I changed the name of this page to “On Theism” because Paganism doesn’t really define my beliefs that well, anymore.
While I still have a moderate belief, I don’t know that I have faith. My entire life has been a ongoing crisis of faith since. . . well, since awhile.
Most of my thinking these days is towards leaving religion, spirituality and other such things in the dustbin of history. While I’m not embracing full blown atheism, I’m just not convinced that any one power/god/goddess/whatever is responsible for any of what we see.
Humanity makes its own destiny, not some fairy tale god on high.
I’ve left the bulk of this page intact, simply ’cause I don’t want to remove it.
Some may wonder what path of Paganism I tread. For those interested, I offer the following text.
I didn’t start out a Pagan. I tried living the Christian way for a time. I, ultimately, decided to leave this path behind because it didn’t feel right to me. I know I didn’t go to church for a fashion show or to talk about the latest TV show. And a bad experience with a Baptist minister (who insisted I bring twenty five people to the Faith, even if I had to physically drag them to church) left an ashen taste in my mouth, as one might expect. It was very cult like, and I left that church in a hurry.
While attending church, I was fascinated with the early cultures discussed in the Bible, but when it came to Divine Law, I felt no kinship or connection to Jesus. I don’t discount that Jesus is the Son of the Christian God. I don’t discount that Jesus the Christ is the Redeemer, Healer, and Risen. I don’t have a problem with that at all.
I just don’t believe in Him as savior. My belief is that Salvation will come when I have learned all I need to learn. I believe in the cyclical nature of the Universe and of the soul. What I learn here, and what I do here, will echo throughout the future and into my future lives. (Yes, I believe in reincarnation.) And when I learn all I need to learn, I will leave this plane forever and retire to the Summerlands, there to rest for all time.
But back to my Christian life. I went to Sunday school every Sunday. I dutifully studied the Bible, and tithed. As things went on, I began to feel a deep dissatisfaction with how my life was turning out. I made changes. I ended a long relationship with my second fiancé. I got a new job. Changed my look. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my entire paradigm had shifted.
My perceptions of the world around me were quickly changing. This shift in paradigm challenged everything I believed in and I spent long, I mean looong, hours in contemplation and prayer. But the longer I considered the situation, the longer I prayed, the more deafening the silence from God.
For many years after this, I didn’t believe in anything, much less a dead man 2,000 years in the grave. Life continued. Fiancé #3 came and went from my life, and slowly, ever so slowly, my perceptions of the world, the Living World, around me began to change. I began to see a pattern that wove itself throughout my life. From beginning to now, it continues to weave the mosaic of me.
When I first considered that there was some form of Intelligent Design, (to use the term currently en vogue), which drove the creation of the Universe, I realized there was a Living Presence in my life. At that time, I had no name for it. (I was not yet familiar with the terms I so casually throw around today.) I did know that whenever I was inside, I felt stifled, and when I am outside under Sky Father, I feel at peace. I felt His presence. I felt His touch when the wind blew to cool my brow, when the rain fell to wash me.
Imagine how you feel when you are touched by your God. This is how I feel. I feel I can taste blue, if that makes any sense.
I never felt that with Jesus.
I don’t hate Jesus. I think the message of Jesus Christ is an uplifting and powerful message. But it is, however, a rather exclusive one. I accept everyone for who they are. I don’t expect anyone to change to suit my tastes or desires. I accept Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Intersexed, and GenderQueer people as being just as valid as the Heterosexual people. This acceptance, I am told, is anathema to Jesus and the Christian God.
(EDIT: I reworded this paragraph to remove the words “lifestyle” and “transsexual” in order to not offend anyone. My understanding is ‘transsexual’ is mildly offensive and ‘lifestyle’ is the wrong word choice to describe members of the GLBT community. My apologies if I offended anyone.)
When I initially found myself on the Pagan’s path, I first tried Wicca. I found it wanting, in my view. Wicca didn’t answer all the questions I had and, while many Wiccae believe otherwise, I found it was just as structured a religion as Christianity.
There are many in Wicca who were just as exclusionary as the Baptists at the local church. Many time I heard, and was told, “If you can’t trace your lineage back to Gardner, you’re not a true Wiccan.” Or “Unless you’re a member of a recognized Tradition, and you’ve been Initiated into that Tradition, you’re not a true Wiccan.” There were other variations such as this, as well.
This is not to imply that ALL Wiccans are bad people. They are not. I’ve met some quite upstanding folks amongst the Wiccae that I would not hesitate to call my friends. However, the regimented lifestyle of Wicca (and it is a lifestyle) doesn’t suit me anymore than Christianity suited me or Islam would suit me. And it would be disingenuous to try.
My current path is known as the Unfolding Revelation of Enlightenment. That is, the Universe teaches us what we need to know, and when, but it only teaches us what we need to know at any particular moment. Thus, I don’t have to have all the answers right now. They will come. I just have to know enough to get me through right now.
I have studied, and continue to study, the Middle Way, Buddhism, or, more properly, the buddha-dharma, since “Buddhism is not really an “ism.” It’s a process, an awareness, an openness, a spirit of inquiry-not a belief system, or even (as we normally understand it) a religion.” (Hagen 9).
My studies in this area have helped me to form the basis of the Unfolding Revelations of Enlightenment and to See the world around me in greater detail than I previously had. The buddha-dharma also allows me to think in a logical fashion, something I was struggling with before I began studying it.
In addition to the buddha-dharma, I mix in elements of certain Pagan paths. For example, when I pray, I call on Athena, Goddess of Wisdom for guidance. The Goddess plays a major role in my religious beliefs, much more than male Divinity does.
I’ve also felt drawn to Cybele, the Great Mother Goddess. Hers is a powerful influence, even in its infancy. (I’ve barely begun to work with Her).
Recently, I have discovered that, for myself, Divinity is almost wholly feminine. Not to say I don’t feel the presence of male Deities, but the vast majority of the Divine Energy I feel is overwhelmingly feminine. I’m not clear as to why this is, but I am going to enjoy the chance to study it closer.
I have also begun to study Chaos Magic. My primary source on this system of thought is Andrieh Vitimus‘s new book “Hands on Chaos Magic, Reality Manipulation through the Ovayki Current.” It looks interesting so far.
That’s me in a nutshell. I hope this text was helpful in answering some of your questions about me.
May whatever Gods you follow bless and keep you all the days of your life,
Hagen, Steve Buddhism Plain & Simple, The Practice of Being Aware, Right Now, Every Day, Broadway Books 1999 (originally published Charles E. Tuttle Co. 1977.)