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WHEEL OF TIME AND PAGANISM

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Guest fox-lionheart

I know this might start a bit of a controversy, but I believe that Robert Jordan has taken a lot of Pagan references and put them into the Wheel of Time series. As a Pagan I have noticed this, but that is not why I am starting this thread. I have noticed a lot of Paganism in Harry Potter as well, but not enough to call J.K. Rowling a Pagan.

 

I don't believe that Robert Jordan is a Pagan, but I believe he knows a lot about it. For instance, at the end of Eye of the World, the characters meet the Greenman, a well-known Pagan God. The amount of women importance is also a Pagan reference, since Pagan's hold women higher.

 

Like I stated before, it might be a bit controversial, but I am not here to start a controversy, but to throw out my opinion on the Wheel of Time series.

 

Love Always & Blessed Be,

Xander

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Well, since all "pagan" really means is non-Christian (or Jewish, or Muslim), then yeah, there's scads of it. Jordan incorporated elements from just about every religion and mythological lexicon there is (to varying degrees). And then turned them on their heads. Most fantasy seems to do that. As David Eddings stated in the Rivan Codex (published about ten years after the last time he wrote anything that was less than terrible and thusly undermining his credibility here), "Pagans have more fun".

 

Why it should be a controversial subject here, I don't know. I would think being a fantasy reader requires an open mind on theistic worldviews. Don't worry, though; I doubt anybody who stood in a picket line to boycott the Harry Potter movies reads Jordan anyway.

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FANTASY.. as a Genre tends to incorporate floods of Paganism. Nothing slightly surprising about that too me.

 

I also disagree, RJ's world is terribly monotheistic. Has more relation to Christian mythology than pagan.

 

There is one Creater=God=Yahweh whatever.

 

One Dark One=Shaitain=Satan=Lucifer.

 

It's the whole great and distant God vs terribly horrible adversary who is activly involved in the world. You've found a few instances of Pagan influences, but it is much more heavily christian.

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RJ is a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge borrower when it comes to religion and lore. not sure how that starts any controversy - if you have a college-level (or even high school-level) education you see a lot of parallels in WoT.

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As for the women being "in charge" that was caused in large part by a series RJ read before starting WoT where women were not allowed to do magic but men were.

 

P.S. In the future please don't use all caps in your titles.

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Here's a thread already discussing the mythological and theological contributions to WoT. My two cents: WoT is less paganistic (in a Gardnerian sense) than is it Judeo-Christian. Although I'd say it is almost as Norse as it is J/C. Rand being a direct Jesus analog and all three of the boys being extremely similar to Norse gods. If you use the traditional (non wicca) definition of pagan (ie any theological system not derived from Abram-istic monotheism) then I'd say it begins to even out. Its clear that RJ has firm roots in theology and mythological stories in any case.

 

As an aside, the green man isn't a strictly pagan deity, there are references to similar concepts as far back as 5000 years or so and even in Judaism and Islamic traditions.

 

I'm inclined to think the green man is also based off of Al-Khidr, who is reputed to be the green knight of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. He is also tied to Islamic prophecies concerning the end of the world. Renowned for sitting on a barren landscape and when he arose it was green with growth, its implied that he caused the growth. He was also known for being extremely pious and exceedingly knowledgable, also much like Someshta.

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It's not suprising considering almost any work of fiction will incorperate some aspects of a non Christian religion, not too fond of the word "Pagan" as it is usually used to demean people who aren't Christian, however I think RJ uses more Christian references than non in his books, as previously stated Rand being the representative of Christ.

 

I'm tired I'll post more here when I wake up.

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It's not suprising considering almost any work of fiction will incorperate some aspects of a non Christian religion' date=' not too fond of the word "Pagan" as it is usually used to demean people who aren't Christian, however I think RJ uses more Christian references than non in his books, as previously stated Rand being the representative of Christ.

 

I'm tired I'll post more here when I wake up.[/quote']

 

No Pagan was simply a term. The term itself was not dismissive or inferior. Simply the only negative connonation was that any religion that was not Abrahamic was often labelled Pagan. Then it was used derisively by people, i.e "Oh you mean that Pagan *snort*! Sure I know him."

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If im not mistaken, The Wheel of Time is a Hindu, or buddhist concept. Leaning more towards Hindu. The snake biting its own tail, a symbol of infinity, is a concept accepted more by non-christians. Time extending indefinantly into the past and future is not somthing christians are all that keen on.

 

Needless to say there is plenty of non-christian imagery throughout the entire series.

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The ouroboros is the snake devouring itself. Its also known as the world snake. Its western influence is primarily alchemical, but is explicitly connected to gnostic and hermetical teachings.

 

There are explicit Norse connections in the series so I'm inclined to connect the Aes Sedai symbol to Jörmungandr, a norse representation. In the last battle (Ragnarok) Thor will smite the dragon, only to fall victim to its venom after he slays it. (A possible foresight into Rand binding the tower to his cause, and even his betrayal by a sister? Its would be very Judas-like.)

 

In a christian sense the ouroboros symbolizes the worldly universe and the self-immolating nature of the material world.

 

In the hindu faith the ouroboros encircles the tortoise that hold up the four elephants that hold up the world.

 

In addition there are a few peices of aztec art picturing the serpent god as an ecircling snake.

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I'm not sying Jesus is the only martyr figure out there, although he is certainly among the most prominent. The Fisher King though is a direct reference to the keeper of the grail and as a wounded beggar, is EXTREMELY similar to the christ figure. Rand's wound in the side, corwn of swords, messianic tendencies, and his 'being born to a maiden' are implicit and direct references to Jesus, to deny that would be silly.

 

The wheel of time is a dharmic reference, and explicitly non-christian.

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Guest fox-lionheart
The whole rand = jesus thing isn't completing the whole picture. Jesus doesn't own the savior/matyrhood you know. :P

*Anyways' date=' Rand isn't the creators son!*[/quote']

 

I agree. I don't see anything that connects Rand and Jesus. Rand doesn't seem anything like Jesus and I would have never put two and two together. However, yes I do see some Christian symbolism in the books, but I see more Pagan references than anything.

 

As for Pagan meaning anything non-christian and used as a derrogative term, I feel this is rediculous. Paganism is indeed a religion and does not mean anything non-christian. Paganism is an earthbased religion and is an umbrella for many paths: witchcraft, druidism, shamanism, wicca, etc. No big deal on it or anything, just wanted to clear the good name of Paganism.

 

Love Always & Blessed Be,

Xander

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The whole rand = jesus thing isn't completing the whole picture. Jesus doesn't own the savior/matyrhood you know. :P

*Anyways' date=' Rand isn't the creators son!*[/quote']

 

I agree. I don't see anything that connects Rand and Jesus. Rand doesn't seem anything like Jesus and I would have never put two and two together. However, yes I do see some Christian symbolism in the books, but I see more Pagan references than anything.

 

As for Pagan meaning anything non-christian and used as a derrogative term, I feel this is rediculous. Paganism is indeed a religion and does not mean anything non-christian. Paganism is an earthbased religion and is an umbrella for many paths: witchcraft, druidism, shamanism, wicca, etc. No big deal on it or anything, just wanted to clear the good name of Paganism.

 

Love Always & Blessed Be,

Xander

 

 

By definition "pagan" is an adjective describing non-monotheistic faiths. "heathen" is a derogatory term for people who are non-christians.

 

It seems to me you are thinking of neo-paganism, which refers to the new traditions coming from the 're-discoveries' of an englishman named Gardner. As such its also refered to as Gardnerian Paganism.

 

 

I don't mean you any disrespect so please don't be insulted. I'm trying to address the theological side of these discussion as academically as possible, and avoiding taking either 'side' from a theological point of view.

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I also disagree, RJ's world is terribly monotheistic. Has more relation to Christian mythology than pagan.

 

There is one Creater=God=Yahweh whatever.

 

One Dark One=Shaitain=Satan=Lucifer.

 

It's the whole great and distant God vs terribly horrible adversary who is activly involved in the world. You've found a few instances of Pagan influences, but it is much more heavily christian.

 

I actually think this is closer to being a polytheism or, to coin a word, a duotheism then the christian montheistic concept. I mean, Lucifer is not God's equal, he is an angel that God allows to exist because of love.

 

The Dark One on the other hand is a being of great power, in and off itself. Yes, if popular mythos in world of the wheel is to be believed the Creator at one stage managed to imprison him. Yet at the sime time we have noticed an avoidence on the Creator's part that certainly seems to imply that a direct confrontation is undesirable. Indeed, if you think about the nature of the wheel, rather then the Dark One being imprisoned it seems more like he is being excluded. It seems possible to me that the Creator built the Wheel to keep the Dark One out, which is a very different situation to him managing to contain him.

 

All assumptions aside we simply do not know enough about the comparative states of power between the Creator and the Dark One, but in any case the situation seems to me to have more of a dualism then a montheism. Much closer to the relationship between Angra Mainyu and Ahura Mazda of the Zoroasterian faith then the relationship between the judeo-christian God, and the failer angel lucifer.

 

I also disagree, RJ's world is terribly monotheistic. Has more relation to Christian mythology than pagan.

 

I'm less certain, despite the the nature of the Creator/Dark One dichotomy, the nature of the Wheel and ta'maral'allien seems very much closer to the pantheistic concepts of neo-pagan religions. I'm talking of the awareness of the Wheel... like the very fabric of reality itself has a certain... instinctual awareness that encompases everything in it. Not sentience, but certainly active action on behalf of the whole.

 

As an aside, the green man isn't a strictly pagan deity, there are references to similar concepts as far back as 5000 years or so and even in Judaism and Islamic traditions.

 

Indeed. Concider Mother Nature, or the Kami of Nature in Shinto... concepts of a living being of nature are fairly common. But the Green Man as described in WoT is MUCH closer to the neo-pagan.

 

If im not mistaken, The Wheel of Time is a Hindu, or buddhist concept. Leaning more towards Hindu. The snake biting its own tail, a symbol of infinity, is a concept accepted more by non-christians. Time extending indefinantly into the past and future is not somthing christians are all that keen on.

 

Especially as it is described in WoT. The concept of the Kalpass, and cyclical time that encompasses all the previous turnings.

 

I agree. I don't see anything that connects Rand and Jesus. Rand doesn't seem anything like Jesus and I would have never put two and two together. However, yes I do see some Christian symbolism in the books, but I see more Pagan references than anything.

 

I agree... i simply see the similarities as requiring too much mental twisting to fit, and the differences are much to strong for a comparative analysis between Rand and jesus to be all that interesting.

 

It seems to me you are thinking of neo-paganism, which refers to the new traditions coming from the 're-discoveries' of an englishman named Gardner. As such its also refered to as Gardnerian Paganism.

 

Neo-paganism refers to more then Gardnerian paganism. It includes many different faiths that have never had anything to do with him. Its not just faiths that are newly created (or re-created, depending on your position). Take Bene Magie for instance which is over 1,500 years old.

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As for Pagan meaning anything non-christian and used as a derrogative term' date=' I feel this is rediculous. Paganism is indeed a religion and does not mean anything non-christian. Paganism is an earthbased religion and is an umbrella for many paths: witchcraft, druidism, shamanism, wicca, etc. No big deal on it or anything, just wanted to clear the good name of Paganism.

 

Love Always & Blessed Be,

Xander[/quote']

 

To support what Tenshin_Xo said on the matter:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pagan

 

Paganism (from Latin paganus, meaning "a country dweller" or "civilian") is a term which, from a western perspective, has come to connote a broad set of spiritual or religious beliefs and practices of natural or polytheistic religions. The term can be defined broadly, to encompass many or most of the faith traditions outside the Abrahamic monotheistic group of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This group may include some of the Dharmic religions, which incorporate seemingly pagan characteristics like nature-veneration, icon-veneration, polytheism and reverence of female deities, and are thus diametrically opposite to the Abrahamic faiths. Ethnologists avoid the term "paganism", with its uncertain and varied meanings, in referring to traditional or historic faiths, preferring more precise categories such as shamanism, polytheism, or animism. The term is also used to describe earth-based Native American religions and mythologies, though few Native Americans call themselves or their cultures "pagan". Historically, the term "pagan" has usually had pejorative connotations among westerners, comparable to heathen, infidel, and mushrik and kafir (كافر) in Islam. In modern times, though, the words "pagan" or "paganism" have become widely and openly used by some practitioners of certain spiritual paths outside the Abrahamic and Dharmic religious mainstream to describe their beliefs, practices, and organized movements.[1]

 

And if you're one of those people who denounces Wiki simply because it's user-editted:

 

http://library.thinkquest.org/28111/

 

"Paganism is the broad term used to describe any religion or belief that is not Christian, Jewish or Muslim. Paganism can be traced back to Neolithic times and survived up until the middle ages when Christianity became powerful enough to erase it from existence. Paganism is an earth based religion which lays emphasis on the worship of all aspects of nature. Paganism appeared very early on in the history of the world. Examples of early paganism, can be seen in ancient Greek and Roman religions, as well as in ancient Goddess worship and Druidic religions."

 

And other sites that support the idea that Paganism isn't a specific religion:

 

http://www.religioustolerance.org/paganism.htm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/paganism/

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11388a.htm

 

There are more, but I think that's enough.

 

And to support the other part of Tenshin_Xo's point, you (fox-lionheart) are most likely referring to neo-paganism when you are referring to your religious beliefs. Though even that is a broad term used to describe several religious beliefs.

 

Saying you're Pagan is like me saying I'm Christian. Christian is a broad term meaning anything from Seventh-Day Adventist to Catholic.

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Jordan himself has said that it's Manichean, but it works.

 

Don't know about the Manichean heresy? Look it up! It's educational!

 

He did draw on "Wiccan" beliefs somewhat for how the One Power is separated/colored, etc.

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The Manichean's were a mixture of abrahamic, buddhist and zoroasterian faiths with little connection to any of the neo-pagan sects. Incidently refering to it as a heresy is slightly narrow concidering it very nearly drove christianity to its knees... a rival faith, ill concede, a heresy... it was way to powerful for that.

 

But i do agree looking up the Manicheans is interesting. Best quote ever.

 

Yahweh: I am Yahweh, God unrivalled. There is no one above me.

 

Yahweh's Mother: Don't tell lies.

 

 

Also, now you mention it i do see a fairly powerful similarity between the Wheel and Manicheaism. Especially the whole nature of reality thing. Even the Dark One and the Creator.

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I'm aware it should more appropriately be called the Manichean Schism, I just like how "Manichean heresy" rolls off the tongue.Besides, I figured anyone that did a little casual research would be intrigued by the discrepancy and dig a bit more- I'm fairly certain Jordan used the Manichean beliefs as a primary source for modelling the Wheel of Time theocracy, although he used more the Buddhist Jain sect beliefs as a source for theology.

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Fair enough. Though, incidently, Jainism isn't a sect of buddhism. Mahavira predates Siddhartha, and teaches a more conventional ascetic practice then Buddha's middle path. I do see aspects of it in the Way of the Leaf though. And the Water Way.

 

I'm not sure the relevance, because i have never studied Free Masonry, and have no real idea what it is about, but RJ is a Free Mason. Does anyone know if there is correlations?

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there is actually quite a bit of christian symbolism. rand is paying the ultimate sacrifice for the good of mankind, it is not the exact personality or character type that makes it symbolism but the basic principle behind all of it.also, historically the man Jesus actually died from a spear in his side ,not just crucifixion, just as rand is supposed to die of his wound. furthermore the name of the greenman could come from the association of green with the growing of plants.

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I'm not sure the relevance' date=' because i have never studied Free Masonry, and have no real idea what it is about, but RJ is a Free Mason. Does anyone know if there is correlations?[/quote']

 

Can you provide a source on that Luckers? That piques my curiosity now. If RJ is a freemason, it could mean a few things. If he is a "Shriner"/"Freemason" it could mean the following...

 

In addition to the main body of Freemasonry derived from the British tradition, there are now a number of appendant groups that are primarily social or fun organizations, which have no official standing in Freemasonry but which draw their membership from the higher degrees of Freemasonry. They are especially prevalent in the United States. Among those known for their charitable work are the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (the “Shriners”). Female relatives of Master Masons may join the Order of the Eastern Star; boys, the Order of DeMolay and the Order of Builders; and girls, the Order of Job's Daughters and the Order of Rainbow. English Masons are forbidden to affiliate with any of the fun organizations or quasi-Masonic societies, on pain of suspension.

 

I would guess he has a connection/affiliate in the US(duh)...but RJ is a unique indvidual. If he has connection to the British masonry (unlikely), it means somewhat the following. I emphasize somewhat due to the subjective nature of the topic.

 

the teachings and practices of the secret fraternal order of Free and Accepted Masons, the largest worldwide secret society. Spread by the advance of the British Empire, Freemasonry remains most popular in the British Isles and in other countries originally within the empire.

 

Freemasonry evolved from the guilds of stonemasons and cathedral builders of the Middle Ages. With the decline of cathedral building, some lodges of operative (working) masons began to accept honorary members to bolster their declining membership. From a few of these lodges developed modern symbolic or speculative Freemasonry, which particularly in the 17th and 18th centuries, adopted the rites and trappings of ancient religious orders and of chivalric brotherhoods. In 1717 the first Grand Lodge, an association of lodges, was founded in England.

 

Freemasonry has, almost from its inception, encountered considerable opposition from organized religion, especially from the Roman Catholic Church, and from various states.

 

Though often mistaken for such, Freemasonry is not a Christian institution. Freemasonry contains many of the elements of a religion; its teachings enjoin morality, charity, and obedience to the law of the land. For admission the applicant is required to be an adult male believing in the existence of a Supreme Being and in the immortality of the soul. In practice, some lodges have been charged with prejudice against Jews, Catholics, and nonwhites. Generally, Freemasonry in Latin countries has attracted freethinkers and anticlericals, whereas in the Anglo-Saxon countries, the membership is drawn largely from among white Protestants.

 

In most lodges in most countries, Freemasons are divided into three major degrees—entered apprentice, fellow of the craft, and master mason. In many lodges there are numerous degrees—sometimes as many as a thousand—superimposed on the three major divisions; these organizational features are not uniform from country to country.

 

The brief synopsis of freemasonry here is too brief and simplistic, but somewhat accurate. Take from it what you will, but I do have to source the quoted material though.

 

Freemasonry. (2007). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved March 24, 2007, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9035303

 

Best quote ever.

 

Yahweh: I am Yahweh, God unrivalled. There is no one above me.

 

Yahweh's Mother: Don't tell lies.

 

:lol: :lol: :lol:

 

Peace! That is a classic quote, thanks for sharing!

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It's in one of his blogs from a while back. He was answering questions, and he said something along the lines of 'good catch [insert random blog reader]. Yes I am a Free Mason'

 

I'm guessing someone picked up an allusion in the text, and questioned him on it.

 

Thanks for the source on Freemasonry. It doesn't really have a presense in Australia and i had no real idea what it was about.

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