Pagan Heart

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Clear to me on this Easter Sunday is the reality of what I might temporarily term “my Pagan Heart.”

Of course, the term “Pagan” is problematic for a variety of reasons that boil down to our being human and being limited by language. Different people mean different things by “Pagan,” and the more pedantic among us will waste our time splitting hairs.

Our Modern Paganism is at times (perhaps more often than not) intertwined with the whole of the Western Mystery Tradition.

So you see, for me, Christianity and Wicca (to give two examples) are different flowers growing on the same plant, or at least different varieties of a certain sort of plant.

To further my point: I have the Pagan Heart in the sense that I see Christ and Christian worship not as an archenemy or as a path solely unto itself, but as “another God for the pantheon.”

That is a heresy to some on “both sides” of the discourse. For me, time has shown once and again that I cannot practice only one religion at a time.

Given, my Christianity is the mystical, Gnostic flavor, so my perspectives on Christ were already different.

I’m not sure how the Demiurge and such fit into a more Pagan worldview, but I’m also not here to try to force views to fit together. Perhaps the point isn’t to reconcile all things that can’t understand and fit reality together like a massive, crushing jigsaw puzzle but rather is to accept that blatant contradictions exist.

I’ve decided to start a Youtube vlog on Paganism. Commentary, thoughts, experiences, those sorts of things. Not entirely sure when that’s going up, but we’ll see.

Major topics will include thoughts on polytheism and mysticism and such.

Steve

More Dreams

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Last night, I had a dream I was being baptized (? maybe) and confirmed again, in some other Church.

The Gnostic Church?

It’s hard to tell.

The dream was important, though…I know that much.

My dreams lately seem more important.

Still doing rituals. Today, it was heavily Christian in nature as I specifically invoked Jesus Christ as the Lord of Nature and so on.

One thing of which I am certain this life now- there is a God of Nature, as in some kind of God or Spirit or Life Force that flows through the natural world and connects us. I can’t be sure of other things relating to spirituality- but the Nature God is definitely real.

Steve

Judaism

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Lately, I’ve been romancing Judaism. I’m not sure how else to phrase delicately my obsessions with different world traditions, but there you have it.

So much of the concepts I’ve found in Reform Judaism are absolutely magnificent. I’ve learned about Talmud and Zohar. I’ve forced myself to study the Hebrew alphabet which was incredibly difficult to learn- something unusual for someone like myself who’s pretty geared toward languages and especially scripts.

Also, since I can read a good bit of Japanese, it says something that I think Hebrew was more difficult to learn…but then that’s not a fair comparison.

I’ve ended up with a copy of the Tanakh that’s in Hebrew AND English, and I’ve been reading through the Bible this year. I started with my Catholic Edition and then picked up in the Tanakh when it arrived in the mail.

So far, I’ve made it to Deuteronomy.

Let me tell you, I was all like, “Oh, well, God isn’t all that bad in Exodus…” and then I got to Leviticus, and the Crazy Old Testament God appeared. I mean, there was bad stuff in Exodus, no doubt, but Leviticus is where things just go nuts.

More importantly than worrying over that, as an adult, I can see easily that the Scriptures were redacted- I can tell that various places are uneven or out of place. For people who never bother to read the Scriptures, it makes sense to think of it as a seamless whole- and for people who do bother to read the Scriptures, suddenly that inerrancy and seamless whole business falls away for a variety of reasons, uneven pacing, interjection of unrelated material, and isolated events that don’t seem worth mentioning being only a few of them.

Even through my consideration of, “Well, what if I converted to Judaism?” all it took was picking up my copy of The Gnostic Bible and reading just a few commentaries and Scriptures therein to be reminded that, well, I’m Gnostic. It just made sense, and I felt at home.

Of course, Gnosticism also begin with Judaism, so there’s that…

Judaism seems to have a greater degree of praxis that’s accessible to its adherents. The Shabbat blessings on bread and wine and so on? Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

So yes. I’m romancing Judaism while also remaining confused about why people would bother to take the Bible literally. Then again, that’s only the Written Torah; the Spoken Torah has more information, and I think I read somewhere that the Zohar understands from the get-go that what’s discussed in the Torah isn’t literal but means something else entirely.

God, help me!!!

Steve

The Reluctant Christian and the Lone Wolf

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My husband and I attend a Unitarian Universalist Church. If you’re interested in which one, I’ll post their website.

I don’t plan on becoming a UU even in light of the recent developments in my renouncing mainstream Christianity for (hopefully) the last time. I haven’t made any movements to officially move my church member records from the Episcopal Church, but when I become a member of a Gnostic Church, that will happen, and there my records will go, and there my records will stay.

To become UU would not solve the problem; to be a sort of nominal UU solves the problem because, as one teacher one said, it’s a good idea to find a group of like-minded individuals, or you’re going to have a hard time.

No, I don’t have to agree with the secular humanists or pagans or anyone else who attends the UU; rather, I can love them and have them love me in return and experience a profound level of community among fellow seekers. However, to declare myself one of them might actually compromise my integrity- I like them, I sympathize with them, but I am not, at heart, one of them, and to declare myself so would be compromise in what I actually want, but more so, what I actually need.

I should point out that I will always, always, ALWAYS be fond of the time I spent at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Ozark, Alabama; I have nothing negative to say about my former priest or the parishioners there.

My issue is something I’ve highlighted before; where my spiritual quest, and where it’s going, is somewhere beyond the reach of where most people are currently. That isn’t to pat myself on the back, I’m just trying to explain that while I would recommend the Episcopal Church to anyone who is comfortable with mainstream Christianity as a sort of liberal alternative to Catholicism and so on, I can’t profess doctrines or uphold views that I have constantly qualify.

I’m more involved, along with my husband, at the UU Church than I’ve ever been in any other organization. But then, I realize, I’ve been attending there with him longer than I’ve been attending the Episcopal Church, at least at THIS point.

The other night at the Humanism Class, in context of the discussion, I referred to myself as a “Reluctant Christian.”

I’m reluctant for many reasons, not the least of which is the extremely ridiculous history of mainstream Christianity; I feel like I’m trying to salvage diamonds out of shit at times.

Yet the diamonds in question are often worth the battle.

My home state of Alabama recently had Marriage Equality push forward. Naturally, the bigots in the state have fought and fought and fought the Marriage Equality ruling, and the self-styled Real, True Christians are commenting profusely online.

The usual comments are people slinging Bible verses everywhere or saying God defined marriage as between one man and one woman, and I just have to roll my eyes…or troll the people, depending on how I feel.

Because seriously, I don’t know who decided that firing off Bible verses would convince anyone, but it doesn’t. Ever. If anything, people get tired of seeing Bible verses that are taken out of context and don’t hold any authority over them anyway- the Dead Letter of the Scriptures cannot save us and has never saved us.

And like, if this is the way Christians behave, who the hell wants to be a Christian? I’m thoroughly confused about what’s appealing in mainstream Christianity, and the promise that I won’t burn forever in some hypothetical and probably derived-from-bad-theological-readings Hell isn’t really enough of a motivation.

I finally gave up fighting the heresy label. I just don’t fucking care anymore- by God, I’m a heretic, and I’m proud of being a heretic if it means I don’t get lumped in with all those blithering idiots out that follow the American Bible Religion.

The question is, why even bother with Christianity at all? But yes. There are good things there, even if the good things are in the minority. I need the potency of the Holy Eucharist; I need my prayer beads and my crucifixes and my iconography; I need my Scriptures talking about Sophia’s repentances. Because then my spirit is quiet, and I can slowly fall in love with God again and again, each time the same and yet different, each time a stillness and a movement.

Since I’m probably effectively the only Gnostic Christian at the UU Fellowship, I like to think of myself as the “Lone Wolf.” Yeah. I like that title. Makes me feel special.

My heart does go out to Alabama and to the many, MANY couples there who now have the right to marry but are facing bigots who tell them they can’t, and moreover, the many bigots who seem to be under the erroneous impression that their own point of view is the dominant one.

Judge Roy Moore is an embarrassment. They kicked him out of one time for doing something similar, and people mocked me for being from Alabama and asked if Roy Moore thought he was the Second Coming of Jesus.

Not only is he an embarrassment, he unfortunately reinforces the stereotypes about Alabama AND mainstream Christianity. His attitude is exactly the sort of thing that holds society back and causes the anti-theists to have a field day mocking all religion. Good grief.

I wish I could be charitable; in reality, no matter the injustice, these are just the death cries. Come the summer, the Supreme Court of the USA will rule in favor of Marriage Equality, the idiocy will have to completely stop then, and that aspect of the battle will be done. Non-discrimination policies are a different thing, though.

The Rolling, Golden Cloud

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I get headaches quite a bit, a cycle that goes through every few days or weeks.

Sometimes, the headaches are obviously from stress- I stress out really easily, and my mind-body naturally overreacts. I’ve attempted to curve this nature, to mute it, to lull it, to bring peace instead of freak-outs, yet that seems to largely be an exercise in repression.

Yesterday, my husband I attended a funeral for the woman who was my grandmother-in-law; my mother-in-law’s mother, or more accurately, my stepmother-in-law’s mother.

I find it odd to be at a funeral for a person I had never met or known in life.

She sounded like a good woman, like she had lived a good life, and I’m glad for that. She was truly loved.

In the midst of it all, I didn’t maintain the kind of “awareness” that one should have at those times- I found it difficult to turn to Wisdom, and I mostly felt irritated and had a headache come on in the middle of the service.

Today, I’m at home, and I’ve had a good, long rest. I’m not sure what the mystics of yore would say- whether or not sleeping and dreaming have much to do with the spiritual life- but it is the processes of the dreams that I have found comfort and the ability to truly rest.

Today, even though I have a headache, I can slowly turn my awareness to the dazzling, golden cloud that’s bursting forth in my brain. It’s rolling and tumbling and full of all things. The Divine Spark.

I am surprised that it is there. I shouldn’t be, but the skeptical nature bred into in my teenaged years remains strong.

At long last, I’m beginning to understand what the Sufis mean by “remembering” and so on.

And it is true- the Lived Reality of God is nothing like what you might conceive. The Ladder of Being and Non-Being appears quite clearly- this magnificent golden cloud tossing and turning in my mind is only the bottom rung.

But by God, if people, if every man, woman, and child, could have this experience and live it constantly, the world would be healed, and the true purpose of mankind would unfold. The end of all our ills would happen, finally. We would be able to then cure all the physical ailments because our minds would seek out the answers fluidly and easily- the painstaking mental processes we go through now would be bolstered by Divine and Immediate intuition.

I have not made it here on my own. I have put forth effort, but the saints and the dead have prayed for me, my loved ones and friends in this world have prayed for me, and it is only through their prayers and my cooperation with the Grace God has offered me that I can even begin to have a tiny experience of the Good.

Now I pray, more fervently than ever, that I would be able to maintain this awareness- I pray for the infinite grace necessary to always remember the Christ-Sophia, in all moments, in every experience in life. The truth of pain and of luxury and of all the things we go through can only be known through this experience of perfect infinity.

My heart leaps gladly. May my temporal anger and fear be swallowed; may my appetites and passions that would hurt others be swallowed; may my life be surrendered to God Most High this day and always.

Amen.

The Little Office of the Blessed Sophia

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The Reverend Erik Winsor’s Little Office of the Blessed Sophia is now out.

I have my copy, and it’s amazing for all the Gnostics out there as well as devotees of Sophia in more mainstream paths.

Our Lady Sophia, pray for us!

Pax vobiscum.

Stevo

One Thing

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Michael Strojan wrote some things, as he’s wont to do.

Check it out. His blog caused controversy on Bro. Pier-Giorgio’s blog as well. Yay!

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