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different “realities,” thoughts on paganism, various philosophies.

September 30, 2010

I haven’t had enough sleep lately, so am over-tired, but will try to write at least a semi-articulate blog anyway!

First of all, thanks to Storm, who left a comment for me – my first real one in a long time. My blog gets spammed almost daily. I have a spam filter, which helps, but still, rather aggravating to get just spam in my comments box, so thanks again Storm, I feel better.

Right then, moving on..

Sometimes I get really intent on a subject or a feeling or a drive or a pursuit or a passion.. then my mood shifts, and I feel tired and sick of something. This can happen quickly. It can be a cyclical thing. With paganism, it happened a few days ago, when I received some rather disappointing news – the local Druids not wanting to talk to new people. That sent me into a depression for a little while, but I had to keep reminding myself that just because I have a certain thing in mind, that does not mean that particular thing is good for me, or it is the right time to do this or that or learn this or that.

Today I got better news from the Druids – I might be able to go to one of their rituals. Which is surprising, considering the last news I got was that no one wanted to talk to me.. Ok.. we .. shall … see..

So, tomorrow, at 4 o’clock pm, I have an appointment to meet a prominent witch in this area, who heads a coven, runs two pagan websites, edits a newsletter, etc.

She’s interesting, at least in part because she doesn’t exactly seem witchy. She’s middle-aged – in her 40’s, I’m guessing, wears very average normal clothes – no velvet anywhere, no pagan bling that I noticed, doesn’t look at all like the stereo-typical witchy-woman (yes that phrase is from a song by The Eagles, in case you are wondering.. great, now it’s in my head..)

Nope, you wouldn’t be able to identify this woman as a witch if you met her. She works in a hardware store – people are in contact with her every day who have no idea. That in itself is kinda wild, I think.

I think I mentioned in an earlier blog how I met her, but in case you haven’t read that one, I’ll include this info. I met this woman, some other wiccans, and various other pagans at a pagan meetup at a coffee house. There were 10 or so of us there.

I didn’t relate at all to what she and another woman from her coven were talking about – powerfully experiencing their goddesses while performing rituals – such a feeling of spiritual closeness. I’ve never had that with any sort of deity, and felt I would not have that, and therefore felt sad. That was one reason I did not go back to another pagan meeting.

The second reason was at the time I felt I needed to explore Buddhism more, which I did, and found it mostly wasn’t for me – see the umpteen zillion blogs on Buddhism I wrote already if you want to read about that.

The third reason is that I came from a Christian background (tons of blog postings on that too) and have almost always dealt with a fear, sometimes a fairly strong fear of paganism – especially witchcraft. I was raised to believe that all witchcraft, paganism, and anything occult is of the devil, and people can be possessed. Pretty damn scary stuff. Scare tactics are alive and well in Christian churches!

For the longest time, I felt it was just fine for me to pursue Buddhism, but not paganism, even though I still periodically would go over to the pagan section of Borders Books, and read through a few books, and wish I felt right about buying them, and a bag of rune tiles or Tarot cards.

I do not feel the fear so much now, but do have a slightly unhinged feeling. A certain surreality.

What? I’m doing what?? Talking to a witch? Really??

What if it is all nonsense? What if it is dangerous? What if it is just a total waste of time? What if.. well, there are certain things I don’t want to contemplate.

Also, I’m not feeling super-pagan right now like I was a few days ago. As I mentioned, the feelings come and go.

I still plan on showing up though. Even though I certainly do not equate Nature with “Goddess.” For me, Nature is Nature, it does not have a gender. Genders are a manifestation of not Nature, but Nature itself is not a he or a she, neither goddess or god, it just IS.

I can sort of hang with the idea that there are goddesses and gods, and that they are a PART of nature, just like people and birds and plants are, and that there are spirits, which are also part of the whole, of all that is.

That spirit stuff can really creep me out. Demons, great.. what if they are real? I suppose if demons are real, than angels are too, and why not MANY more kinds of spirits besides?

I’ve seen a few anime films that help me think in this way – about there being many kinds of spirits. These films are “Spirited Away,” “Princess Mononoke,” and “Karas – Pt. 1.” The first of the 2 “Karas” films was AMAZING! The second one was HORRIBLE!

Anyway, in these films, spirits are like people in that some are good, some are bad, some are weak, some are powerful, and like people, some spirits are just pretty average folks trying to get through the day – they just live on a slightly different plane of reality than we do.. or something like that.

Ok, this is really kind of a mind trip.. mind expanding, yes, but somewhat disconcerting as well. I’ve been into fantasy stories of various kinds since I was a kid – starting with “The Chronicles of Narnia,” and “The Hobbit.” As an adult, I’ve gotten into many books by Neil Gaiman – I read through the whole “Sandman” series (some reaallly creepy shit in some of those stories! but some true brilliance too – but enough mind poison in them that I won’t be reading them again anytime soon, if at all) as well as “Neverwhere,” “Anansi Boys,” “The Graveyard Book,” and one of my favoritest novels – “American Gods.”

It’s one thing to read fiction, or mythology – such as that of the ancient Greeks or Celts, Egyptians, Japanese, Hindus, etc. and QUITE a different thing to actually think of pagan deities as real.

Sometimes, I think all those so-called spiritual experiences people supposedly have is just brain chemistry – intense, sustained belief releasing and triggering chemicals in peoples’ minds and boom spiritual experience! I think some scientists have even proved that some people are actually more genetically pre-disposed to such experiences, while people like me mostly have our minds wired up differently – due to heredity. Spiritual experience as something one inherits, just like one’s height or eye-color or temperament.

And no one can quite prove this wrong, can they? I don’t know. It’s sort of like trying to prove solipsism wrong. Solipsism is the belief that the only reality that is true and that actually exists is the “reality” of one’s own mind – and that EVERYTHING ELSE – all external stimuli – people, experiences, interactions, everything else, is just imaginary, there is only the mind. And how the hell do we disprove that?

Doesn’t bear thinking about.

“Reality.” What is reality? What is ultimately true and real? Everybody has a slightly different idea. Defining reality is determined by one’s perspective, which is determined by what religion one practices, or does not practice. One’s reality could be entirely empirical – based on science and nothing else – this view excludes all religious beliefs and anything and everything supernatural. I don’t know much at all about science, but even if I did, this position does not work for me.

The Christian view of “reality” does not work for me, neither does a hardcore non-attachment all-desires-to-be-extinguished Buddhist frame of mind, although I do apply some Buddhist teaching in my life still, and believe there is certainly some wisdom there – some non-attachment is necessary for sanity, I think.

These days, I am checking out certain pagan “realities.” I don’t know much about the various forms of paganism.

I do believe that the answer, as Bob Dylan sang so many times, “is blowing in the wind.” This is the answer that can’t be fully put into words, just as the true Tao cannot truly be explained in human language.

I cannot truly explain to you in words how it feels to experience the heat of the sun on my skin, or a breeze or watching and hearing a barn owl fly by. Some experiences transcend words. Some British poets of the romantic era, such as John Keats or William Wordsworth, or American writers like Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau or Ralph Waldo Emerson put Nature into words rather well, certainly better than I can, and their words help us appreciate nature, but these are still words.

I guess reality, for everyone, is at least somewhat subjective. The solipsists are partially right, in that each person has a reality that is a little different from everybody else’s, because no one experiences anything in quite the same way.

So I will .. hmm.. I was going to say “go along with my reality,” but that isn’t right. My reality has been far too negative, inhibiting, and depressing. I don’t want what I’ve previously dealt with as reality. I am CHANGING my reality.. trying to, and trying not to doubt that I CAN do this.

Which is a BIG reason why I am embarking on an exploration about paganism. Magick is changing reality. The word “witch” comes from some ancient word which means “to bend or twist.” To bend or twist is to change the shape of something. What is being changed is the shape of reality. People realizing they have power, that there is power in Nature to use, and that they CAN use it.

This is a power that, in mono-theistic religions, is something attributed only to God. People can pray, and certain people, such as Catholic priests, are given some powers, but no one in these traditions is a free agent, they are all working for the Judeo-Christian-Muslim God.

No thank you.

Why were both Catholics and Protestants so into persecuting and murdering witches and other pagans who would not convert?

Reasons can be found in the Bible – verses such as “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (no, I don’t remember exactly where in the Bible that is – somewhere within the first five books of the Old Testament) and the story of Simon the Sorcerer, in the New Testament – in the Book of Acts – Simon is a sorcerer who works with a girl who is possessed by demons – that’s how she gets her powers, and two apostles kick the demons out of her, and therefore Simon has no livelihood, and is rather pissed off. Christ, of course, was known for doing at least one powerful exorcism, but the man, possessed with a legion of demons, who Christ helped, was not possessed by demons because he practiced any form of witchcraft – why he was possessed and how he got that way is not mentioned in this Gospel story.

I will try not to worry about demons.

I feel as though I just HAVE to explore paganism. If it soon appears to me as nonsense or too scary, perhaps I’ll give it up quick, but maybe I will push on. I need to give it a fair try, whatever that means. I suppose that means more reading, talking with pagans, and attending rituals if allowed, and who knows.

The comment I received today (ok, since it’s just after midnight now, I should say “yesterday”) mentioned something I felt to be quite radical and startling – that a deity could be interested..in me! Not the other way around. I have mostly been thinking that this is mostly a mental game I’m playing. I’ll generate some belief within myself to create some feelings which I can then say oh yeah, that’s a deity, even though I know full well I’m just engineering these feelings within myself.

Creating feelings within one’s self and sort of pretending these feelings are real sort of works. It’s kind of like masturbating as compared to having sex, although masturbating is more effective than trying to create “mystical” feelings. The analogy works somewhat though, I suppose. One is self-stimulation through imagination and etc. and the other is real sexual experience with another person. Trying to generate my own mystical feelings within myself is self-stimulation, and experiencing a deity for real is entirely different – or at least it will feel that way.. geez..

Ok, I am going out on the proverbial limb here and will say that if it feels real, and is not a feeling I just tried really hard to conjure up, to make up on my own, but if it is a feeling that comes upon me, which feels real, just as the sun feels real and I believe my eyes when I see a bird, then the feeling is telling the truth. Ok, so that is pretty much settled then, hmm..?

Right.. so..

I will go to sleep within 3 hours..hopefully, and then sleep for awhile, then in the afternoon I have a one-on-one talk with a genuine witch.

I still find this rather hard to believe. As I mentioned earlier, I am somewhat sleep-deprived right now, so things in general feel a bit strange and otherworldly in a slightly less than pleasant way (I’ll try to just go with these feelings, even enjoy them a little, instead of resisting really hard, and feeling sicker). But still, even if I weren’t behind on my sleep, I’d feel kind of strange about this. I am entering a land that I felt was always taboo. It is wild and strange that it doesn’t feel that way anymore, or only feels that way a little.

Now, I feel it is a good idea to come up with some questions to ask, so I can learn, and at the very least, so I don’t feel I’m wasting the witch’s time. She’s not the type to put a hex on anyone, but even so, I feel it is good to be polite – to her and to people in general.

Ok then, on to the next posting..

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 30, 2010 5:33 AM

    I might just have to frequesnt your blog, you got an interesting way of thinking about things!

    Paganism, in all it’s forms ( From Wicca to Druidism and everything inbetween) can be a little scary when you’re first starting out, and even when your knee-deep in the stuff, simply because there is so much to learn!

    But being afraid to learn won’t help any, noone would learn to walk or talk if fear led the way through life.

    I find this mindset helpful though, perhaps it’ll be of use to you as well:

    Imagin a Diamond, the kind used in rings and such. It has multiple flat areas all over it, right? Imagin that Diamond and it’s flat surfaces in the shape of a large ball – there’s TONS of flat areas. Those are the Deities of EVERY LAST religion on the planet. One flat surface for each deity. So no matter WHO you call, you’re still calling on the same Higher power that’s always been there, it’s just a matter of what name, what apperiance, is more comfortable for you to work with personally, as opposed to trying to fit yourself to someone elses ideal version.

    Those who call on, say, Zeus are simply more comfortable with that persona then someone who calls on Thor or Set. Each Face and Name has something slightly different to teach when you get into their culural origins, but they are all part of a whole which is Grey. It is not Good or Bad alone, it just ‘is’.

    Jesus is Horus is Zeus is Pan, ect ect, Just gotta figure out what name and face your most comfortable with, then you can dig deeper and figure out that deities cultural lessons for you. In the End, We’re all going to one power with our prayers and wishes and hopes, and the arguing of who’s way is better is purely a Mortal difference of who each person or group is more comfortable with.

    At least that’s how I view things. I was raised Christian (Partly) and That name and face wasn’t right for me, same power yes, but not the face and name I was comfortable with.

    It’ll always take a bit of searching to find out who you’re most comfortable with, and there’s nothign saying you have to stick with just ONE path. You can take say, the Native American Cyote (not sure I spelled that right) along with Greek’s Demeter and Norse Loki if you so wished, if those are who your are comfortable with, and pull them all together into your own, Personalized path. it’s called being Ecclectic (again, spelling might be wrong. It’s not my strong point ^^; ) and the possibilities are Endless of who you can work with, and where they’re from culturally.

    Another thing to keep in mind, with Demons, is that a lot of the stories and Myths we have were used to teach moral lessons, (Like in the 80s when Cartoons and TV shows had lessons like Don’t Do drugs, Be kind to people, ect ect in them, not just flashy fight scenes and gunfire.) and who better to play the various parts of the lessons then the Gods and Goddesses? The Elders who already KNEW these lessons used the Deities or Demons or Ghosts, ect, instead of Regular Joe down the street because the younger generation would give more respect and though to the lessons from the story if the Supernatural were the ones playing it out.

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