Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Common Makes Us Uncommon

As a community, what are our common beliefs? That there is a Divine Creator-female, male or both, or a combination of both in one, or many of both sexes; that we live our lives bringing harm to none, including ourselves. We worship at the full moon, and observe 8 holy days called Sabbats. Some, but not all, hold the Rede as a sacred code of ethics; some practice according to the Threefold Law (The Law of Returns). Some hold forth a Goddess as Maiden, Mother and Crone; others have specific names for Her with particular attributes; some simply settle for her divinity as a nebulous mantle of that which is holy.

Then it gets complicated. I can understand why the traditional purists begin to shudder at the word eclectic; I don’t negate anyone who creates their own faith because belief is specific to each individual. But on the other hand, I do believe there must be something that ties us together. The basics of casting a circle; saying the Charge of the Goddess; inviting the Elements…are things which are the glue to our faith. I love the Bible verse that goes, “My Father’s house has many rooms...”  There’s no better way to put it: ‘Under one faith, we are many traditions; undivided, we each are our own co-creators’. Every one of us brings something to the table, and all of us share in the feast. If we don’t care for a particular dish, we take only a bit to try it, or we politely decline and take only what we like. That way everyone at the table is spiritually fed.

I find myself growing impatient with those “traditionalists” who insist that everyone must be following Gardner or some ancient, obscoure tradition or what ever in the exact same way, rigidly following the prescribed formula each time: personally, I feel it lacks creativity. It feels too much like the forms of Christianity we have left or eschewed. There is a place for hierarchy, but only when we all agree upon and understand its proper placement. It’s true that someone must be responsible for keeping chaos at bay (even if that someone is the solitary in their own circle) but we have never needed a grand procession of the priesthood in our faith.

Is finding our own way what sets us apart? I think so. Each of us making the journey by following our own map is a hallmark of Paganism. Being solely responsible for our own spiritual development- even if we share membership in a form of corporate worship- is at once frightening and exhilarating. Maybe that’s exactly why we choose this form of worship; maybe it’s the challenge to examine ourselves and then find or create a bond with the Divine that makes it so attractive.

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