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Pagan Spirituality Defined - Thoughts?

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posted on Apr, 14 2012 @ 06:05 PM
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When I was young, one of my favorite written works by a pagan practitioner was the Pledge of Pagan Spirituality. It was written by Selena Fox in 1980. It still touches a cord with me even today.

"A pledge:

I am a Pagan and I dedicate myself to channeling the Spiritual energy of my inner self to help and to heal others and myself.

I know that I am part of the Whole of nature. May I grow in understanding of the Unity of all Nature. May I always walk in balance.

May I always be mindful of the diversity of Nature as well as its Unity. May I always be tolerant of those whose race, appearance, culture and ways differ from my own.

May I use my psychic powers wisely and never use it for aggression or for malevolent purposes.

May I never use it to curtail the free will of others.

May I always remember that I create my own reality and that I have the power within me to create positivity in my life.

May I always take responsibility for my actions be they conscious or unconscious.

May I always act in honorable ways, being honest with myself and others, keeping my word whenever I have given it, fulfilling all responsibilities and commitments I have undertaken to the best of my abilities.

May I always remember that whatever is sent out returns magnified to the sender. The forces of Karma will move swiftly to remind me of my spiritual commitments when I have begun to falter from them. May I use this Karmic feedback to remain strong and committed to my Spiritual ideals in the face of adversity or negativity. May the force of my inner Spirit eliminate all malevolence directed my way and transform it into positive light. May my inner light shine so strongly that malevolence can not even enter my realm of existence.

May I continually grow in wisdom and understanding. May I see every problem that I face, as an opportunity to learn and grow and to develop spiritually.

May I act out of love for other beings on this planet -- to other human, plants, animals, mineral, elementals, spirits or other entities.

May I ever be mindful that the Goddess and God in all their forms dwell within me and that this divinity is reflected through my own Inner Self, my Pagan Spirit.

May I always channel love and light through my being. May my inner Spirit, rather than my Ego self, guide all my thoughts, feelings and actions.

So Mote It Be. " Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary 1980.

Please understand that Paganism is an umbrella term that includes different groups of traditions. For example, Wicca and Druidism are nature based, or "earth-centered". However other faiths are Deity centered also. Such as followers of the Egyptian, Roman and Greek Pagan traditions.

There is of course the Wiccan Rede and Three-fold law that is commonly accepted by Wiccans and many Neopagans - which can be read here:

The Wiccan Rede

The question I'd like to pose to fundamentalists is this - In the above pledge, Wiccan Rede, and Three-Fold Law, was anything evil or negative implied? What basis does monotheistic religions have in declaring that people of the Pagan faith are in some way "evil"?

If you are more of a spiritual and secular way of thinking - what do you think of the basic underlying principles of what it is to be pagan according to Selena Fox? Do you have a similar mantra or ideology that you could share? I'd love to hear your thoughts.




posted on Apr, 14 2012 @ 08:17 PM
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The Eastern Orthodox believe somewhat differently than Catholics and Protestants. I think Eastern Orthodox would say that a Pagan who tries to follow the golden rule wouldn't be judged any differently than a Christian who tries to follow the golden rule. Many of the things that people don't like about Christian theology aren't present in Eastern Orthodox theology. The differences are subtle but they make a big difference in some cases.

Here is quote about Orthodox salvation:

Christ will judge all people exclusively on the basis of how they have served him by serving each other,..

OrthodoxWiki
edit on 14-4-2012 by cloudyday because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 14 2012 @ 10:33 PM
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reply to post by CirqueDeTruth


If you are more of a spiritual and secular way of thinking - what do you think of the basic underlying principles of what it is to be pagan according to Selena Fox? Do you have a similar mantra or ideology that you could share? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."
- - Kant's Categorical Imperative

I read this quoted by another author, and put into a concrete example. For the first time I understood, even though I had read at least one book by Kant, and got nothing from it.



posted on Apr, 15 2012 @ 08:23 AM
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Originally posted by pthena

"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."
- - Kant's Categorical Imperative



This I really like, even though I had to read it about 3 times before I understood it...

-------------------------------

My ex-step dad was a pagan high priest with a Wiccan slant, so I know all too well about the beliefs and practises which surround that school of thought. But though their hearts are in the right place, I believe like many religions they over-complicate things which aren't really too complicated. A great example is simply that pledge you mentioned in your OP.

Wouldn't it be so much simpler just to say that as ultimately we are all one (and not just humans, but everything in nature, indeed everything in the universe), whatever you do to others you are ulitmately just doing to yourself....? I think Jesus said it best when with the words ' Do unto others as you would have others do unto you'

And no I'm not Christian, I would probably classify myself as a spiritual Pantheist.....

Don't get me wrong, My time spent with wiccans opened my eyes to the absolute beauty of planet Earth, the true power of the mind, and the joy of being with a group of people who are totally inclusive, and who see the wondrous beauty of nature. And nothing raises ones own personal energy like stealing through the forest on the night of the full moon to cast spells and/or celebrate nature.

But like any belief system they are but one facet on the gem of the ultimate Truth and I think its time we all started operating on a slightly higher level if we are to make this world a better place. We should start chasing the gem itself rather than admiring our reflection in the one facet which represents our current way of thinking; and not get bogged down in funny little details like 'the Bible says this' or 'the 3fold law says that'.....

Phew..... hopefully I haven't totally derailed ur thread though. Not actually sure where that all came from......... Lets just say I haven't been I haven't been on ATS for quite a few weeks and I guess a few withdrawal pangs kicked in about the time I stumbled across your OP.
edit on 15/4/2012 by 1littlewolf because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 15 2012 @ 09:19 AM
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reply to post by 1littlewolf
 


My time spent with wiccans opened my eyes to the absolute beauty of planet Earth, the true power of the mind, and the joy of being with a group of people who are totally inclusive, and who see the wondrous beauty of nature. And nothing raises ones own personal energy like stealing through the forest on the night of the full moon to cast spells and/or celebrate nature.

But like any belief system they are but one facet on the gem of the ultimate Truth and I think its time we all started operating on a slightly higher level if we are to make this world a better place. We should start chasing the gem itself rather than admiring our reflection in the one facet which represents our current way of thinking; and not get bogged down in funny little details like 'the Bible says this' or 'the 3fold law says that'.....

Very well said, Littlewolf, and I might say it was that way for me too. Once I began to explore the Wiccan Ways, my mind was free to soar above the Heavens, and Nature was my bed. I feel so my love from Mother Nature, and see Her beauty in the face of every women I see. Blessed Be. Autowrench



posted on Apr, 15 2012 @ 12:00 PM
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reply to post by 1littlewolf
CirqueDeTruth is the OP, it's her thread.


But like any belief system they are but one facet on the gem of the ultimate Truth and I think its time we all started operating on a slightly higher level if we are to make this world a better place. We should start chasing the gem itself rather than admiring our reflection in the one facet which represents our current way of thinking; and not get bogged down in funny little details like 'the Bible says this' or 'the 3fold law says that'.....

The reason I picked Kant's Categorical Imperative instead of the Wiccan Rede is precisely for the activist emphasis, balanced with the built in implied golden rule and Wiccan Rede..

Edit to Add:

Old time Pagans sometime make fun of Neo-Pagans because they just "make stuff up as they go, rather than actually revive age-old tradition." But now I realize that hey! We live in a post-modern world, with more evolved ethics. The genius of Neo-Paganism is precisely that we are Not Bound to old tradition. The empires and armies who destroyed the tradition have inadvertently freed us! We don't have to consult the dusty tomes (that mostly don't exist) we can do the naturally arising, taking into account the best sources of History, Science, and everything!
edit on 15-4-2012 by pthena because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 15 2012 @ 12:15 PM
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Originally posted by pthena
reply to post by CirqueDeTruth


If you are more of a spiritual and secular way of thinking - what do you think of the basic underlying principles of what it is to be pagan according to Selena Fox? Do you have a similar mantra or ideology that you could share? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."
- - Kant's Categorical Imperative

I read this quoted by another author, and put into a concrete example. For the first time I understood, even though I had read at least one book by Kant, and got nothing from it.


Interesting. I myself, though started at Pagan beginnings - have grown and changed over the past two decades. I like to consider myself very philosophical and I've always enjoyed reading Kant's ideas. Kant's Categorical imperatives have always reminded me of the Wiccan mantra and Golden rule - "Do as you will, so long as you harm none." Act as though you should like to be treated.



posted on Apr, 15 2012 @ 12:59 PM
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reply to post by 1littlewolf
 


Indeed it would be much simpler, but much less like a belief system. You know what I think all the complication is? Wrapping paper. Some people like plain wrapping paper or very simple patterns, while others like all the bells and whistles.

I'm a bit of a poet and writer, and thus, written material like that displayed in the OP applies to my aesthetic tastes.



posted on Apr, 15 2012 @ 04:04 PM
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reply to post by pthena
 





The genius of Neo-Paganism is precisely that we are Not Bound to old tradition. The empires and armies who destroyed the tradition have inadvertently freed us! We don't have to consult the dusty tomes (that mostly don't exist) we can do the naturally arising, taking into account the best sources of History, Science, and everything!


Very well said....You are truly wise.

Paganism is a path. It's not a means to an end, (need I mention the "C" word?) but rather a goal we all strive to seek. Whenever I understand something new, I rest not, knowing there is something more beautiful to discover about the world around me.

It's very much a way of life, garnering respect for all living things around you. I think that is the way the Ancients believed, actually, I feel it to be true, and using instinct as my guide, intuition tells me where to go.

There are no precedents in the ancient tomes to refer to, no method once feasible to follow. We live in a modern age, with technology all around us, and we either adapt or we quit walking our path. To be able to utilize any resource currently available is much more empowering than trying to live lost traditions. It's our beliefs that make us stronger spiritually, and the very core of our lives should be helping others. Respect for life produces love, and soon thereafter you are on your path.



posted on Apr, 15 2012 @ 04:16 PM
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reply to post by Druid42
 



There are no precedents in the ancient tomes to refer to, no method once feasible to follow. We live in a modern age, with technology all around us, and we either adapt or we quit walking our path. To be able to utilize any resource currently available is much more empowering than trying to live lost traditions. It's our beliefs that make us stronger spiritually, and the very core of our lives should be helping others. Respect for life produces love, and soon thereafter you are on your path.



Hmm...

Love God, and love your neighbour as yourself....

You wouldn't call that feasible?




posted on Apr, 15 2012 @ 06:02 PM
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reply to post by Akragon


Love God, and love your neighbour as yourself....

You wouldn't call that feasible?

The trouble with that is.... That "God" is usually predefined by the people using the saying.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Exile of Hwawg the Unknown

In former days, when one tribe gained control over another,
the shaman Hwawg took note that his tribe was serving the
conquerors and their god.

"Is this god, who claims to be the only true god,
worthy of my devotion?", he pondered.

In a lonely valley, away from the people,
he summoned this god for examination.
"You are not my god!" cried Hwawg,
and threw him to the ground.

"So, do not serve me" replied the god, as he went away.

The people still served the unworthy god.
Again, in the valley, Hwawg summoned the god.
Again, he threw him down.

The god laughed, "It doesn't matter that you know me for a weakling.
I have strength enough through those who revere me."

Upon returning to the village,
Hwawg was met with spears,
and was chased from the village.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
It really does matter who you mean by "God", especially if he claims to be the only true god.


Thulsa Doom: Ah. It must have been when I was younger. There was a time, boy, when I searched for steel, when steel meant more to me than gold or jewels.

Conan: The riddle... of steel.

Thulsa Doom: Yes! You know what it is, don't you boy? Shall I tell you? It's the least I can do. Steel isn't strong, boy, flesh is stronger! Look around you. There, on the rocks; a beautiful girl. Come to me, my child...

Thulsa Doom: [coaxes the girl to jump to her death]

Thulsa Doom: That is strength, boy! That is power!

Conan the Barbarian (1982)

edit on 15-4-2012 by pthena because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 15 2012 @ 06:07 PM
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reply to post by pthena
 



That "God" is usually predefined by the people using the saying.



I define God as everything without exception... Thus by loving your neighbour you are also loving part of God...


It really does matter who you mean by "God", especially if he claims to be the only true god.


I agree...

I don't see God as a person... so the "who" in that statement is irrelevant...

The all, the whole.... everything without exception... that is my definition of God...


edit on 15-4-2012 by Akragon because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 15 2012 @ 06:17 PM
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reply to post by Akragon


I don't see God as a person... so the "who" in that statement is irrelevant...

The all, the whole.... everything without exception... that is my definition of God...

Aha! I've finally got your definition!
I probably should have just asked you sometime.



posted on Apr, 15 2012 @ 06:19 PM
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reply to post by pthena
 


Always open for questions my friend...

Dispite this tough kitty exterior... Im actually quite easy to talk to...

Believe it or not




posted on Apr, 15 2012 @ 09:05 PM
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Originally posted by pthena

Old time Pagans sometime make fun of Neo-Pagans because they just "make stuff up as they go, rather than actually revive age-old tradition." But now I realize that hey! We live in a post-modern world, with more evolved ethics. The genius of Neo-Paganism is precisely that we are Not Bound to old tradition. The empires and armies who destroyed the tradition have inadvertently freed us! We don't have to consult the dusty tomes (that mostly don't exist) we can do the naturally arising, taking into account the best sources of History, Science, and everything!
edit on 15-4-2012 by pthena because: (no reason given)


That is why I love paganism overall. The very fact it is not bound by meaningless tradition. Ultimately if one is going to believe in abstractions of the Ultimate Truth (whatever that may be) it is probably far better that they make it up rather than relying on the beliefs of another


Originally posted by CirqueDeTruth

Indeed it would be much simpler, but much less like a belief system. You know what I think all the complication is? Wrapping paper. Some people like plain wrapping paper or very simple patterns, while others like all the bells and whistles.

I'm a bit of a poet and writer, and thus, written material like that displayed in the OP applies to my aesthetic tastes.


Beautiful reply. I guess the only danger is when one gets confused between the wrapping paper and the actual present…



posted on Apr, 15 2012 @ 09:27 PM
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reply to post by Akragon
 


So then I must ask, which of the Abrahamic Traditions do you adhere to?

I'm just curious. I'm interested.



posted on Apr, 15 2012 @ 09:31 PM
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Originally posted by Druid42
reply to post by Akragon
 


So then I must ask, which of the Abrahamic Traditions do you adhere to?

I'm just curious. I'm interested.


None of them...

My beliefs come from a mash of several religions... I adhear to no religion specifically... And don't believe in religion in general... Spirituality IF anything, though i do not label my beliefs... they are what they are. And they are open to change IF per say... i happen to run into a "greater truth"... which has not happened in a very long time.

I believe if you want to learn about these beliefs you have to read about them yourself... Not listen to people who claim to know what they're about...


edit on 15-4-2012 by Akragon because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 15 2012 @ 10:37 PM
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reply to post by Druid42


So then I must ask, which of the Abrahamic Traditions do you adhere to?

I'm just curious. I'm interested.

For the sake of full disclosure, I should admit to being a crypto-neo-Marcionite.

Marcionites held maltheistic views of the God of the Hebrew Bible (known to some Gnostics as Yaltabaoth), that he was inconsistent, jealous, wrathful and genocidal, and that the material world he created was defective, a place of suffering; the God who made such a world is a bungling or malicious demiurge
Marcionism

I don't hold that Yahweh is the creator in any way, merely a minor Bronze-Age tribal god who went insane, delusions of grandeur. Jesus was a man who defeated Yahweh, yet his victory is hollow as far as history goes, because man is mortal, the gods are much less mortal.

The story of The "Exile of Hwawg", though not synonymous, has many similarities to the experience of the man Jesus. Hwawg sympathizes with Jesus, and so do I.
edit on 15-4-2012 by pthena because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 01:41 AM
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reply to post by pthena
 


Interesting...

So you're a NT only guy as far as the bible is concerned...

How do you consider the material world "defective"?


edit on 16-4-2012 by Akragon because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 02:07 AM
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reply to post by Akragon


So you're a NT only guy as far as the bible is concerned...

I didn't say I was Marcionite. There's that little Neo- I put in front. I read the whole Bible as the work of men, attempting to influence hearts and minds. As such, most is quite twisted. There are a few good quotes to be gleaned. I attempt to give full credit to the human author responsible, which is almost impossible, since most of the collection is pseudonymous, or anonymous.

In this post-Christian World (becoming Judeo-Christian, in the sense of an actual new fusion of Yahwehisms) we find ourselves in, it would be unwise to ignore the source material that fuels a dangerous ideology. If Christians knew that Jesus refused Messiahship what would they do? Convert to Judaism or Greek or Eastern Philosophy?

I know which I would prefer.


How do you consider the material world "defective"?

I don't particularly. No fall, per say, It's an evolving process. I'm not a gnostic dualist to think of matter as "evil to be transcended." I'm much more of an Epicurean Atomist Materialist, with a slight touch of Stoic.

It's too late for me to edit the post, here's a revision, with strikout:

Marcionites held maltheistic views of the God of the Hebrew Bible (known to some Gnostics as Yaltabaoth), that he was inconsistent, jealous, wrathful and genocidal, and that the material world he created was defective, a place of suffering; the God who made such a world is a bungling or malicious demiurge
Marcionism



edit on 16-4-2012 by pthena because: (no reason given)



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