I am not really in the closet as a Pagan anymore. There was a time that I went to great lengths to hide who I was and what I believed from anyone and everyone. I had my standard “I don’t really believe in anything” speech all memorized. Sort of a short 30-second elevator speech designed to turn people away from me when attempting to discuss things of a Spiritual nature. All of that stopped in 1997 (I’ve been on a Pagan path since 1986). But while I am open and up-front about what I believe, I don’t spend a lot of time introducing myself with my Spirituality leading the way. But eventually, the question does come up….
What do you believe in?
There is always the trite statements. I believe in the extra point in American football. I believe in the mystical nature of great music, great poetry, and great conversation. I believe in the connected aspect of everything around us. Damnit. Somehow, I always come back to the real aspect of my Spirituality, even when I am just trying to wave things off with a funny (to me) statement.
I’m a Druid (or Druid-in-training, if you will – but I’ve been corrected on that statement enough that I do refer to myself as a Druid nowadays). I believe in the connections that are all around us, which makes us a part of our environment – not just the Master/Mistresses of all we survey. I believe that this planet’s resources are alive, just as much as we are. That there is a cycle to everything in our environment. That everything has a soul, and is alive – some moving at a speed we cannot observe or discern. I follow the concepts of Zen when dealing with my Spirituality – always trying to locate balance and center. I don’t always achieve it, but I will try my damnedest to get there. I believe in the Gods and Goddesses as individual beings. Three of them have claim on me, not as a Priest (yet), but as one who follows their calls. I believe in the Spirits of Place, and the Spirits of Ancestor – and I do my best to provide proper respect and reverence for them throughout my daily walk. Outside of that, I believe what Crash Davis states in the movie “Bull Durham” to sum up the rest (just a bit censored for the blog):
Well, I believe in the soul, the c*ck, the p*ssy, the small of a woman’s back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.
Essentially, I try to keep my Spirituality as stripped down as I can make it. As many of you have read here, my rituals are fairly bare…and usually impromptu. I believe that its more your heart that matters than the manner in which you accomplish the act of ritual. And I will caution you, that’s just my opinion. It works well for me. I can’t say it will work (or not) for someone else. Thus, an individual’s mileage will most likely vary.
I’m not into selling my beliefs door-to-door. In fact, just writing this particular blog post is a little nerve-wracking for me. I almost feel like I am shoving my beliefs down your (you, the reader) throat. But I do feel that its an interesting discussion point as well.
A long while back, my boss asked me where I get my moral authority from. As a Christian, he was attempting to show me that true moral authority only comes from the Bible. I understood the tactic too well. At one time, I was into the Southern Baptist faith…and its a tactic and style that was drilled into my head during Sunday Bible Study. Honestly, I don’t need a book to give me my moral anything. Nor do I need a Preacher or a Priest to interpret some “holy” writ for me either. I need no intercessor between myself and the Gods. We manage to communicate quite well without a middle-man, thank you very much. But that does not mean that I believe that the Bible is a bad thing or that Christianity is an evil belief system. Not at all. The teachings of Jesus ben Joseph are those that focus on love and compassion for one’s fellow human beings, as well as the animals and environment around us. No, its not the belief system that is at fault, but rather the twisting of the beliefs by those seeking power and control over others. My moral authority comes from treating others in the same manner that I would want to be treated. A little of a cop-out in terms of trying to express my perspective, but I am not a theologian nor am I a philosopher. I’m just a simple Pagan making his way through Life.
Now, I am not adverse to a long, quiet, philosophical discussion on personal theology….you just need to buy me a cup of coffee first. 🙂