From Under the Editor's Rock...

The Dei Et Mundo MSS

By Sheik Sebir

One may wonder why I'd bother to type in an old manuscript like "Dei Et Mundo" or "On the Gods and the World" by Platonis Sallustius which is at least 1700 years old. For some time now, I've wanted ot discuss aspects of Neo-Paganism that the "Mainstream Neo-Pagan Publishers" have no use for, don't have time for, or would rather ignore. How can a Religion have only one Goddess; a God and Goddess [God/dess]; and a Pantheon of Gods and Goddesses all at the same time and hope to arrive at a any kind of rational explanation for such goings-on to Outsiders ??? Can one fold up a Pantheon and put it in One's pocket without doing a great deal of violence to Classic Hellenism and Paganism in the process ?? How can we Pagans hope to show that this situation is not only rational but preferable ? Neo-Platonism is a Philosophy that works in the Background to keep everything from becoming one big contradiction - whether you're into Wicca or Druidism, Classical Paganism or The Bleeding Edge. Sallustius' little treatise sets the stage for greater things !

Then there are more personal reasons: I was searching for a "Trad" that would have some special Qualities:

  1. It would be an undisputable Pagan Source, preferably Classical, that would have readily available written material.

  2. It would be a late source that would look back upon at least Four Thousand years of unbroken Tradition.

  3. It would be able to explain and document not only Paganism's ancient forms, but it would also explain and support more modern forms because it is the legitimate transition to those forms.

  4. It would also be nice if his "Trad" had been a working Religion, whose Philosophy had stood at the Heart of Western Civilization, instead of its boondocks - and support both.

  5. It would be one that supported and touch on Modern Pagan Themes like Gaia; Ceremonial magickal practices as part and parcel of its central rites and practices.

  6. It would be nice if the Trad could at one remove bypass the Xian Dark Ages of Justinian, Theodosius and their Imperial successors, for tracing "unbroken Trads" through these periods is a nightmare and is all but impossible. I wouldn't have to show or claim an unbroken Traditon for either myself or the founders of modern Wicca and Neo-Paganism. I'd only need show that these Founders had heard of Neo-Platonism, Gnosticism or Theosophy !!

So, why read a 1700 year old treatise that's certainly out of date, and has all but lost its relevance to the modern world:

  1. It's a snapshot of Neo-Platonism in the Roman Emperor Julian's reign, just after Constantine.

  2. It shows what knowledgable Pagans of that Era were using as an underlying premise to religion.

  3. It authoritatively states the Neo-Platonist; therefore the Hellenist and Classical Pagan View of the World.

  4. It's ideas make a good introduction to Neo-Paganism and provides some help in understanding the modern forms.
  5. It's good reference material for a comparison study to the Xtian Neo-Platonists (Augustine, Aquinas, and the Cambridge School)

  6. It states the belief that The World shall stand Forever and Reincarnation which directly opposes the Xtian doctrines of a New Heaven and a New Earth and the Resurrection, respectively.

  7. It's ideas about religion in general, and the Gods and morality in particuliar, need to be restated and examined.

  8. It shows that Neo-Pagans have authoritive books too !

Although his science is often quaint, his logic somewhat convoluted, and his errors, looking back through 1700 years of hindsight, are "obvious". One senses that Sallustius' little treatise isn't ready for the scrap heap just yet. This is the best that latter Roman Paganism had to offer in a short treatise - and it's good - far better than what Xianity - "Organized Ignorance", has produced until now. In fact, most of the heavy Xtian theologians have used it extensively in their own works. One thing you'll notice immediately is this treatise makes absolutely no attempt at defining what the Masses were or were not to believe - nor did he overly give a &*%$# what they did or didn't believe ! This was one of the chief failings of both Neo-Platonism, and to a lesser extent, Witchcraft and Neo-Paganism. Note: Sallustius and Sallust[ius] are NOT the same person.

-[[ When something is enclosed [in brackets] it's, hopefully, a clarification. [[ When its in double brackets its an Editor's comment ]]. ]]

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