After coming out, I’ve been contemplating the best way forward concerning future explanatory blogs about my newfound pagan path.
The purpose of this blog is to express myself openly and hopefully share some things that people can appreciate or at least chew on. I learn a lot from reading others’ blogs and musings, and any sharing I receive back as a result of my own blog is a wonderful bonus. I really do love discussion, though I want to go about it in a way that will remain enjoyable and meaningful to me, for the most part.
Bearing all that in mind, I’ve decided to focus on describing/explaining what it is I like about paganism; what drew me to it and why it’s worked so well for me so far. I may say some things about Christianity in the process since that is my background faith – negative things sometimes, though not always. I don’t hate Christianity. Not even close. Or any other system of beliefs for that matter.
Hence, having just said that, I will make it my first reason for adopting this wonderful faith – its view of other worldviews. It is such a tolerant, reasoned and, one would hope as much as possible, non-patronising attitude. Other (very different) ways of believing are seen as equally valid, correct and useful. How can that be, you ask? Well, a belief that helps there is the idea of each person having their own karmic path. Often a lot of emphasis is also placed on one’s intuition as a human being. Though it’s not the be-all and end-all, it is believed to be there for an important reason, not to be ignored, suppressed or taken too lightly.
So, my view of you as a Christian, Atheist, Buddhist, Satanist, or Hindu – for example – is not that you have it all wrong and are missing out on something. It’s that you’ve found a truth. A way of expressing your human experience that works for you, that perfectly satisfies your karmic purpose in this lifetime and fulfils your intuitive drive. And since I believe the Divine is all/is in all, you are no less of a ‘spiritual’ being than I am. By virtue of living in this universe as a human being, you are part of one vast organism – something I see as an intelligent, sentient, divine expression. And even if, as an atheist for instance, you do not see it as that, you are still part of this universe, this physical reality, which puts you on an absolutely equal footing to myself in my view.
In the same vein, proselytising is not something pagans generally feel the need to do at all, which is a big change from the Christian worldview and has done me so much good psychologically.
Mysticism – I’ve always been somewhat of a mystic even as a Christian. I like to think of myself as a reasonable mystic, though I’m sure there are those that would understandably contest there’s no such thing. Well, surprise! Teehee!
So, I never went on “The Holy Spirit told me” tangents, but I’ve always craved experiencing and learning about mysterious spiritual things that are as yet empirically unproven. When it comes to flights of fancy, I suppose you could say I have a first class ticket, though I do like to be as logical as I can about how I arrive at the beliefs I have. The idea of psychic abilities, divination, energy play, etc are very exciting ones to me. Right now I’m very much in the learning/philosophising/theorising phase of my pagan path, so I’m holding off a little on the mystic part for the time being. I also don’t like to jump into these kinds of experiences uninformed/too glibly. But you can bet your prettiest Tarot deck I’ll be dabblin’ soon enough ^.^
Magic(k) and psychology – To be perfectly honest, mystic and all, the whole magic(k) thing did scare me off at first. I guess this is hardly surprising considering my background.
I put these two in a ‘category’ together, because to me there’s so much of the one thing inherent in the other. They’re certainly not the same thing, but they are wonderfully closely related ^.^ For example – and I speak only for myself here – I see most psychotherapies as a form of magic(k), or as containing a significant dose of it.
Likewise, there is sooo much psychology to be found in spellcrafting. Magic(k) overwhelmingly has to do with effecting a desired change/outcome. To even desire a certain/different outcome requires at least some inner reflection and self-honesty. Finding the best way to put forth your intention, and assembling the energy of the outside world to help realise this change, is a very psychological exercise in itself too. To say I’m interested in human psychology is also an understatement, I admit. Hence the appeal of this religion’s strong focus on magic(k) (and therefore, I believe, psychology).
Nature reverence – I love that this religion also grounds me in a big way – brings me down to earth. Although pagans often speak in terms of the magic(k)al and the mundane, there is a commonly held belief that the physical, scientific, practical, natural things in life aren’t really unspiritual at all.
There is great reverence and appreciation especially for things as found in their raw form in nature. These things are believed to contain energies and properties that we can use to enhance or improve our dynamic, ever changing lives. We can likewise also enhance these ‘things’ by interacting with them in positive ways. I take much more pleasure in the world around me and have so much more respect for it since ‘becoming pagan.’ Man-made things included, but certainly the natural world so often taken for granted.
Balance and variety – In terms of its theology Wicca/paganism offers a beautifully balanced and varied perspective. It is a commonly held and time-honoured perspective, though open to interpretation and diverse expression. It’s so easy to make this theology truly your own. There’s more than one acceptable name for the Divine/God/the Universe/the Chi……. Whatever works for you, that’s the name you use.
For our human minds to understand and work best with this concept of divinity, it was divided into two complementary poles or aspects – male and female. This became known as The God and The Goddess, symbolised or embodied respectively by the sun and the moon. With this theology the balanced, cyclical nature of life is celebrated – light and darkness, night and day, summer and winter, new year and year-end, ocean and land, anger and love, life and death; and everything in between. (Note that these things aren’t seen as good vs. bad, but rather as complementary poles that exist regardless of our opinions about them.)
This concept of God and Goddess is then divided into further aspects with various names, attributes and stories. As a wiccan/pagan, one is free to ‘adopt as patrons’ any of these known gods and goddesses, should you wish to. If the Greek pantheon speaks to you, you’re welcome to incorporate their worship and use in your practice. Pagans can draw from various other spiritual backgrounds and worship any and all kinds of gods/goddesses. I know quite a few who ‘work with’ Mother Mary and Jesus among other entities in their own practice. For example, if having a depiction of Venus on my altar helps me in some way, or I find it effective to ‘make use of her attributes and energies’ when doing a certain spell, the attitude of paganism is – go for it! I find this beautiful and freeing. And, as a consequence, there are almost as many different flavours of Wicca as there are human beings, though they still have strong similarities binding them together under one umbrella.
Practical life-consequences – This really is a blog post unto itself and one I am so looking forward to writing, but I thought I should give it a mention here. My life just works better now. My skin feels better on me, and I feel better in it, since finding these new lenses through which to experience life.
Those are the likes that came to mind, really in no particular order. Whoever you are, whatever you believe and don’t believe, my sincere hope is that it’s working for you and helping you have the life you want. Blessed be.