Paganism and God :)

Sorry we haven’t posted for a while. As you know we’ve been preoccupied. Silversun with work and me with finding work (it might not sound like a good excuse but living in the countryside and being unable to drive means that to effectively be looking for work I need to stay over someone’s house in town. I’ve barely had time to read any posts, especially without my glasses lol, let alone post any… which is why there’s been quite a streak of videos – they take less time and concentration XD)… (anyhoo, enough excuses).

 

I read a post on Witchy Rambles this morning and it got me thinking about how growing up with a more secular faith or liberal attitude makes some of us more likely to accept rather than lash out against Christianity, despite our embrace of Paganism. Many people I’ve spoken to, who turned to paganism after growing up with strong and unyielding christian upbringings, hold hatreds for anything close to christianity… to a point it’s quite easy to find articles on the web that are almost like manuals on how to insult a Christian, or how to deconstruct their faith before their eyes…

 

I grew up in a household where God was barely ever mentioned and went to a school where we preyed three times a day (in the morning, before lunch and for a safe journey home). I was frequently told about the spirits in the woods, faery circles and old Celtic stories – not in a religious context, but in a folk culture context. It wasn’t something we “worshipped” but we were definitely all aware of and open to it.

 

I’m pagan, not Christian now. But the God of my childhood is still around, because I never even had to turn away to become what I am now. This means that when I consider my pantheon of gods there’s that extra god of mercy. This is why I accept angel magic and I’ve grown out of my aversion to crosses (but not my fear of churches… though it’s not always the churches, just the dead people outside).

 

BB

Rowan

x~x

 

 

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The Value of Initiation

It’s interesting to see what seems to be a dialogue among bloggers on this topic. There are varying and valid views out there. As a hedgewitch myself I also don’t see the importance of ranks or hierarchy, as long as nothing stops me from practising my craft I’m happy. 🙂 However, I see that the ceremonies are very important to a lot of people and can enrich the spiritual experience.

(Here are a couple of posts discussing different views on the topic by Spider Goddess and from Witchy Ramblings)

I’m looking forward to the Initiation ceremony we’ve planned (see post entitled Initiation). Why? Well I’m one of those who sees great value in it. It’s like going to the cinema – you know you’ll love it when you go but you can always watch the film on DVD. Ok, that’s a very mundane way of describing it. In case I’m not making myself clear, what I mean is that an initiation is a valuable experience whereby you can accomplish much spiritually and truly connect with others although it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy spirituality (or Avatar, or Smirfs, or Despicable Me, or Tron) and be spiritual without it.

Some things I heard others say/imply that I thought were interesting:

You cannot ascend without initiation. I have a couple of things to say. Anyone can reach ascension (with or without ceremony). However, what I think might be what the people who seem to think this means is that you cannot reach ascension without spiritual progression. In our craft, because of its diversity (rich, beautiful diversity), we have a problem – paradigms. A paradigm is a way of describing, interpreting, thinking about the world around you. This is something wonderful because we can say to other because of this “do what feels right to you” because we appreciate the different angle that everyone takes everything and we’re also recognising that the world is as you choose to see it. Back to the point, maybe a lot of us are seeing initiation differently. (That’s Great!)

That initiations and degrees mean there’ll be a hierarchy. Ok, we have people we like to appoint sometimes. For instance a High Priestess. But I personally believe that if you view the role of High Priestess solely as leader and decision maker then you are being misled. To me, it means you are denying the actual spiritual dimension of the role. The High Priestess has a responsibility to be a spiritual doorway for others – conductress of rituals rather than dictator! Although I still believe you can manage without… Just like an initiation, but with one you can experience something very unique. Another point I want to make about the ‘hierarchies’ aspect is that actually there’s no smoke without fire. That’s because some people do choose to use their initiations and degrees like badges on their sashes. It’s these people who’ve gleaned nothing spiritual from their experiences, in my opinion.

Ok, something I’ve not seen expressed in the discussion but have experienced (really through being one of the perpetrators!) is the attitude that you can’t work together without being in a coven. I’m guilty as charged. I was desperate to be in covens and to be initiated. Honestly, a study group is what they should have been called. Covens should be with people you really really want to experience the craft with (not just because you all love the craft but you really want to work together and celebrate together and learn as much as you possibly ever could from each other). A coven should be a nurturing environment full of encouragement and learning. 🙂

And another thing I haven’t seen others discuss yet – initiations aren’t all about belonging to covens! Just thought I’d make that one clear and it doesn’t really need an explanation. 🙂

My very very personal views on initiations and all rites of passage rituals are that they are unique in that they’re aim isn’t fertility, to bring love into your life, get a good harvest, acknowledge female or male aspects etc. … but to celebrate and encourage spiritual progression. I also believe that it builds up energies that you don’t send out of yourself but you use to take you through to the next spiritual level. They’re acknowledgements of experience, development and learning new lessons.

This means you’re probably doing things like this in your own way without the ritual or ceremony as a solitary. The value of that is no more or less than that of initiation ceremonies.

Spiritual development is very personal and cannot be universally measured! XD

Thanks for letting me stick my spoon in the discussion cauldron and stir!

Blessed Be

Rowan

x~x