A book was delivered to me today, titled Drawing Down the Moon – recommended by two very good friends. The basic idea of this book is a over-arcing view point of modern paganism.
But Quin, Pagans are ancient!
Well, yes, so’s Christianity in the strictest sense, but it’s certainly changed and become modern – albeit a little slower than I think it needs to catch up to the times – over the course of its history.
Paganism is the same way. What was valid thousands of years ago, just isn’t today. If a belief can’t keep up with the changes of society and technology it will fall by the wayside and be fully forgotten. Because details aside, all religions offer pretty much the same basic things.
They provide a meaning to living, hope of a peaceful end, and security of help beyond that of mortal people. They teach morality and other lessons of life through various stories, concepts, etc. How they go about it can vary wildly from one to the other, but those basics are found within every religion.
Some people don’t need these assurances to live a full life. Some don’t want them. Some can’t find peace without them to the point of fanaticism. Maybe they throw their life fully to devotion – a nun, monk, devotee, etc. Maybe they throw their life fully to some mis-interpreted version of their religion – often to the detriment of those around them.
I’ve studied quite a few “popular” religions, and Drawing Down the Moon gives me a chance to learn the paths of those less popular. Nothing before now has connected with me fully – some have come close, and some have offered a way of looking at things I had not considered before. Mostly I learned that it’s a bit silly to deem a religion/philosophy more or less correct than another. At their core, they are all alarmingly similar.
The failing, I think, in any faith, is in the believer, not the religion. It’s a disconnect between the words and the person hearing them. Such misunderstandings are also exacerbated by those who are not truly devout – but who seek to twist a religion and its followers to some end. Usually in a way that lifts them to more power/money/fame, and in the process belittles some other group of people.
Faith is, to me, a personal experience. It’s not meant to decide fates of the masses, it’s not meant to reside over entire countries. It’s for the home, the hearth, the heart – the person, not the culture, and not the governing body (be they kings, queens, or elected officials).
Maybe this book will help me find that one path. Or at least help me better define the path which I mean to walk.