Untold millions of teenaged boys are receiving their daily tutorials in militaristic paganism every day in the immersive online game World Of Warcraft. Remember this is the exact same age group that spent their pre-teen years pretending to play Yu Gi Oh and watching Cardcaptors.
I wanted to do a post on the Saint John's Fires but couldn't find any good images, mainly because no one needs to call them that anymore. I found a couple good ones for the Midsummer Fires (still celebrated in the Celtic Fringe) but this image kept coming up. It turns out this is a week-long celebration of the Midsummer Fires.
On World of Warcraft.
Read this jaunty little blurb aloud in your best Ren-Fair English accent:
Ah, so you weren't chosen for Flamekeeper this year? Don't fret, my friend! The Midsummer Fire Festival isn't merely about that traditional honor; it's a time of merriment, a chance to celebrate the hottest season of the year by lighting great fires across the land and sharing in what the elemental spirits can offer. Come to our camps and join in the revelry!So war it is, again, and magic. And technology. Quite a concoction. I wonder what the kids cutting their teeth on Wizards of Waverly Place will be into a few years from now.
I asked my son about the Midsummer Fire Festival and he was genuinely shocked- and a little outraged, I might add. How could a non-WoW initiate know about such a thing? Not realizing it's been around in the real world for thousands of years.
I guess this is sort of a virtual Burning Man. Which is fine.
It's very hard to put into words, but I believe the best way to incorporate these ideas and rituals back into our culture is under the auspices of art and entertainment. I'm still working it all out, but I think Jung was leaning towards this as well, once he got over that bout of enthusiasm after his breakdown.
This is basically my working theorem: Paganism was about being absolutely beholden to nature and essentially attempting to appease it. Once humankind learned to harness the forces of nature, the old gods (the Netjer, as the Egyptians called them) began to lose their hold over us. The Mystery tradition- Eleusinian, Dionysian, etc.- was about entering into a personal relationship with the spirit realm and/or the forces of nature. This process was intentionally politicized with Monotheism, which became about being the happily obedient subject of a benevolent dictator.
What I hope we are moving to is a more mature- and less subservient- relationship to universal consciousness, especially through the use of symbol and the study of the archetypes. It's what Jeff Kripal calls the "religion of no religion." I see Synchronicity essentially as universal consciousness responding to our inquiries and guiding us along the path. What I hope this all becomes is an evolution towards an identification with universal consciousness, not more subservience (mind you, I hate terms like "consciousness" but it's all we have for now).
If it all becomes religion we're right back where we started from.