Bulletin Oaks, Issue 1, Summer 1999 – also known as “News WCER”

Bulletin Oaks, Issue 1, Summer 1999 – also known as “News WCER”
A preliminary version before the Congress in August 1999, originally entitled “News WCER”

click to open   oaks issue 1

What is WCER?
Why is ethnic?
Goals and objectives WCER
Universality and the revival of paganism
Baltic religion
The first conference WCER
Forn Sed, Norway


World Congress of Ethnic Religions
(WCER) was founded in June 1998 in
Vilnius. His goal – to provide a forum
for native religions of the world, regardless of
traditions and geographical location.

Why is ethnic?
Author: Dennis Dorn (Denmark)

Many are surprised to tighten or even scared when he saw the word ethnic in our name. Is the word ethnic ethnic cleansing? Not worth it for a new ideology of pure race? Do I need to belong to a long-lost people to be ethnic? Is not the gray-haired ethnic subject of study in Science? Ethnicity is not associated with anything of the above, the meaning of this word is much easier. Ethnicity is a Greek word meaning the people, and ethnic meaning associated with certain people, ie everything that defines the nation: its language, traditions, everyday behavior, food … or spiritual outlook. Recently we call ethnic religion. This is a collection of traditions, faiths, lifestyles associated with people. It is often but not always, involves worship of ancestors. Sometimes it is so closely related to daily life that can not even be called “religion” (ie faith) in the Western sense of the word.

Everything seems obvious: we all belong to the people and lives up to the established rules and customs. Then, what is the meaning of “ethnic” religions?

The idea that ethnic religions are threatened with extinction. In an age when we recognize that a variety of plant and animal species is necessary for the survival of nature, the same principle should apply to people: during the centuries of ethnic religions erased one after another, with the face of the earth in the name of an indefinite “best” culture or ” faith. ” Sometimes this happened (and is still) in brutally – by the physical destruction – sometimes – by the gradual indoctrination of young generations.

Today, ethnic religions in Europe, Australia and the Americas are struggling to revive what else can be revived from the wreckage left by the various “religions” or “ideology”, which promises a bright future, a perfect society and eternal happiness, but they were just another form of conquest, destroying everything, both physical and mental, and spiritual.

However, not everything was destroyed. From the Great Plains of North America to the villages of Lithuania, the soul remained alive and waiting to be re-awakened. Proud native culture of India has never been broken and well, although under constant pressure, with both east and west.

By their nature, ethnic culture is very independent. None of them do not consider themselves superior, but they all insist on respect for their originality. And they all have the same chance: whether they are fighting for survival or for the revival, they need to communicate with each other and keep in touch. Therefore, there was WCER.

The purpose and objectives WCER

This is just a list of proposals for discussion at the second conference WCER, and he shall in no way should be regarded as definitive:

  1. Create an information center for all member organizations, in the form of a newsletter or any other available means (Internet, print media, etc.)
  2. To focus on genuine national traditions in their opposition of the invention, an artificial new religions.
  3. Create a single group to influence regional and national governments on issues of religious intolerance (with advice from regional groups).
  4. Inform and advise the media on matters of faith and native traditions (with the advice of the regional groups).
  5. Create an international library of traditional religions.
  6. Encourage the entry of non-European WCER native religious groups, including America, Asia / India and Africa.
  7. Work towards the recognition WCER as a non-governmental organization institutions in the UN.
  8. Issue official statements on important events, such as the celebration of “2000 years of Christianity.”

Universalism and the revival of paganism
Author: Konraad Elst (Belgium)

In this article I will assume a kind of dissident vzlyad for hereditary religions and universalism. As a scholar of Asian religions by profession, I became interested in striving for the revival of paganism in connection with my academic and practical studies of several standing religious traditions that are not based on Abraham, namely Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism. It is from this angle, and particularly on the advice of the outstanding contemporary Hindu philosopher Ram Swarup (1920-98), I began to deal with indigenous (in my case, European) paganism and its vozdozhdeniya today. Him and my opinion is that if the said Asian religions have survived until today, there is no reason to consider the disappearance of native European religions as historically inevitable, and there is no reason to reject their revival as a baseline ridiculous.

So, I participated as an observer in the majority of Celtic and Germanic groups involved in the revival of traditions. And frankly, I saw strange things neskotorye comparable, perhaps, from childhood diseases. Many non-genuine ideas are woven into an undefined concept of “paganism”: first, all sorts of post-Christian ideas over the last couple of centuries, such as a romantic anti-rationalism, traditionalism (pagan or reversed the Muslim counterpart of the First Council of the Catholic Church in the Vatican in 1870, a direct rejection of modernity ), feminism, movement for the protection of the environment and nationalism and, secondly, due to hostile pagan vision of Christianity as something primitive, immoral and cruel.

Perennial Philosophy

Many post-Christian movement, from traditionalists to the Theosophist, pointed to the existence of the world during the main religion that underlies all known religions. Do not take this opportunity to show criticism of these highly imperfect attempts to determine the total flow, this “eternal wisdom”, I would like to say that the basic idea is quite old. In the Rigveda (1:164:46) states:

“Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni (his) name,
And it is, the divine – a bird Garutmant;
That there is one, inspired call in many ways,
Agni, Yama, Matarishvanoy (his) name. ”

For Vedic prophets was absolutely clear that there is one truth and that people from different territories and different nations, classes and life stages will perform with their own understanding of this single truth. Diversity – it is a fact of life, not an evil to be fought, not the value that must be protected because only a single important truth, déjà based.

The old pagans had been tolerant and pluralistic in matters of religion and philosophy, but they did not practice cultural relativism (now promoted by neo-rightists “differentsialistami” and leftist “multiculturalists”). That is, they did not believe that one is as good as any other: they respect certain forms of conduct and censured others, and they praised the morals of individual neighboring cultures and sought to imitate them, and despised by others for their barbaric, effeminate, or other undesirable practices .

This keen sense of the best and the worst was the driving force for progress. Of course, they followed nravamsvoih ancestors, but not blindly. Caesar was shocked to see human sacrifice, praktivuemye Celtic Druids, because for the Romans it was a primitive ancestral tradition, canceled many centuries ago. Also, Chinese and abhorred human sacrifice Shang dynasty (ca. 12.16 cc. BC) and welcomed their subsequent cancellation of Zhou dynasty as a big step forward in the development of civilization. Not sending their ancestors in hell, as Muslims and Christians come to their pagan ancestors, they felt that the customs of ancestors were more primitive and in some cases simply no longer acceptable.

And when our ancestors were pagans saw something worthwhile in a neighboring culture, they did not ask myself: but the tradition of our ancestors, whether it? All that interested them: is it true? Is this useful? Does it work? And the reason that they were not opposed to borrowing from other cultures, was in their understanding of common conditions for all nations. Unlike many neo-pagans, they are not wailing about their “roots”, they were quite firmly rooted and the roots have not been an issue on which they focused truth. Spreading best representation of the gods in pagan cultures had the starry sky (Isis was Sirius, Osiris / Radzhapati – Orion, Balder / Mitra / Apollo – the sun, etc.), the best vseobschvselensky canvas for all to see. Thus, from its roots up, they reached the heavens, on the way inhaling a lot of good atmospheric oxygen.

Yes, they have rejected Christianity, but only in rare instances, they rejected him because of his distinct foreign origin, and more often – because of its strange or silly dogmas. Those European neo-pagans who reject the “foreign Christianity” in favor of the native Indo-European tradition “must understand that for most of them Indo-European tradition, too, was once a foreign innovation. Europe’s oldest religions, as well as the oldest Indo-European languages, now preserved only as fragments included in the Indo-European languages and religions come from the east.

Most of our biological ancestors once looked at the culture of the newly arrived Indo-Europeans and merged with it. They sacrificed their “identity” for the sake of something, they felt more complete. I am convinced that we too must not worship the “ethnic identity” as our central values, identity is and always will be, but we must strive for the truth. In this age of globalization, our goal should not consist in opposing globalization, but rather in its application, merging it with the civilization of our ancestors, and nepozvolenii its usurpation of such fallacies as consumerism, missionary Christianity, or the conquest of Islam.

Baltic religion
– History in brief
Author: Audrius Dandzila (USA)

Baltic religion flourished in the Baltic lands until the middle of the Middle Ages, when the Roman Catholic Church has declared a crusade against the Balts for their non-Christian beliefs. Balta centuries to defend their land from the Christian invaders. Prussia and Latvia were defeated. This has led to genocide and assimilation of the Baltic Prussians, whose language had disappeared at the turn of 18 th century. Latvians have fared better, with the exception that foreign domination over them lasted until 1918.

Grand Duke Gediminas (ca. 1275-1341) advocated harmony between religions in Lithuania. He allowed religious freedom, explaining that the Lithuanians and Christian Germans, Poles and Russian worship the same deity, but each in its own way. But his efforts did not stop Christian aggression.

The state of Lithuania, the last in Europe to accept Christianity, formally appealed to the new faith, to put an end to destructive wars. Nevertheless, the Christian church used cultural genocide until the 20 th century to eradicate the Baltic religion. Christianity has slowly evolved among the Balts. The Duchy of Prussia, Lithuania and the Baltic Somogitii religion was the state religion until 1410. Most Balts have continued to profess his own religion.

National Awakening in the 19 century and included a broad interest in religion and folklore of Lithuania. Daukanto (1793-1864) and Jonas Basanvitsius (1851-1927) defended the Lithuanian religion and folklore as a means of self-preservation. Lithuanian religion became popular during the short from the interwar period of independence of Lithuania. First Romuvy congregation was founded in 1929.

During sovetstkoy occupation, underground congregation Romuvy collected in Siberia in the late 40s and early 50s. In 1967 he founded “Vilnius Ethnological Romuva” and was the beginning of the public celebration of Lithuanian religious holidays. The group existed for three years. When the Soviet authorities learned the true nature of the organization, it was disbanded. Other groups and individuals, individuals continued to meet secretly. Romuva was re-established in the late 80s.

Marija Gimbutas (1921-1994) recorded a mythological story litvskoy religion in the series of books and articles, and enjoyed great popularity.

After Lithuania regained its independence in 1991, the congregation Romuvy were founded and registered in Vilnius, Kaunas and Madison (sht.Viskonsin, USA).

Followers of Lithuanian Religion chose the name “Romuva” in the 20. The word “Romuva” means a temple or shrine, as well as the abode of inner peace. Prussian main temple called “Romuva” churches with this name have been in other places.

The first congress WCER
Vilnius, Lithuania, June 1998
Author: Jonas Trinkunas (Lithuania)

Raza Festival, held at the summer solstice in 1998 in Vilnius, the meeting witnessed a large group of representatives of the pre-Christian or pagan faiths of Europe, USA and India. Such groups exist to Svema the world, including most of Europe. Their isolation had come to an end, and nastoalo time to exchange ideas and to overcome common obstacles.

The conference began on June 22 in Vilnius. Great Hall of the House of Teachers was full. This was a unique opportunity for followers of the native faith from different countries to get acquainted with each other. Usastnikov Conference welcomed Romualdas Ozolas, vice-chairman of the Lithuanian parliament. Speeches were read in two days.

At the beginning of the Conference, participants paid tribute to the memory of the Duke Gediminas on a short ceremony held near his statue, erected in 1996 on the central square of Vilnius. He was a pagan ruler of 14 th century, to defend Lithuania from the Christian crusaders who wanted to force him to pay the nation. This tserenomiya was organized with the active participation of members Romuvy, the Society of the Baltic faith.

Romuva, on whose initiative convened an international meeting, already has experience of working with other organizations of similar persuasion, beginning with its neighbors: the Latvians, Russian and Belarus. In 1997, a meeting was held in Uzpaliay, Lithuania, together with representatives of the Baltic countries, Russia, Ukraine and Poland. Through these regular contacts, it became clear that “pagan” movement share common ideas, interests and incentives as well as interesting differences. We can learn from each other and share experiences. At the same time, pagan activities have evolved in Western Europe, among others, by the Pagan Federation in England and organizations Asatrufelagidh in Iceland. It’s time to establish links between the supporters of the old faith of the Western and Eastern Europe.

Slavic delegation at the first conference WCER

Romuva convened the World Congress of Ethnic Religions. The word “world” emphasizes the global scope of traditions and cultural coverage, to which we aspire, and provides an opportunity to join the Congress of any groups of followers of the faith and native individuals.

At the first meeting had two objectives:
1. Acquainted with each other, our problemeami and ideas;
2. Come to an understanding on future cooperation and the formation of the organization.

At the end of the conference participants met and decided to create their own organization. Most agreed to call it a World Congress of Ethnic Religions (WCER). Many expressed the view that WCER be based in Vilnius, as the spirit of tolerance and benevolence is still alive in Lithuania and in Vilnius reign of Grand Duke Gediminas the spirit. Romuvu asked to make all necessary preparations. Drafted the Declaration, which expresses the pagan point of view in modern society.

From the constitution Forn Sed (Norway)

“The old tradition is not a secret order, she had no hierarchy, no leaders with extravagant titles, as in many modern Asatru organizations in Norway and other countries. We also do not need the clergy, ptomu that it is contrary to our traditions. The old tradition is not a re-creation as claimed by many, it has survived, thanks to popular belief, traditions and myths, having existed for thousands of years without the religious leaders and hierarchy. “