-edged sword.  I generally try and work out what is the best outcome for the whole, the bigger picture and that is my “nice” target.  

 

At work, being “nice” is being nice to my own tribe, my team.  I am paid to be their frontman, to be their shield and their filter and that requires me to be nice to them, but not necessarily to be nice to customers.  Or vice versa as the need arises.

 

Niceness then, to me, is a moveable feast, inasmuch as it cannot always be accurately defined.  The qualities of niceness, IMO, are kindness, compassion, consideration, tolerance and love.  But it’s impossible to be all of those all the time to all the people.  I think that my being a nodding dog to someone who thinks that King Kev is in fact the High Priest of all British Witches, isn’t being nice, because it’s so blatantly untrue and surely the nice thing to do is point out the error of that person’s understanding.  HOW I do it though is the issue.  And I confess that I will often travel into the realm of sarcasm and withering remarks to make my point – not nice but perhaps effective.

 

Meh.  Rambling.

 

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Hmm...the why and how of niceness.

 

Why? Not sure. I was brought up to assuage my mother's uncontrollable need for love. I had to learn to outgrow guilt. but it's not so easy to outgrow the habit of helping others.

 

I also had to learn how to be social. I don't mean as in learning when you first go to school, so you can't remember how you learned. I mean learning at work, because I grew up with little social exposure - no siblings; very little family. Friends don't count: it's how to get on with people you don't like that's the trick. I never entirely mastered it - I demonstrate my emotions a little too much a work to get into the upper realms of the British civil service. The trick there is to smile while you maneouvre peole out of the way over the cliff, so you can do what you want.

 

I'm nice because I understand how my words will read (mostly). I'm not nicer because I will let the steel or the snarl show through the velvet and the voile - so all the consideration is done without a lot of cuddles. Conversely, if you get the cuddles then I mean them. ;)

 

So, in general - I am nice because I've learned - um, what's that phrase? - more flies get trapped by honey than by vinegar i.e. I'm more likely to achieve my ends with niceness. It's a conscious decision - I know when I'm accommodating people rather than being nice for my own ends. Oh, I suppose accommodating (pleasing folks because they want it, rather than because I want it) can do the same thing, but too much accommodation generally results in an outbreak (for me) of snarling, or even wholesale slaughter and mayhem when my niceness quotient becomes overstretched.

 

However, I just can't stop that habit thing of looking after people. Call it loyalty or whatever. It gets in the way. One example - I'm one of the top players (well, I used to be - I've slipped out of the top 100 in the last few months) in a facebook game. The whole purpose of the game is for players to gather sufficient warriors and weapons to be able to 'kill' each other. There are penalties for death in the game. A lot of players, including one guy in Denmark I've been working with for the last few months and like a lot, will cut other players out of their clan in order to kill them, when it serves them to do so. Even players they have been clanned with for years. other players - like me - regard dumping clan to get their bounty or war points is a form of betrayal, and most certainly not 'right'. That's why I'm no longer in the top 70. Now why do I care if it's just a game? Because we all interact. I'm not anonymous. Once you get past level 1000 you realise that most of the top players have interacted to such an extent that we can dish the dirt on each other. I can tell people that Paul (my arch-enemy in the game) did not serve in Afghanistan the way they think - he ran a canteen, not a military troop. I can tell people that Yo Mother is semi-retired and is now into Chinese medicine and photography, and got married last year. I can people that, despite his gaming name, Maniac is a nice guy and doesn't betray his clanmates. It's that interaction that makes me nice. Not guilt any more - shame, I guess. Which is what Totally Goddess identified as 'pride' - I don't feel good about myself if I am nasty to people. Even people in a war game. :lol:

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To be pedantic the word "Nice" means precise as in "A nice fit"

 

Are Niceness [if that is a word Possums] and Kindness the same thing.

 

Kindness - behaving in accordance with your own kind - treating people as your own kind is an ancient hospitality and in the days of long slow journeys there was an obligation to provide such hospitality - to be kind.

 

It also concerns the protection of those who are unable to defend themselves. Another obligation of the privileged however small that privilege might be.

 

To me "niceness" has superficial overtones of Dame Edna and Ms Bucket which kindness does not.

 

Sorry if I'm not answering the question.

 

I know nothing of magic but would guess that the high level of self control and self awareness that I imagine magic demands would carry with it a minute awareness of the affect one was having over those who are less powerful that oneself. What the magician chooses to do with that awareness is up to them but I cannot imagine that they would be unaware of the consequences of kindness or unkindness.

 

Bum! I can't find a Youtube clip of Barry Humphries singing "Its My Niceness" :lol: :lol: :lol:

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I personally regard myself as 'Fair' rather than 'Nice'. Plently of people will go through life being 'nice' to everyone around them because they either feel like they will be treated likewise in return and probably often aren't, or they have a desperate need to be liked in whatever social setting they are in at the time. Of course manners cost nothing and I am never what I would call deliberately unpleasant to anyone.

 

I have changed my feeling on this topic over the years to be honest. I think the need to be liked by others diminishes as you get older and more assured of yourself, so trying to please everyone all the time becomes too tedious. I suppose what I am really trying to say is it is probably better to treat people fairly rather than indulge them with whatever there hearts desire, they won't necessarily like you for it but at least they know where they stand. They haven't been slighted by you, they just haven't been pampered either.

 

That said, second chances once slighted are very hard to come by from either myself or the OH! But, on the other hand we are also very loyal to good friends who treat us fairly the way we treat them.

 

As far as complete strangers are concerned, politeness is always my rule, what's the point of making enemies after all

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I'm nice :lol: but generally I treat people as they treat me & I treat everyone & everything on it's merits. I don't go out my way to be nasty to anyone, I don't cause conflict where it doesn't exist. But having said that no one walks over me & I stand up for myself when needs must

Edited by tibbington
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I don't much like the word "nice" in this context, mainly because if my mother ever said "Oh, that's nice," you knew that she meant exactly the opposite!

 

If we're talking about being pleasant, kind where appropriate, showing respect for other people, then yes, I do that. I call that having good manners. It's the social oil that keeps the parts moving smoothly, sometimes it's a bit superficial, but on the whole I find that it makes life easier for everyone. It's not necessarily about pleasing people or giving people what they want, because you can't do that all the time, but it's about doing things in a way that shows respect and consideration for the other person.

 

However, if you try to pull a fast one, stab me (or someone I care about) in the back etc. then you'd better watch out. I was a civil servant for a long time and I learnt how to "smile and smile and be a villain" from a master. I knew that I'd got it when he told somebody "Watch out when you deal with her and play fair. If you try anything you'll be bleeding to death on the floor before you've even noticed she's pulled the her knife out." It's not an ability that makes me very nice, but it has occasionally come in very useful.

 

I don't know anything much about magic so I can't comment there in detail, but I would have thought the ability to keep things running smoothly and management of relationships applied equally there, if not more so.

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Thanks for all the responses, I need to read them all again and think. Arrived in Hospital on Wednesday last week and in a moment of delerium where I was trying to change the whole universe to one in which I didn't get sick again, I saw that I am not actually very likeable, and this made me a bit upset! So this is still an on-going true story being run over a few months and through the wonders of modern magick, here. i need the wider audience of friends and peers here to give me feedback

 

And before this gets modded into Blogit oblivion, (PLEASE DON"T), this journey has a serious magickal side in theory and in practise, just also that I am willing to explore my innards in the public arena. Sort of augury/haruspicy of my guts and other organs while I am still alive ... if you want to poke, use a clean stick please.

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One method of magick I use is to gather all thoughts and ideas around an issue being worked, in this case it was to heal myself and to look at obstructions to that (fate, other nasty buggers wishing me ill, 'my time is up', and so on) by doing this - and to further 'allow' unconscious/subconscious to enter the mix by sleeping/trancing. It allows also an objective, detached sense/smell of all emotions involved and feelings including my own that affect the energy.

 

Once or twice I have had a glimpse of the disapearing universes affect of well worked chaos magick.

 

This time I was also undoing some bad choices made by me, previous errors/lies/miscalculations and so on.

 

On awakening I got a full 'observation' of the working as it disappeared down the temporal plughole. This is difficult to hold on to but if you can this allows a quick tweak of emotion/structure. Bloody difficult in fact as the closer you come (I come) to awakening and ordinary consciousness, the less aware you become and more confined in dimensions of perception.

 

It was a real shock to feel so much active energy I could only call dislike or distate for me! Hence my pushing this thread. Some of you know that along uv my 'gifts/burdens' comes an almost complete lack of understanding of some human constraints that most find useful and even perhaps desirable in society. But although I care little for understanding, reward or praise for myself, I had expected people to find me quite 'nice' (an abominable term in itself)! Fool eh?

 

And if you cannot see the relevance of this to magick you are a twit.

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For me the term 'nice' in modern use has sarcastic or envious connotations. Most often I feel that when people say others are 'nice' it is meant negativwely and that also gives the possibility that taken more simply it is a term remaining closer to an ideal. If I had said 'good' the debate would have been more polarised and broader perhaps and the converse with something less emotive, such as 'socially acceptable'?

 

I think if I can work out 'nice' I will obtain an understanding of an energy that even if disliked is usually not touched in passing, in communication. 'Nice' energy is able to pass freely and may be envied or distasteful to many but acceptable to most. I did very much want to be 'liked' and to be able to be 'loved' even if I didn't think I cared about that, but to be that also requires changes I do not see or understand yet it seems. And I distrust those changes even if I were capable of them. My ex GF's Mother in Law is seen by family and friends and local community as 'lovely, compassionate, forgiving, patient' and welcome anywhere. I truly see her as malicious, manipulative and even evil. This is not a jest, in many years of arrogance and illusion I have misunderstood and misused these terms and allowed power to be perverted in me and others.

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Whatever "Nice" is Jape - start by being "Nice" to yourself. You don't need to think of yourself as "Nice" if you don't want to or can't. Just behave towards your own self image in the way that "Nice" suggests that you should.

 

Sorry if that sounds like a preach. [/preach]

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"Nice"..to me,civil,accepting,I think that is all that is asked in society,no need to be unnecessarily rude or cruel toward others(or ourselves). I have always read your posts to be civil and accepting of others feelings and opinions Jape,maybe you are a little too hard on yourself at times(as we all are),

 

Being liked by others is a social need,none of us want to walk into a place and get daggers thrown at us,we prefer to be greeted with a smile (far less painful)

 

Oh and I have an x mil who was all sweetness and light to everyone except indoors....she was a total biatch..my self and my x bil called her the green dragon,jealous of others and breathed fire most of the time towards us.:o_angry:

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I think "nice" can conote sickly sweetness or tweeness. I think simply treating people with a modicum of respect and thinking about ones responses to them is probably enough Jape. Or having the guts to apologise for being nasty to others...... that sort of thing. Awareness of how One's behaviour can impact others is not a skill everyone has, but any effort to increase that ability is commendable in my view.

 

Mike

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  • 2 months later...

Hi all, I'm new to the site and have been reading through the "Starters Orders" section picking up new information and knowledge when I came across this thread and thought I'd try and make my first contribution to a discussion - I hope that it comes across as valuable!!

 

When I was younger, in my teens and twenties, I was deeply unpleasant. Arrogant, always happy to receive but never to give (unless it suited me of course), always forcing my opinions on others, etc. I married and was truly awful to my first wife, to the point where she had no option but to leave and we divorced.

 

As I moved into my thirties I had a moment of epiphany (is that the right word?) and realised I had to start being a lot fairer to people. Someone further up the thread mentioned that being fair was how they saw being nice, and I guess that's how I try to live my life and project myself socially and in work now too, as being a fair person. To coin a phrase, the path to redemtion is not always a peaceful one though and the times when I'm crossed or when someone has tried to pull the wool over my eyes or take me for a mug then they feel the full force of my wrath. I guess I still need to learn to deal with some situations with more reason and less anger.

 

As a Trade Union rep I'm regarded these days as a fair player and amongst my friends and neighbours as a "nice bloke". It's not always easy, but an awareness of how my own behaviour and actions can affect other people is always useful to keeping a fair approach. Of course, there is always a need to "be liked" as well, and I'll readily admit that there is some pride, albeit a reserved and quiet pride, in knowing I'm respected in the manager's office as a Union Rep, and my company is enjoyed in the pub, for example.

 

I'm not sure if that's a valuable contribution or not, or even if it's made much sense, but I hope that it adds at least a little something to the thread :)

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peoples perceptions about me tend to run black and white. I had one guy call me an angel....and then i've been accused of being a psychopath (by more than one person), then i'vee been told i am wise and then the next i am really juvenile...

 

its like some people cant seem to see who i am cos their own crap gets in the way, i mean i am not that different from other peeps, but then i get some people saying i am surrounded by a reassuring type of aura, some have even said they can think more clearly, like they are more peaceful as a result of being around me. its so weird.

 

but do i think i am nice? nope, nice is not a word i would use about me, maybe a good listener, but i can be as fiery as hell (esp. when i was younger), i can be driven, ambitious, blunt, thoughtful, clumsy, practical, hands on...

 

no such thing as nice really...

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I suppose I am what you could call 'nice' if you so wished.

I dont go out of my way to upset others, I dont enjoy confrontation & I try to treat people how I would like to be treated.

The only trouble with this is that because of this people seem to think that Im weak, a pushover & easily bullied.

Im not.

I have a temper that flares up occasionally :D

I give everyone a fair chance when I first know them, if they mess me about once then thats it. I dont do second chances.

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  • 1 month later...

Hmm well Id describe myself as fair and kind. I truly believe that we should treat everyone with respect . However if the respect isnt returned to me do easily withdraw it and try not to deal with that person again. I actually find most people are out for themselves , therefore not very nice where as Im always the one to go beyond the call of duty to help someone according to my husband and family lol! Some people call that weak but I see it that if ive done everything I can for someone then I can go to bed knowing ive done my best and if its threw back in my face I just wont bother with them again (sometimes this doesn't happen and I end up getting hurt over and over but thats my own issue) . The way I see it is it costs nothing to be polite and fair and karma will repay me one day when I need it most. I think holding onto that hope keeps me going xx As Nelly says though I to have a wicked temper that shows it self once in a while lol x

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respectful to those who treat others well respectful as in accepting others opinion/.lifestyle choices/beliefs etc.etc

but the only nice I do is eating them with a cuppa. :o_razz:

 

animals/pets wildlife etc.vegetable all nature offers and gives me l be all things that equal my being nice to.

but not necessary to the human race.sorry but outside of this site peoples ant that nice anyways.

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I find most people are "nice" - especially if you approach them with an honest and open spirit. There's a few who aren't - they usually have some kind of weakness which manifests itself as paranoia or a need to be bullies.

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I have to agree with you Marcus. I find people are generally decent, nice and honest. Imagine society if most people weren't. I think nastiness can stick in the memory more easily than decency and so can give an impression that people are generally unpleasant, but I don't think this is true.

 

Mike

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Being nice doesnt have to mean grand gestures,,,the smallest nice gestures go a long way.....saying hello to the old lady down the road as she leans on the gate waiting for some human contact.....holding a door open for someone even if they're younger than u.....remembering your pleases and especially thankyous'.....a kind word here and there to friends and family...even strangers.....paying the smallest compliment ..........all these small things have a domino effect (hopefully) and the small kind gesture u made, makes that person feel good...good enough for them themselves to pass on a nice gesture and so on and so on....you get the picture. You each pass on a nice gift of feeling loved and wanted ,appreciated....all that positive energy is being put out there....now thats a beautiful thing.......nice is good.......

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Agreed. being nice lies in the small things. Saying "have a good day" and meaning it, offering a seat on a bus or train, helping someone with a pushchair or heavy luggage. The other day we were struggling trying to get our sofa up and round a bend in the stairs and into our new flat. One of the neighbours came by, put his shopping down, gave us a hand and invited us in for coffee. nothing earthshattering, but it made all the difference.

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      I’m probably second guessing Nettle wrongly but it wasn’t all that long ago that you would have read posts about alters, magic, Shamanism, spells etc. I think it was either Teatimetreat or Drachenfach that had a hex on her handbag and her car.  When the car was stolen it crashed and the thief was caught. I agree and would very much like to see more of the colourful side of Paganism back here.  Quite right Ellinas.  I do not understand how anyone can claim to be Pantheist (or even pantheist) and atheist at the same time even though the most prominent Pantheists do exactly that.  As I’ve said elsewhere: why can’t they call themselves Panists.  The prefix “pan” means everything and everywhere as in “pandemic”.  The god’s name arose from the adjective so it wouldn’t necessarily mean a devotee of Pan. pee ess - it may be worth mentioning that there are a vast number of belief groups under the umbrella word Paganism.  Druids Witches, Polytheist and Shaman are only a small part of what the greater picture of Paganism depicts. Dunno and don’t care are probably the biggest groups.
    • Ellinas
      All the above, plus the impression of a preponderance of atheism is currently, as well as historically, inaccurate.  Certainly, I am no atheist.  I believe MS rejects the term as applicable to himself.  Stonehugger, I think, recently said he had headed in that direction, but I've not seen the other resident atheists for a while. However, our ideas of deity are not the same, necessarily.
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