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Went to Pagan Coffee Night tonight, which is always fun, and occasionally thought-provoking. Tonight it was. We were discussing Troy (which I have not seen, but several of the folks there have) and that led into discussion of the bases of reconstructionist religions--literary and archaeological evidence--and that led into a discussion of the question "If, tomorrow, new evidence turns up that is contrary to what you have known about the religion you are reconstructing, how would that affect your beliefs (and practices, presumably)?"

It's an interesting question, and we discussed it for a while. I think (although I suppose you couldn't know for sure unless it happened) that very little that could turn up would be likely to change the core of my belief, but that certainly the details would be open to reinterpretation. I think that would be the case.

I also think that such a thing would be more likely to affect those folks who take a very fundamentalist approach, such as the Edda-thumpers who consider Ragnarok to be more literal than figurative. For example, Loki: there are plenty of heathens who not only avoid dealing with Loki in their personal practice, they don't think there is a place for him in heathenry at all. The two sorts of reason I've heard for not dealing with Loki are the moral (since, if you take the lore literally, he is destined to betray the Aesir and side with the etins at Ragnarok, it is a bad idea to have any dealings with him at all) and the historical (since there is no evidence of a Loki cult in the historical record--no temples, no recorded worship, no places named for him--he was surely not a god any more than any etin and should not be treated as one). But what if evidence turned up that Loki did have a cult following--that the ancients did honor him in some fashion? Would the folks who leave the sumbel when someone toasts him have a change of heart? Or would they maintain their present position? Or would it depend on the reason they don't deal with him in the first place--might it be that the historical folks would change and the moral folks would not?

Another thought comes to mind, and that is that this sort of thing has happened in the past. Think of all the goddess-worshippers who built a theology upon the theories of Marija Gimbutas--when those theories were thrown into doubt (and they are no longer in favor among her academic community, haven't been in some time) did they abandon them? Some did, I'm sure. But you still see plenty of folks who believe in a near-Utopian prehistoric matriarchy, and take any criticism of it very poorly indeed.

Hell, think of Christianity and evolution. For a lot of people, Darwin turned their world upside down. And now? Well, more liberal Christian sects seem to have little trouble with it, finding that evolution does not conflict with or contradict their non-literal interpretation of Biblical lore. The fundamentalists, however, deny it, refuse to include it in their view of the world, and that's where "creation science" came from--because a literal interpretation of their Bible does find it to be a problem.

Very likely the same thing would happen among the recon communities if something new and surprising were to turn up.
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Went to Pagan Coffee Night tonight, for the first time in...well, a few weeks, I guess. It was nice to see people again; we discussed our upcoming May Day plans for a while; we're having in on the weekend of the 8th because of various folks' scheduling, but that's all right--more likely to be warmer then, and more likely that the site will be dry (at present it's a bit soggy from melted snow). I think we're set--mainly because we're doing about the same thing as any other year, only adding Frey to the gods to be honored (usually it's Freyja alone). I'm going to try to write something new for it, although it's nice to know that we've got material from years past that we can use in case I don't manage to.

I brought the newsletters, which will be distributed to, I think, two different local spots. (I'll find out later, leaving that up to the discretion of others. :)) It turned out all right, I think; the only specifically heathen content this time is a prayer to Freyja, but I do intend to make sure there's at least a bit in every issue :).
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I went back to the gym today, after a lapse of some months. It was easy to remember the routine; I hope it's as easy to fall back into the habit of going! But I did the weight machines at the same settings I'd used the last time I was there. I'm guessing that that may have been a bad idea. If so, it will surely be revealed to me in the next couple of days (as in "ow"), but at the moment I'm fine. I really did enjoy the gym when I went, I'm kind of looking forward to it now.

Pagan Coffee Night tonight, fun but cold (it is always cold there, at some times it bothers me more than at others), and me not all that sociable. That's okay, I knew everyone there, they talked enough that my quietness didn't matter :). We talked a bit about the upcoming Yule; it looks now like 12 for sure, and possibly up to 7 more--guess I'd better clear a lot of floor space, although I'm sure not everyone will want to stay the whole night. And make more food. (Thinks of recipes. Not hungry right now, can't think of food. Will do so later.)

Afterward we had to go to Wal-Mart, various necessities, and I found Hawkgirl! (Justice League action figure), which I didn't expect so I'm pretty happy about that. (I'm easily pleased, aren't I? :)) She looks cool (although her mace is pretty puny-looking) but she's a lousy toy, barely articulated. The girls will undoubtedly kidnap her soon enough along with the rest of the League, until then she can stand unsteadily next to my monitor.
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Soggy snow, should be nice and icy by the morning. :P

We had quite a crowd at Pagan Coffee Night tonight--I think at one point there were 12 people in the room, not counting the kids. For here that is indeed a crowd. (The couple we met at the coffeehouse didn't show up, not that I really expected them to.) Fun, but I didn't go out to play pool afterwards this week--I don't like driving in icy slush. That and I've got some serious antisocial aspects :).
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My family is home (yay!); they got back last night, explaining the drastic reduction in my LJ-posting frequency :). I've been filling water balloons for the picnic, it's in the low 70s, not ideal water-balloon weather but not too cold for it. Personally I plan to stay out of the line of fire :).
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Twelve adults at Pagan Coffee Night tonight; I think that's the most we've had there in a while. They all know about the Pagan Family Picnic this weekend, hope some of them show up :). Hope also that we have decent weather--water balloons are not nearly as much fun when it's a cold and rainy day. This is the third annual picnic, which is very cool :). It's totally secular, just a time to get together and talk and play games in a relaxed atmosphere. (And not having to plan a ritual ahead of time makes it a pretty relaxed atmosphere for me! :))
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I made it to Pagan Coffee Night tonight, it was good to see people; it was also good to get home away from people. I like people--I especially like these people--but I seem to have a limited tolerance for being in groups. At some point I have to step back and recharge a bit.

Wow, that almost sounded like a real journal.

I guess I should explain that last bit. I've kept an on-paper journal for many years, and honestly for a long time I didn't quite understand the concept of an online journal. I'm guessing I still don't grasp it in its totality. I've got one now because I perceive the two (private and potentially public venues) to be rather different, in purpose and in nature. So that if I'm having a real angst-fest, it's probably more likely to go on paper than online. Probably :).
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I'm skipping Pagan Coffee Night tonight to recover from the trip (I'm afraid I really don't travel very well :(). I think I'm going to get out my yarns and work on embroidering a tunic later on, probably haven't touched it in months--why is it that projects without a deadline become so much more compelling when you have other more pressing things you really ought to be working on instead?

Which I guess means I'm missing any discussion on group names among the people in my group. We've been idly considering coming up with a name for a while but it hasn't been a real priority (after all, we know who we are :)); however, after several days at Trothmoot when every time I'd mention my kindred to someone they'd automatically ask "What's its name?" I'm thinking we should really put some serious effort into it. After all, we've been doing heathen ritual 7-8 times a year for about 2 1/2 years IIRC, having occasional study groups, and getting together socially on a regular basis. There's certainly a group identity there--we just have to put a name to it.
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