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Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Applying The Law Of One In Wicca
Article ID: 13995
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Aidan Odinson
Posted: June 6th. 2010
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The Law Of One, especially as taught by the Universal Gnostic Fellowship, presents resolution and conflict, simplicity and complexity, as well as freedom and repression. In each pair presented in the previous sentence, the former is the result of the Law of One's basic nature, while the latter is the reaction of some mortals to its lessons.*
Let us begin with the first sentence of The Law Of One and these conflicts become clearer.
“There is One Intelligence in the Universe which expresses itself as everything, and everything in the Universe is an expression of this One Intelligence.”
So many people would want to see this sentence as applying to their own spiritual path, and only to their own spiritual path. While it might not be quite correct to say that such a supposition cannot be true, logic and our own nature tell us that such a statement applying to only one spiritual path would be so difficult that it might as well be considered impossible.
As Wiccans, we have an advantage, since most of us are quite comfortable acknowledging and respecting other paths. But, it helps to understand why such mutual respect is such a necessity. To begin with, we need to understand our own limitations, and compare them to The Divine's own lack of limitations. Many theologians, priests and preachers refer to The Divine as infinite, and for our experience, infinity is an appropriate description of The Divine.
And if The Divine is infinite, how little do we actually know of The Divine? Perhaps one small part of infinite parts of one corner when there are infinite corners! And do we dare claim that The Divine is limited to that, which is encompassed by our own limited grasp?
I can only imagine what it would be like to suddenly have a glimpse of the fullness of The Divine. My guess is that the experience would be somewhat similar to what some people might have experienced in what was once called a “bad trip” on LSD. People like you and me simply cannot deal with the infinite, especially if it reveals itself to us all at once.
And here is where I find myself forced to take issue not only with atheists and agnostics, but also with many of those who claim to be followers of a deity.
It is difficult enough to deal with people who look upon religious beliefs as superstition and/or mental illness. Over the last few decades, even major leaders of mainstream denominations have been known to cast doubt upon that which had been considered to be basic teachings of the faith which they claim to be part of. As one common and current example, if a god, goddess, or some other deity chooses to cause a virgin to have a child, who am I to cast doubt upon that, whether or not it happens to be part of the path which I follow? If The Divine is infinite, who is any of us to proclaim a limit on what The Divine can or cannot do?
This does not prohibit us from choosing or adhering to some particular spiritual tradition, nor does it require us to avoid them or attempt to homogenize them. Spiritual traditions and denominations exist for a number of valid reasons, not the least of which is the legitimate attempt to describe and explain The Divine in terms that we mortals can understand. And, if one is going to embrace a particular tradition, it needs to be embraced fully and followed. Problems come with the “cafeteria” approach popular in certain quarters by which some who claim to be followers of a particular tradition pick and choose which aspects they will and will not include in their lives, as if it were possible to have Easter without Lent or Hanukkah without Yom Kippur.
Another serious problem occurs when people slander spiritual paths which are not their own. It is perfectly legitimate to compare and contrast, and I feel there is nothing wrong if I state why a particular spiritual path does not suit my needs. I also have no problem with legitimate criticism, and I doubt that The Divine would have a problem with legitimate criticism, either. I do believe, however, that one crosses a dangerous line when someone condemns a spiritual path as being “of 'the devil'” or any equivalent condemnation.
Even the narrowest interpretation of Christian scripture expresses this point. I often use Christian scripture to demonstrate a point, because it is the one body of literature that will cause some Christians to pay attention. I will often follow that with some of their scripture that did not get included in their Bible to show them what they missed. The point of The Law Of One is a perfect example of an opportunity to make such a wake-up call to certain folks.
In the 12th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew beginning at the 24th verse, some Pharisees accused Jesus of using the devil to cast out devils from people, and Jesus points out the logical failure of such an accusation by saying that saying, which we have all heard, that a house divided against itself cannot stand. However, he goes on to say that the time is coming in which all sins and blasphemies will be forgiven except one, and that being blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. This is probably the most powerful promise and warning in all of Christian scripture. And it leads me to the conclusion that I may freely compare, contrast and even criticize the practices of another spiritual path or its members or leaders, but it is not my business to condemn it.
We can see another promise offered by The Law of One in the Gospel of Thomas, one of the gospels excluded from the canonical Bible used by most Christians. In the 48th chapter, Jesus says “If two make peace with each other in this one house, they will say to the mountain 'Move away, ' and it will move away.” I am currently hosting a weekly podcast titled “The Secrets In Plain Sight”, and I cannot help but wonder if the Law of One in light of this promise, is one of the greatest, most powerful secrets which are hiding in plain sight for us to discover and harness. Could it be that when we can recognize our differences and keep them in their proper place so that we can work together, that will be when the greatest accomplishments come to be?
In the 113th chapter of the Gospel of Thomas, the disciples ask Jesus when the Kingdom is coming, and he replies by saying that it is spread out upon the earth, and people do not see it. This is not so different from a story in three of the canonical gospels about the “rich young ruler” who asked what he needed to do in order to inherit eternal life. After discussion about what he had already been doing, Jesus tells him to give all he has to the poor and follow him. And how many times have people been told to give all they have to the poor because of this story?
It seems to me that the so-called “rich young ruler” did not know what he already had, which is why Jesus felt the need to prescribe an extreme measure which would be disruptive and destructive if applied to all of society. It might not have even been an extreme prescription, but perhaps a wisecrack aimed at someone who needed to get a clue. Many do indeed miss the real point of that story. The story's real point is that it is not necessary to wait anxiously for something that we already have.
And through the Law of One, we have the opportunity to make it all the more apparent.
* If you wish to see The Law Of One in its full text, see a more full development of its principles at http://gnosticfellowship.com/one.htmlhttp://gnosticfellowship.com/one.html.
Copyright: I have put this in the public domain. It is my own adaptation of my own essay submitted to the Universal Gnostic Fellowship and distributed at my own web site at http://wonnet.org
Location: Collingdale, Pennsylvania
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