Articles/Essays From Pagans
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The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
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The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
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December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
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December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
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Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
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November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
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September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
The Importance of Asking 'Why?' in Our Spiritual and Religious Beliefs
Article ID: 12413
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,110
Times Read: 4,043
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Author: Taylor Ellwood
Posted: June 1st. 2008
Times Viewed: 4,043
When I was 16, for a short time, I became a born again Christian. I went to an Assembly of God church with a friend and ended up being "saved." At first I felt like everything I had been looking for had been given to me. I know longer felt like I was living a life devoid of meaning. In my new spirituality/religion were all the answers and a divine being that had saved me from my sins.
However, as time went on, I found myself asking questions that couldn't be answered by a holy book or by the Christian God.
I remember when I found the first question I wanted to ask. My friend was the son of the pastor, at the church I went to. His family and I had gone to a mall and I picked up several fantasy books to read.
Later, back at their house, my friend's father took me aside and told me that reading those books was putting sinful thoughts into my mind, because they were about demons. I thought this was fairly strange and wondered why reading a book determined if I was sinful or not.
Later that night, I went to sleep and was told the next morning that I had started yelling and cursing in my sleep. I didn't recall this at all, and I'm a fairly light sleeper.
I realized my friend's family had lied to me, possibly as a way of trying to get me to conform to their beliefs, which made me question why they would go to such lengths, to the point that they committed a sin themselves, just to try and get me to conform to what they felt was true.
As time went on, I realized that the answers I had thought I had found in their beliefs could really only be found by myself. The answers they had access to weren't my answers. In fact, their answers seemed to be dogmatic. I found out about magic only a few months later and quickly realized I had found a spirituality that encouraged questions, answers, and seemingly open-mindedness.
One of the most important lessons I learned from that experience was to ask why. I wanted to know why these people I knew felt compelled to lie to me in the name of a god that told the that lying was wrong. When we don't ask why, we give up a very important tool in our spiritual life, namely critical thinking.
Critical thinking is an important tool because it provides us with skepticism. We need skepticism to maintain a healthy relationship with the spiritual beliefs and religious practices we engage in.
When we don't question these beliefs or practices, when we don't ask why, we risk falling into fundamentalist beliefs, and worse we risk compromising our personal principles.
It may seem contrary that a person would compromise personal principles by following a spiritual and religious practice, but as any cult survivor will tell you, sometimes you end up sacrificing your sense of self and personal principles for what you are told to believe. When we blindly follow the tenets of a belief system, we no longer question where everything dictated in that belief system is something we should follow.
This can be taken to some very unhealthy extremes, to a point where because a person feels that a deity or guru or person of spiritual authority has told him or her to do something, s/he has no choice in the matter. Or rather s/he has a choice, but if s/he doesn't do what the spiritual authority tells him/her to do, there will be bad consequences such as loss of health, loss of loved ones, or even the loss of life.
This causes me to wonder if a spiritual authority told such a person to jump off a cliff, if the person would in fact jump off that cliff because the spiritual authority told him or her to, or if the person would actually ask the deity the very important question of why.
Asking the question of why is really taking a step back from any situation and putting some distance between yourself and that situation so that you can examine it more objectively. Asking why is employing critical thinking skills, and more importantly claiming your own sense of empowerment by asking not only the deity, guru, priest, or whoever why you're being asked to do something, but also asking yourself why you think you're being asked/told to do whatever it was that was asked/commanded of you.
Another, equally important question to ask is: What am I supposed to learn from this situation? What are the lessons here for me? This question is all too easily ignored sometimes, because a person can become so focused on the external environment and on what needs to be accomplished that actually taking time to experience what is happening and then reflect on it via meditation is forgotten.
Yet meditation of some form is essential as both a way to connect everything that has happened, and as a way of critically examining what's happened in a mindful way so that the lessons can be fully appreciated.
In a spiritual or religious situation, it's important to ask what the lesson for the self is, because every experience a person has in his or her life has something to teach that person, if s/he is willing to take time to focus on asking why.
Asking why is really asking what the lesson is for you, in this situation. It's asking why you find yourself in this situation, why you have this particular pattern of behavior occurring. It's looking at the deep structures of your identity and asking how what you are doing both originates from and contributes to that sense of identity that is your divine spark within this universe. It's also a reminder that in the end, the ultimate authority for yourself resides within that divinity within you, as opposed to any external source within your life.
The external sources can provide inspiration and guidance, but in the end, it is still you who has to know the importance of asking why, of questioning the very beliefs you have so that you know you are staying true to the journey of your life, and learning what you can learn from everything you experience.
Copyright: copyright Taylor Ellwood 2008
Location: Portland, Oregon
Website: http://www.thegreenwolf.com, http://www.imagineyourreality.com
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