From Many, One.

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.

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A Name For Everything

And Everything By Name.

Or something.

I feel I should clarify some stuff before I continue on with this. I mentioned runes in the post before this, but I’m not set on learning or practice divination in regards to them. I likely will as I continue further down this journey, but it’s far from set in stone. (Well, they /are/ wooden, but that’s not my point.)

My point is I was raised Christian. There’s nothing wrong with this, and I’ve nothing against Christianity (the “basic” ideal of the Bible/Christianity is love and acceptance – if I have ANY issue with the religion it’s the manipulation of power and politics abused via its “followers”, and not with the religion itself) – the problem is, currently, I’m stepping into Not-Christian territory with a very Christian Educated Mind (CEM).

As such I think some of my words might be wrong, even if the meaning is something different to me.  I don’t have any formal education in Pagan religions, or really anything not-Christian – even though I’ve read enough to know the basic differences and similarities.

It’s a very tip-of-the-iceberg situation, and add to that I’m personal already at odds with a lot of Christian ideals.

My CEM wants to see Good and Evil as definable almost unchangeable ideals.
My exploratory mind (EXM) sees Good and Evil as something more mixed – something more Yin and Yang – and even beyond that more blended. Rare is the murderous or hateful mind that actual believes it is evil – almost always there is a justification, a fear, a motive, some circumstance that makes their “blotch” not a blotch.

My CEM puts God at the top and creates a cascading hierarchy.
My EXM sees no difference between myself and God – and also isn’t sure God is the right way to describe it.  This is a large part of what I hope to figure out while I take this journey.

My CEM hopes for Heaven when I die, and contemplates the exactness of Hell and how the afterlife works.
My EXM feels connected on an atomic level, and I don’t believe I’ll lose that connection when I die – only that it will change. It’s an odd comfort to me because by that logic I’ve not suffered a loss in my life, only an event that has forced me to change how I interact with those who have passed.

My CEM believes everything happens for a reason, and that I am guided.
My EXM believes God is just as fucking confused as I am and while likely privy to an indeterminably larger world view than I am, is no more capable of omnipotence or omnipresence than my cat.

And I don’t mean that last bit as a slight to anything or anyone – I just think the idea of either is more perception than substance. As a child I marveled at the rainbow and all the possibilities of its ends and origins. As an adult I know what makes the rainbow, how it functions, and why it appears as it does – The rainbow is not lessened by my growth and knowledge, as it is still beautiful and marvelous, but I understand more of how the world works now and can create rainbows for children to marvel at.

Back to my reason for this post:

If you follow this blog and walk beside me on this odd journey, kindly forgive me if I struggle with the ideas of rituals, magic, divination, god/desses and spells – my CEM sees these things as fanciful (even though the Bible totally believes in magic), and it is REALLY hard for me to grasp them with the same surety I have in other things. Any disrespect is fully unintentional, and I appreciate advice and help if/whenever I do stumble.