Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ethics and Belief

A comment on a The Wild Hunt post got me to wanting to write about this topic - Pagans, Belief and Ethics.

For many of us, when someone asks the question, "what do pagans believe," we tend to give the answer to the stated question. "Paganism is an umbrella term for many earth centered.... " What we often fail to do is to answer the question they really wanted the answer to, "What do YOU belive?"

In this post I am going to ask myself some questions and give myself some answers. I would enjoy seeing others answer the questions too in comments.

1. What do you believe?
Skipping my "about what?" response, I am going to assume a religious connotation here.

A. - about God? I belive that there is One Source of Creation. I believe that the Source is Creation and that all Creation is part of the Source. I believe that we are unable to comprehend the Source in it's entireity. I believe that all the gods are a part of the Source and they are all as real as we are. So, if you want to call the Creator "the Divine" then we are all Divine, as we are all part of the Source. We are each a small part of the Source, the same as a blood cell is a small part of each of us. The gods are each a bigger part of the Source. As for my personal Gods, I follow Cerridwyn and Cernunnos. (Kear - id - win and Kur - noss )
B. - about the Soul? I believe in the more and more scientifically accepted idea that everything is energy, that we are all interconnected - to everything, each other, the Gods and the Source. Energy can not be destroyed, only transformed. Therefore, I believe that the Soul (our divine spark, conciousness, spirit, whatever you want to call it) does "live" on after we die. I also believe that our "Soul" is not defined by what we incarnate as this go around - which kind of reflects my belief in re-incarnation. Is there an "End" to reincarnation, some 'nirvana' or 'ascention' of some sorts? I don't know. Having all of eternity to exist, I think we would find any one situation, incarnation, existence, place, whatever, to become a bit boring after a while and want to move to forward or back to something different.

2. What are your Ethics
Well, Ethics is a philosophy or study of "right conduct" and a "good life." So, I suppose I can sum up my Ethics with one of my "mottos" - "Do that which is Right." Given that "Right" is highly subjective, I suppose that is hard to pin down without a situation to analyze. As a Pagan and a Druid Shaman, I suppose my definition of "Right" is whatever I am willing to be held personally responsible for. I'll cover the big three subjects relevant to the issue.

A. Murder - is, of course, wrong. I define Murder as an intentional and unjust taking of life, premeditated or not, whether with malice or (worse) indifference. I have no problem with intentionally killing a murderer. I have no problem killing someone who needs killing, ie, killing them is justifiable and/or necessary due to circumstances. In an admittidly contrary position to many Pagan and New Age people, I support the death penalty and lament that it is not handed down as much as it should be. There are people whose mere existance (not to mention their coddling) is a blight on society. That being said, any time someone kills someone else, it is a horrible thing to have to go through, at least for any reasonably moral and sane individual, whether it is the Right thing to do or not.

B. Theft - Stealing is wrong. No big explanation here. Taking something from someone against their will, whether by force or by subterfuge, is, was and always will be wrong.  Of course, mitigating cirumstances come to bear here - as in, stealing bread when you are starving and penniless kind of things.

C. Lying - One should never lie - which is to tell an untruth.  I try to adhere to only telling the absolute truth.  One issue that often gets in the way of that is the sad fact that many people prefer to be lied to.  Telling the truth has very often gotten people mad at me.  So, often, telling a partial truth has to suffice, "No, I don't think you are stupid," leaving off the "but you are certainly behaving like it."  I prefer the level of "truth" as exampled in this bit about "Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert A. Heinlein : "Fair Witnesses are prohibited from drawing conclusions about what they observe. As a demonstration, Harshaw asks Anne to describe the color of a house in the distance. She responds, "It's white on this side". Harshaw explains that she would not assume knowledge of the color of the other sides of the house without being able to see them. Furthermore, after observing another side of the house would not then assume that any previously seen side was still the same color as last reported, even if only minutes before."
But, in practice, that is a bit impractical and tends to get one yelled at often.

"Do that which is Right" and "Harm None" are both big parts of my morality and ethics.  Do what you need to do in order to survive and live well, try not to hurt anyone, even their feelings and try not to hurt yourself.

Any questions you would want to ask?

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Bleeping Secret Prophecy and Beyond

After watching documentary movies such as "What the bleep do we know?", "The Secret" and "The Celestine Prophecy" as well as watching the 'special event' "Beyond the Secret" discussion before that DVD comes out, I find myself wanting to gather discussion groups about the topics they put forth. It has been blasted at me for the last couple weeks, really. I watched both "The Secret" and "The Celestine Prophecy" and listened to Ariel's Druidic Craft of the Wise episode on Polarity and started realizing my own methods of going about utilizing "The Secret."

I am really hoping that these documovies get out into the mainstream a little bit more. Actually, since they are all so synergetic, I'd love to see them combined somehow. None of them are actually all that religious. "Bleep" and "Secret" are more scientific and corporate based and the "Celestine" is more a general spiritual thing. I suppose it is just a matter of wrapping the teachings of these great works into a very attractive package. "Self-help" is not the way to go, nor is "Success Training" or "Life Training" - that is only reaching people who have already realized that something needs to change. What about those who don't know any better yet?

It is not like the concepts are unique at all - and in fact, none of them claim that they are. The ideas and practices have been around for millenia. I think it is that those who know, have no idea how to tell other people. At least, not in a way that others can grasp easily. In all honesty, it is a very hard thing to actually put into practice. It is a very easy thing to do, yet very hard to actually start doing consistently.

Here it is : Everything, including us and rocks, is made of Energy. Matter is only energy moving very slowly. Everything is connected and interactive. We have the tools - Intellect, Imagination, Free Will and Thought - to alter our environments. The Mind is a powerful tool for us.

There are Universal Laws that are always working - always. If we can understand and apply these rules, nothing is impossible. "Bleep" shows how our thoughts affect ourselves, our environment and, to some degree, other people. "The Secret" shows how our thoughts become manifest. "Celestine" shows that just by being aware of our energy and how our thoughts affect it, we can alter how our lives work.

The Law of Attraction states that you attract what you think of. For example, if you think about the bills you have, you get more bills; if you think about getting the money to pay the bills, you get more money. It doesn't matter if you think about "Not Wanting" something or "Wanting" something - that something will manifest. So, think about what you want to happen and ignore even the possibility about what you don't want. (that is not to say you shouldn't be paying your bills. :D ) Think of everything in the Positive. Even the small things. If you find yourself at a nice resturant and taste a new dish, many people immediatly say "This is not bad." - they are stuck in the negative - instead, they should be saying, "This is really good."

The problem with just reading the book or watching the movie is that such a dramatic change in thought patterns and attitude is HARD to accomplish. It takes work and practice and a lot of self-awareness. One has to shed years of training and indoctrination into negative thoughts and take on a whole new way of looking and reacting to the world. Things like the "Beyond the Secret Alumni" will help those who can dedicate themselves to it. All in all, it takes a lot of work and help, but, the rewards for yourself and the world are totally worth it.

In Peace and Spirit Be!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Civic Minded Pagans

I've been thinking a lot about my time in the Mississippi Jaycees - a civic service organization. I really enjoyed being a part of making a difference in my community. A lot of that 'urge' to do community service comes from my spirituality. "For the good of the wolf, the pack, for the good of the pack, the wolf." When the pack is the community, my local area, city, region, the need to improve conditions is obvious.

I see all of the murders (73 in 2008 just in Jackson alone) and shootings, stabbings, thefts and other violent crimes and I am appalled. I see the homeless rambling around my work in downtown Jackson. I see angry, unhappy people all over the place. I see all of this and I want to do something more than talk or write letters demanding action.

With all the "Indigo" children and "Star" children people talk about, being here for a purpose, to 'raise the vibration' and all - what are We, as Pagan members of our communities, actually DOING? Doing a Google search, I find quite a few Pagan organizations - mostly aimed at fighting discrimination and educating the public about 'nature religions.' I found, Red Hills Pagan Council that puts "goodwill" in their purpose statement and The Pagan Alliance that seeks to 'work for justice and connect our communities'. Fellowship of the Earth also seems fairly good and they list "Community Service" as part of their purpose.

"You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give." ~Khalil Gibran

If you know of a pagan or pagan-friendly group that is taking action to make a difference in the community, post it! Promote it. If not, what can we do to start that group?

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