Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Just As I Am

"I am but a drop in a vast sea of many; my existence only matters first and foremost to me. The sea is not more or less without me. The sea simply is." I remember this meditation from a workshop many years ago. My spiritual practice is reflective and admittedly rather Buddhist at times, but it is much more than that because I have incorporated wisdom from many different-and sometimes seemingly opposing-faith traditions. My practice is uniquely my own. It constantly changes. Above all, it is individual and private. And it is mine alone...without need for justification.

There is no need to promote my beliefs because I am not trying to create a faith tradition. What I do is what I do and what comes from that is ultimately who I am. I'm not trying to prove anything or impress anyone. I have no agenda in worshiping the way I do. It may sound trite, but I really am simply a traveler on the journey, and my chosen path is the route I follow. My main goal is to unravel this thing called Mystery and to understand a little more deeply what the Universe has in store for me.  I do that by using many different tools and methods; my approach is eclectic. It's not for everyone, nor do I expect it to be.

I don't feel an urgency to define myself or my spiritual practice. If anything I will call myself a Pagan, because I'm certainly no longer Christian, although my fondness for ritual was forged within that particular liturgy. I am more than a bit of a Gnostic because I have no problem reconciling  Monotheism and Polytheism, as well as Theism, Deism, Pantheism, Animism and Humanism. I believe all of these things are important at various times in exploring the Great Mystery. Much of that is tempered with a heavy dose of Jungian thought and analytical psychology.

Because I believe wisdom comes from many sources, I also believe that no one religion or philosophy has all the answers. I do subscribe to the duality of the feminine and masculine divine, and I will personify those when it feels appropriate using the mythology of various gods and goddesses from world's diverse pantheons.

The point I am trying to make is that whatever you do, your expression of spirituality is geared specifically to your personal needs. It doesn't have to follow anyone else's creed or rede to be valid. What is right for you is legitimate and authentic- and no one else need approve. My belief is that if you do whatever you do with integrity. you need not fit anyone else's ethic. Matters of individual conduct need only be limited by the moral standard of "harm none" and be loosely approved by the mores of a polite society.

Therefore I don't often engage in conversation about my personal spiritual beliefs, because, well...they are personal. That's not to say that I won't share my beliefs with someone when sincerely asked, it means I don't feel I need to go about shouting about them. And to be truthful, I really don't care what the next person does or doesn't do, or who they worship or what they believe because it is simply none of my business... frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn unless you are going about causing egress harm to others. If you are blowing up buildings or hijacking airplanes, or trying to legislate your religion into law, I will take notice and action, but really, other than that, I am too busy tending my own garden...and I believe it should be this way. Seriously, everyone needs to just leave everyone else alone and stop the name calling because this isn't kindergarten. Picking at old scabs will never allow wounds to heal.

What has lead to this treatise is the recent grandiose bellowing of several individuals in our community about who they believe themselves to be and what they believe in and call themselves...and my answer is a rather blase, " Who cares?" I'm trying to understand why that should matter or affect me. Who the hell else should care, really? I am satisfied, I am happy, and I am enough.
[Point of reference, I posted about this same issue over two years ago here: http://amethjera.blogspot.com/search?q=pagan+enough]

Monday, January 7, 2013

Bright, Shiny and New

After the hijinks's of Saturnalia, the deep resonance of Winter Solstice and the richness of Christmas we are shocked by the starkness and reality of the sensibility of January. The winter holidays are built up to a crescendo from Samhain (and sometimes even more months before) but come to a crashing halt on December 26th. This is a personal pet peeve, because the traditional Christmastide extends from December 25th to the Epiphany on January 6th: there are 12 days of celebration, not just one.

The decorations don't need to come down before New Year's Day. The period when Christmastide occurs begins on December 25th with the birth of Jesus the Christ and continues until the arrival of the Magi on the Epiphany( called " Three Kings Day" in some places) on January 6th. That is according to Western Christian tradition which holds to the Gregorian calendar; if you can't quite let go of Christmas, you can follow the Julian calendar like the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches, which put the dates off by approximately two weeks.

But no matter what you do, the greens and the very last of the Winter holiday decorations must be gone by Candlemas on February 2nd, or you invite bad luck into your home. The 2nd of February is also Imbolc in the Celtic Pagan tradition, which falls concurrently with the Feast of Brigid of Ireland various spellings Brigid, Bridget, Bridgit, BrĂ­d and Bride). It is the agrarian Springtime, when the ewes are birthing lambs.

However, among all these days of  rich mythology and folklore, there are days which are bitter cold, when the frost is thick on the window and the bare branches of trees chatter in the wind. These are the days of January, an emotional hangover from the intoxication of Christmas. They are the days when I feel Nature most keenly, when her bones are not only showing, but have cracked from exposure and been gnawed upon. January is an in-your-face kind of month which is a paradox.

Consequentially, I find this a bit amusing, because, after all, it is name after Janus, the Roman god with two faces in opposite directions. At the threshold of the New Year, Janus guards the door by looking back toward the old and ahead at the new.

January days come in two varieties where I lived on the east Coast: Cold,barren and grey, or cold, spare and sunny. It is usually a mixture of both, and you never know quite which you'll get depending on atmospheric conditions. Occasionally Mother Nature throws in a ringer and there is a day or two of short-sleeved weather, but before you get too comfortable with that, she corrects any misconceptions about January by unleashing the fiercest of arctic blasts- just to remind you what time of year it really is.

January is one of my favorite months because of  we've thrown off the tiredness of a worn-out year, and we hope for something better. There is a lightness in our insight, the excitement of something new coming to fruition. January is for beginning again, for starting over. It is a second chance to get some things right we failed at in the past. One of my currently favorite songs is Pink's "Try" because of the chorus:
"Where there is desire there is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame someone's bound to get burned
But just because it burns doesn't mean you're gonna die
You've gotta get up and try try try
Gotta get up and try try try..."*

And that, Gentle People, is life...

*Words and music written by Pink, EMI Music Publishing,20012

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

X,Y.Z...And The End

I began this post for the pagan Blog Project 2012 in the early weeks of December, before the Solstice. Whether we want to admit it or not, our breathing was just a bit ragged as we waited for whatever the end of the Mayan Calendar brought out way, even though no one believed it would really be the end of the world. This is as far as I got, and after re-reading it, I realize it is enough to end the year...

There are only three weeks remaining until the end of the year...Maybe one more week if you believe the hype about the Mayan calendar. What if it really were the end of all time? Would it really matter? What would you do differently? I'll tell you what I'd do...I'd keep on living my life just as I am to the final day. Life starts as a spark that breaks out into a flame and is supposed to burn bright and evenly until there is no more...and then that's all. It simply extinguishes. There is no big bang, just a  sputter or two and then...it's dark and we're gone into nothingness.We are gone. I don't know where we go, but I rather like the Cosmic Cake Mix theory, where all we've ever been goes back into the Universe to be recycled and parts reused to begin something new. Participating in the PBP2012 has been a little like that: what was birthed and took shape and had form has now wound down to it's natural end.

The Pagan Blog Project 2013 kicks in in a couple of days from now, and I'm already working on new posts that I hope you'll find interesting. I'm participating on my own terms, however: only one post per letter of the alphabet, which will allow time for me to continue with regular posts from AmethJera's Broom With A  View as I feel appropriate.

Looking forward to a new beginning in 2013...

Auld Lang Syne

It's January, and even though we've been in the New Year for nearly 72 hours, I'm still drawn dreamily back into December and earlier days of Christmastide. Most every year I feel this way, and I can't exactly put my finger on why...I just do. Maybe it's because December is co closely linked with a kinder, gentler time in my life, when things were a little less unsure. Maybe because December holds the Magick we imagine the rest of the year. Most of my childhood memories-good and bad-are set in the homey warmth of this time of year.

It's good to simply be still and remember.