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Primitive European Religions

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Magic in one form or another appears to be a part of all known religious systems and at all levels of historical development--although the degree of importance given to it and its duration vary considerably. Because of the existence of every conceivable type used throughout Europeans' history, the terms Magic and Religion must be used loosely. The story of how most primitive European religions began during the Ice Age has followed the realities of lack of a food supply, deaths, disease, the malice of other humans, storms and other natural perils. Understandably, explanations for these led to conceptions of the Supernatural and its Contingent Beings. Resultant religious ideas, no matter how bad, provided solutions to adversities. Originating as a nomadic people, over the millennia they adopted semi-nomadic lifestyles so as to raise herds of livestock. Hence, the creatures of the field and forest--both sustaining and threatening life--were incorporated into their religion. Fears and reverence for beasts (e.g. bears, wolves) symbolized deities. Warriors dressed as animals for ritual dances. Their Rock Art always showed man triumphing over beasts, as against two bears at once. Whether resisting inroads from other tribes or seeking new lands, these savages' constant fights with each other led them to be quite adept in developing and using killing weapons. Also, their ferocity and swift hit-and-run tactics made them formidable opponents.

An intense attraction for splendor and rich designs spurred ongoing fighting to acquire their greedy pursuits. Similar greedy pursuits by those on coastal regions drove their urge for exciting adventuring. Many Scandinavian chieftains practiced polygamy and adhered to a primogeniture (the first born) rule of inheritance. The resultant numerous disinherited younger sons comprised a large and dangerous warrior elite. Each had to make his own way by any means necessary--be it conquests at home or piracy abroad. Since European primitive beliefs viewed the whole spectacle of the world to proceed out of the realm of Myth, their Myths--instead of being a sequence of independent images--were of a meaningful whole in which each reflected a particular aspect of the actual world. Shaman were supremely important to the realm of Mythology because their inner experiences in trance showed, by his Spirits of the Supernatural world, what goes on in this magical world. Most put on deceptive external performances for the honest hunters, as in Imitation Magic whose wonders serve a specific beneficial purpose. Out of this came Myths, later elevated into folklore. Hence, Shaman played a great role in formating a culture's Supernatural Imaginations in what has been passed down. In every society in which they have been known, Shaman have been the particular guardians and reciters of incantations, chants, and traditions of their people. From them came "Seed" ideas of European Metaphysical Beings (perhaps on the order of angels, demons, fairies, and dead ancestors) and of "Super-humans" (possessing a special aura of omnipotence). By having occult power over Nature, they could use it either to harm or to benefit their fellows.

Meanwhile, Warrior gods were the main religion of Europe's White people for thousands of years--each serving as constant sources of motivation to intensify their means of Kill/Take/Destroy practices and thereby perfect their weapons for conquering others. Such reliance on forces of arms left its terrible and lasting mark on the face of Europe--an ongoing savage status quo + continent fragmentation into hundreds of small, independent states which transformed into compact, self-sufficient strong-holds that could be defended against conquest--a state persisting up to the Renaissance. Typically, upon settling among the conquered people, they adopted victims' customs, styles, and religion. Many of their gods were borrowed into Christianity. For example, Hel (Hell) was the name of the goddess of the underworld and the dead--the spirit of evil. The persistence of these primitive religions did not die, even after intensive efforts to convert the warriors into Christianity. To whatever extent conversion of the Teutonic races (of Germanic or Celtic origin who lived until c100 BC) occurred to Christianity, their word "god" was applied to Ancient Africans' one Supreme Being and to the Persons of the Trinity. Incidentally, popular etymology connected 'god' with 'good'--as exemplified by the corruption: "God be with you" into "Goodbye."


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