"Who am I?"
"Why am I here?"
"What happens after we die?"
"Why is there suffering and evil?"
To answer these questions I moved from my childhood experiences with Christianity and studied other religions of the world. My beliefs are a culmination of many different faith systems and my own direct intuition (That which canít be verified by the five senses, such as telepathy, ESP. It can happen through the reading of scripture and mystical experience, which is the feeling of union or revelation with the Divine). I do not totally agree with any one religion. I see truths in many.
I am a liberal mystic. (Ohhhh, I said liberal.) I am liberal in that I donít follow the historical core of faith to the letter and I use independent interpretations. I am mystical because I am guided by my own spiritual experiences of the ultimate reality.
The indigenous, "primal" or "nature" religious beliefs would best describe what I think and feel about this world and the ultimate reality or that which is beyond this world. There are six recurring themes in indigenous religions.
The first is the interconnectedness of all things which is symbolized by a circle.
They believe that time and history are cyclical rather than lineal. All aspects of
the tangible world are viewed as being spiritual and interconnected with each other
and the spiritual realm. This is in direct contrast with dualism - the separation of reality into two categories,
particularly the concept that spirit and matter are separate realms.
In my belief matter and spirit are one. Spirit is quickly moving, conscious energy, and matter is that energy slowed down and packed in. After all, what is matter but slower energy and packed molecules/atoms. Dualism is just our perception of reality.
Second, humans are seen as the caretakers of creation and not its owners. The earth is sacred because it is a part of the Divine. Much emphasis is put on nature spirits that reside in special locations, rocks, trees, or water, and who interact with this world.
Third, indigenous religions are polytheistic. (poly - many, theistic - religion based on oneís relationship with the divine) In this belief system many attributes and forms of the divine are emphasized. I believe there is only one God, who is androgynous, neither male nor female, but who can take on many different characteristics so we may better understand It. The aspects I feel closest to and worship are that of the Creator or Father, and the Earth Mother, Gaia.
Fourth, indigenous religions stress the importance of ancestors and/or helpers/guides. They believe communication is possible with these spirits through prayers, dreams and vision quests. If vision quests reminds you of Native Americans, you are right. The beliefs of Native Americans are an indigenous religion. I do not worship these spirits, only seek to commune with them and gain knowledge.
Fifth, indigenous cultures feel it is important to develop a relationship with spiritual energy. Energy and matter are viewed as being intertwined. The ways to try to connect to this energy which surrounds us is through prayers, meditation, and rituals.
Finally, sacrifice plays an important role in indigenous religions. Sacrifice keeps us focused on the bond between the spiritual and physical realms. (And I am not talking about primitive human sacrifices.) Your self is the only necessary sacrifice, in my opinion. The sacrifice of yourself to serve/help your fellow mankind.
Technically I am a Pagan. There are several forms of Paganism and I prefer Druidism because it incorporates science (patterns in nature, Pythagorean thought, pre-Einstein reasoning etc.) and mysticism.
There is a strong connection between indigenous religions and Neo-Paganism, the modern revitalized version of Paganism. (Paganism was the religion of the Celts, the indigenous people of Gaul before the Roman invasion and rise of Christianity.) Paganism is being revived as people become increasingly interested in the environment and their heritage. My ancestors on my fatherís side were Welsh and my husbandís ancestors were Scottish on both sides. The Druids were the lawyers, philosophers, healers, magicians, and scholars of these ancient lands.
I am devoting this page stricktly to what I believe, so if you would like to learn more about Paganism and Druidism, please check out my list of links. You can get there from the home page.
"Why am I here?"
I am here to learn.
I practice magick. Magick is using the natural energies that surround us to protect us from all things negative and to help us learn more about ourselves, the world around us, to ultimately bring us closer to the Divine. In the Druidic tradition, there are three rules of the magus (magickal practitioner):
To Be Silent
High Magick takes this a step further:
Know that you are an aspect of the Divine.
Dare to harness that Divine power and use it to better yourself and our world by effecting the spiritual and material planes.
Be Silent and listen to your inner being and the Collective Consious.
Why do I practice high magick? First of all, knowledge is power, and if you stop learning, then you do not exist, and I want to learn as much as possible about this world and the next world. The realm of spiritual energy, some call this astral or heaven. The Druids define the goals of mysticism as: See all, study all, suffer all. All expericences good or bad are ultimately good if you learn from them. Magick is my learning tool. Secondly, high magick is using your inner power at its fullest so you can experience the physical and spiritual realms. It is not "glamour" (little tricks that us spiritual energy) as many so called Pagans perform, and it is more than rituals. A ritual is used simply to help quiet your thoughts and help your subconcious focus on the task at hand. High Magick is utilizing the power of your soul and the universe to acomplish and learn. Burning incense won't get you any closer to God. Using that incense to help you relax so you can listen to the divine, will. To perform magick you must have a need, the emotion, and finally the know how.
Does this need to be taken care of?
Do you realy care?
Do you know how?
Magick isn't frivilous. My friends and I have a saying, "Why do using magick when you can just do it." Don't use glamour and try to open doors when you can get off your butt and open them. Don't use magick to help the poor when you can start collecting can goods. Do that then do some magick to ask for guidance and to help you focus on the "need".
After we die, we go to a place of rest. I call it heaven, but its name depends on the culture. Here we are embraced by the love of our ancestors, spirit guides, and God. Then we review our lifeís actions so we may see how we effected others and how we were effected by them. It is a review of the course material so to speak. Then we prepare for another life. With the help of our guardians we chose where we will live, what we will look like, etc. so we can learn other spiritual lessons.
Often people complain and say, "I didnít chose to be born." This statement is proof that we have forgotten the answer to "Why are we here?". To learn. Suffering is a part of life. I agree with Budha that we can curb if not end suffering by striving to understand each other and learn from our mistakes and misfortunes so we can prevent it.
Heaven ... well, we have the option of praising God for all eternity or continuing to explore. What ever suits each soul. Everyone will have their marble pillars, Nirvana, or enlightenment. Because God is all things.
Many people feel that in the after life all they will do is praise God. Is God so egotistical that he/she would need an eternity of worship? I disagree with this. Worship is an important part of my life. It keeps me close to the Divine. However, if you arenít learning you arenít living. You might as well be locked up in a black abyss . . . alone. You can praise God here and now! Why wait until you are in heaven. Make it a part of your life. Make learning a part of your worship by giving thanks for all of your experiences.
An elder of the Huichol in Mexico once said, "Everything we do in life is for the glory of God. We praise him in the well swept floor, the well weeded field, the polished machete, the brilliant colors of the picture and embroidery. In these ways we prepare for a long life and pray for a good one."
Hell ... I think when a soul continually denies God's love then they will be without God, in a realm where God and ultimately light and love do not exist. But they are not there forever. Redemption is always a possibility for God is a merciful, loving Father/Creator. When we chose to stray from the path of love and light we will suffer the consequences by experiencing our mistakes and creating a "hell" on earth by making things harder on us then they should be.
Someone on the Art Bell BBS once said:
" the major distinction between the two philosophies [reincarnation and resurrection] is where we wind up. Reincarnation implies an eternal return and resurrection implies progress."
Like the many different views within Christianity because of different sects or denominations, there are many differing views on New Age thought. So, reincarnation can be taken in several different ways.
In my philosophy we aren't working out Karma, as in paying our debts, we are learning. Not everything, every possible situation, every bit of knowledge, can not be experienced or understood in one lifetime. We come to earth and live. We can either sleep through class or actively participate and actually learn. Then when we die we experience everything again except this time we see the ramifications of everything we said, did, and possibly thought. Sort of like reviewing a test. However, we feel the hurt or love we caused each person we encountered. Then we have the option of returning. We are not limited to Earth either. The Universe, Universes for that matter are HUGE! As we live we learn and expand ourselves. Why do we not remember everything? Have you tried viewing all of the files on your hard drive at one time? It is impossible. The computer, our brains, would short out. Also, if we remembered every thing we would feel the hurt caused by those souls who where now living as our brother/sister best friend etc. It would be very hard to start over.
Now, this cycle is not meant to be stagnant. But it is up to each individual to gain things from their experiences. Of course the Divine and angles will help! You are not absolutely alone. But this path does require responsibility. The ultimate goal is to be rejoined with God. Some say this does not happen until you obtain perfection. I think you can rest in the Divine's arms at any time. Yes, even here on earth to an extent.
Resurrection .. to me the death and resurrection of Jesus was to show us that there is life after death. That the soul is eternal. I know some take it a step further and say it was the key to humanities salvation. As long as this brings them closer to God, it is good.
Each person needs to decide what to do with the information of reincarnation and resurrection. Reincarnation can be taken as an excuses to do what ever you want and take care of business in the next life. Accepting Jesus can be used as an excuses to do what you want in this life because no matter what you are going to heaven. Is this right? No. Any enlightened responsible person would know they should live life to its fullest and follow the path of light, peace, and love so they can grow.
Also, I am not a master teacher and I do not have the English language down to perfection. Does anyone? Isn't it difficult to describe heaven with words? It is hard to define my concept of God and reincarnation and the universe. I try though. And if I ever find a better way to explain my concepts and beliefs then I will be sure to put them on here.
For now the following passage will have to do. It is on page 34 and 35 of The 21 Lessons of Merlyn: A Study of Druidic Magick and Lore by Douglas Monroe. I do not agree with everything that the author writes but this I do agree with.
He discusses the Druidic systems of belief and how they are a "reflection of natural cycles clearly visible in nature. Some of the most important of these were: the cycle of death and re-birth; the seasonal cycles of rotation; the circular movements of the Sun, Moon, planets & constellations; the ebb and flow of the ocean tides, and the migration of birds and beasts.
Along with these cycles themselves, comes a graphic representation: THE SPIRAL ... The design demonstrates ideally the motion of cycles ... - unfolding ever-outward - growing, always returning again to the same point, yet on a slightly higher level ...."
p. 36 "All souls are eternal, and all are in the process of expanding beyond the experiential bounds of their present state - heading toward THE BEYOND. All souls evolve through the Mechanisms of Cycles **those above are examples** ... When a soul of any grade become "saturated" with the experiences available within that life form, then there is movement onto another higher one. "
Let me point out that the knowledge a soul gains is not lost. It is just impossible to remember it all with our physical brains. This is one reason mystics and Druids learn meditation so we may tap into this previous wisdom. When we leave our bodies, die, we reflect upon the life and add it to our knowledge and evaluate it based on prior life experiences.
The goal is to learn as much as possible always learning, always trying to develop our ethics, morals, understanding of the world around us an how we fit in. Eventually we merge with the Divine absolutely and completely where Its will is our own. Separate yet a part of the whole. The circle is complete and we rest at the top of the spiral.
Suffering exists because you canít understand true, pure happiness without it. Without dark there is no light. Also, we are here to experience as much as possible. Pain is one of them.
Evil exists because we have free will. Some people would rather serve themselves through stealing, murder, rape, or even lesser crimes such as lying, cheating, and turning away from wrong doing. "The devil made me do it," is a lame excuse. It is childish and shows a lack of responsibility. We make the choices in our lives. The forces of darkness have only as much controll over you as you allow.
Keep your eyes on the Light, and Truth in your heart. May this life be your most fullfilling.
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Copyrite 1997 Tara L. Miller This document is not to be distributed for profit.