Articles/Essays From Pagans
February 10th. 2017 ...
Understanding the Unseen
Kitchen Magic and Memories
January 10th. 2017 ...
The Gray of 'Tween
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Little Dog, Big Love
December 9th. 2016 ...
A Child's First Yule
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What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
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October 10th. 2016 ...
Witchcraft from the Outside
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September 3rd. 2016 ...
Rethinking Heaven: What Happens When We Die?
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August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
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July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
An Open Mind and Heart
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
June 13th. 2016 ...
Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
How to Bond with the Elements through Magick
Magical Household Cleaning
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity
Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected
The Fear of Witchcraft
Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele
Magic in Sentences
Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess
The Evolution of Thought Forms
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion
Spring Has Sprung!
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Energy and Karma
Community and Perception
December 20th. 2015 ...
Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
Native American Spirituality Myopia
A Dream Message
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?
Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism
I Claim Cronehood
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
The Gods of My Heart
January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
My Gods and Yours Are Not The Same
Article ID: 14152
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: September 12th. 2010
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In A Wrinkle In Time, author Madeleine L’Engle gave us fantastical “beasts” without eyes or ears, creatures with soft muted fur and long waving tentacles, beings almost too horrible to look upon. Yet these beings possessed a characteristic that the humans in the book, and I feel humans in general, are sorely lacking. These beasts are able to “feel” they way things truly are, the essence of what makes an object that object, a plant a plant, the soul of things.
In the story, one of the main characters, Meg, is asked by Aunt Beast to describe the sun and light and color. Meg tries, but realizes that to describe what we sense to something lacking those senses is impossibility, and a limitation on how we interact with the universe. While Meg, and humans in general, can describe what we see or touch, we very rarely can grasp the way things truly are, what makes the individual an individual, and not just something that fits into a scientific sort of classification system where we are merely defined by our physical characteristics. The ability that the beasts had allowed them to interact on a deeper level with the cosmos, moving past the physical, which is how we are, into the soul, which is who we are.
You’re probably wondering what this has to do with our different Gods. For many Pagans, we view our Gods as existing on a more spiritual than physical level, and developing a sense that allows us to interact with the spiritual is one of the more important ways we connect to our Gods, let alone any other spiritual, magical, or mythical being one may believe in. It is a sense many of us seek to discover within ourselves, a journey that may take us weeks or years. In developing this sense, we come to know the world in a completely different way. And we come to know our Gods.
You would not believe how many times during a conversation about deities on a personal level, I’ve heard something along the lines of, “We both worship (deity) , just different aspects of (deity) , ” or, “Well, that’s how the enemies of (culture) portrayed (deity) . All that bad is really only propaganda; I can’t believe you fell for it, ” even, “That’s how (deity) used to be. He/She really isn’t that way anymore.”
No, no, no! Statements like this just make me want to bash my head against the wall. I realize that we all believe in our Gods in very different ways, and I completely respect that, but when I am being told in no uncertain terms that I am wrong, that I am falling for centuries old propaganda, or that somehow the person I am speaking to has a relationship with a God that is more valid and correct than my own, I tend to get fairly annoyed. And that is why I’m writing this. Because I’m tired of people assuming things about my beliefs, when I’ve usually stated how and what it is I believe. I work hard to develop and maintain relationships, with people and Gods, and since there is no human that has the inherent ability of the beasts to sense the true nature of things, I am resentful when I am told ‘we worship the same Gods’.
I am a fairly strict polytheist, so anything somewhat resembling pantheism or duotheism has no place in my belief system. It’s usually one of the first things people will find out about me when beginning some sort of religious conversation: yes, I believe in lots of Gods, and They are all different. I feel that there could be two separate deities that share the same name, and the same cultural context, and still be different entities. This is what I feel happens when the God I am worshipping and the God someone else is worshipping have completely different personas and traits.
And I am fine with this belief; it makes sense to me. I do not force the other person to follow my view that we are worshipping different Gods. I will explain to them that is what I believe about it, and move forward in the conversation. This usually works, and no hard feelings. But sometimes there is that one person who doesn’t accept a point of view different from his or her own.
You find this with any spirituality; Christianity, Hinduism, Wicca… it’s a human characteristic, not a religious one, this need to be correct and have others acknowledge our correctness. I try quite hard to respect that others view the Gods in different ways than I, and I realize others do too, but sometimes it’s just so hard to deal with those people who are so sure of their rightness, that no other way is recognized, let alone accepted. Acceptance doesn’t mean agreement; I disagree with pantheism, but I accept that many view it as the most rational way.
Obviously I view my way as correct, otherwise I wouldn’t be following it, but just because it’s right and rational to me doesn’t make it so for another. This attitude seems to upset many Pagans, who view it as intolerance, but I would disagree. I am tolerant. I just feel that it would dishonor my Gods for me to treat Them with any less respect than They deserve as the individuals They have revealed Themselves to be.
We humans are limited in our senses, our eyes do not always see well or far enough, our ears don’t always hear like they should, and our ability to “feel” the world around us is dormant nigh unto dying. Yet this feeling is so important to our spiritual selves in connecting to and defining those things and beings that we cannot, or rarely, sense with our physical senses.
If we possessed the inherent sense of Aunt Beast and her kind, we would be able to better know and understand our Gods, and those Gods that aren’t ours, and Gods who we have never even heard of. Because this sense is one that lets us see the reality of the world around us, on a deeper level than what we use right now. Instead, it seems we are merely stumbling along through the darkness and very rarely seeing the stars.
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Location: New Philadelphia, Ohio
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