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Thread: Cultural Context

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    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Cultural Context

    We have a number of people here who practice some degree of shamanism, with varying flavours and cultural contexts. I want to know more about you! What type of shamanic path do you walk? What culture does it stem from, or what culture has inspired it? If your cultural context is 'modernist suburban American core shamanism' then I want to know about that too! What is something unique to your cultural context and/or the way that you practice your shamanism? What is it that drew you to this path? Tell us something, anything or everything about what you do...

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    Supporter Torey's Avatar
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    Re: Cultural Context

    I'm not a Shamanist, but I suppose that I'll comment purely due to the fact that I incorporate aspects of Shamanism within my collective spiritual practices.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    What type of shamanic path do you walk?
    The only aspects of my practices and beliefs that are even remotely akin to Shamanic techniques are a) Shamanic Journey/SSC (Shamanic States of Consciousness), b) Animistic worldview and c) Otherworldly Cosmology.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    What culture does it stem from, or what culture has inspired it?
    I would say that the techniques that I use are a combination of Core Shamanic practices (not necessarily identifiable with a particular culture) and aspects of Jewish mysticism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    What is something unique to your cultural context and/or the way that you practice your shamanism?
    Probably the fact that I use the techniques of Jewish mystics for what could essentially be labelled Jewish Heresy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    What is it that drew you to this path? Tell us something, anything or everything about what you do...
    I learned about Shamanic techniques through a friend who was well-versed in the practice. I suppose that initially inspired me to investigate it further - she encouraged my work, and I found that there were particular techniques which worked well for me - so I stuck with them.

    Then, later down the road, I discovered the practices of Jewish mystics - which I incorporated into my small repertoire of Shamanic techniques.

    What drew me to the Shamanic was essentially the ability to interact with the Otherworlds in ways that one cannot when spiritually earthbound - and developing relationships with entities one may never encounter in this realm.

  3. #3
    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
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    Re: Cultural Context

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    We have a number of people here who practice some degree of shamanism, with varying flavours and cultural contexts. I want to know more about you! What type of shamanic path do you walk?
    Realistically I walk more of a folkish type Shamanic pathway.

    What culture does it stem from, or what culture has inspired it?
    At best containing elements of Irish / Scottish clannish influences, Native American influences and cultural / ethical influences from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Handed down through both folklore, family lineages and practices. Figure its a molding of hedgewitchary / hedge riding, animism, anamatism, granny practices, influences from Native American world views though I have Cherokee (Tsagli) and Seneca supposedly in my heritage which influenced things though quite diluted over the years. Yet having spent 23 years in the military and travelling I have incorporated some elements from places I've been or lived at.

    If your cultural context is 'modernist suburban American core shamanism' then I want to know about that too!
    No influences as I understand suburban plastic or white shamanism to be.

    What is something unique to your cultural context and/or the way that you practice your shamanism?
    That's harder to say. I've not found anything that you could say is unique to my practice though the methodology might be different in how we approach things. Nor can I rule out spiritual / religious influences that are caused by my beliefs that are not structurally part of my shamanic manner of living life. Though I suppose that could be one in that I do not see Shamanism as a spiritual pathway but a manner and method of living that functions within the boundaries of my spirituality.

    What is it that drew you to this path?
    Birth

    Tell us something, anything or everything about what you do.
    That one I've spread all over the site through various postings so hard to encapsulate here.
    I'm Only Responsible For What I Say Not For What Or How You Understand!

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    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: Cultural Context

    Come on people! There are more of you in the woodwork, I know it. I want to hear about the cultural influences of our Peruvian shamanist and of our South American Rainbow Serpent devotee! Do we have any seidhr workers or people who are influenced by European traditions? I know there are some other hedge-riders out there. And 'bioregional' counts as a cultural context too!

    Where are you all?

    You don't have to answer the specific questions... that was just to get things rolling. But we need more input here!

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    Re: Cultural Context

    One of them hasn't actually looked at this thread yet while logged in and the other I can't speak for.

    Err, wait that isn't exactly useful is it....

    I'll go meddle somewhere.
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    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
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    Re: Cultural Context

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    Come on people! There are more of you in the woodwork, I know it. I want to hear about the cultural influences of our Peruvian shamanist and of our South American Rainbow Serpent devotee! Do we have any seidhr workers or people who are influenced by European traditions? I know there are some other hedge-riders out there. And 'bioregional' counts as a cultural context too!

    Where are you all?

    You don't have to answer the specific questions... that was just to get things rolling. But we need more input here!
    The title might be a bit misleading for some. I looked at it, the title, a number of times before opening it as I though it to be something else. Granted I didn't connect it to its location initially either as I don't always pay attention to that aspect but use the title as an indicator of interest. Not saying that is the only reason but what initially side tracked me from responding.
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    Re: Cultural Context

    I'll bite.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    What type of shamanic path do you walk?
    I primarily follow the Andean Mountain variation of Shamanism. Or rather...did, at some point. I haven't been very active with any of the practices as of late. Although I do take time every day to greet Grandmother Moon, Father Sun, the Apu's (Mountains) and appreciate their beauty and the life they provide us.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    What culture does it stem from, or what culture has inspired it?
    The Q'ero people from the Cusco region in Peru. They were very isolated from everyone else until the mid 1950's but are descendants from the Inca people.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    What is something unique to your cultural context and/or the way that you practice your shamanism?
    Since I haven't studied many other shamanic paths, I'm not really sure what is and isn't unique to my path. It just is. I did have the honor to perform a Despacho with a true Andean Shaman whom traveled to our region, a few years ago. It was amazing to be in the same room as he, even though he spoke no English and I spoke no Quechua. Perhaps the deeply rooted lore of the Inca is something unique to my path. Although, the path itself is relatively adaptable to any region of the world.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    What is it that drew you to this path? Tell us something, anything or everything about what you do...
    My mother is the one who introduced me to my mentor. Since I was in my early teens, I've been participating in various rituals, journeying and ceremonies. Even now, more than 15 years later, I'm not ready to undertake any healing on others. That's still a long ways away.
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    One with the Force ChainLightning's Avatar
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    Re: Cultural Context

    Much like expressing any of my practices in the Heathen section, I really should just keep my nose out of this. But, for the sake of argument/interest/involvement, I'll throw in what I have.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    I want to know more about you! What type of shamanic path do you walk?
    I am horrible, as far as this adherence to one of the readily understood, easily researched flavours or types go. I have bastardized so many things from so many sources that people even "sort of" familiar with Shamanism would likely villify me, and with good reason. It is in that exact context that I am usually quite adamant about NOT professing to be any sort of shaman or even a student of Shamanism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    What culture does it stem from, or what culture has inspired it?
    Unfortunately, my crumbs didn't come from a single specific culture but an amalgamation of several Eastern and Western styles that I distilled, on my own, down to something I felt usable and valid.

    What inspired the whole *shaman* thing for me was the mystical, the poetic and the medicine man, kind of generic, impressions that different cultures used to possess. One example of this is my use of medicine bags, generally attributed to any one of a number of Native American cultures. Another is the level of consciousness (this particular avenue of thought originated during and post-LSD usage, in my youth) and the exploration of truth or understanding within one's own consciousness of different levels - e.g. having a "vision", following whatever dreamscape topography, etc.. Another is the eastern healing techniques from dozens of millennia ago.

    None of which are even remotely recognizable to the source ideologies that I "stole" them from, I'm sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    What is something unique to your cultural context and/or the way that you practice your shamanism?
    In all honesty, I've kind of fallen off the pace, with this. A couple years after getting married, so maybe 8 years ago, I just sort of stopped practicing. Now, as far as something unique to my practice, I didn't adhere to ANY cultural dogma, context or teachings. I nabbed what few pieces or ideas seemed to answer some question or another that I had, or descriptor that could be easily modified to fit what I felt to be true.

    Yeah, I kind of gave culture a heave-ho, when I was doing all my research, looking for answers. The only context I was interested in, and still am, is how the beliefs and practices stack up in my real world activities and with my modern day cynicism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    What is it that drew you to this path?
    Initially, growing up with Ojibwa friends. In hearing stories, and in reading a wide range of books, it just all became an insatiable need to *connect* the mystical and the physical. And, as I mentioned, my LSD usage, as a teenager, helped motivate that particular aspect, tremendously.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    Tell us something, anything or everything about what you do...
    Unfortunately, as I indicated a moment ago, I haven't really been *doing* much at all. I still have my medicine pouches, spirit shields and assorted scrying devices (that I'd incorporated) but I just haven't put them to use much, at all, for a goodly number of years, now. Sad to say.




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  9. #9
    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: Cultural Context

    Yah... more replies.

    Now I have questions for you all...

    Quote Originally Posted by Torey View Post
    I'm not a Shamanist, but I suppose that I'll comment purely due to the fact that I incorporate aspects of Shamanism within my collective spiritual practices.

    The only aspects of my practices and beliefs that are even remotely akin to Shamanic techniques are a) Shamanic Journey/SSC (Shamanic States of Consciousness), b) Animistic worldview and c) Otherworldly Cosmology.

    I would say that the techniques that I use are a combination of Core Shamanic practices (not necessarily identifiable with a particular culture) and aspects of Jewish mysticism.

    Probably the fact that I use the techniques of Jewish mystics for what could essentially be labelled Jewish Heresy.

    I learned about Shamanic techniques through a friend who was well-versed in the practice. I suppose that initially inspired me to investigate it further - she encouraged my work, and I found that there were particular techniques which worked well for me - so I stuck with them.

    Then, later down the road, I discovered the practices of Jewish mystics - which I incorporated into my small repertoire of Shamanic techniques.

    What drew me to the Shamanic was essentially the ability to interact with the Otherworlds in ways that one cannot when spiritually earthbound - and developing relationships with entities one may never encounter in this realm.
    How have you incorporated your shamanic worldview into a faith that doesn't overtly subscribe to that sort of thing? Or have you found that there was an underlying framework there that had just never been given a 'shamanic' gloss before?

    Quote Originally Posted by monsno_leedra View Post
    Realistically I walk more of a folkish type Shamanic pathway.

    At best containing elements of Irish / Scottish clannish influences, Native American influences and cultural / ethical influences from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Handed down through both folklore, family lineages and practices. Figure its a molding of hedgewitchary / hedge riding, animism, anamatism, granny practices, influences from Native American world views though I have Cherokee (Tsagli) and Seneca supposedly in my heritage which influenced things though quite diluted over the years. Yet having spent 23 years in the military and travelling I have incorporated some elements from places I've been or lived at.

    No influences as I understand suburban plastic or white shamanism to be.

    That's harder to say. I've not found anything that you could say is unique to my practice though the methodology might be different in how we approach things. Nor can I rule out spiritual / religious influences that are caused by my beliefs that are not structurally part of my shamanic manner of living life. Though I suppose that could be one in that I do not see Shamanism as a spiritual pathway but a manner and method of living that functions within the boundaries of my spirituality.

    Birth

    That one I've spread all over the site through various postings so hard to encapsulate here.
    What is something about the shamanic or hedge-rider side of your path that you practice on a regular basis? How does the shamanic integrate into your everyday life? I guess what I mean here is... regarding your comment about your 'shamanic manner of living life', in what ways can it be said that you LIVE your path, rather than just walk it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Juniper View Post
    I'll bite. I primarily follow the Andean Mountain variation of Shamanism. Or rather...did, at some point. I haven't been very active with any of the practices as of late. Although I do take time every day to greet Grandmother Moon, Father Sun, the Apu's (Mountains) and appreciate their beauty and the life they provide us.

    The Q'ero people from the Cusco region in Peru. They were very isolated from everyone else until the mid 1950's but are descendants from the Inca people.

    Since I haven't studied many other shamanic paths, I'm not really sure what is and isn't unique to my path. It just is. I did have the honor to perform a Despacho with a true Andean Shaman whom traveled to our region, a few years ago. It was amazing to be in the same room as he, even though he spoke no English and I spoke no Quechua. Perhaps the deeply rooted lore of the Inca is something unique to my path. Although, the path itself is relatively adaptable to any region of the world.

    My mother is the one who introduced me to my mentor. Since I was in my early teens, I've been participating in various rituals, journeying and ceremonies. Even now, more than 15 years later, I'm not ready to undertake any healing on others. That's still a long ways away.
    What sorts of things are involved in this style of shamanism? If healing others is not something that you feel you are ready for, what are some of the tasks and duties that you have been responsible for, or some of the personal techniques that you've used for your own benefit? Do you journey or otherwise travel within any sort of non-ordinary plane?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChainLightning View Post
    Much like expressing any of my practices in the Heathen section, I really should just keep my nose out of this. But, for the sake of argument/interest/involvement, I'll throw in what I have.

    I am horrible, as far as this adherence to one of the readily understood, easily researched flavours or types go. I have bastardized so many things from so many sources that people even "sort of" familiar with Shamanism would likely villify me, and with good reason. It is in that exact context that I am usually quite adamant about NOT professing to be any sort of shaman or even a student of Shamanism.

    Unfortunately, my crumbs didn't come from a single specific culture but an amalgamation of several Eastern and Western styles that I distilled, on my own, down to something I felt usable and valid.

    What inspired the whole *shaman* thing for me was the mystical, the poetic and the medicine man, kind of generic, impressions that different cultures used to possess. One example of this is my use of medicine bags, generally attributed to any one of a number of Native American cultures. Another is the level of consciousness (this particular avenue of thought originated during and post-LSD usage, in my youth) and the exploration of truth or understanding within one's own consciousness of different levels - e.g. having a "vision", following whatever dreamscape topography, etc.. Another is the eastern healing techniques from dozens of millennia ago.

    None of which are even remotely recognizable to the source ideologies that I "stole" them from, I'm sure.

    In all honesty, I've kind of fallen off the pace, with this. A couple years after getting married, so maybe 8 years ago, I just sort of stopped practicing. Now, as far as something unique to my practice, I didn't adhere to ANY cultural dogma, context or teachings. I nabbed what few pieces or ideas seemed to answer some question or another that I had, or descriptor that could be easily modified to fit what I felt to be true.

    Yeah, I kind of gave culture a heave-ho, when I was doing all my research, looking for answers. The only context I was interested in, and still am, is how the beliefs and practices stack up in my real world activities and with my modern day cynicism.

    Initially, growing up with Ojibwa friends. In hearing stories, and in reading a wide range of books, it just all became an insatiable need to *connect* the mystical and the physical. And, as I mentioned, my LSD usage, as a teenager, helped motivate that particular aspect, tremendously.

    Unfortunately, as I indicated a moment ago, I haven't really been *doing* much at all. I still have my medicine pouches, spirit shields and assorted scrying devices (that I'd incorporated) but I just haven't put them to use much, at all, for a goodly number of years, now. Sad to say.
    A) Don't be silly... there is no such thing as 'need to keep my nose out of it'. I want to hear about your practice. So you need to tell me about it!

    B) Not being directly recognisable as from the sources you 'stole' them from is actually a good thing, in my opinion. I think that when we bastardise (which many of us do), it's important that we recognise that we've bastardised something and accept that it is now 'OUR' practice and not someone else's. This is where things like cultural appropriation come into it. It's only cultural appropriation if you claim that it is something that it is not. Once you say 'hey, I do my own thing, squished together from ten different sources and it's not called anything in particular' then what you've done is created your own cultural context. Personally I think this is just as valid as someone who has a traditional base and practices something that is a 'accepted' or already-established path (traditional or otherwise). It sometimes cops flak from certain members of the shamanist community, but that's part of the reason that I don't run in those circles anymore.

    When I first started, there was so much emphasis on cultural context and which path you follow and you can't be a shamanist if you don't have a cultural context... a few years in I called BS on that, because the reality is that we ALL practice within some sort of context and within some sort of culture. Sometimes it's our own modern hybrid context. Sometimes it's from a traditional or extant base. 'Real world cynic' is a cultural context. None of us are bereft of culture... just because it's not some mystical ancient path practiced by romanticised or indigenous peoples doesn't mean it's not 'culture'. I knew so many elitist hypocrite neo-shamanists who would vilify core shamanists or those who couldn't put a name to their cultural context... I didn't want to be a part of that. And it saddens me that there are so many people who are afraid or unwilling to talk about their path and their experiences because of those elitist hypocrites.

    C) As for the question... what are your beliefs and experiences regarding worlds other than this one? As a cynical non-indigenous American, what do you believe regarding what we are actually doing with all this 'stuff'. What do these techniques mean to you? How have you harnessed them all together to make sense of the world, are you still trying to do that, or did you give up and just go with the flow?

  10. #10
    One with the Force ChainLightning's Avatar
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    Re: Cultural Context

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    As for the question... what are your beliefs and experiences regarding worlds other than this one?
    I don't believe that parallel universes are at all separate from this one. I mentioned that dreamscape topography? I think all of those different planes and levels of reality, so to speak, are all intertwined and mutually dependent.

    And I do believe that Living Nature has kicked-in elsewhere in the universe. I don't know what life there may be, but I'm almost certain that it's there. It is in this context that I do not believe in that mutually dependent existence, between solar systems, planets and galaxies. Old ones die and new ones are born, just like most everything else. Unrelated and independent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    As a cynical non-indigenous American, what do you believe regarding what we are actually doing with all this 'stuff'.
    Again, I'm not quite certain I'm understanding the direction of the question, so...

    In terms of the tools of our practice, I think people are self-serving. We use these methods to placate this *something* in our minds, that would otherwise leave us wanting. For me, I want things to make sense - like, how I believe in the existence of fae and at the same time I'm skeptical of "imaginary beings", basically. So, in that light, what all *this* does for me is reconcile an otherwise conflicting understanding. It takes one level of conscious thought and maintains that level with the use of subconscious (or even out of body...) mystery. I can't really explain that too well, having never bothered to try and put it into words, like this.

    I believe in the power of the mind. My cynicism says it's selfish and pointless, a bit like mental masturbation. But, on the other hand, I also believe it's not nearly so outlandish or unlikely that it contradicts science. An aside here is my firm understanding of a sixth sense (I happened to mention just the other day, elsewhere) that is nowhere near a myth or fiction. We all have it, just that there's only *some* people understand it well enough to use it. Same kind of deal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    What do these techniques mean to you?
    That's a really good question. With everything in my life falling apart and circling the drain, just now, the meanings, that I once adhered to, have kind of vanished. But only in the sense of being active or pertinent. I don't know. My first thought is, like, they've become irrelevant or something, for the time being. As soon as I think about it, however, nothing has changed. Nothing is gone or overwith. I'm just overwhelmed with too many practical annoyances to spend much time on loftier (I guess) pursuits.

    Good question!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    How have you harnessed them all together to make sense of the world, are you still trying to do that, or did you give up and just go with the flow?
    As I just said, it's all kind of "on hold" or something. Like I've put the world, in its entirety, into its crib so that it can take a nap, for a while. Not like "going with the flow" but more like setting that aside until I have the time and space to unfurl that whole shebang, with its many facets and almost convoluted detail. It's too much to think about, as it is.

    But yeah, making sense of the world when the reality is that there IS no sense to be made. That's a constant. I've not given that up, I've just not been taking the time to maintain the urgency, if you will.




    "Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it." - Ayn Rand

    "Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." - Marcus Aurelius

    "The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice." - Mark Twain

    "The only gossip I'm interested in is things from the Weekly World News - 'Woman's bra bursts, 11 injured'. That kind of thing." - Johnny Depp



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