Articles/Essays From Pagans
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
August 10th. 2014 ...
As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?
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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?
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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
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Thoughts on Ghost Hunting
July 13th. 2014 ...
A World Of Witchcraft: Belief Is Only The Beginning...
From Christian to Pagan (Part III)
My Wiccan Ways...
July 6th. 2014 ...
Keys: Opening the Portals into Other Worlds
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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
Results Magic and the Moral Compass
Everything's Alright, Yes: Mary Magdalene
June 22nd. 2014 ...
Witchcraft vs. Religion
Christianity and Paganism: Why All Of the Fighting?
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
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
Karma and Sin
Mental and Emotional Balance- I CAN Have it!
The Sin Concept
May 4th. 2014 ...
When to Let Go...When to Hold On
Goddessy: Sorceress Speaks On Beauty
Embracing my Inner Goddess through Belly Dance
April 27th. 2014 ...
Mental Illness in the Pagan Community
World Crisis: Awaken Witches and Take Action
Being Pagan, Being Bipolar
"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
April 6th. 2014 ...
The Elements and the Quarters
Dark Moon Scry: Aries 2014
How the Wheel of the Year Works “Down Under”
13 Keys: The Understanding of Binah
March 30th. 2014 ...
Manifesting the Dream: On Religious Organizations, Pagan Abbeys and our Order
True Meaning of Community
Thoughts on Unverified Personal Gnosis
My Beautiful Grove- A Matter Of Perspective
March 23rd. 2014 ...
Spirituality and Social Change
The First Step to Anywhere!
March 16th. 2014 ...
From Christian to Pagan (Part I)
Nature And The Celtic Tree Calendar
The Teeth in the Darkness
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
A System of Belief
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Article ID: 15032
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 642
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Posted: November 25th. 2012
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I believe in nothing. This is not an atheistic statement, nor is it a declaration of despair. It’s a bit more than a statement of fact however. It’s a life system. After I lost my faith, I knew in my heart that I’d never believe in anything again. And though my heart was also filled with despair at the time, that despair slowly drained away over the years and I was left with only the statement, the thought.
For a while a few years after it happened I thought I was free of it, but it had only turned into a bitterness that swam deep beneath the surface. Any talk of spirituality was met with skeptical scorn, if it was different from what I’d been taught, and if it was similar I only felt a nostalgic longing to return to what could not be. It is only now that I can truly say I have cut ties with my grief and bitterness, and am left with a life system that can be a vehicle for spiritual progress. And I know that sounds contradictory.
How can a life system that states I believe in nothing aid me spiritually? If anything, shouldn’t it hinder me? Isn’t one required to believe in things beyond one’s limited comprehension to advance on a spiritual path? And that is the crux of the matter. Does one have to believe in something not yet seen, to progress towards it? The answer is no, and this comes from a logical point of view.
If you’re traveling down a road that leads to a wondrous golden city, yet you are unaware of that fact, and perhaps do not even know the city exists, will you not still arrive at it eventually? Aha! But.... you say, if there are other roads to take, crossing the one you’re on and if you don’t believe the wonderful city is there, why on earth would you not take another road, one of which its destination is known? To that I have this to say:
This is a metaphor, of course, for enlightenment, for expanded consciousness, for spiritual awakening. Can anyone argue that epiphanies, milestones on the way to enlightenment, are counterproductive? That a slowly expanding consciousness is a bad thing? That a spiritual experience is not a moving and wonderful experience? And so the road itself is a wondrous thing to walk upon. There is reason enough to walk it without the promise of glory at the end.
But, you say, are the experiences not road signs telling you that the city does in fact exist? No, I say. Well, yes and no. Yes, because they tell you you’re on your way to something, you are progressing towards something important. No, because the people you’ve met along the way all have wildly differing tales about what the city actually is, what its function is, how exactly to get there, and how impressed you should be when you get there. Of course most of those people you meet have never been there in the first place. Perhaps it is a city, filled with wonders for the eye to behold, or just perhaps it is a small forest glade filled with the singing of birds. But the point is this: it doesn’t matter what’s at the end, as long as the path you’re on fulfills you. Therefore belief in what’s at the end is not necessary, and in fact that same belief may be detrimental or even fatal to your motivation for walking the path.
If your expectations are to see great palaces and towers sprawled in the distance once you get close, and all you see are trees, why then would you continue on? I’m speaking of course of the danger that false expectation generates, that springs from belief not based on personal experience. That is not to say I don’t see the purpose or good in belief. If someone has had nothing but bad experiences on their path and don’t have the will, or just the information they need to change paths, then belief may be all that keeps them walking. But at the same time that very thing may very well keep them from taking the right turn at a very crucial crossroads. So it becomes an obstacle, and they may walk forever down a road that indeed goes nowhere.
So it is that I have distilled everything in my life into what I know, from what I’ve been told and haven’t experienced for myself yet, or what I don’t yet know for certain. And this makes me more open-minded that those with beliefs that are more flexible than some religions. Even if your beliefs are a hodgepodge of every known religion in existence and you’re more open minded than more rigid dogmas allow, they’re still beliefs. And if you’re not willing to examine your beliefs and change them based on the most important evidence a person can get themselves, anecdotal evidence, then you are as rigid in your life system as any other. And if you are able to change your beliefs on a regular basis, are they beliefs at all? And if they are, why have beliefs in the first place? To feel connected to something bigger than yourself?
Join a group with similar experiences to yours and engage in theme-based projects with them, or explore those experiences with someone you can share them with. Or better yet, close your eyes and know that every cell in your body is made up of the same basic building blocks that make up everything else in existence and so in a way are connected. Changing your entire worldview every time you’re presented with indisputable evidence is time consuming, and in my experience not very pleasant.
Take life for what it is, what your senses and observations can tell you. Experiment and theorize about what lies ahead, certainly, but look for signs that what you imagine is correct and matches up with what you’re experiencing and what you observe others experiencing. Because I imagine everyone’s shining city is a bit different that everyone else’s, and the paths to it as varied and eclectic as there are people in this world.
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