Friday, January 29, 2010

My Wicca II – From Agnosticism, Atheism, to Wicca.

Once upon a time, I considered myself agnostic. It was completely logical to me, and in a sense it still is. As a human, it really is impossible to know exactly what lies beyond our little mortal bubbles. No matter what “experiences” or “miracles” you’ve been through or witnessed, there just isn’t enough proof either way (to date) to confirm or deny the existence of a deity.

It’s dark and cloudy outside. I look at the ground and the sidewalk is wet. It must have rained.

It was that kind of narrow, black and white thinking that I just couldn’t get behind. I was the one who always double checked for a leaking hose or broken fire hydrant before deciding the cause of the wet sidewalk. And until I found that hose or that hydrant, or until the sky began to downpour, my answers always had some wiggle room.

It’s dark and cloudy outside. I look at the ground and the sidewalk is wet. It may have rained.

That is a logical and probable conclusion, but not a definite one, and so it is left open to change as new information is gathered.

However, even as I considered myself agnostic, I always leaned more towards atheism. I understood that their position could be considered as narrow as those who unquestioningly believe in a deity, but it felt more right to me and the connotation of that title fit me and my ideas of the world better.

Words and titles have power, and so by associating certain ones with yourself, you’re accepting the implications that they carry. By considering myself agnostic, I had also left the door open for soul-savers from every-which direction to consider me simply as a poor, unguided sheep in need for a compassionate, understanding Shepard. It also came off as a fence sitting position, playing both sides, or just as me being uninterested in all the ideas and debates of theology all together; none of which were the case. I can’t tell you how many times I got onto this topic with someone and had them roll their eyes, saying in a sense, “well you haven’t really decided what you believe yet, therefore your position and the points you make are completely invalid.”

And so, I fell into my new, much more defendable position as an atheist. With it, I simultaneously shut down the would-be soul-savers (for the most part, there will always be a lunatic out there who just doesn’t get it); my intuition felt more comfortable, and I had a stronger foot hold for getting my position across to others. I had a more real, more mature point of view then.

I believed, and still do, that people generally aren’t comfortable knowing that they are utterly insignificant to the universe. To think that what we do, what happens to us, where we came from, where we are going actually doesn’t matter to anyone or anything outside of your immediate group of family, friends, and acquaintances is a chilling one, one that most just can’t wrap their minds around.

In response to that discomfort, the ultimate parental figure had to be born. God cares about everyone; he has a plan just for you, and if you just trust him, you will be rewarded with not only a meaningful life, but with an executive suite in the clouds afterwards. If you don’t, well, he can forgive you (it’s never too late!), or if you’re just a complete dick your whole life, then no clouds for you! Instead, you’ll be thrust into a deep, dark burning pit of torture and agony for eternity as punishment. THAT’S something I can really get behind. Holy bribery, Batman!

But alas! Despite atheism covering most of what I believed in (or, didn’t believe in, I suppose), there were a couple of things that my intuition was guiding me towards that atheism completely rejected. Like the paranormal, some forms of divination, astrology, some subtle psychic abilities, as well as the heavy influence and the deep connection we have with nature. Another problem was my belief in magic as defined in Scott Cunningham’s book as “the projection of natural energies to produce needed effects”.

On top if it’s rejection of those ideas, being an atheist carried a very snobby, pretentious connotation to it; a high-nosed sense of superiority that wasn’t at all in line with my nature. Try reading the “God Delusion” by Dawkins, I dare you. The guy is absolutely brilliant and makes some amazing points, but he will fuck you stupid with his use of language.

The transition from there to Wicca came easily. All of the details of that, the hows and the whys, I’ll be addressing in great (if not nauseating) detail in the (near?) future. But all that really matters is that I’ve never been this genuinely comfortable and happy before. It’s just so right for me. Even if I turn out to be completely wrong, following something that clicks so perfectly can’t be a bad thing, no matter what (if anything) is out there judging.

Monday, January 25, 2010

My Wicca I - Reincarnation

I want to dedicate a part of this journal to my thoughts and experiences with Wicca, and probably with just anything that huddles under the ambiguous pagan umbrella. Inspired and motivated by Scott Cunningham's books, my reservations in finally considering myself Wiccan, and developing a personal version of Wicca that suits me as a solitary and mostly self-taught practitioner, have vanished.

Fresh in my head, I just finished up Cunningham's chapter on the idea of reincarnation. Boiling it down a bit, it's goal is perfection, and when that goal is reached (through however many lifetimes your particular soul requires), you become a part of the purest energy, that of the Goddess and the God. Right there, right off the bat, I completely disagree.

In everything I've read so far, most Wicca seem to agree that the Goddess and God are not so much individual conscious deities, but aspects of one all encompassing energy. The perfect, and the imperfect all at once. Their energy, the one energy, is everything and everyone. We are already part of them.

To me, that widely accepted idea of reincarnation is as fanciful and as illogical as the idea of a heaven and a hell. It is just another cushion against the hard truth of our mortality and the inevitability of our deaths.

However, I do, to a degree, believe in reincarnation. But the version I accept is nothing like it's popular format. Mufasa explained it best:

Mufasa: Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.
Young Simba: But, Dad, don't we eat the antelope?
Mufasa: Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connnected in the great Circle of Life.

When we die, we are returned to nature. In that way, we are reborn. Bits and pieces of our energies, both biological and metaphysical, simply flow back into the countless different aspects of nature. Whether any consciousness and knowledge of your past life is retained is completely debatable. Energy cannot be destroyed, but it can be changed and manipulated, and perhaps even imprinted on; perhaps that is how ghosts and the paranormal, or glimpses into past lives are explained. It is just too farfected for me to believe that each and every individual consciousness is kept in tact through death, and is given a completely new life to explore afterward as it pursues some undefined standard of cosmic perfection.

When you die, you are dead. There is no after life. It's game over.
But what you are made of returns to the great Circle of Life.
(Que Lion King theme song here.)


For reference, this is the book's information:
Wicca - A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner
by Scott Cunningham
ISBN: 0-87542-118-0

Just to remind myself, next time I should go over my atheistic point of view of Wicca. The whole Goddess and God thing.