There is so very much talk and fodder right now about
god spouse types, mysticism, ecclecticism, religio-spiritual worth, jealousy, UPG and its worth…
It’s mind boggling to me. From day one, I have self identified on this blog as an animist, mystic, and dionysian reveler. I have never faltered or changed in those definitions. Now that I have a netbook, and more regular INTERNET access, I’m seeing so many who are preoccupied with the workings of others, the relationships of others, attempting to verify their UPG, and it’s becoming a headache.
I understand the appeal of having others with which to talk about what you do! I understand wanting a meaningful relationship with something that is Bigger than you are! I understand wanting validation, so it doesn’t all seem so insane! I also understand that ours is a culture that has indoctrinated spiritual ecclecticism as a quaint hobby, and our instant gratification and entitlement issues are a huge driving force in these wants as well. I see many folks who are making themselves sick over the affairs of others, when all they need is to work on themselves.
My good friend Crown (thiscrookedcrown.tumblr.com) gets inundated with questions. She’s a hard polytheist and a (secular) witch. She is very practical, and intelligent. She has a shining personality in person too, and it’s sad most of you don’t get to experience that. A few weeks back, her blog was flooded with questions and speculations about the afterlife. It got to the point where people were basically just looking to her for an answer. The question of what becomes of us after death is one of the reasons we have ANY Mystery Cults, ANY Religions at all! It infuriated me to see so many looking for such a huge, complex cosmological question to be answered BY SOME STRANGER ON THE INTERNET! I’m not saying we ought not discourse on the afterlife, but it blew my mind in the worst way.
This has all been leading pushing me further towards some thoughts I’d been mulling over. Thoughts on traditions.
Now, if you’ve been reading my blog long enough, you know gin has a love of Christian saints and scholars. Right now, I’m going to quote Frederica Mathewes-Green, spiritual mother of the Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Mission parish in Maryland:
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received came early, while I was still in college. It was that I should give up the project of assembling my own faith out of the greatest hits of the ages. I encountered this idea while reading Ramakrishna, the 19th century Hindu mystic. He taught that it was important to respect the integrity of each path, and said that, for example, when he wanted to explore Christianity, he would take down his images of the Great Mother and substitute images of Jesus and Mary.
We are so indoctrinated by our culture that we can’t trust our standards of evaluation. We can only gain wisdom that transcends time by exiting our time and entering upon an ancient path—and accepting it on its own terms. We can only learn by submitting to something bigger than we are. The faith I was building out of my prejudices and preconceptions could never be bigger than I was. I was constructing a safe, tidy, unsurprising God who could never transform me, but would only confirm my residence in that familiar bog I called home, I had to have more than that.
And if you have been reading along for some time you may be asking how I can concur with such a passage when I myself am some heretical saint worshiping apostate and non Helleno-centric Dionysian. And you are right to ask! And to be quite fair, I have a few answers for you. I have not always concurred with this. I understand the appeal of hybrid religious paths, obviously, though it speaks to our overall greediness, doesn’t it? No, I have not always understood the sentiments behind the quote above. I do, now understand the importance of being able to tap into a tradition that is rich with the fertile bounty of ages of belief. I also am a mystic. In some shape or another, I experience spiritual beings and the divine personally. When the tradition you are raised in offers no help to you in this regard, it makes sense to seek aid elsewhere. It also covers the fact that I myself, have experienced Gods, spirits, and the dead. It is enough for me to know there is a spiritual world, that attempting to catalog it all is unnecessary to me. My life is complex enough, I don’t need to map out the Others and Other worlds. Lastly, it is this very train of thought that is bringing back onto a more traditional path.
Specifically, I’m going to be giving proper Hellenist Style Worship another full go. Yes, my practices are already highly individualized (and it is my personal mystic path that has made it so), as I do believe all faiths, like morality, is relative, but I can certainly make room in my life for such an endeavor.
I suppose I’m just tired of seeing grab bag spirituality,the desperate need for validation, and spiritual jealousy. It reeks of emptiness. How could you be doing anything meaningful for yourself or to/with your Gods and spirits if you are constantly preoccupied with others? What I keep seeing happening is that people are merely entertaining themselves with actions and teachings that are meant to absolutely transform lives.
I can not stress enough that laity is okay. That the Gods and spirits play favorites, and don’t play fair. And that none of that matters as much as you yourself actually going about having a faith, and a cosmological understanding that not only works for you, but challenges you, that upholds you to a standard, Or else you are left standing in the muddy bog you carved for yourself, surrounded by false Gods that are nothing but comforting thoughts.
Each voice has its own notes with which to address the divine. But when many voices come together with the same song, above the cacophony you find meaning. I desperately urge you all to consider finding meaning among something bigger than you (not necessarily a mystery tradition, but the Gods, as well, or a practice), it will help to drown out the din. How will you hear your Gods and spirits if you are too busy trying to match pitch with others? There is a balance to be found here, and I can not find it for you. Nor anyone else on the Internet.