Posted in Paganism, Wicca

Wicca; The Existence of Deities

neo-paganismIn the past, I’ve written quite a bit about having a strong belief in deity, and the existence of deity. I’ve been thinking about that quite a bit lately, and have examined my belief system in a more in-depth way.

I thought a lot about my what my perception of God was when I was an active participant in my birth religion. I basically defaulted to a belief in God, as my religion made a big deal of it. I never thought of God as a judgmental being, rather someone who one might turn to in times of trouble. Eventually, I fell away from my birth religion, and largely from a belief in God. If he was someone to turn to in times of trouble, he was truant an awful lot of the time.

So I lived godlessly for over 15 years. Eventually, I felt the need for some kind of spirituality in my life, and I found Wicca. I was a good student, read lots of books, blogs, message groups, and set up “shop” as instructed. Somewhere around my 8th year into Paganism/Wicca, I began looking at other paths. Chaos magick and Luciferianism were two paths that appealed to me the most. Interestingly, both paths viewed deity largely as archetypes, and/or the belief that the practitioner was a god, although some adherents did believe in the literal existence of gods. Yet I always returned to Wicca.

For the most part, I’ve willed myself to believe in the actual existence of deity. I have never felt the presence of, or had any kind of encounter with, deity. Honestly, I’m kind of back where I was in my birth religion days, where I basically accepted the existence of deity because I am supposed to. Obviously, this flies in the face of posts where I tout the absolute need for belief in deity. I get the irony. There are many times when I feel that my picture should be next to the word irony in the dictionary.

I’ve been reading a lot about Humanistic Paganism lately. When I question the existence of deity, Humanism or atheism always jumps to mind. I then while away a lot of hours watching Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens videos.

However, I find the atheistic beliefs too stark. Even though I may question the physical existence of deity, I do have supernatural beliefs. I have the belief that magick works. Perhaps not in every instance, but often enough. I believe in the magickal properties of stones, crystals, herbs, essential oils.

So where does that leave me? That’s the $64,000 question. The answer I’ve come up with is this. It brings me right back to Wicca.

There is no requirement in Wicca that you have an absolute belief in the physical existence of deity. I’ve read quite a few accounts of Wiccans who view deity as archetypical. I like Wicca for a number of reasons that many witches don’t like Wicca. I like the “harm none” concept. I understand it is very difficult to have zero actions that don’t harm another person. If you do a spell to get a job that you are up for, and you get it, didn’t that harm the other people that were also being considered for the job? My perception of the “harm none” guideline is that you don’t set out to cause serious physical and mental harm to another person or animal. I wouldn’t do it in a non-magickal way, so why would I do it magickally? I also really enjoy the fellowship with other Wiccans, even if is just through means such as this.

I also want to keep the door open for belief in deity. Just as the judge in “Miracle on 34th Street” ruled that the “court would keep an open mind as to the existence of Santa Claus,” I believe that’s where I stand in the deity belief spectrum. Never say never.

What do you think? Do you have an absolute belief in deity, or do you have moments of doubt? What are your opinions on viewing deity as archetypes? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions!

Thanks for reading, and Blessed Be!

*Artwork found here.

Posted in Everyday Life, Wicca

Wicca: A Destination For the Soul

3cdd45eb26a1fbdf5d6e1f6251011e07Recently, I was thinking back on how my life fell completely apart when I first got divorced. Everything collapsed, my job, my social life, my friendships, my living arraignments, my self esteem. What I gained from my divorce was depression, anxiety, regret, loneliness, and aimlessness. Eventually I recovered, but never fully regaining what I had lost, or losing some of the regrettable things I gained.

I bring this up, because I began thinking what might had been different if I had been a practicing Pagan and Wiccan at the time. My guess is that if I had, I might not have gotten divorced in the first place. But if I had, I think that being a Wiccan would have softened the blow, and would have given me an entire internal support system on which to lean.

Note that I specifically used the word “Wiccan” rather than “witch.” While I fully believe you can practice witchcraft without being a Wiccan, or any religious affiliation, for me, it’s important to have Gods, Goddesses, and the reverence I have toward them. I can’t say I’ve never questioned that, because I certainly have. But it has become increasingly clear that I need to have the God and Goddess in my heart.

There have been times when I’ve thought about just practicing witchcraft rather than having the religious aspects of Wicca. But then I go out for a ride on my bike, or a walk, and I spot a squirrel or some other animal that had died in the roadway. It never, ever fails that my first thoughts are A) a real sadness and B) a comfort that the soul of that animal has made its’ way to the Summerland, to rest before its’ next destination. That is the workings of my Wiccan mind and soul, plain and simple.

I’ve written about this before, but what has also become crystal clear to me is that I have to embody Wicca every moment of my life. It is as much a part of me as breathing. It is not a part of my soul, rather, I have a Wiccan soul. Most everything I do, every decision, every action is shaped by my beliefs in Wicca and in magick. That’s why I couldn’t be a person who turns to magick only when needed.

I’ll be honest, as I get older, the religion of Wicca becomes more and more comforting. That Summerland belief becomes a great comfort. We all know what technically happens when we die, but having faith in the concept of a place for one’s soul to go, rest, and then be dispersed back into the world is damned comforting. It’s a different concept than heaven, where people think you just keep living as yourself, simply on a different plane.

Moving away from death (please, let’s do!), and back to my original premise, I believe if, when I got divorced, I had the belief system I have now, it would have led me to a more promising transition and future. I believe I could have used the tools of magick, and perhaps leaned on the God and Goddess for strength and comfort. Back then, my soul didn’t encompass my birth religion the way it now does Wicca, and that’s why I believe the process would have been more favorable to me.

Thinking about all this, it proves to me that Wicca is not something you turn to, or something you think about occasionally, it should be the destination for your soul. It’s not every witch’s cup of tea, and that’s why there are other magickal paths. However, for those who are heartened and strengthened by having a spiritual/religious belief system, it’s a path worth pursuing.

 

Posted in Wicca

Why I Stay Wiccan

IMG_0645It seems like every day I run into online articles belittling Wicca. It is often dismissed as “fluffy” or “witchcraft lite.” This is really nothing new, there were witch wars back when I started in the early 2000’s. In fact, there used to be some really awesome Wiccan and witchcraft Yahoo Groups in those days (Yahoo Groups was huge back then), but many were killed off by the infighting over bickering about whose path was valid, and whose wasn’t.

There is no doubt that Wicca is often the starting place for people just coming to Paganism and witchcraft. There are so many books about Wicca, and Scott Cunningham’s book, Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner is possibly the most widely read book on witchcraft. So if you frequent Wicca groups you will find a lot of newbies, and yes, they have some questions that might seem silly or pretty “out there,” but really, they are just finding their way on a new path. We’ve all been there. I remember obsessing about the placement of my altar, and scouring groups and message boards for an answer. It seems petty now, but I so wanted to do everything just right.

Many people never leave the Wiccan fold once they find it. Others try on other paths for size, and some move away from it. Some people find that they don’t really want the religious aspect of Wicca, they are more interested in the practice of witchcraft. There are boatloads of Pagan and witchcraft paths, and someone should easily be able to find one that fits for them. I just don’t get it when someone moves on, then feels that they are somehow required to bad mouth Wicca.

I’d like to discuss a little bit about why I stay on the Wiccan path. I have experimented with other paths, but have always come back to Wicca. I think first and foremost, the fact that Wicca is a religion is a big draw for me. I find witchcraft without spirituality to be too clinical. For me, bringing together the sacredness of the earth, nature, the deities, and magick, works on an emotional level. If I were to simply practice witchcraft without the spiritual aspects, I would find it unfulfilling.

There are those who scoff at the Wiccan Rede or the Three-fold law. I don’t find the basic tenets of Wicca troubling at all. I think they really embody human kindness and reflect my own basic moral principles. If others are comfortable doing curses, or tossing things out into the ether that they wouldn’t want to have returned in kind to them, go for it. That’s just not me.

Some people find Wicca too regimented. I’ve had those thoughts too, but for me, I think it’s probably a good thing. It gives me a structure to hold onto. I can tend to wander aimlessly through life, and Wicca holds me together spiritually. I like being a solitary practitioner, but that can lend itself to inactivity or having a spiritual practice that is all over the place. Wicca sets forth a path forward for me. The Wheel of the Year, the rituals, the sabbats, those just clearly define my spiritual path.

I like combining witchcraft with spirituality because I am not sure I could make magick work without a religious component. Honestly, I can’t really tell you how magick works, but I know that sometimes it does. I need to embrace the God and Goddess (or plural) to aid me in my magick. That is the first time I ever wrote that. In the past, I’ve discounted the belief in the deities being essential to magickal practice. However, the more thought I’ve given that, it has occurred to me that I need to emotionally lean on those deities for some degree of support.

Lastly, Wicca is my emotional lifeline. To me, it conjures up (see how I used that there..) wonderful memories of walking into our local witchcraft store for the first time, the joy of reading books by Cunningham, Farrar, Buckland, Morrison, and others when I began, discovering the marvel of this path, and how Wicca led me to a new life. Because of Wicca, I rediscovered my hippie youth mindset, became less enamored of material possessions, learned to use herbs and essential oils for not only ritual, but for everyday uses, became something of a gardener, a cultivator of herbs, and learned to live a simpler lifestyle. This path has made me a better person. Much more-so, I think, than if I had simply just decided to practice witchcraft without the religious component.

Those are just a few reasons I continue to practice the religion of Wicca.

Blessed Be!