Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...



Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]


Views: 17,424,588


October 20th. 2014 ...

Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits

A Microcosmic View of Ma'at


October 5th. 2014 ...

The History of the Sacred Circle

Abandoning Expectations and Remembering Your Roots


September 28th. 2014 ...

Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials

Creating a Healing Temple


September 20th. 2014 ...

GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)


September 7th. 2014 ...

Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery

Web Oh-oh

The All


August 31st. 2014 ...

Coven vs. Solitary

A Strange Waking Dream

Faith


August 24th. 2014 ...

Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation

The Pagan Cleric

A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)


August 17th. 2014 ...

To Know, to Will, to Dare...

On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows

The Darkness


August 10th. 2014 ...

As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?

The Power of the Gorgon


August 3rd. 2014 ...

Are You a Natural Witch?

You Have to Believe We Are Magic...


July 27th. 2014 ...

Did I Just Draw Down the Moon?

Astrological Ages and the Great Astrological End-Time Cycle

The New Jersey Finishing School for Would-Be Glamour Girls and Boys


July 20th. 2014 ...

Being an Underage Wiccan

Greed, Power, Witches, and the Inquisition

Malleus Maleficarum - The Hammer of the Witches

Thoughts on Ghost Hunting


July 13th. 2014 ...

A World Of Witchcraft: Belief Is Only The Beginning...

From Christian to Pagan (Part III)

Being Wiccan

My Wiccan Ways...


July 6th. 2014 ...

Keys: Opening the Portals into Other Worlds

The Lore of the Door

Leaves of Love


June 29th. 2014 ...

What Does the Bible Say About Witches and Pagans?

Are You My Familiar ?

Invocations of the God and Goddess

Everything's Alright, Yes: Mary Magdalene

Results Magic and the Moral Compass


June 22nd. 2014 ...

Witchcraft vs. Religion

Christianity and Paganism: Why All Of the Fighting?

Norse Mythology


June 15th. 2014 ...

Becoming Your Own Wise One

Canine Familiars: Role of the Alpha


June 8th. 2014 ...

Moral Relativism and Wicca

Paganism in Cebu, Philippines

Color Infusion

Soul Strings


June 1st. 2014 ...

Rediscovering My Pagan Faith

13 Keys: The Wisdom of Chokmah


May 25th. 2014 ...

Some Differences Between Priestesses and Witches: Duties and Trials

Awakening to our Celestial Nature (A Free 8-Day Course)

How to Work With Your Muse

10 Things I Love about my Sacred Work as a Public Witch


May 18th. 2014 ...

Finding the God (From Christian to Pagan -Part II)

The Medea Within Us All

Visits from the Departed


May 11th. 2014 ...

Breaking the Law of Return

Mental and Emotional Balance- I CAN Have it!

Karma and Sin

The Sin Concept


May 4th. 2014 ...

Embracing my Inner Goddess through Belly Dance

When to Let Go...When to Hold On

Goddessy: Sorceress Speaks On Beauty


April 27th. 2014 ...

Mental Illness in the Pagan Community

Being Pagan, Being Bipolar

World Crisis: Awaken Witches and Take Action

"Earth Day" Is A Pagan Conspiracy!


April 20th. 2014 ...

Six Rules for Safer Pagan Sex: A Guide

Safety: Let's Shift Our Focus

Morality and Controversy in the Craft

A Pagan Perspective on Easter

The Star Child


April 13th. 2014 ...

Magick and Consequences: My Experience with Sigils

Being a Worrisome Witch

Don't Talk Yourself Out of Trying Something New!

What to Do When the Spell/Ritual Flops


NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.










Baby Steps

Author:
Posted: October 14th. 2001
Times Viewed: 2,973

I would like to witness modern Paganism (and thus modern Witchcraft) mature as religion. Thus, I would like to see more materials on living the stages of life as a Pagan, Pagan morality and Pagan philosophy.

To that end, I wrote an essay several months ago which was published at the Witches' Voice ('Withersoever Our Lammas, ' http://www.witchvox.com/words/words_2001/seeds5.html ) in which I argued that unless modern Paganism (and thus modern Witchcraft) matures as religion, it runs the risk of devolving into a mere magic using subculture of eco-feminist-new-age-plus. I then suggested some means for averting that, specifically: by mining the riches of pagan religions of the east (such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, etc.) for concepts and models to tide us over till we evolve our own concepts and models.

Another way of viewing the same problem—perhaps more positively but nonetheless accurately-- is an analogy to a baby. Modern Paganism (and thus modern Witchcraft) is in this form only 50 years old. Thus, as far as the maturity of religions is reckoned, modern Paganism (and thus modern Witchcraft) is young like a baby. And this baby has, so far, grown enough to eat, to cry, to poop, to crawl in various directions and to gaze in wonder at the mobile of fantastic shapes and colors which hangs above its crib. That's normal and good. But now, the baby is mature enough to start its next stage of development: learning how to walk. If the baby learns how to walk, it will be able (literally and figuratively) to take its next steps in its life and in fulfilling its destiny.

But walk to *where*? The Destination is Truth, and the path to Truth is living a fully human life in terms of Truth; and doing that is the Journey and the Destination. One of the most effective means of doing that is religion, but understanding that requires a little understanding of how religion functions and why.

In my opinion, religion is an anthropological phenomenon —in other words, it is a human thing. And it is that human activity whereby people are related to each other and to the Sacred—by and through and because of the Sacred—and are thence related back unto the world. This is so, regardless of how the Sacred is understood —atheistically, agnostically, or theistically (and the numerous varieties of theism: animism, polytheism, duotheism, monotheism, pantheism, panentheism, etc.) The Sacred—which I do not here attempt to define since I think such a task is impossible—is that which causes in most of humanity (and to varying degrees) a sense of Fullness in their lives. Encounters with It are hallmarked (as the late Professor Rudolph Otto observed in his 'The Idea of the Holy') by three qualities: a sense of the numinous, a sense of awe and a sense of transformation of the person; this is so regardless of whether the encounter with the Sacred is dramatic or mundane. Hence, instead of focusing upon the Sacred, it is imperative in seeking an understanding of religion to focus upon the effects produced in people because of encountering the Sacred (whatever It is).

And those effects are best illustrated by the functions of religions. Religion functions (when it is functioning Truly and when it is not hijacked by power, politics, money, etc.) to provide a context, a meaning and the tools whereby people can live a fully human life precisely (religion asserts) when human life is lived in terms of the Sacred. Thus, miracles and allegations of miracles aside, religion is ultimately a mundane thing. It seeks to 'sacralize' (to make sacred) human life, in mundane as well as unusual moments. And that is done through religion's functions: providing a context and meaning and tools whereby people can live a fully human life in terms of the Sacred.

Put another way, then, religion functions Truly when it offers a means for people for making their human lives a Journey of Truth. And the Journey of Truth—human life Truly lived because it is lived in terms of the Sacred—is different from most journeys, which are journeys *to* something. In the Journey of Truth, the Destination encompasses the Journey.

But like any journey, there must be a starting point on the Journey of Truth. When expressed in religious terms, this starting point is a religion's 'hierophany.' Hierophany is the 50-cent word coined by the late scholar of religion, Mircea Eliade (see his 'The Sacred an the Profane') for an encounter with the Sacred. This is critical to understand when trying to understand a religion; it is analogous to understanding the family or household in which a baby grows up when trying to understand the baby and the adult that it may become.

The hierophany for modern Paganism (and thus modern Witchcraft) seems to me to be threefold: the sacredness of Nature, the sacredness of the Female as well as the Male, and the Immanence as well as the Transcendence of the Sacred. In short, the hierophany of modern Paganism (and thus of modern Witchcraft) is Nature, the Balance and Magic.

However, hierophany is not enough; it is a beginning, nothing more. In other words, a religion's hierophany is its *doorway* to Truth. A hierophany is the way Truth is encountered by a religion; hence, it always remains with a religion. Yet, a hierophany—like a doorway—only fulfills its purpose if people *use* the doorway to pass through to what is on the other side of it. And what is on the other side of a religion's doorway to Truth is the Journey of Truth: which is living human life in that religion's terms of the Sacred.

Hence, modern Paganism (and thus modern Witchcraft) must pass through its doorway to Truth so that it can *live* human life in its terms of Truth. The hierophany is not abandoned, and the doorway is not lost; shifting focus from the doorway to Truth to living a human life of Truth does not mean giving up the very things which brought us to the Journey of Truth. For: on the Journey of Truth, the Destination encompasses the Journey. Nevertheless, the Journey must be *begun* by passing through the doorway to Truth *in order to* live human life in those very terms of Truth. And thus, modern Paganism (and modern Witchcraft) must collectively pass through its hierophany of Nature, the Balance and Magic so that it can *live* human life in its very terms of Truth (Nature, the Balance, Magic).

Now, human life contains many perennial issues, because mankind has not changed even though its circumstances and civilizations have changed over time. Hence, religion must address those perennial issues of human life. Specifically, a religion must offer the context, the meaning and the tools for living a human life in terms of the Sacred *precisely by* addressing the perennial issues of people in that religion's terms of the Sacred, i.e. in the terms of its hierophany.

Thus, modern Paganism (and thus modern Witchcraft) must address the perennial issues of human life in its Pagan terms of the Sacred, i.e., in terms of its Pagan hierophany: Nature, the Balance and Magic.

One set of those perennial issues of human life is simply the stages of human life. They are birth, childhood, puberty, adulthood, marriage / divorce, childrearing, old age and death. The stages of human life are the very stages whereupon the play of human life is enacted. Hence, it is imperative for any religion to address *how* to religiously live the stages of human life. Hence, it is imperative that modern Paganism (and thus modern Witchcraft) address living the stages of life, as a Pagan. A start has been made, but much more needs to be done. And hence, I think future writings on modern Paganism (and thus modern Witchcraft) must focus upon the stages of life as lived by modern Pagans (and thus by modern Witches).

Another set of perennial issues is morality. Some modern Pagans (and thus modern Witches) wince when they hear the term, perhaps because they associate it with power-over tendencies and techniques of certain other religions. Staying at that position, though, is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Morality is nothing more (and nothing less) than the principles of how people should behave towards one another because of their very humanity. It is not, therefore, a mere list of do's and don'ts. It is instead the attempt by people to identify, articulate and live those principles by which we can live with each other. It is human, not religious. But, religion really doesn't offer anything that isn't human; instead, religion takes human things and places them in the context, the meaning and with the tools to live human life fully, in terms of the Sacred. Hence, it is imperative that modern Paganism (and thus modern Witchcraft) take on the set of perennial issues of human life called morality: identifying, articulating and living the principles by which human beings can live with each other, because of their very humanity. Hence too, it is imperative for modern Pagans (and thus modern Witches) to do so in *Pagan* terms of the Sacred. Thus, addressing morality by modern Pagans (and thus modern Witches) must be *more* that magical ethics (or, especially, a rehashing of the Rede), and it must be *more* than just semi-consciously adapting the predominant Christian morals around us. We need, as modern Pagans (and thus as modern Witches), to state morality in *Pagan* terms. And that means we must think through morality in terms of the Pagan *hierophany*: in terms of Nature and in terms of the Balance and in terms of the Magic. We need, in short, to think through morality *not* on the basis of a monotheistic revelation and the culture built upon that but *instead* in terms of Natural Law as observed through the Interconnectedness of All—physically, humanly, and metaphysically (i.e., in terms of Nature, the Balance and Magic)—so that we Pagans know how to live, with ourselves and with others, as *Pagans.* Hence, I think that future writings on Paganism (and thus modern Witchcraft) must heavily focus upon Pagan morality.

A third set of perennial issues is simply trying to *understand* human life when lived in terms of the Sacred. *Why* is the question here, not just 'what' or 'how.' This faith seeking understanding is philosophy. (It is *not* necessarily theology: especially in pagan religions, theism and hence theology are optional and variable. Hence, it is philosophy that becomes—especially in pagan religions—the vehicle for seeking understanding of a faith that is not necessarily *theistic* but which is usually somehow *monistic.*) And philosophy is not supposed to be an impenetrable forest of words. Philosophy is supposed to be a garden for cultivating an understanding of Truth. And that cultivation is not undertaken solely for its own sake. Rather, cultivating an understanding of Truth is to better enable people to *live* their human lives in Truth. Before, during and after the stages of life, the morality of life, and the million and one other things composing human life -- there is the *living* of human life. Philosophy is no substitute for living human life, but philosophy can and must act as a *guide* for living human life. Philosophy is thus like a road-sign: it is neither the Journey nor the Destination; it merely points to them; but like a road sign, philosophy thus better enables people to find and walk the Journey of Truth, on which the Destination encompasses the Journey. *That* is the task of philosophy: answering the *why* behind the what, so as to better enable people to *live* the what, so as to better fulfill the destiny of those moments and the lifetimes which they compose. And that is *especially* the task before modern Paganism (and thus modern Witchcraft): most if its members are too monistic to be monotheistic and too Western to be Eastern, and they therefore need an understanding of Truth that is both monistic in essence and Western in form—so that they are better enabled to live a life of Truth in Pagan terms of essence and form. Hence, I strongly think Paganism (and thus modern Witchcraft) must articulate its own philosophy.

I wrote above that Paganism (and thus modern Witchcraft) is like a baby that is learning to walk on its own two Pagan feet. As such, it must learn to shift its focus away from its hierophany, its doorway to Truth, and to instead focus on what the doorway leads to: living a fully human life in Pagan terms of the Sacred. That means (among other things) that future writings by modern Pagans (and thus modern Witches) must focus upon the stages of human life and the morality of human life and a philosophy for human life, all in Pagan terms. By doing so, Baby Paganism will not only learn to walk on its own two Pagan feet; it will also thereby take its first steps through and *past* its doorway to Truth. Baby Paganism will thus collectively take it first steps on the Journey of Truth -through the territory of fully living human life in Pagan terms. If Baby Paganism *fails* to learn how to walk on its own two Pagan feet, if it *fails* thence and thereby to go through and beyond its doorway to Truth—composed of the two posts and a lintel of Nature, the Balance and Magic—Baby Paganism will never mature and grow into its next stage of life; it will become a cripple or a corpse of its potential destiny; it will become a mere magic using subculture of eco-feminist-new-age-plus. But, if Baby Paganism does learn to walk and does thereby pass through its doorway to Truth, Baby Paganism will no longer be a baby, and it will collectively discover a grown-up fact: when we pass through the doorway to Truth, to living a human life of Truth, we come (along the way and at the way's end) to Truth again. On the path of Truth, the Destination encompasses the Journey. But, to walk that path requires shoes for the territory (the stages of life) and rules of the road (morality) and a map of the Journey (philosophy). Hence, for modern Paganism (and thus modern Witchcraft) to mature as religion, it must focus itself (and thus its writings) on going through its hierophany and to the Journey of Truth: living a fully human life in Pagan terms of the Sacred. And that means focusing upon living the stages of life as a Pagan, Pagan morality and Pagan philosophy.

Blessed Be.

John




ABOUT...



Location: ,

Author's Profile: To learn more about - Click HERE

Bio: John is a Witch who is greatly influenced by Hinduism. He is presently 1) convalescing from an illness, 2) planning on restarting his law practice when he is well, and 3) is composing a proposed philosophy for modern Witchcraft. When it's done, it will be available for free at his website: John's Pagan Pages (http://wiccans.com/host/john_littlew/index.htm ).




Other Articles: has posted 16 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE




Email ... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)

To send a private message to ...



Pagan Essays
1996-2014





Pagan Web
8,000 Links





Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.





Pagan/Witch
80,000 Profiles














Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops



Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.

Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
Witches, Pagans
of The World




Search Articles
1996-2014










 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide


NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.

All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).