Western Hypocrites.

“We realise that people have been victimised by superstition so building mass awareness is critical” Yeah, your morel moral superiority is more important than native religions. Piker.

Trying to shake my own box.

I just read one of the longest blog posts of my life, over at Gangleri’s Grove: Devotion or “Psychotic Superstition”

I respect Galina, but don’t always agree (or even understand) her mindset.  To me, she’s something of a hardline Heathen, a steadfast polytheist who has strong (VERY strong!) opinions about the current state of the greater Pagan Community©.  She’s also an academic with no weak chops in religion.  I, on the other hand, claim both Buddhist and Druidic faith, and am currently only tentatively “theistic” in practice.  I blame that on my academic training and long-term mental health status.

The post that spawned this one is, frankly, upsetting, on a number of different levels.  I mean, how can one be both a pagan and an atheist?  IMO, not well.  And it’s an impossibility to be an atheists polytheist… The terms are diametrically opposed.  Atheists dispute the very existence of the divine, while polytheists acknowledge the existence of many gods.  This matches with Galina’s position against someone who was on her Facebook.  He was apparently dead-set on casting Heathenry as foolish, backward, and delusional.  Anybody who knows anything about Galina knows that she’s anything but a fool.

Long parts of the discussion between she and Jeff go back and forth, and Galina sums up thus:

Now i’m not posting this to bash Jeff. I”m posting it because everything he said are things that i’ve seen cropping up in the Pagan community and in Heathenry too (different parts at different times). It represents a mindset, a way of looking at the world that not only excludes the Gods but renders devotion to Them as psychosis. Is it any wonder that there is so much antagonism toward devotional work in Heathenry, or actual active belief in the Gods in Paganism? These things aren’t just words.

And…

THIS is a perfect example of the monotheistic filter at work. It’s a perfect example of what our contemporary culture teaches, what academia reinforces, and how we are all infected with a distrust of devotion. it’s there and it’s exchanges like this that make me see how deeply those anti-piety currents run. Perhaps this exchange with Jeff wasn’t one of my shining moments as a theologian. It is disheartening, however, to find these ideas ever present as we trudge forward in this work.

This is a large part of my situation right now.  I am a product of the Modern Mind and a patient in the mental health (such as it is) system in the USA.  I know that I used to touch the numinous, before I had a breakdown.  I know that I had a connection to The Divine©.  These days, though, I am tentative.  I am unsure.  I doubt myself, and my hold on sanity.  I am afraid that I might fall into actual, real, clinical psychosis.  On the flip-side of that coin, though, I desire numinous experience (yeah, don’t laugh about the Buddhist with attachment and desire. 😛 ).  I expect that there is more to this world and reality than science and rationality can explain or even experience.

Am I a polytheist?  Likely not, particularly with my Buddhist background (heavy monism, definition 1a).  I also claim pantheism as a self-description.  Be this as it may, I also currently chose to single out Hecate/Hekate for some small devotional work.  Currently, I am 99.99% certain that I’m not psychotic, due to my psychiatric medication regimen.  I am mostly glad that I don’t hear voices and feel that the Gods are talking to me.  Were it otherwise, I would severely doubt my sanity.

So where does that leave me? I’m still trying to figure that out.  Until I have certainty, I will depend on faith.

Fragile things

I need to absorb this a bit more deeply before I can make a cogent comment, but this is something I will need to get back to.

Sounds of the Planets

We talk about how universal entities vibrate at different frequencies.  Well, the folks over at NASA have recorded electromagnetic vibrations from various bodies in our Solar System, transcoded the recordings into the range of human hearing, and shared some of the results with us.

I’m particularly fond of Saturn, myself, but give a listen to more, including the Earth and the Sun!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sh2-P8hG5-E]

Shaking other peoples’ boxes

Kristen is so awesome.  She finds the most interesting things for me to read then sends them to me.  Case in point:  Today she sent me a link to “These aren’t the gods you’re looking for” by John Halsted, who writes The Allergic Pagan over on Patheos.  This is a slightly older post, having been made in Feb 2014, but it cuts to the heart of an issue that I’ve been having.

In my close tribe, I am mostly an exception to the rule.  The rest of the Pagans that I am with on a daily basis are devotional polytheists of one stripe or another, where I am decidedly not.  I am, in common practice, a Buddhist Druid who is starting to work with Hekate/Hecate.  However, unlike the other three, I do not have direct interaction with Hekate.  I don’t encounter Her as a distinct and autonomous personality, and she doesn’t speak to or “pester” me (to use a term that Halstead used), for which I’m grateful.  I am not “godbothered.”

I don’t know about how our extended tribe perceives the divine, but I know we’ve got a pair of “Pagnostics” (Pagan agnostics), a Native American, a Fey, and some other various and sundry Pagan practices.  Like I said, the ones that I share daily life with are all devotional polytheists, and I have wondered if I’m doing things right, since my experience is so different from theirs.

This, in turn, leads me to no small amount of self-doubt and wondering if I’m following a legitimate path, since I have such a vastly different experience.  To borrow a phrase from Halstead again, I’ve been “shaking other peoples’ boxes” trying to figure out if their practice is better or more legitimate than mine. I fact, this comic panel pretty much sums it up:

Three forms of Pagan theology comic by Alexander Folmer
Original by Alexander Folmer

Anyway, this self-doubt makes things challenging, but Nimue Brown had something useful to say in her 2013 “Spirituality Without Structure.” In short (and I’m WAY simplifying my interpretation here), looking to other people to help define and explain personal spirituality is, in a sense, seeking safety and security without being (my words, not hers) brave enough to strike out and make your own path.  Again, my words here, looking to others for validation is somewhat intellectually lazy, but not necessarily in a negative way.  Some people just aren’t built in a way that allows them to go it alone, and that’s OK.

But here I am, shaking other peoples’ boxes, when I really should just be focusing on my own box, which is decidedly not like theirs.  And that’s perfectly acceptable.  I just have to accept it and work with what I have.

A little Karma is a good thing.

I just posted about my (yet to be delivered) Karma Go over on my regular blog, Changes of Man.

Ummmm… What is a Karma Go, you ask? It’s a mobile WiFi hot spot that anyone can connect to. Anybody that connects and makes a new Karma account gets 100 MB of free data to use… And I get a free 100 MB for sharing. It’s really a pretty cool concept, in my mind.

But, Karma has had some trouble getting this thing to market, but shipping has started. Now, the wait is making me antsy. I was fine, knowing that the device was still in somewhat of a limbo, but now that it’s shipping, I WANT MINE NAO! lol.

Instant Karma (go) is gonna get ya.

I’m all about that base… Err, book

I’ve noticed that, even though I’ve said I’m theoretically writing about Buddhism and Paganism, I haven’t posted much about the former.  I think that’s because, for now, I’m not confused about my Buddhist side, while I’m trying to figure out the Pagan aspect of my spirituality. 

In other words, I’m fairly certain about my Buddhism, but I’m confused about the Pagan stuff. Most of my current reading (outside of school work) is Druid and Celtic based, but I have a couple of Zen books in the hopper.  I’ve also been neglecting my Zen practice, in an effort (though off-balanced) to come back to a certain level of Druid practice.

Right now, though, I am reading “The Rebirth of Druidry” by Philip Carr-Gomm, “Spirituality Without Structure: The Power of Finding Your Own Path” by Nimue Brown and my material for the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids Bardic grade.  On my “next up” list, I have a full dozen books, including “Everyday Zen” and “Nothing Special: Living Zen” by the late Charlotte Joko Beck.

I’m also doing some reading on the Greek  goddess Hecate, whom (I have chosen/who has chosen me) (not sure which one is more accurate) to work with for now.  So, yeah.  I’m a busy little beaver.

Edit to add:  Yes, I know that the Meghan Trainor song is “All About that Bass” rather than base.  I was making a pun, whereby the books are a foundation for my knowledge and journey.  Just so you know. 😀

A Prayer to Hecate

Recently, I bought a really nice little set of (lava stone!) prayer beads from Hearthfire Handworks over on Etsy. They were marketed as for Hades, but I wanted them for Hecate, instead. Also, just days before I saw them (thanks to Kristen’s want for the Poseidon prayer beads), I had the strangest thought race through my mind while watching something on one of the Nature channels: “I WANT A PIECE OF LAVA!” No idea where that came from, and it was not normal for me. Apparently, something bigger was at work here. Continue reading “A Prayer to Hecate”

Thoughts on thoughts

TL;DR American society has lot touch with the Divine as a whole, not just the Pagan community. But I think it is making a come-back.

The other day, Galina Krasskova made a post entitled “a few thoughts” on her blog, where she commented on the difference between the level of devotion and piety between where she is currently (for some reason, I think she’s in Poland, but it’s definitely somewhere “Old World”) and that which she sees in the Pagan community in the United States. The comparison is not complimentary to Americans. Big surprise. Continue reading “Thoughts on thoughts”

Pluto Rising

“And I’ve never stopped looking for those amazing places where mythology and science converge.

They are not so rare as you might believe.”

One thing that I’ve realized lately is that, at least for me, too much science kills the mystery of life. I’ve decided that I need to bring that back for myself, even if I know what causes that noise and light in the sky , rather than Thor’s battles.

A wise man , in another context, gave me a task many years ago: Bring back the dragons.