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Archive for March, 2008

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about religion and spiritually again. It’s a topic I find fascinating and it’s never very far from my mind. This time, my musings were triggered by this post about Deepak Chopra’s new book by David W. Boles’ Urban Semiotic. And it’s just been continued by me starting an 8 week course about a book called The Kybalion – A Study of The Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece. I have lots to say on the topic of religion and spirituality, so I might be writing a few posts about it in the future.

To start with, I will just mention two concepts I came across today, whilst researching the Blue Star Wiccan tradition and following the resulting link trails.

Concept 1 – Personal Responsibility
From this article talking about Halloween and Paganism:

Though paganism is often confused with religions that worship the devil or perform satanic rituals, most pagans do not recognize Satan at all…”There’s no evil spirit that makes people do bad things,” … “We’re responsible for ourselves, whatever we choose.”…”Those who describe themselves as a pagan or Wiccan … may hold beliefs that not everyone may hold, but the same can be said for people of all different religions.”

Yes! Yes! Yes! I cannot say YES! strongly enough!
Paganism does not recognize Satan is the Christian sense. Paganism does not recognize God in the Christian sense. There is not the concept of good and evil beings who decide our fate. It is ALL about personal responsibility. For someone like me, who comes from a Christian background, that is simultaneously terrifying and liberating. No devil or hell to worry about? Hell yeah! No god to “forgive my sins”? Oh no! You mean I, and I alone, am responsible for me? On this huge planet? In this huge universe? Holy moley! Excuse the intended pun.

I like it. It sits very well with me. Especially considering one of my other beliefs…that we create our own reality.

Please note that article I linked to is not very well written. It seems to portray Paganism as a region. It’s not. But Wicca is. Wicca is part of paganism. But paganism is not a religion. It is more of an umbrella term, used to describe a plethora of earth-based, often polytheist religions. The article also says that pagans and Wiccans do not practice magic. That is wholly incorrect. Wicca almost always incorporate magical practices (witchcraft) into their religion. Pagans may also practice magic. For a fuller description of Paganism, visit the Wikipedia page.

Concept 2 – Religious Freedom
From a Blue Star Wiccan webpage:

Our only animosity toward Christianity, or toward any other religion or philosophy-of-life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be “the only way” and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways or religious practice and belief.

Again, yes! Yes! Yes!
One of the reasons why I am drawn to paganism, and wicca to a lesser degree, is exactly this point. These people freely accept anyone in their circles. There is no judgment. No one path is the correct path. This is not only recognized, but considered a strength and incorporated into practices. I cannot stand, let me say that again, I CANNOT STAND! intolerance of any kind. The sheer arrogance of it, simply blows my mind. And I will never, ever align myself with a group which claims to have “the one true path” and negates thousands of other people.

Last year I attended a conference entitled “Between the Worlds“, which was a convergence of many different esoteric religions. Most were of pagan origins. But there was also an esoteric Christian group there. My heart was warmed to see such co-operation between traditionally opposing groups. We all have something to learn from each other.

My hubby has a website called www.aPath.org which provides inspiration and resources for the pagan community. He has a disclaimer there, which illustrates this concept brilliantly:

Nothing here is “the real truth” or “the one true path”. Each person has their “own true path” to walk in life, and what rings true for one person may not be right for someone else. I simply present what rings true for me in the hopes that it may help others to find their own paths from the landmarks I’ve found along my own. I can’t make this much more clear than the name of this site: “A Path”. Not “The Path”. Just “A Path.”

Another illustration of a heart-warming exchange of ideas between supposedly opposing religions was provided in Sabrinamari’s LiveJournal. Sabrina is a friend and Wiccan priestess who was blogging about pagans and money. And a devoutly religious Christian commented on her post. Which then inspired a further post by Sabrina on cross-religion monetary thoughts.

Well folks…that’s my 2 concepts for the day.

Namaste!

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Namaste

I am likely to use the word “Namaste” as a greeting in my spiritual or health related posts. So I wanted to provide a definition for those who may not know it’s meaning.

Taken from Wikipedia:

Namasté is a Nepali and Indian greeting, as well as a gesture. It expresses deep respect.

It is commonly used in Nepal and India by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists, as well as outside the Indian subcontinent. In Indian and Nepali culture, the word is spoken at the beginning of written or verbal communication. However, the same hands folded gesture is made wordlessly upon departure.

Taken literally, it means “I bow to you”. The word is derived from Sanskrit (namas): “to bow”, obeisance, reverential salutation, and (te): “to you”.

When spoken to another person, it is commonly accompanied by a slight bow made with hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointed upwards, in front of the chest. The gesture can also be performed wordlessly and carry the same meaning.

Symbolism in Hinduism
One hand represents the higher, spiritual nature, while the other represents the worldly self. By combining the two, the person making the gesture is attempting to rise above his differences with others, and connect himself with the person to whom he bows. The bow is symbolic of love and respect.

Symbolism in Global Culture
Namaste is one of the few Sanskrit words commonly recognized by Non-Hindi speakers. The term has come to be associated with yoga and spiritual meditation all over the world. In this context, it has been viewed in terms of a multitude of very complicated and poetic meanings which tie in with the spiritual origins of the word. Some examples:

  • “I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me.”
  • “I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace, When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One.”
  • “I salute the God within you.”
  • “I recognize that we are all equal.”
  • “The entire universe resides within you.”
  • “The divine peace in me greets the divine peace in you.”
  • “Your spirit and my spirit are ONE.”
  • “That which is of the Divine in me greets that which is of the Divine in you.”
  • “The Divinity within me perceives and adores the Divinity within you”.

Namaste, my friends!

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