Religious Contemplation

Like I said back in November last year, I’ve not really been very active with my religion other than in basic prayer and meditation.

And, as I have recently posted, until recently I haven’t allowed myself to honestly consider something that currently is unlikely still as a possibility.

All of my “what if….” type of dreaming was completely pragmatic.  It was desperate hoping to win the lottery to get us out of the mountains of debt we constantly lived under.  Of course, there was a matching and negative “what if….” type of thinking — “how can I possibly make it so that ….. and …… don’t completely and unrealistically spend the entire winnings?”

So, where does this intersect with my religion of Wicca?

As a religion, Wicca is relatively new.  I know a lot of people are going to be angry that I am saying that, because they’ve always been taught that Wicca has been “handed down through the generations from since the [so-called] Burning Times began.” Sorry, people, even if some families may have maintained some traditions since before the Dark Ages, they would NOT have been any kind of coherent system.

Our religion is more rightly called a re-creation (I’ve added the hyphen to keep it from being confused, since recreation can mean either ‘something people do to relax or have fun : activities done for enjoyment;’or it can mean ‘to give new life or freshness to’)  And, like the Victorians before us (which, probably influenced our founder Gerald Gardner as it did to Aleister Crowley before him) there is a lot of borrowed information from other cultures and other religious practices.  There was no specific religion of Wicca before 1951.

Now, that does NOT mean that for many of us – including myself – it is not a valid religion.  Knowing that Christianity still amounts to 70% of the American population, think about it, people.  In 100 A.D. do you really think it bothered the early Christians that their religion was essentially only 100 years old?  Or even when it was 50A.D. that it was only 50 years old?

And before you throw the Old Testament and the Jews (whether or not you call them Hebrews) at me, let me remind you that the Jews and Judaism are STILL waiting for the Messiah. You cannot claim to be the “real” philosophical and religious descendants of the Hebrews when there are still people actively practicing the religion.  Face it, Christianity as a religion started anywhere between zero A.D. and 50A.D. (as closely as it was calculated the last time I was taught about it) as Anno Domini was created by Dionysius Exiguus in what is now considered 525A.D. And HE was using the Julian calendar (introduced by the Roman pagan Julius Caesar in 46B.C.), because the Gregorian calendar was not introduced until 1582A.D.

So, back to Wicca now.

Because there are so many pieces borrowed from other cultures and other religions (mostly from the so-called Orient, including the Hindu religion and the Indian culture – a particular favorite of the Victorians along with anything Egyptian), a number of individuals in Wicca (including myself) have tried to understand those traditions from the perspective of the original culture.  But, because we don’t honestly know how much that Gardner and his group changed from the original we tend to have differing theories based on the same research (just like anthropologists and archeologists do currently…..there is constant argument about theories in both academic disciplines based on the same facts).

How does this interact with whether or not I am willing to “dream the impossible?”

Well, one of the traditions that I was taught – particularly when it comes to general spell casting – is that when one does any kind of magick (yes, many Wiccans and Neo-Pagans spell it with a k in order to distinguish it from stage magic) one of the requirements is to NOT speak about the spell/ritual/working/etc because it might leech the energy from the original intent. In fact, one of the very reasons I was given for doing this was that there was a concern that the very unbelief of someone else of the efficacy of your magick would make it fail.

But, I have to wonder if that is simply an outgrowth of a poorly researched “borrowing” from not only other active religions, but other “occult groups” (do some research, the occult was VERY popular in the 1700s and 1800s, and even the early parts of the 1900s).

For example, there are many religions (including Christianity) that use fasting as a way to clear out “worldly influences” or chastity as a way to “be one with the Divine.” The general rule of silence when doing magick could be related to poorly understood reading on those traditions.  Alternatively, it could be much more simple than that – i.e. to speak publicly of doing magick in the very humanistic modern post-WWII world would have made the person or persons ridiculed for such “superstitious behavior.” (really, tell me, how many of you are thinking the same thing right now as you read this?)

In our modern world, where we’ve introduced things like crowdfunding, trying to make a change in the world would seem to encourage one to talk about their hopes and dreams.  That would be completely opposite the tradition of not speaking about your magick.

Personally, from an anecdotal perspective, I have never experienced any difference between the magick that I have afterwards discussed with others and the magick I have kept silence about.

That leaves me in a bit of a quandary.  If I follow tradition and don’t speak of the subject for which I am considering doing magick, then I am essentially refusing any kind of outside help or support, leaving it on my shoulders alone to make the dream come true.  Sounds pretty individualistic to me, and fits in with my overly independent “ME DO!” attitude/habit that I am actually trying to break.  Or, I can ignore tradition, and share some of the thoughts with others.  This would be very interdependent, acknowledging that other people may have keys to the doors I need to open to make my dreams reality.

Obviously, I am leaning toward the latter.  But, the old part of me that is rather insistent on not trusting others is rearing its ugly head, and using the tradition as a crutch to fight to support that habit.

I will eventually overcome the struggle, it is just that I need to remind myself that baby steps are still progress.

 

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