Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Nice Version

One of the purposes of Neo-Paganism is to break through dogma by actively exploring the mysteries of life and the truth of deity. Another purpose of Neo-Paganism is to act as a guide through life transformations so as to bring grace -- an inner sense of mental balance, spiritual poise, motion, and connection between a person and the universe.

Neo-Pagan practices aid in communing with the divine, living in grace, transformation and celebration; and Neo-Paganism can take us to the realms of wonder, mystery, enchantment, portents, beguilement, awe, connection, and surprise. But Neo-Paganism has three malaises: diversion, superstition, and habit. The first, diversion, reduces Neo-Paganism to a mere party at best and a preoccupation from problems at worst. The second, superstition, turns it into mindless inaction as Neo-Pagans waste their time with lucky charms to get something for nothing. The last, habit, robs it of any creativity -- or worse, sets up structures that allow Neo-Pagans to remain complacent, unchallenged, and unchanged.

We can resist the forces of diversion, superstition, and habit with mindful celebration, communion, and transformation. Celebration is not to distract ourselves from who, when and where we are, but to focus ourselves on and remind ourselves of these things. Communion with the divine systems of random chance and consequences entwined is not a superstitious practice to get something for nothing, but a way to open us to the mystery of cosmic participation. Transformation, when it doesn't transform the mundane into the sacred, at least opens our perceptions to the sacred all around us so that we may move within the world aware of and with grace.

So make yourself comfortable and think about the following Neo-Pagan purifications:

I release myself from confusing ritual time and space with therapy, a potluck, entertainment, or a comparative religion seminar.

I release myself from focusing on meditative techniques, occult practices, or ritual performances instead upon on their spiritual benefits.

I release myself from spiritually fetishizing culture, gender, orientation, race or economic class.

I release my theology from having to have a pedigree in order to be valid or useful for me. I give others' theologies this permission also.

I release my theology from having to be anti-science or anti-intellectual, and I release myself from the notion that I must "get out of my head" in order to be spiritual. Additionally, I recognize the inability of a formal logic system to completely describe or explain my theology.

I release my theology from having to be bound by dichotomies such as mind / body or body / spirit.

I release my parents from having to live up to my expectations of goddess- and godhood. Mom is mom; dad is dad. Both are human.

I release my children (if any) from having to fix the world, from having to meet my spiritual needs, from having to usher in a golden age, or from otherwise living my life.

Likewise, I so release any lovers and my genital organs from the responsibilities of deity or cosmic energy source.

I release the cosmos from the expectation that it exists to fulfill my needs, dreams and desires as if it were a kind of personal mail-order catalogue.

I release deity to expand beyond the limits of human forms.

Blessed Be.
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