aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

No viable alternative

C.S. Lewis wrote a poem called "A Cliche Came Out of Its Cage" about paganism. In it, he showed that a real return to paganism (as opposed to faux Christianity) might be a good thing. But those who flippantly talked about it weren't serious. (See below the cut for the text of his poem.)

I notice an awful lot of people who find it cool to be "pagans" these days. They're all so post-Christian and tolerant and mystical and, and . . . cool. In fact, they're everything you could want religion to be, except . . . real. They're not authentic.

Their paganism is a silly construct of all-the-stuff-we-like-without-any-of-that-sin-business-that-Xtny-is-always-so-on-about. They have no clue what real paganism -- Norse, Greek, Celtic, whatever -- was really about. I'm a devotee of what C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien called "Northernness." But the Asatru followers are just kidding themselves. So are the Wiccans. They have constructed a religious pastiche that never was, and say they are returning to the ancient faith.

What a load of codswallop.

I tell people that my ancestors had a perfectly good religion, which mainly consisted of painting themselves blue, running naked through the woods, and slaughtering horses to their gods. But they gave up that religion to follow Christ. And he's all I'm really interested in.

If I would not give him up to go back to my ancestral religion, which my ancestors really believed in, I sure wouldn't give him up for one of these crazy hodge-podges that nobody ever really believed in.



You said 'The world is going back to Paganism'. Oh bright
Vision! I saw our dynasty in the bar of the House
Spill from their tumblers a libation to the Erinyes,
And Leavis with Lord Russell wreathed in flowers, heralded with flutes,
Leading white bulls to the cathedral of the solemn Muses
To pay where due the glory of their latest theorem.
Hestia's fire in every flat, rekindled, burned before
The Lardergods. Unmarried daughters with obedient hands
Tended it. By the hearth the white-arm'd venerable mother
Domum servabat, lanam faciebat. Duly at the hour
Of sacrifice their brothers came, silent, corrected, grave
Before their elders; on their downy cheeks easily the blush
Arose (it is the mark of freemen's children) as they trooped,
Gleaming with oil, demurely home from the palaestra or the dance.
Walk carefully, do not wake the envy of the happy gods,
Shun Hubris. The middle of the road, the middle sort of men,
Are best. Aidos surpasses gold. Reverence for the aged
Is wholesome as seasonable rain, and for a man to die
Defending the city in battle is a harmonious thing.
Thus with magistral hand the Puritan Sophrosune
Cooled and schooled and tempered our uneasy motions;
Heathendom came again, the circumspection and the holy fears . . .
You said it. Did you mean it? Oh inordinate liar, stop.


Or did you mean another kind of heathenry?
Think, then, that under heaven-roof the little disc of the earth,
Foritfied Midgard, lies encircled by the ravening Worm.
Over its icy bastions faces of giant and troll
Look in, ready to invade it. The Wolf, admittedly, is bound;
But the bond will break, the Beast run free. The weary gods,
Scarred with old wounds, the one-eyed Odin, Tyr who has lost a hand,
Will limp to their stations for the last defence. Make it your hope
To be counted worthy on that day to stand beside them;
For the end of man is partake of their defeat and die
His second, final death in good company. The stupid, strong
Unteachable monsters are certain to be victorious at last,
And every man of decent blood is on the losing side.
Take as your model the tall women with yellow hair in plaits
Who walked back into burning houses to die with men,
Or him who as the death spear entered his vitals
Made critical comments on its workmanship and aim.
Are these the Pagans you spoke of? Know your betters and crouch, dogs;
You that have Vichy-water in your veins and worship the event,
Your goddess History (whom your fathers called the strumpet Fortune).

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