Monday, September 20, 2004

What Is Important About Wicca

(c) Andy Ternay
  • One of these days I am going to learn what flowers are what. For today however, these are pretty blue ones.

  • I hope Paganism and Wicca never develop a ‘canon’ of semi-official scripture. Sadly there are a whole battalion of authors willing to write that scripture. Not that they are bad folks, just some of them are more than willing to adopt the role of Wiccan guru before you can say “skyclad.”

    One of the more compelling—strike that.

    The most compelling part of paganism and Wicca to me is the fact that all of it hinges on a personal relationship to the divine. Really, if I boil it down, that is all there is to it. You go and you develop a personal relationship the Deity of your choice. Your experiences define your beliefs. Ideally, nature should be your guide in all of this. Other Pagans and Wiccans, such as a coven or grove, may work with you, but it is the unique, personal experience of the Divine that is the center of the belief system.

    Paganism is a mystery faith in that sense. I used to think that Paganism as a whole was a Gnostic faith in the literal sense of the word. Gnosis comes from the Greek for “revealed knowledge” and so a Gnostic was one with the revealed knowledge of God. However, Paganism differs sharply from early Christian Gnosticism in its reverence of the natural world, and a belief that the Divine is immanent and present in the natural world around us. The Christian Gnostics has a belief that this world was fallen, and that God is absent from the material world.

    Maybe a better description would be that of naturalistic Gnostics would be a better description.

    Despite the fact that Pagans accept the presence of the Divine in this world, and in the cycles of nature, I do not believe that the majority of Pagans are materialists. By far, the emphasis is on the spiritual nature, and material things are viewed as transient. In fact, nothing is permanent; everything is subject to change.

    I differ from many Pagans and most Wiccans in that I do not believe in reincarnation. Once is enough for me. I find the belief in reincarnation interesting; it coexists with a belief in an afterlife (Otherworld, Summerland). It is not clear to me when one proceeds to the next stage in the reincarnation scheme. That whole no empirical knowledge of what comes next is an issue in every faith though. Wicca and Paganism do use divination, but either the spirits of the departed are not very consistent about what follows, or are very reticent to discuss it. It would be interesting to see a study of what is claimed of the afterlife from divination. Maybe there would be patterns and overlapping themes there.

    Anyway, I am wandering. The only thing I wanted to say is that to me the most important thing is the personal relationship with the divine. That is what moves me in my faith.

    Good morning Goddess Brigit, my name is Andy and I am an alcoholic. I have been kept sober since Imbolc, 2001 by Your grace and Your grace alone. I’d like to take this moment to thank You, my Higher Power, for this, my daily reprieve. Today is a good day to be sober.

    Please be with me today all through the day and help me to stay sober all day long. Show me Your will for me and grant me the power to carry that out. Thy will, not mine, be done. Be welcome in me and to me; body, heart, mind and soul. Thank You, Blessed Be.