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Personal Profile for...
Donald Henry Naff
Magickal Path: Panentheist/EcclecticWiccan/UU
Age Group: Adult
Sun Sign: Pisces
Relationship Status: Single
Located in: Anchorage, Alaska
Likes: Sharing, connection, kindness, compassion & behaviors which help them grow. Hanging with good friends & folks who may become such. Play. Spiritual conversation/practice/ritual. Balance w/ God & Goddess. Books & movies. Writing ritual & chant. Labyrinth Walks. Singing, even in the dark and the storm.
Dislikes: Argument, contention, and competition. Meanness. Destructiveness. Fundamentalism in any guise. Inflicting pain or causing harm. Prejudice. War. "Right wing" philosophy, ideas & practice...my one unregretted prejudice. Any and all things which stop anyone from becoming who they can be.
Donald Henry Naff's Profile...
Hail and Well-Met! Sigh...what to say, what to say. How do I introduce myself to what I consider the most personally significant part of the world's population, the part in which I want to build the most connection, to be the most included? To impress, but not overwhelm. To inform, but not scare away, and to leave more so that you can discover it as you get to know me better. Well, here goes:
I suppose I'll start with some basics. I am a 57 year-young man, currently living in the most beautiful part of this Divine World, Alaska. I am currently employed in an office , and am working with Vocational Rehabilitation to set up a business that creates and markets educational videos. I also really would like to make my spiritual healing and workshop practice a reality, so that's what I put out there as my main employment. :)
I have a knack for the "human/computer interface" as I like to call it. I'm one of the few folks who can make computer software sing and dance who can also help others really understand how to do it, too. Though I really do enjoy working in this area, it's not my dream, nor what I would most like to do professionally.
I am a trained Reiki Master, and have personalized a form of healing which couples it with various other healing forms, including Pagan chant, chakra work, and guided meditation. I write my own meditations, chants and rituals. Though I haven't had as much opportunity to perform it as I'd like, those who have participated in my "stuff" say it works and they like it. I also own a 30' x 30' canvas Labyrinth to use for meditation and spiritual journey.
I am most happy performing healing services, rituals, and leading workshops about these things. I'd like to build this into a practice, a career and a life's work. I am in awe of those who have successfully done this and would love any feedback as to how they accomplished this. I am currently ordained as clergy through the Universal Life Church and the International Association for Spiritual Consciousness.
I have used the terms “Panentheist/EcclecticWiccan/UU” to describe my Path and current beliefs. I’m not sure that they are the best words, but they do describe at least a significant part of who I am. I’ve been actively practicing over 30 years, but I consider myself an lifelong evolving Pagan/Seeker…everything prior to this has been leading up to this place. I’m an ex-Mormon, and served a mission to Japan, as one part of this evolution.
As a Panentheist, I see the Universe itself as the Divine, and I see that the Divine extends beyond this definition as well. This is one seeming paradox with which I am very comfortable...I am a both/and kind of religious practitioner, instead of either/or.
As a Wiccan, I live by the Rede "An' it harm none, do what ye will." In this single simple phrase, I find all I need to live the kind of life I want to live. I believe that evil is the same as harm and that harm is the intentional infliction of pain or any other condition or situation which endangers or damages anyone or anything, or which keeps anyone from being able to become the person they were meant to be. Again, evil requires the intent to do harm. I find the forms or ritual and worship practiced by Wicca to be very fulfilling for me personally, together with some other practices that transcend specific Faith tradition; things like drumming, singing and chanting, meditation, praying and Walking the Labyrinth.
I do not, however, embrace the most common form of Wiccan mythos. I honor, celebrate and worship the Divine One, Source and Substance of All that IS, The Universe Alive, Aware, Active and Caring. I honor, celebrate, and worship the Divine Earth, Mother of Us All. In addition, I honor, celebrate and worship a God and a Goddess, co-equal and co-eternal. Science has taught us the real means and methods of the changes of the seasons, the Wheel of the Year, and we no longer need to attempt to explain them by defining them by life-cycles of deities. I believe that a complete and unrestricted view of the Universe requires acknowledgement of both a Male and a Female principle in the Divine, and I believe that acknowledging them as distinct rather than just separate aspects of one is very important.
If the Goddess isn't one being endlessly going through the maid/mother/crone transformation and if the God isn't ever-living/dying/being reborn, how are they different...who are they? I name the God Lumenos, Lord of Light, and the Goddess Vitana, Lady of Life. I say I name them such, but these are the Names and Aspects that have come to me as I have spent years pondering and searching the nature of Divinity. I believe all other Gods and Goddesses are both real in their own right and aspects of these two Deities...another one of many great Paradoxes at work in the Universe. I believe they are representatives of, tools of, aspects of and wielders of the two powers by which the Universe was created, is held together and works. Light is that force which gives all things form, definition, direction and illumination. Life is that force which gives all things substance, meaning, purpose and aliveness. It is by their eternal dance that the Universe is.
Absence of Light produces darkness and ignorance. Absence of Life produces meaninglessness and death. In the fullness of their presence together, the Lord and Lady are working for an ultimate increase in Light and Life for all things. There is an overall unidirectional evolution taking place in the Universe, and it is happening at their hands and by their powers. The Universe itself is behind it and directing it within a framework of purpose balanced with freedom. A major part of our purpose for being is to find and/or make our place in fostering this evolution, in contributing to the positive energy which will speed the process along. All acts of love, kindness, healing and compassion add to this positive energy. Negative acts hamper it, but not because they actually detract from the positive energy by some form of "negative energy" or "dark side of the force". Negative acts simply make it take longer to generate the positive energy needed for the evolution, the Change, to progress because they waste time that could otherwise be used in generating more positive energy. They have no ultimate power or effect. We are given the power to use magick for this ultimate purpose: to stop harm, alleviate suffering, and to bless ourselves, each other and the world around us.
Indeed, the seeming Paradox I mentioned above is, in truth, an illusion foisted upon us by the ancient Greeks who liked to talk in terms of either/or. In truth, reality is both...both spiritual *and* physical, both metaphor *and* reality. This is what is meant by the term "Balance". There are some who say that balance requires evil and good, suffering and bliss. I do not agree. In fact, evil and suffering are both the result of being out of Balance, not aspects of reality that must be balanced with their opposites.
We have been told by many that we must have suffering so we can know joy, that opposition in things is necessary so that we can know the "good" from the "bad". I say this is not true. Every newborn child knows when they are loved, whether or not they ever experience its opposite. No one needs to be smacked to know how good it feels to be hugged. We know the good experience from the bad by nature and without ever experiencing the bad. Suffering is a condition in this world at this time, but it is not a necessary condition just because it exists now.
I am decidedly eclectic. I believe that part of why we are on the planet is to learn all we can and to embrace and embody all truth that we discover. We know the truth *we* as individuals are to embody and embrace not because it is part of any particular tradition, faithway, sect, or dogma. We know it because it sings in our hearts when we meet it. It is by the dance our souls do as we encounter it and participate in it that we know it is true for us and right for us, and should, therefore, be part of our individual personal spiritual path.
There are those who talk about misappropriation of traditions. I agree with them to an extent. If I say I am a Native American Shaman but have not undergone the training for such a position in a Native American tradition, I am misappropriating the tradition. However, if I drum and find spiritual enlightenment by using the form of a Native American sweat lodge, I am honoring the sources of these things by using them as part of my spiritual tradition and in no way am dishonoring the traditional practice. I also believe that no one tradition is “the one true way”.
Drumming as spiritual practice has, in recent years, often been called misappropriation, specifically of Native American traditions. The Unitarian Universalist Association used to have drumming circles at their events, but have stopped them because of this charge. Even though I am proud to say that part of my ancestry is Cherokee, if I was to say that the drumming I do is Cherokee drumming, it is absolutely true that I would be misappropriating this tradition. However, every single person on the Planet comes from a drumming culture. Every one of us counts drummers in our heritage. If I drum and am transported by the rhythm and am transformed by the beat, I am answering the call of my own ancestors and participating in a worship form that we all own.
Spiritual knowledge is cumulative, like all knowledge. We know more today than the ancients did about things spiritual as well as things scientific, etc. I believe that a spiritual tradition requires three components to be truly alive…1) study of time-honored tradition, 2) sharing with other about what we find, and 3) direct experience of the Divine through life experience as well as revelation and inspiration. I believe that the individual is their own highest spiritual authority and has the final say as to what items should or should not go into their spiritual practice.
The UU part of my spiritual path stands for Unitarian Universalist. I have recently become more involved again in our Fellowship here in Anchorage than I used to be. I pulled back from participation basically because this group doesn’t have the numbers to sustain a spiritually active and interested Pagan/Seeker/Spiritual Path Walker like me. UUs can often be too head-centered and intellectual, and this group has often seemed that way for me. Especially since the new minister, Gary Holthaus came on board, there has been significant work in the area of head/heart balance. There was a chapter of CUUPS here, but they decided to remove themselves from this designation. I am considering starting such a chapter again. For now I'm finding the wiccan Experience I need from a wonderful group called Wiccans of Anchorage.
The significance of UUism to my Path comes from the Seven Principles. This is a list of seven statements that UUs in the mid-80s came up with to define or describe this Faith tradition. I find it a powerful description of my own philosophy of life. Three of the seven are especially significant to me. They indicate that UUs “affirm and promote”: “The inherent worth and dignity of every person”, “A free and responsible search for truth and meaning” and “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence, of which we are a part.”
Much of the UU view can best be illustrated by the metaphor of a cathedral, first expressed by a great UU minister named C. Forrester Church. In this metaphor, we are all inside one huge cathedral. Each of us individually, and every religious tradition in the world, has a window and a chapel. The decoration and accoutrement of this window and chapel express the way we see the Light shining through that window. The Unitarian part of the UU equation says that there is really only one Light outside shining into all these windows. The Universalist part says that all of the windows and chapels are sacred. We as humans cannot absolutely know that we know really much of anything about the ultimate nature of the one Light. When we say what we see, or what we believe, we are describing our window and chapel, not the light itself. By sharing, we learn more about the Light, like the blind pilgrims and the elephant, but even more about the people doing the sharing. I believe this is true about the various sacred stories, myths, about the Gods and Goddesses as well…we learn more about the people who worshiped them by studying them than about the true nature of Divinity.
I also attend some services at the Alaska Center for Spiritual Living, and regularly attend services at Rev. Rachal Hollendar's SpiritStone Center. The ACSL defines God this way: "We believe in God, the Living Spirit Almighty; one, indestructible, absolute and self-existent Cause. This One manifests itself in and through all creation but is not absorbed by its creation. The manifest universe is the body of God; it is the logical and necessary outcome of the infinite self-knowingness of God". I see this as a clear statement of the One as I understand it.
Much of what they do at the ACSL and SpiritStone appeals to me. I find myself worshipping the One through their songs and sermons, and this is what I mean when I am with them and use the term “God”. In addtion, they say: "We believe in the unity of all life, and that the highest God and the innermost God is one God" and "We believe that God is personal to all who feel this Indwelling Presence. We believe in the direct revelation of Truth through the intuitive and spiritual nature of the individual, and that any person may become a revealer of Truth who lives in close contact with the indwelling God."
I do not, however, believe, as the Centers for Spiriatul Living teach, that all is created by Mind and that we are completely responsible for creating all the things that happen to us by the way we use our mind. I do believe that Mind, also known as Focus and Intent, can affect reality. I believe that this power is enhanced by spiritual practice and sacred ritual. However, I do not believe that this is all there is to existence. Things happen in life that we wish wouldn’t because the Universe is not yet perfect. While I do not believe that everything happens for a reason, I do believe that we have the Divine Gift to be able to take these experiences and learn lessons from them.
I truly love, and share, their vision. In this Vision, I see much of what the Universe is evolving towards. This is the goar toward which or for which the One, Lord Lumenos, Lady Vitana, and all of the rest of us who use our mind, our magick and our rites for the benefit of all around us are working.:
"We envision the emergence of the Global Heart to balance and guide the further evolution of humanity.
We see a world free of homelessness, violence, war, hunger, separation and disenfranchisement.
We see a world in which there is generous and continuous sharing of heart and resources.
…a world in which forgiveness, whether for errors, injustices, or debts, is the norm
…a world in which borders are irrelevant.
…a world which has renewed its emphasis on beauty, nature and love through a resurgence of creativity, art, and aesthetics.
…a world in which fellowship prospers and connects through the guidance of spiritual wisdom and experience.
…a world in which we live and grow as One Human Family."
Well, that’s about it for now. I’m taking somewhat of a risk by doing this kind of introduction…I went around the Witchvox site and find that most everyone has written very short profiles that say very little about who they are and what they believe. If I don’t get a good response to this, I may decide to follow suit! But if you are still reading this, I’d like to thank you. Check me out. Get to know me. I’m a pretty warm and friendly guy. Let me leave you with a blessing, the blessing I use as my phone greeting:
May this day bring you health and harmony, peace and prosperity and just the right amount of challenge and adventure to spice it up a bit. Bliss’d and Bless'd Be!
I just recently came back to this page and was absolutely shocked so see that my profile has been read over 47 thousand times! I was blown away. I’m sorry that those of you who have read these words haven’t responded in any way. I would love to hear what you think. I’m thinking that it might be time for me to write more, some on this site and perhaps a book or two. I would love to hear your feedback and ideas, about your Path…what you find sacred and beautiful…and welcome any and all responses sent in Love. Click the button below to send me an email. I’ve been pretty slow in responding to email lately…my current way of earning a living takes a lot out of me in both time and energy. I promise to try to do better. Here’s hoping and praying I can soon find a way to earn a living at something more directly related to my purpose for being on the Planet. I would appreciate any ideas or assistance one might have to make this happen as well.
Again, Bliss’d and Bless'd Be!
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