A few years ago I started reading a bit about the roots of the religion that I had fallen away from. I was schooled by nuns and raised as a good Polish Cat-lick (that's Chicago-ese for "Catholic"), so it goes without saying I had to look for something else. There is a lot of great stuff about the writings that the early Church fathers decided wouldn't be part of the Bible; I think many of these decisions were made by the marketing department. I followed the path of the Cathars and Templars, etc. wherever I could find a thread. It's a worthy search in itself, but that's not what I wanted to add to this thread.
One thing that bothered me about the spread of the religions of the book (Tanakh, Bible, Koran)was their ability to stomp out most traces of the old religions. St. Patrick chased the snakes out of Ireland - a veiled reference to his ability to eliminate the competition. One of the books that has a lot of bits and pieces and that I was directed toward was "The Golden Bough" by an author whose name escapes me (I'm at my place of business and not near the book; I'm sure another 'catter (Cathar?) will be kind enough to fill it in). There is a lot of blather, but there is some good stuff on the Druids and other tree huggers from around the world. It's worth checking out and also a wonderful cure for insomnia.
Two things in closing: Why do so many religions feel that our real home and our true reward is beyond and outside this earthly realm? The old religions, those Pagan faiths the nuns warned me about were mostly rooted in a love for the earth, the only home I've ever known. With May 1 approaching, it might be worth discussing how our mother the earth got nudged aside by our mother the church.
My favorite pre-christian song is the theme from the Flintstones. I believe they pre-date the rise of Christianity by quite a bit, which explains why - unlike the Simpsons - they never go to a Church, Temple or Synagogue (SP?).
Peace to you all and don't forget to tell your mother that you love her.