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

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New Daily Magical Practice

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This my new magical practice that I’ll be doing from now on. It corresponds with the cycle of the week, so everything happens in terms of the 7 Days.

I begin by making the Sign of the Cross. Then I trace the symbol of the day’s corresponding planet. Today is Wednesday, May 4th, so I trace the planetary symbol of Mercury in the air.

Next, I focus on the element associated with that planet- in this case, the element is water. I imagine all kinds of water as well as a shimmering, glowing, ethereal water that washes over me.

Then I focus on the planet itself and its “soul” or “essence” and allow the energy to enter me- I allow myself to really feel what the energy of the planet is like, what it accesses in my consciousness.

After this, I use the corresponding Greek name of the planet’s associated god and chant the name over and over, attempting to “tap into” the god or receive the god and so on into myself.

I’ve spent a huge chunk of today reciting the name “Hermes” over and over again, for instance.

Eventually, I plan to integrate this into Kabbalah meditation and ritual.

Speaking of which, a weird thing happened earlier. I was at the local Unitarian Universalist church, and I looked at a guy’s watch. From a distance, it looked like he had Hebrew letters inscribed on it. I realized it was just the way the watch was positioned, but I tried to make out the letters- I wasn’t sure because some Hebrew letters look similar.

When I got home and was checking out the digital Tree of Life online, I saw that Mercury was associated with the Sefirot called “Hod,” and I saw the letters and realized that’s what I saw in the watch!!!

That’s a pretty bizarre synchronicity. I guess my unconscious mind was primed for the associations that exist.

Anyway, people are free to use and adapt this mini-meditation however they wish. I’m using it as a personal practice because I need to build up the energy and have gotten out of the rhythm lately.

Steve

 

 

On Experiencing that I’m Not Pagan

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Recently, on my Facebook, I had taken to posting artwork and depictions of the Wiccan God and Goddess; a kind of movement was going through me in conceiving of That One Force in the universe as The Goddess and so on.

My husband and I did a small Wicca-based ritual before dinner this past Saturday night, and I have to say, the ritual…well, it left me empty and lacking. It didn’t nourish me the way I needed it to. I didn’t have the same connection I had once felt to any kind of Goddess-God dynamic.

I went through the Unitarian Universalism “new member” classes a few weeks ago. I actually had no interest in joining; I took the classes for the sake of my husband and to support him learning more about being UU. (He’s already a member.)

A particular status was provided for me, though- Friend of the Congregation.

And that status is identical with how I feel about Paganism in general- maybe one might making a joke and say “Friend of the Coven.”

This is most surprising to me; I genuinely thought I could partake of every religion equally, or at least to the extent that I was able, but everything suddenly has been turned on its head.

Not much left to ponder- I simply know that I’m in the realm of the Christian religion, albeit a highly mystical and esoteric one.

May the peace of God be upon you all.

Stevo

On Celebration and Paganism and More

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I sat down to write an entirely different blog than what’s about to come out.

Mainly, I think that celebration is a specific aspect of religion that has attracted me for quite some time without my being able to put my finger on it. The holidays in Catholicism, the Feast Days and such, made me especially proud.

So, too, my flirtations with Paganism and specifically Wicca largely dealt with the High Holy Days, at least in recent years. The Wheel of the Year, the High Holidays, the Formalized Rituals- this all appeals to me at my current age and since I was 22 or 23.

My blog is not the place to debate the origins of modern Paganism or Wicca or how one can identify one’s self and so on; others will rage with the battle of self-identification until the cows come home, and I’m not here to deal with that.

Naturally, it’s quite likely that most teenagers are attracted to Paganism for the aspect of self-empowerment. Contrary to what many would have you believe, the dark aspect of Wicca is something that attracts them. The image that one is a “witch” and that one can “cast spells” on one’s enemies is definitely one of power, of intimidation- and thus it frightens people, even those who boldly proclaim that they aren’t fearful, because even they have a subconscious fear that the Wiccans may actually have some power.

Paganism as a whole stands in a kind of limbo with itself. Pagans will argue amongst themselves almost as much as Christians; it’s truly amazing that a religion that should be encouraging freedom and life becomes so quickly absorbed in debates within itself.

Different than Christianity, Paganism has no centralized authority external to itself. I used to refer to this as a double-edged sword, meaning that Paganism lacks the kind of structure that we see in Christianity. However, as per the often chaotic state of Christianity, despite the sources of authority being the Pope, the Bible, Tradition, Reason, and sometimes experience, apparently external authority matters less than I think.

But the trick here is that there’s still some kind of recognizability; walk into a Catholic or Anglican parish, and you’ll notice the overarching similarities.

One Pagan’s altar can vary from another’s in the craziest way- and that’s okay. That’s truly okay. Pagans often have to make do with what they have, so it’s not a criticism.

But back to the point. Previously, I was interested only in casting spells; later on, my interest was in the use of psychological symbols and rituals that were structured and analogous to the Christian rituals.

This makes me think of the days that I flirted with Gnosticism. No, I didn’t flirt with Gnosticism- I would have been a prime example of a Gnostic were there a Gnostic parish around me. Modern Gnosticism unites Christianity, Paganism, and Buddhism- three religions that have been most influential on me- into a system that is beautiful and coherent.

How do I break this down?

Gnosticism, as I have known it, uses the rituals, imagery, and symbolism of Catholicism. Thus, it is intuitive to me and familiar.

Gnosticism emphasizes the Divine Feminine– an aspect that is sorely missing in Christianity as a whole and tends to be reflected in the Virgin Mary- but she is emphatically stated to be not God. This distinction is clearly made, despite the greatest howling of Evangelicals.

Gnosticism has an understanding of the psychological nature of the human being. Our psyches are broken down and explained, then taken and put into the context of a transformative ritual. (This reflects what we established before about the ability of the liturgy to transform the individual.)

I say that, but how does Sufism fit in? Sufism is arguably Gnosticism in an Islamic context. The Sufism I follow is mostly Sufism from a Hindu context, using both Arabic and Sanskrit words; moreover, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee says one can be a Sufi in any religion. But saying Gnostic Sufi sounds awfully redundant.

Ultimately, these are all means to an end, not an end in themselves. I cannot mistake the finger for the Moon, but sometimes intellectuals become too big for the britches and get caught up in the concepts.

So why the turn to a more orthodox Christianity? I searched and searched for the mysticism present in it. Again, no Gnostic parishes are nearby. The mysticism is there- specifically in the Holy Eucharist- but it is difficult to extract and appears to come with a package deal. The Episcopal Church offers the best deal- the liturgy and so on being the most traditional. But I easily find myself getting lost in the attempt to extract the mysticism.

I find myself agreeing with the Gnostics about almost everything. Almost.

Now why can’t they open a church here?

Interestingly, Bernadette Roberts has many conclusions and explanations of the Holy Eucharist that overlap with Gnostic perspectives. I would say “theology,” but there is no “orthodoxy” of philosophy in Gnosticism.

Beaux


The Immanence of the Divine Masculine and the Earth Father

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Problematic to our attempts at mysticism and spirituality are the sheer number of presuppositions into which we walk whenever encountering one system or another. This goes without saying and likely causes the vast majority of problems for so-called “true seekers,” a category into which I and many of my mystic friends could find ourselves.

The notion that the Earth is our Mother and is spoken of in the feminine pervades New Age thought to a high degree. But no one ever stops to question this or second-guess it; the notion that the immanent must by necessity be feminine goes without saying.

My experience with immanence and the Earth is different.

In fact, the experience which led me back around to Christianity came from identifying Christ with the Pagan God of Nature; understanding that Christ has long represented the four seasons and the Body was of particular interest to me.

Tonight, this experience returned to me, and I can only describe the experience as that of the Earth Father. That is not to say that perhaps a feminine aspect will not later be revealed, or that there is no Earth Mother; but specifically, the Earth Father, who seems so often neglected (at least in the literature) is the experience I’ve had.

To this I can say I know a number of beautiful men who, perhaps unknowingly, embody that character of the Earth Father- men who are peaceful and beautiful and searching for Truth, and I have seen them; they in fact exist, and perhaps one might call them hippies or mystics or philosophers of the modern age, but I call them Brothers of Light, for they are unlike the men I have known in my world but are not categorically effeminate or feminine in the way that some men are.

At this point, my relationship with Christ and that Archetype is somewhat damaged, because I began to see Christ in terms of an orthodoxy instead of on his own terms. In his own terms, Christ is the Earth Father, and Christ’s Body and Blood are infinitely more precious than we can gather. Christ, certainly, could be said to be the Earth, though this idea would probably disturb many orthodox-minded Christians as well as any number of New Agers and mystics.

The difference is that this was revealed to me, not to anyone else; this revelation did not come by means of men’s mouths, but by my own experience. The insight simply appeared, as so often it does, and for that, I am grateful, so eternally grateful.

Carl Jung, however, did not take a kind view on those men who experience the Divine Feminine in terms of Transcendence and went to so far as to deem it pathological. The Divine Feminine, however, was revealed to me briefly in the form of Aphrodite Urania, once and only once, for she is the patron goddess of gay love, with her son Eros Urania being the patron god of gay love. This whole matter of the archetypes dealing specifically with same-sex love is incredibly important to me, for it points to something that is closer to the truth than the ridiculous established orthodoxies of so many organized religions.

But I cannot say that the Divine Feminine has been specifically and wholly transcendent in nature, though that experience of Aphrodite Urania indeed was.

Ah, such mysteries.

So here we go, pressing further into the mysteries and seeing what exists there. Mostly this happens on a backdrop of some kind of great emptiness, and that’s fine. The veil of God shall be pierced, and the Truth revealed, once and for all and to each and every man, woman, and child.

Go forth, my brothers and sisters, for the time is now.

Beaux

On the Holy Spirit as the Divine Feminine: God the Mother, the Queen of Heaven, the Pagan Goddess

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As I looked at Rosamonde’s pictures, I saw reflected in her the Divine Feminine. There are so many women I’ve known in my life who are in touch with the Goddess, as it were, with their Inner Feminine Reality. They own their femininity, they are beautiful, they are strong, they are powerful, and they are self-aware.

These are the women that the patriarchally obsessed men are afraid of most. Despite hearing about feminazis and how feminism and female promiscuity has destroyed Western society (because patriarchy never caused any problem), the average feminist should not worry these men- though they’re the ones who receive this projection most often. Rather, it is the mystical woman that should send them into states of awe.

But despite this fact, these are also the women who understand the harmony of life, the relation between the masculine and the feminine, and they, in fact, are the ones who do not abuse the Divine Feminine and femininity in general. They are the ones who embrace the Divine Masculine as it relates to the Divine Feminine; there is no war or conflict in them.

Now, to speak of the Holy Spirit. I think it largely due to my being in an Assembly of God church when I was younger, a Pentecostal or charismatic church, as we know them generally, that the Holy Spirit became such an incredible influence in my life. To the orthodox Christian, the Holy Spirit is certainly the most mysterious member of the Holy Trinity- the Old Testament speaks of God the Father as YHWH, and the New Testament is almost wholly about God the Son. God the Holy Spirit makes a few appearances, which are often vague and not really frequent. To the Gnostic Christian, however, certainly God the Father, Who is much more transcendent than the Old Testament YHWH, is the most mysterious member of the Holy Trinity, but that is not the focus of this entry.

First, allow me to say that the Holy Trinity was absolutely the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard the first time I was told of this particular theological concept. How is it that one has God the Father and then God the Son, but that they are actually One God? And how does the Holy Spirit, Who is mentioned much less frequently, incorporated into the Holy Trinity?

The rationalistic part of my mind has an easy explanation for this that likely won’t surprise the reader: the Holy Trinity developed because of the great focus that was placed on Jesus by the Christians, and as Jesus came to be worshiped, it was understand that only God could be worshiped; therefore, Jesus must necessarily be incorporated into God.

But that leaves out the Holy Spirit. That doesn’t explain how the Spirit fits into the Trinity.

That is not the focus of this entry, so we won’t dwell there.

The Holy Spirit, as far as I understand, is actually God the Mother. Thus we have God the Son, God the Mother, and God the Father- and this makes sense.

The Spirit is known as the comforter- it is the Mother, the Feminine which comforts. So, too, is the Spirit referred to as the “Giver of Life.” It is the Feminine which brings life forth in this world.

The Holy Spirit is the one who overshadowed the Blessed Virgin Mary- it is not that the Spirit impregnated her so much as it is that the Virgin Mary reflected the Holy Spirit’s power to create virginally.

Many of the charismatic churches display signs that are similar to the awakening of the kundalini energy according to the Eastern religions. The kundalini energy is necessarily associated with the goddess Shakti- the feminine and creative element and power of the masculine Shiva.

The Holy Spirit is also regarded to be the immanent aspect of God, in that the Spirit is everywhere- there is nowhere that the Spirit is not. Immanence is a Feminine principle, whereas Transcendence is a Masculine one.

After my original bout with Christianity, I was drawn to Paganism, as I’ve documented in earlier entries. The Goddess spirituality in particular drew me, and now I understand why- I had already been in touch with the Divine Feminine for a long time, and so it was natural for me to be drawn to an expanded worldview and understanding of the Divine Feminine.

Now, the full circle has arrived, and the relationship to the Divine Feminine has again fit back into the Gnostic/Christian context. The Queen of Heaven is truly God Herself, the Holy Spirit- and it has always been this way. Her time has come, Her time has come, for us adore Her in this world, praise be to God.

Not everyone will agree with me. There are many who would vehemently deny my opinions on this matter, many who would be horrified that I suggest God the Holy Spirit is indeed God the Mother, but I maintain this position, both from my own experience and my own reasoning, and I welcome Her in my life to share with others and bring peace to this troubled world.

Beaux


Quite a Nice List!

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From Dianne Sylvan’s blog, “Dancing Down the Moon: Witch, Please.”

Here are the things I don’t care about:

I don’t care what the name of your religion is.
I don’t care what the names of your gods are.
I don’t care how old your religion is.
I don’t care if your great-great-whatever grandmother passed down your famtrad Book of Shadows under the watchful eye of the Inquisition.
I don’t care if an entire civilization worshipped your Goddess for ten thousand years.
I don’t care if you made Her up based on manga or Tolkien or a dream you had.
I don’t care where you place your altar.
I don’t care which direction you call Earth.
I don’t care how psychic you are.
I don’t care if you’re smarter than me.
I don’t care why you eat meat, or don’t.
I don’t care how many shields you think you need.
I don’t care how your childhood trauma made you a powerful magickian.
I don’t care if you spell “magic” with a k.
I don’t care if you were an Atlantean Magus in your last life.
I don’t care if you’re brand-spanking new.
I don’t care how much you hate Christians.
I don’t care how many degrees you have.
I don’t care if people call you “Lady” or “Lord.”
I don’t care if you’re King of all Londinium and wear a shiny hat.
I don’t care if you can read minds or light candles with your breath.
I don’t care how the world owes you a living.
I don’t care if you’ve been studying the Craft for thirty years or thirty minutes.
I don’t care what your totem animal is, especially if it’s a wolf, raven, or unicorn.
I don’t care if you can trace your lineage back to Gardner.
I don’t care if you think I’m a moron, fraud, or basket case.
I don’t care how many books you’ve read.
I don’t care how much or how little money you have.

What do I care about?

I care that your religion has made you a kinder, more compassionate person.
I care that you can hold down a job.
I care that you’re growing past whatever happened to you as a child or last year.
I care that your gods help you become stronger without coddling you.
I care that you are willing and able to adapt and change as your life does.
I care that you care about the Earth.
I care that you care about someone and something outside yourself.
I care that you practice your religion with devotion and reverence.
I care that you respect others’ paths.
I care that you never stop learning.
I care that you can conduct adult relationships with respect and understanding.
I care that you get how hilarious life is.
I care that you know when to ask for help.
I care that you realize that someone will always be smarter, more powerful, and more together than you.
I care that you realize it doesn’t matter, because tomorrow you’ll be smarter, more powerful, and more together than you were yesterday.
I care that you have reasons for everything you do, even if those reasons are purely intuitive.
I care that you can admit when you’re wrong.
I care that you know you’re both a tiny speck in a vast universe and a rare, precious jewel in the darkened sky.
I care that you’re making a difference.
I care that you know when to speak and when to shut the hell up.
I care that you are seeking a relationship with Deity and with Nature.
I care that you are healthy.
I care that you’re contributing to your family and community.
I care that your capacity for love and joy increase with every passing year.
I care that you believe in yourself.
I care that you’re doing the best you can.

You can visit her blog here:

Dancing Down the Moon

She’s got a pretty good list going there, and I have to agree with her.

Beaux