Friday, March 2, 2012
PBP 06: Elastic Spirituality
(Image of String Theory from http://www.scenicreflections.com)
After discarding multiple floppy E-topics, I've landed on Elasticity.
As you might know by now, I function on a very 'Chaos Magick' mindset. I didn't set out to follow a particularly Chaos path, and I don't necessarily subscribe to one (or any) path now (except Shamanism as I do it) but my thinking has naturally evolved into what many people consider a Chaos-path. What I mean by that is the more I think through my beliefs and experiences the more I like the idea of the paradigm-shift mentality.
I am developing a very elastic mentality towards spirituality. I think you very well can cast a spell with a deity you made up as well as one that "exists", and they will both work provided you give enough energy and will. I think you can make up your own sigils and have them work for you. I think humanity created their own Spirits/Deities based on the natural word around them, and that's why each pantheon relates to its society.
I also don't think the fact a Deity is 'made up' makes it any less authentic, powerful, or worthy of respect. At the same time, I don't think Deities are all-knowing or all powerful or know exactly what's best for us all the time. I think Deity can and does make mistakes, because we are all on our own paths. They are just farther along than we are, and should be regarded as teachers, but not Allmighties.
I have never been in a formalized coven or path, and for that I am grateful. I never had a frame of reference to explain what I was seeing on the astral, or why animal spirits were following me around, and because of that I had a completely open and experimental mind. Having not been raised with limits once I dropped Christianity, I explored everything with no prejudice. Having learned from myself, Deity, and my guides alone, I have come up with conclusions far outside normalized pagan thinking. (I don't believe in Duality, or the raising-up of Fertility, or "Women's mysteries", or that Gods are always Great.) Therefore, I think anyone wishing to be a seeker of truth needs to keep an elastic mind and Spirituality in order to progress. More and more I relate to the phrase "Nothing is true, everything is permitted." (Vladimir Bartol, the author of the book Alamut)
I don't think this fly-free, no holds barred mentality is necessarily the right thing for everyone. Many people really like structure and progression, and I totally understand that. But I also believe in letting your experiences trump your prejudice or preconceived notions, always.
For instance, I'm going to use my mom as an example here. She's a fairly devout Roman Catholic who doesn't 'believe' in ghosts. Many of you have probably discovered already whether or not you believe in ghosts has nothing to do with whether they appear to you. So she saw a man in a suit traipsing through our living room and he disappeared. She did not keep elastic thinking; instead allowing her background/prejudice as a Roman Catholic dictate what she saw. She assumed it was something negative, or some sort of harbinger, or something significant, but she was severely frightened for days because her frame of reference did not include ghosts. When a person who has a set frame of reference encounters something vastly outside that, we tend to like to attempt to make the experience fit out paradigm, and not consider the fact we might be wrong. (The same way science likes to "explain away" things it can't really explain for sure.)
I think the best thing to do is, when you encounter a paradigm-breaker like not believing in ghosts but then having them suddenly appear to you, is admit your thinking was obviously wrong and change your thought patterns to fit your experience. That's what I have been doing since I began this path. I read books that talked endlessly of duality and female/male, and of Spirit Animals being this but not that, and of the Astral as this, and through my experience realized all of it was wrong. That doesn't mean it's wrong for everybody, mind you, because I also think we build our own truths and that is no less valid than a 'universal' truth. I just mean when I went out and tested the hypotheses of the various authors I read, I didn't encounter anything they talked about, and so I went on to discover how things really were without preconceived notions.
To use a more recent example, some of you may have seen the Science experiment in which we discovered particles that moved faster than the speed of light. The implications of this were, and still are, if true, literally a paradigm breaker for the entirety of physics. In one fell swoop, this one accidental thing has the potential to upend the whole of how we think the world works via science. Should science choose to accept the result (the "truth") humanity could make great strides in understanding our world.
And it's usually not an easy thing to admit our paradigm is wrong compared to what we have experienced. It can take a very long time, and I know it did for me when I first transitioned from Atheist to Pagan. It's very hard for many to admit they're wrong, even to themselves. But without shifting our paradigm in the face of what we now know to be our reality, we are generally not very happy folk.
I actually think it's pretty healthy for one to shift their paradigm on a semi-regular basis, if only because it reminds us reality and time are fluid, and there is no 'universal' truth. It helps us progress astronomically faster if we shift the paradigm of our thinking to fit our experiments in Spirituality. And I do think it's extremely important to experiment. I think people are afraid of Chaos Magic, to an extent, because the implications of calling on Buzz Lightyear in ritual and actually having the ritual work threaten to break their paradigm or their frame of reference for what Deity Can and Can't Be. But isn't it infinitely better to find out, then to wonder? For me, it is. That's how I come to all of my conclusions on what life, and Spirituality, are and aren't.
Wonder more, fair readers, it's healthy.