I am Wiccan, which is a religion of present day witchcraft. My mother’s family is shaman; my father’s side of the family is Roman Catholic. Wicca has many divisions and subdivisions from Quaker Wicca to Hoodoo Wicca and from Shaman Wicca to Pagan Wicca. It’s as though Wicca absorbed, immersed, other religions and cultural traits. But, looking at Christianity, it seems like that religion absorbed other religions and cultural traits as well.
Such reflection was noted in Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol with examples that were really shocking to read. “Don’t tell anyone, but on the pagan day of the sun god Ra, I kneel at the foot of an ancient instrument of torture and consume ritualistic symbols of blood and flesh…And if any of you care to join me, come to the Harvard chapel on Sunday, kneel beneath the crucifix, and take Holy Communion.”
A conquering religion often retains some of the subjugated religion’s traditions to make the conversion easier. An example of such blending is hidden in the text of Beowulf by the Beowulf Poet (translated by Burton Raffel). From the beginning, Beowulf held Pagan and Christian traditions. “There in the harbor was a ring-prowed fighting ship…and there they brought the beloved body of their ring-giving lord…They heaped up treasures…then sadly let the water pull at the ship, watched it slowly sliding to where neither rulers so nor heroes nor anyone can say whose hands opened to take that motionless cargo” (Line 32-Line 52, Prologue).
To send their king out to sea with treasure on a ship lit on fire, to send him to the afterlife in water and fire…it gives the impression to be more Pagan based upon my research of the religion. When things became bleak, “…sometimes they sacrificed to the old stone gods, made heathen vows…” (Line 90-Line 91, Epic 1). They mentioned omens, “…The omens were good,” (Line 118, Epic 1), and they mentioned fate, “Fate saves the living when they drive away death by themselves!” (Line 305-Line 306, Epic 7).
Yet, in contrast, you hear them comment, “The Almighty making the earth…Till the monster stirred…Grendel, who haunted moors, the wild Marshes, and made his home in a hell not hell but earth. …banished by God, punished forever for the crime of Abel’s death. The...