Archive for August, 2011

Some Thoughts on Life, Consciousness, and Divinity

Every apologist must eventually cover this topic, and I thought it might be good for me to discuss my beliefs on this issue.

Given the large number of Pagan belief systems and their numerous variations, do not assume that my personal beliefs are at all representative of the larger community; only that they reflect my personal observations and what has worked for me to believe in.

Consciousness is not merely an individual trait.  To a large degree, it is shared among all things that attain some degree of life.  Any living being, if properly focused, can sense the presence, emotions, and conscious intent of any other being.  Humans have a special gift in that the human brain is extremely well-adapted not only to sensing this information when the right state of mind is achieved, but to processing this information and making good use of it.

Consciousness, I think, is apart from individual beings.  The appearance of individual consciousness is at once an illusion, and yet very real.  It is a quality that is omnipresent, and tends to cluster in nodes.

You can think of consciousness like the mycelia of a species of fungus.  It is invisible, not readily apparent, and fairly well hidden from view if you aren’t looking for it.  And yet, it is there, and it manifests in the form of fruiting bodies.

Individual beings, then, are like those fruiting bodies, the mushrooms of a particular patch of mycelia.  Some are older and larger, and more developed.  These are the spirits of the earth and the Lord and Lady.  Some are younger and less developed; these are the humans, animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, and the like.

Looking at the mushrooms in one particular patch, you could be forgiven for thinking that they were all distinct individuals with no connection to each other except a common lineage, or that the larger and more developed ones were somehow the superiors of the lesser, smaller ones.  And yet, if you dig beneath the surface, you find that they are all sprung from the very same source.

Matter is everywhere, and when matter became conscious, its first nodes were the nodes of divinity and spirit; nodes of flesh and blood came much later.  Not one is inferior or superior, not one is subservient to the other.  Each is part of the same common source, infinitely related, and capable of forming bonds beyond all reasonable expectations.

This is why we do not bow before our gods; they are not separate, superior beings to be appeased, but elder brothers and sisters to be honored and welcomed, from whom we may learn great things.  We are all sprung from the same source, the source of matter and consciousness called The All; and we will all some day return to that source when all possibilities of existence are exhausted.

Some words with my mother

I finally found out that my mother knows about my faith, although I think she has misgivings.

I got the usual warnings that she was not thrilled about it, and that I should be careful about spirits “apart from God.” There was a veiled reference in her words to the “creator/creation” dichotomy (which I have roundly rejected), and she strongly hinted that she thought being gay was the reason I left the church.

But being gay was the last thing on my mind when I left the church. I had much deeper questions- not about myself, but about the nature of faith, of God, and of the Holy Writ that dwarfed any personal matter. Many of those questions are hard to articulate and I’m still trying my best to put them into words.

I also got the distinct feeling that she thought my vast swings in mood and my tendency to swing to extreme viewpoints were because of not being a Christian, and not in spite of trying to move on from those things.

I was an angry extremist so much of my life, but there’s really no room for that in the path I have chosen. What, after all, would I be an extremist for? If all things are united, if all life, all spirits, all deities are only nodes on a continuum of consciousness, what room is there for talk of extremes?

I am not perfect and the Way of the Witch will never make me that way. That insidious drive to split the world into “my way” and “their way” will be present no matter what I believe. But, I feel, I’m better off on a path that gives it little room to prosper.

And so I vascillate from time to time, I stray from what I truly believe in for an arrogant streak that I forever have to reckon with. But that is not because I walk this path; it is despite that fact.