Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Preparing for Samhain as a Born-Again Pagan

Samhain = what Halloween was before it was Halloween.  It's a pagan holiday. 

I'm psyched.  This is my first holiday as a self-admitted pagan.  I came out of the closet to myself and my immediate family while pregnant with Seraphina, but this is something I've "known" my entire life.  I've always thought of myself as a tree-hugger, Nature girl.  Through many years of soul-searching, now I think I feel comfortable putting a label on what my spirituality is.  Pagan is a VERY broad term to describe a nature-based spirituality.  Because of this broad brush encompassing many aspects of nature-based faiths, it allows for much more freedom of belief, at least for me.  I would also even go as far as to describe myself as a Pantheist.  According to Wikipedia, Pantheism is: the belief that the universe (or nature as the totality of everything) is identical with divinity,[1] or that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent God.[2]

And that means EVERYTHING, because EVERYTHING is part of NATURE. 

(Albert Einstein, one of the greatest minds of our time, is also considered to be a pantheist by many philosophers...) 

But my actual beliefs are more complex and vast then even that.  The microcosm and the macrocosm are ONE, and I try to view everything from an inclusive, holistic perspective.  I believe that there are energies in the universe which we do not understand, and paradigms of consciousness and systems of life of which humanity is only the teeniest fraction of, and has only the most miniature awareness of.   WE are both small and large, contained and exploding.  In a way, I do believe in "gods" and "goddesses" (plural) as archetypal representations of the the universal collective consciousness.  Space and time itself is so vast and unexplored that I believe there are aspects to existence which are unknowable to human experience.  But I believe it's all ONE THING, comprised of many infinite layers, all NATURE though, all part of the whole.  ALL of it, no matter how insane or garish, is still part of the same system of NATURE.  It can't NOT be.  And who knows why Nature does what it does...we humans try to figure it out, but there's simply too much too know, too many layers, to know it ALL.  It's arrogant to imagine that we could, when our senses are limited to a human perspective and the Universe is so much more then what we are.  It's fucking INFINITE out there, man.  At the same time I have come to realize that the Spirit which is within us all is also part of that infinity.  


I guess you could say that NATURE (the infinite system of EVERYTHING) is my "God."   But I don't like that word to describe it.  I am cautious about using the word 'God' because it has so much cultural baggage attached to it.  At the same time, it's still the one word that can be used almost universally to elicit a strong mental idea of a divine "being."  In MY eyes, though, the "Divine Being" is all there is, including me and you...and in common religions 'God' and man are considered separate.  I don't buy into the separateness at all.  If we are to believe in an Infinite Being, then that infiniteness would include EVERYTHING, wouldn't it?  If 'God' is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, as is frequently thought, then that would mean that God is absolutely inclusive of everything that exists.  

But like I said, I don't like the word 'God.'   I prefer to use the word 'Spirit' if I am referencing divinity...and in my eyes Spirit inhabits everything in existence.  Reality as we know it is just a screen on which Spirit plays out its movie of life...but as I was saying, I believe there are many screens, many layers, and many dimensions through which Spirit inhabits.  (And of course, Spirit = Nature...Spirit is the thing that's running everything, composed of many infinite working parts.  All part of the same system though.)

I find that what makes the most sense for my spirituality is versatility and room for "movement" in belief.   I like to feel like I have some wriggle room to grow and change.  In fact, to me movement of belief means that I am learning and staying proactive with my soul-education.  But I'd say that the thing that's MOST important to my spirituality, and my life in general, and what has gotten me as far as I've gone to the point where I consider this itself a holy act, is cultivating a sense of personal power, self-realization and soul intention.  The "science" of the magic of intention and the truth and power of physical action are mirrored aspects of self-realization and continuing to evolve and are VITAL to my path.  I believe in finding divinity within oneself rather then looking outside.  In other words, I am more likely to feel like a solid meditation or yoga session or even a run is way more worthwhile to me then going to church and having someone tell me what they believe.  Working on MYSELF all by MYSELF is key for my spiritual growth.  That's just where I've come to.  I find immense value in a cultivating a practice of spirituality that is experiential and personal.  I need to discover these things on my own.  

At the same time I totally recognize the value of collaborating with a group of people who are all of similar spiritual leanings.  I don't really have any close-knit support for my brand of spirituality where I live, and that's something I feel is lacking in a solitary path.  We ALL need support and validation for our spiritual work (not just via the internet...) and I wish I could have more of this in life, but as of now, it's not happening.  I'm on my own and it's up to just me to keep myself focused enough to keep growing and studying and learning and most of all, PRACTICING.   So saying that, there's really something positive to be said for a "church family" or a "spiritual tribe."   I know my Baptist Christian parents really get A LOT out of their church family...they are constantly telling me I should join a church but it just wouldn't work out.  I am not conventional enough in my belief to handle that, nor do I think people in the church would know how to handle me in a respectful way.  I've been there, done that, and I've had negative experiences in Christian churches so I stay away.  But I am certainly open to finding a church that resonates with MY spirit....at some point.  I do miss the kinship that comes with shared belief. 

AS OF NOW, forests filled with ancient trees and various expressions of Nature comprises the entirety of my church.  That's the best I can do and it's enough.  I am ONE with the trees.  I have come to see myself as sort of dryad or as possessing a faerie bloodline. Indeed, I feel there is something a bit mystical and magical about me and I am just now embracing this part of myself.  The trees are where I belong.  I don't feel at home in an area without trees, which is why spending my formative years in central Texas (very few trees, and certainly no ancient ones) was so difficult for me.  You can't take a dryad away from her trees...

When it comes to prayer, I do it, but to me the word prayer is synonymous with meditating, energy work, stilling the mind, making soul commitments of intention, etc.  I think even certain physical acts can be paralleled with prayer.  Spellcrafting and rituals feel like prayer to me, because you are creating a sacred space in which to do spiritual work.   Any time sacred space is created, that's prayer to my perception.  Even BREATHING, when done with high intentions, can be both prayerful and acknowledging of our divine nature. 

One of the cornerstones of my spirituality is GRATITUDE.  I feel like spiritual work is the most pure and wholesome when it is done with an attitude of gratitude and thankfulness.   Counting my blessings and seeing with REAL EYES how amazingly fortunate I am in life, is key to maintaining my relationship with the divine. 

I could go on and on, but my children's naptime is almost over so I am going to practice my spirituality by being a good mother and prepare for their awakenings.   They are such a gift to the world and I am so lucky to have them in my life.  

No comments:

Post a Comment