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.

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Questioning One’s Motives

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The real question we must ask and the answer we must constantly affirm is, “What are we trying to accomplish? What are we doing?”

 

Mysticism is a process in which we can often get caught up. As with many things in life, we can often forget that there is indeed a goal we had in mind, a reason that we began doing something.

 

My own “adventures in Christendom” pertain largely to this whole issue. Many times I forget that it was the Gnostic revelations that actually brought me back to any semblance of Christian orthodoxy; I sometime get so caught up in trying to receive the Sacraments that I also began getting swept up in other ideas about Christianity that may not prove to be accurate in the real world.

 

The world views that we create for ourselves can be dangerous, as typically any given world view that we have is actually the manifesting of a personal archetype. What I mean to say is that we “shift” into a particular identity, albeit subconsciously, and then we begin living from that identity. The trick, then, is not to destroy that identity, but to embrace it fully, and then offer it to God.

 

There is a truth in that we can never escape ourselves, and that we do have to constantly embrace ourselves and push ourselves towards a wholeness, because then God can take us out in one fell swoop.

 

Well, I guess the process is actually more complicated than that, but that isn’t the point.

 

So, to affirm again what I’m after: I’m after the state the Buddhists call “Nirvana.” In Christianity, this would be roughly parallel to “theosis,” though some would argue that Nirvana is a state beyond theosis.

 

The trickiest idea that we have to deal with is whether or not the perfection of the human can come in this life or if it must await for the hereafter. Almost all Christians would state that the perfection of the soul is in the hereafter, and not in this life; I’m skeptical and will push forward until I myself know what’s going on.

 

The whole essence of Gnosticism, in reality, is finding out for one’s self. It’s really strange that it became a matter of heresy and orthodoxy and dogma and doctrine, that even today so-called “good Catholics” shit bricks when they encounter someone claiming to be Gnostic. Why people take such an issue with private revelation or a direct knowledge of God, I’ll never know; or hell, maybe I will.

 

Anyway, so as much as I love the Roman Catholic Church, I also have to say that I’m not quite cut out to conform there, and as much as I love the Episcopal Church, I will never, ever call myself “Protestant,” and only “Protestant,” so Anglo-Catholicism in the Episcopal Church it is, and I will simply have to mock the Prots and correct the Romans.

 

Okay, so I won’t really do all that. But seriously: they all need to get their poop in a group, stop the corruption, clarify the mystical reality of the theology, get over the gay and women-priests thing, and take a tip from the Eastern Orthodox folks.

 

I will affirm once again, now that I’ve gotten way off topic, that I don’t see ideas such as Heaven and Hell as being specific locations we enter when we die. Instead, I see them as states of being within the presence of the Ultimate Reality that we call God.

 

However, contrary to the views that many people in the New Age arena have, I don’t think that everything is just freely available within us. I do think that some sources of energy exist outside of us, including God- to some extent, yes, we do have God within us, but on the other hand, there’s something to be said about the grace we receive in the Sacraments.

 

Okay, I lost interest in writing this entry as my mind is distracted.

Beaux

 

 

 

Ranting about American Culture

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One of the errors of modern American culture is the presumption that if we pay for something, we can do whatever we want with it. This happens to be the line of thought presented by the ignorant redneck (I want to make that “ignorant redneck fuck”) that ended up making me hate him within a short span of time.

 

But no, here’s the reality check: just because you pay for something, just because you own something, does not mean you get to treat it however you want it.

 

Read that again carefully.

 

We don’t get to do whatever we want to whatever we buy; we have the freedom and right to purchase what we want, no matter how terrible or ridiculous it may be, but to waste it, to abuse it, to misuse it, is not something that comes with the territory.

 

Tonight, I went out to eat with friends, and they ordered pizza. Two sets of friends left pizza- parts of a large pizza for which they had paid money they earned working- just sitting there, instead of doing the scrupulous thing and taking the leftovers with them.

 

I’m not suggesting I’ve never wasted food; I have wasted food in my lifetime, but most often, if I do waste food, I’ve done it for good reason, as in, the food has gone bad or something along those lines. I don’t just leave food sitting on my plate or throw away food that I’ve dipped out.

 

But it isn’t just about food; it’s about so many things, it’s about the deeper issue in our culture, and invariably, the deeper issue is the real issue.

Just because you produce kids does not mean you get to treat the kids however you please.

 

Just because you earn money does not mean you get to waste it however you please.

 

Just because something belongs to you doesn’t mean you get to treat it however you please.

 

And I’m sure that will piss people, most notably, Americans, off in a way that you can’t even imagine. “I earned it! I can do whatever I want with it!”

Grow up. No, you can’t. That’s not how life works. And it’s unfortunate that you should be so silly as to think that it does.

 

In the end, we must consider that ultimately, this is God’s world, and that ultimately, no one can own anything, nothing belongs to anyone but God. So that food you waste, those products you waste, that money you waste- that belongs to the Absolute Reality, and what you’re doing may as well be considered an affront.

 

Just a little common sense thrown out in these trying times.

 

Beaux

 

 

 

A Wordy Rant and Emotional Revelations Within; Read at Your Own Risk

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An emotional pattern is rising to the surface. I’m not sure I can totally categorize what this complex pattern of thoughts and feelings looks like, but I will try my best.

 

I’ve been meaning to write this entry for almost a week now, while the feelings and happenings are still fresh on my mind. God willing, I will be able to take the pain and go from there.

 

Let us begin.

 

Part of my social anxiety- not all of it, but part of it- stems from my fear of confrontation with other people. Just thinking about having an argument or someone getting angry with me causes my adrenal to rush. I don’t want to do or say anything that will invoke someone else’s harshness to come down on me.

 

In my life, avoiding conflict has become almost an art. I can’t handle rejection- of any kind- very well.

 

Low self-esteem can do that.

 

But yes, arguments, fights, being attacked and feeling defenseless in that attack, is one of the sources of my social anxiety. This much I know.

 

This ties in, of course, with the fear of public humiliation.

 

The majority of confrontations in my life have resulted in my feeling guilty, with my being the one who is first to say that I am sorry, with my being the one to swallow my pride, no matter how right I was, and to give in to the other person so that they won’t be angry at me. I am also talented at bringing comfort to people by doing this, and it has been very rare that anyone has apologized to me.

 

For that reason, when someone sincerely apologizes to me, I appreciate their apology more than a starving man would appreciate bread. I appreciate that someone can see that they have hurt me or done me wrong.

 

The emotional pattern that happened recently was a miniature reflection of a much large, on-going process with one of my friends while also being the latest in my own series of emotional hits. It goes something like this:

 

I meet someone, and there are fond feelings there. Shallow or deep, this doesn’t matter; the feeling of comfort and the belief that the person is somehow and somewhere good is there.

 

A disagreement or misunderstand, whether large or small, occurs. The person in question goes on to not only disagree or misunderstand me, but then turns on me, becoming hateful, spiteful, and spinning his own web of lies and deceit in which I am then caught.

 

Before I can defend myself, before I can realize what’s happened, the person has taken up his stance as Judge, Jury, and Executioner; he strikes at me with false accusations that, when reason is applied, are obviously false, but in the heat of the moment bring up rejection after rejection in my life, and I am forever cast out of his life, no matter my relative level of importance to him.

 

At this point, while still believing his attacks on me, I break down, crying.

 

Then I go around, trying to make atonement for the sins I’ve committed- to other people. It’s as though part of me believes that my expressing my love and gratitude for other people, I will be able to garner a larger army, a larger defense on my side.

 

So, maybe a good does come out of it. After all, expressing appreciation and gratitude for others is good, and I mostly just assume that they understand by my actions that I care about them.

 

Then I start feeling guilty about hating the person in question, and I basically beat myself up for not being spiritually advanced enough.

 

This past time, I saw that all these feelings of self-doubt and lack of self-worth and such are preventing me from being close to anyone in a relationship type sense. I had previously not seen this, but the pain I felt when an almost perfect stranger and a completely perfect asshole attacked me, rejected me, and left me to shake with my own tears seemed to be there.

 

It is worse when the people you have known or thought you knew turn on you in this way, yet a perfect stranger reduced me to tears.

 

The night before this happened, a intriguing thought appeared, going back to my youth: why did I believe things people said about me? Why? Why would I automatically believe that if someone said something, good or bad, that it was true?

 

Why did it never occur to me that other people may actually do things that I don’t do- like say nasty things to hurt me, to harm me, because they are jealous of me? Because they really do see something in me that they don’t have, or they really do assume something’s happening in my life that isn’t in theirs?

And all this time, I believed people said mean things to me and attacked me because somewhere, I deserved it or really wasn’t good; I believed they were simply telling me the truth.

 

But what happened to me to keep me from thinking for myself about myself? Why is my self-esteem so low?

 

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee says that the Teacher can see what these things really mean. However, I do not formally have a guru or teacher, and therefore, I can’t say that my low self-esteem has ever done anything except make me suffer.

 

People are often surprised that I’m not always passive. I am passive a good bit of the time, not making waves, being a good little boy from a culture long since dead and faraway, but when has this benefited anyone? I do have my opinions, but when out in public, when around other people, when people do and say things with which I disagree, I simply smile and nod, not agreeing internally but politely just hearing them out.

 

Please don’t be mistaken, dear reader; I’m not saying that I think less of or look down on the people who have differing opinions. My concern is not what people opine but how they go about it. I have had some of the most fascinating conversations with people who don’t have antagonistic opinions or experiences, just different ones, and that, that is the stuff with which this life is spiced.

 

People say things about me that are misunderstandings of me. I have been accused more than once in my life of being “stuck-up.” The latest rendition is someone using the exact word “snotty” and telling me that I was trying with all my effort to make myself feel better than he.

 

But I’m not stuck-up, or at least I don’t think I am; being polite and reserved in social situations doesn’t mean I think I’m better than anyone. What it does mean is that I respect everyone enough to act in a way that shows I care about them, even if just a little. Being able to conduct one’s self does not mean one thinks one is better.

 

Yes, I may be, in some ways, more educated and more cultured than other people, but those other people are still people, still my fellow humans, and even if they don’t have opinions or perspectives that are as well-reasoned as mine, they still have their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences to share, and many times, it’s simply a matter of giving a person a chance to share herself.

 

Or maybe there is a Shadow side to all this where I really do believe that I’m better than other people, and I simply have been too stupid to see it.

I do think other people give me more credit for intelligence than I deserve. I hear person after person say that I’m intelligent, yet I can see exactly how much I don’t know, I fear that I haven’t learned nearly enough in any field or subject or begun to climb to the ranks of mastering anything, and I’m almost 27 years old- an age that, as a teenager, I believed would see me involved in the world in a professional manner, doing the things I wanted to do, and so on.

 

But here I sit, in my childhood home, with the issues that have plagued me from my childhood.

 

Part of me understands what has to happen- the taking of revenge was the cracking open, the knocking down the wall between my ego and my shadow, the dichotomy no longer a clear dichotomy. I have avoided sinning, I have avoided doing things I believed unethical for fear of what might happen to me.

 

But then, if you see the problem with that, that’s the only reason I haven’t done these things in the past- the fear that karma or God or something would punish me for revenging myself.

 

However, if the same Principle of our world allows a person to hurt me in the first place, I think that the Principle should all me to defend myself. I don’t care anymore- I’m not going to sit down and take things.

 

If that requires me to sin, so be it. The reality is that society counts me as a sinner anyway, and I wonder if the concept that being gay may indeed be a sin may have kept me from actually being intimate in my lifetime to the extent that it has.

 

But no more. Down with that world, down with that world view; down with the world view that I’ve had for so long.

 

This view includes this feeling I’ve had that “other people seem to have this idea of what’s going on, and I’m totally lost; it’s like this big joke that I’m not in on.”

 

But that, my friends, my dear, dear readers, is incorrect; there are far, far too many people I have met during my short life that actually don’t get it whatsoever; they aren’t “in” in something that I’m not, I’m just seeing the idiocy that runs rampant, seeing things too clearly, and I’m confused about why other people are not seeing it.

 

Maybe I was not born with a strong will and the ability to not have my feelings hurt and the power to just blaze through whatever troubles come my way as some people seem to have been. (We’ve all met such people.) But I wish it were that way.

In the argument last Friday, I was told point-blank that I was not worth knowing, that the person in question had no desire to know me. But that was also a misunderstanding; he doesn’t know me, so his desire is ill-placed.

 

Today, I prayed for something that I dare not pray for. I whispered a prayer for something that seems to be like a cheating of everything I’ve ever done, something that seems to be the utmost of selfishness: I prayed for happiness, to be happy.

 

Everything in my life has been oriented in such a way that I think I must have something to be happy- I must be in love, I must feel love, I must suffer first, I must earn my happiness, I must accomplish x, y, and z to be happy, and so on.

 

But to pray directly for my own happiness had never occurred to me. I felt happiness in my heart, that glowing brightness in the upper part of my chest, the sense that everything is going to be okay, that sense that all the arguments and all the ideas and all the problems don’t matter when you’re already happy. Being with someone, not being with someone, being religious, not being religious; none of this matters when you yourself are happy.

 

The happiness wasn’t laced with the poisoned clouds on the horizon of “happy medication,” where one’s problems and darkness still loom, where they’re only held off by medicine that will eventually fade and hurl you into the storm again. The happiness instead was the bright sword of Christ, born happily, a claiming of the birthright of each and every human being.

 

But I have been taught that for me to be happy while another suffers is actually selfish. That doesn’t make sense, though, because it would be almost impossible (save for a miracle) for everyone to become happy at the same time.

 

So instead, I would say that happiness of one’s self must be filled, filled, and filled again until it spills over and helps everyone that you know.

 

I also realized that praying for my own happiness was a change in me, a signal that I wanted to show love to myself. This is a brave, new world, a world in which I will know what it means to love myself.

 

And really, what sense does it make to care what other people think, especially strangers? They don’t know me like I know me; I won’t apologize for the virtues I have, I will not allow my vices to hurt anyone else, so what the bloody Barbara Streisand tampon fuck has the problem been all this time?

More reflections coming soon!

 

Beaux

Perceptual Changes and More

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Perceptual changes as of late that should be noted:

I seem to have a greater and automatic focus on experiencing the world through my senses. It’s difficult to explain what I mean by this, but there’s certainly a very “this world” focus on the one hand, though my mind often seems to go blank or be clear.

The “tiredness” has returned lately; I feel like a kind of blanket is held over the front of my brain, and thinking, as well as writing, becomes a kind of effort that has to be made. Lying in bed, very still, can create a great deal of bliss for me; last night, I lay in bed and had a heating pad on my head to help keep me warm, and I felt such incredible bliss there unlike what I normally feel.

Certain sexual energies seem to be lessening for me; this isn’t consistent, but sexual pleasure seems to have been stripped from me to some degree. It’s just as well, as through the Holy Spirit, I have experienced a fullness and completeness that sexuality has never granted me.

Another recent insight I’ve had lately is that what I truly want is Nirvana, not only for myself, but for all sentient beings, as the Buddhists would say; my most fervent prayer to God is for everyone, even my worst enemies, even Satan itself, to be brought to salvation in Nirvana; Nirvana not only for myself but for everyone and everything. This is the only true purpose that can exist in reality.

The completeness of the Holy Trinity has been revealed in the Holy Spirit, and yet I am left without a particular abstraction or mental construct by which to express the completeness. God is never-ending; God is always-continuing; God is eternal, but not eternal in a way which seems suffocating or crushing; God’s eternity is simply beyond words that explain what’s happening. There is no lacking in God, while in humans, we seem to have a very basic nature of “lack.”

I lay in bed last night and felt my prayer going to God, my glorification of God, while the true glorifying agent is the Holy Spirit, God the Mother, praising God through me. Suffice it to say that God the Mother offers God the Son to God the Father through us, in a Mystery of God that is profound and deep and that I cannot begin to explain; we may participate in this by surrendering ourselves willingly to God, but it seems rather like God’s actually got all the bases covered, and we’re not really necessary in the process too terribly much. It’s almost as though I observe something happening but don’t cause it to happen.

Anyway, there was a sense of completeness in glorifying God; not glorification in the sense of petition or because I wanted anything, but because it is the nature of man to want to honor and praise something greater than himself.

And of course, the glorification is a sense of fullness and joy, mixed often with longing; it isn’t the corny sort of modern Christian worship that’s hollow and devoid of the very things it seeks to express. This is different; this is more; this is REAL. There’s something substantial here.

Several times, I’ve also noticed that I don’t have the same kind of arousal of emotions as I used to; this isn’t consistent, but during this period, it’s rare for me to experience extreme emotions, either good or bad. Instead, there’s a kind of constant steadiness in the tiredness. I do have emotions that appear at times, though the cognitive component seems at times to be worse than any kind of physical passion associated with it.

Beaux

Holy Spirit, Spiritual Delay

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Certainly, I’m severely behind on posting a number of blogs that should have already been up. The main issue has been my being sick recently with various kinds of sinus congestion and colds, plus the strain on my eyes when sitting and staring at a computer screen for a lengthy period of time.

That being said, I should point out one important aspect of spirituality that, if everyone who reads this blog were to ignore and dismiss anything else I’ve written, should be considered and relished and tested out, that of what I personally term “spiritual delay.”

Spiritual delay is something that in our modern culture we must acclimate to, living in this world where we’re accustomed to instant or semi-instant gratification. Spiritual delay is the fact of reality that a prayer or meditation or wish is not most often immediately answered; in fact, it may take some time to receive any kind of substantial or adequate response.

The same is true even with visualization. For instance, one visualizes light on a headache to heal it; the headache doesn’t heal this minute or the next minute, but perhaps within the hour or two or three hours from now, it DOES go away; one prays for the same thing, and the prayer is not immediately answered, yet a few hours later, the prayer IS answered. One repeats the Name of God and sees no immediate benefit of repeating His Name, yet the next day, the bliss of His grace comes to us.

This is something to ALWAYS remember, that the help, that the grace, that the benefit WILL come at some point in time, especially with substantial practice.

Another major realization lately has been of the Holy Spirit and the Wiccan Goddess. The Holy Spirit has been recognized as God the Mother for quite some time among Christian mystics, most notably the Gnostics, and it simply makes sense: God the Father, God the Mother, God the Son. The Trinitarian formula then, is somehow complete with the Divine Feminine being present within it.

I mean to make the association with the Goddess as I always understood her to be associated with the Day, with the Sun, with Light, and so forth, and I see the same to be true of the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is the person of the Holy Trinity that calls us to prayer, that teaches us to pray, the invokes and kindles the Longing and Love for God; verily, we might even say that the Holy Spirit IS THE LONGING FOR GOD. This would account, at least intellectually, for the Sufis saying that one’s Longing for God IS God’s Presence, IS God’s declaration that He is there.

Whatever the case may be, I have personally found that prayer to the Holy Spirit has been the most immediate and intimate relationship to God that I’ve found. This could potentially be because of my background in Pentecostal churches, though I highly doubt that plays as significant of a role as one might guess.

But back to the point, Wicca had a huge emphasis on ritual, and of course, I now see that magic, that ritual, that all these things, the transformation of Will into Reality and so forth, are the domain of the Holy Spirit; it is with a greater certainty that I know the miracles take place because of the Holy Spirit, and that the bread and wine truly become Christ’s Body and Blood BECAUSE of the Holy Spirit; She is, in fact, a key in the Holy Eucharist, and it saddens me to know that despite Her importance, She is often pushed to the side in Christianity and not given proper reverence or emphasis.

Even to me, the importance of the Holy Spirit has been occluded for the past four years as well, and I did wonder many times how She fit into the Holy Trinity and why She was deemed important, how She became more than simply a reference to God’s presence on Earth as the Jehovah’s Witnesses insist. Even Bernadette Roberts, in all her great elucidation of the Christian mystery in her books, seems to focus namely on the Mystery of Christ- indeed, she is not wrong in this, as the Mystery of Christ is inexhaustible- but her reference to the Holy Spirit is the love exchanged between the Father and Son, and no more is really said.

But does not leave us with the full or clear picture of exactly how important She truly is, and that is exactly the mystery into which I’m being drawn.

At the same time, it truly amazes me that in our present world Christianity and its profundity is so often and so easily cheapened. I can’t quite grasp how something that IS so profound can devolve into something that is so treacherous and easy to revile, but such is the nature of corrupted men.

The peace of the Lord be with you.

Beaux

Wicca, Christianity, Rituals, Thoughts

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Good grief, I know, I make a bad habit of constantly repeating myself on this blog, but right now, I have a few excuses, namely one: I’m sick, and I’ve been drinking Hot Toddies, so I’m in a position to not be completely in my head.

When I first left fundamentalist/evangelical Christianity and entered into the world of religious exploration, the religions to which I finally came after all was said and done were Wicca and Buddhism. For years, I held these two, and they stayed in conflict theologically. I could never make up my mind which I was, and I simply had to say that I was both Wiccan and Buddhist- a concept that not many people could grasp.

This same cycle repeated itself in recent years with Christianity and Sufism.

The content came down to this: one system would articulate the need for inner transformation and offer Nirvana, and the other system would offer a set of rituals and an external beauty; one religion focused on the inner world, and another the outer world.

More hurtful is the process of trying to explain to others that I don’t actually change my religion, I only change the “language” in which I speak that religion. It has been a long and difficult road, and it’s difficult for me to guess that someone could pick a religion, agree with everything in it, and then go on in life with, “Well, that’s that.”

Yet I do envy those people on one level.

Anyway, the more I reflect on it, the more I realize that perhaps it was not Wicca and Buddhism that were in conflict but rather my idea of what each represented to me: one represented power in this world, one represented liberation from everything.

In other words, one represented a catering to the ego, the other represented its destruction and dissolution.

Now, of course, we also have huge problems with Wicca for other reasons. The system is admirable, to be sure, in its most idealized form- it is, in my opinion, a stripping down of Western religion and an iteration of it through generalized symbols for the archetypes and the Divine. The original form of Wicca with which we are acquainted, from the mid-1900s, actually has several laws and by-laws and so on.

Modern day Wicca isn’t quite the same. Instead, it’s become a Pop Witchcraft phenomenon; there are infinite numbers of cheesy Wicca 101 books to be found in every bookstore, and though some of them have tons of information, they almost invariably miss the point or don’t go deep enough.

Some would say that about 99% of religion, but I’m not here to address that.

Some would also say that I could’ve simply taken the Buddhist deities and inserted them into the Wiccan pantheon and gone from there.

This brings us to one of the most irritating aspects of Wicca: when people, who don’t understand what it is, who haven’t studied it, who have no idea that there is something to be said for organization and tradition, say the damnable words, “It’s whatever you want it to be.”

No. No, the fuck it isn’t. It’s never been “whatever you want it to be” and it never will be. If you want a religion that’s “whatever you want it to be,” go call yourself an Eclecto-Religio-Practice-Person or something, don’t call yourself Wiccan.

Back to the Buddhist pantheon. First, I understood that, while there may be Buddhist deities who cater to the various spheres of life, Wicca, too, was a Western, not an Eastern, thing. Randomly inserting Eastern traditions into the Western mindset would upset some kind of balance I saw in the whole process, and besides, the Buddhists don’t necessarily work with the deities in the way that a Wiccan would, so the process is culturally and theoretically removed.

This, too, was the beginning of trying to make things all fit together, of trying to have the so-called elusive “seamless garment.”

Wicca, on the whole, has turned into a kind of Protestantism. Not Protestant Christianity, but Protestant OF Christianity. The few individuals who would dare take Christ entities and insert them into the Wicca system are immediately dubbed “Christo-Pagans” and ridiculed.

But in a way, that ridicule is understandable; somewhere, hidden in the depths of Wicca, IS the Protestantism FROM Christianity; it’s part of its heritage, its lifeblood, complete with the mythology of the “burning times” and blaming Christianity for everything bad that ever happened, not unlike the dimwitted Modern Atheists™.

A good example of this I read recently was on a series of articles I once praised on witchvox.com. The author did a good job (or so I had thought) in going through Wicca, doing research, and separating what can be traced to ancient religions and cultures and what was most likely an invention of Gardner.

Then I saw a statement about the Cakes and Ale. Now, recently, Michael and I had a conversation about how the Wiccan communion is related to the Holy Eucharist; indeed, this much is obvious, because it maintains a certain thematic integrity.

But the author of this article said that the Eucharist was based on the Celtic ritual of blessing grains and alcohol, and that the Roman Church “borrowed” the ritual, and then Gardner “borrowed” it back.

That’s an example of shitty scholarship, folks.

 

Now, I’m not going to try to convince anyone, including myself, that the Holy Eucharist is entirely something related to the Passover meal and Jesus’s words and so on, but let’s not forget that DID happen. Pagans and Jews alike pretty much ate bread and drank alcohol, so saying the Celts blessed grain and alcohol (AKA, prayed over food) and that somehow the Catholics stole this idea of blessing food and inserted Jesus into the mix just doesn’t make any sense.

But then, there are the Wiccans who say that the Christians stole all things ritual from them, and then there are the Christians who agree with the Wiccans that the Eucharistic traditions did just that; neither group checks into the rituals written of in the Hebrew Bible, apparently, where there are candles, incense, bread, wine, and prayers everywhere.

Oh, yeah, and there’s that part in Genesis about the High Priest Melchizedek offering bread and wine to God Most High.

So the idea of bread and wine being offered to the Divine is a pretty ancient idea, just saying.

And also, I should point out, I’m not here to defend Christianity or discuss the atrocities committed in Christ’s Name or anything along those lines; Christianity will have a great deal to answer for in the hereafter, even as it has a great deal to answer for in the here and now.

Nor am I here to blast sincere, seeking Wiccans. Wicca has a good theory underlying it, and it’s potentially empowering for the individual. The mysticism in it is underdeveloped, but as it stands, so is the mysticism in modern-day Christianity. We mystics must, in fact, dip rather deep to find it a good deal of the time.

Erik and I discussed these things, and I told him a very true point: after all is said and done, I would MUCH rather be a Pop Wiccan than a Pop Christian. What I mean to say by this is that the “Pop Christian” books by individuals such as Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen are just awful. The worldview through which they operate, the American Evangelical perspective, is just terrible. I would rather be a Pop Wiccan and do my little rituals and wave my little knife any day of the year.

A good thing about Wicca is that it made me feel like life has meaning; it made me feel as though Nature truly was holy, powerful, and a good thing. I could appreciate the changing of the seasons as part of the Great Happening of reality.
But then, I was always more focused on casting spells than I was on actually practicing a religion, so I mean, yeah.

Gnosticism did offer me a great deal of comfort, as it seems, in many respects, to be the meeting ground of Christianity, Wicca, and Buddhism. So three primary religions influencing me in my life ended up being rolled into one.

Jordan Stratford jokingly says that Gnostics are Catholic on the outside and Buddhist on the inside, and I think this wouldn’t necessarily be far off; I would edit that to say that Gnostics are more like Buddhists wearing Christian vestments or something.

But that doesn’t devalue the more orthodox Christian mysticism, either- Christianity is replete with symbols that have a lot to offer us.
Then again, so is Wicca, and you see how often that devolves into crap.

I think Wicca does have a problem with not being defined enough. It’s the double-edged sword; one is free to do whatever, but one doesn’t necessarily know WHAT to do.

If Wicca had specific symbols associated with the Wheel of the Year, I think it would make it easier. Perhaps there ARE definite symbols, signs, and underlying meaning present in the Wheel, and I’ve just failed to recognize. It wouldn’t be the first time.

When more thoughts come, I’ll write more. I’ve been so into writing lately, all these thoughts pouring through me, even though I’m sick, I can’t help but continue to write down my concepts.
Also, I should point out that in Wicca, the God is associated with Day and the Goddess with Night. I actually encountered the Divine in the opposite way- Sky/Day Mother, Earth/Night Father. It’s very strange that my actual experience would be in contrast to what is constantly repeated in Wicca, and that seems to be a huge problem- people repeating beliefs, repeating ideas, with NO experience to back them up.

One person, in fact, told me when, I spoke about the Earth Father Archetype, that he thinks of the Earth as both masculine and feminine; he missed the entire point and threw some theoretical, all-inclusive bullshit at me. Then again, if he were to speak of experiencing the Earth as both, that would be a different story.

The point is, this was an experience, an encounter, a real-time happening, not a mental concept that someone wrote about that I said, “Oh, that sounds good.” This was actual.

I can understand the feminine associations with the Earth, but it’s strange that the Earth would appear to me as masculine- and as Christ, no less.

Oh, the games archetypes play with us!

Pax Vobiscum.

Beaux

 

 

 

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