Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Panentheism’

I believe in an ultimate divine unity that encompasses all things–humans, gods, the universe–and is also beyond all things. Because it is everything and more, it is at once like all things individually and like nothing else in the universe. It can be intimately known in the smallest, simplest facet of the world at the same time as it can never be known because it is utterly unknowable: to know a flower, a song, a human touch, a thunderstorm, or a Ford Mustang is both to know it completely and to not know it at all. To touch the smallest thing is to touch the face of God. We cannot work to grow closer to God because being close to God is meaningless: we are always close to God because we are God.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

So, I don’t really like just praying off into the air. I like to have a depiction or a statue or something. My shrine to Aphrodite features a framed photo of William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s La Naissance de Vénus, which I think is beautiful, powerful, and erotic–in short, perfect for the goddess. But I just can’t find a picture or painting of Dionysus that really captures the power, passion, and majesty that have surrounded my experiences with him. I am not sure what to do about this, because I feel like my relationship with the god is suffering because I find it difficult to pray to him, compared to Aphrodite–her shrine makes her much more accessible to me.

Also, the Judeo-Christian sin of “idolatry” is basically a Hebrew polemic. Nobody really actually thinks that the image of the god is in fact the god (except for pantheists and panentheists who believe their god(s) permeate everything and thus the image is a part of their god like everything else is, but that is not actually the same thing). In my opinion, Biblical condemnations of idolatry were a willful misrepresentation of the religious practices of ancient pagans–basically amounting to nothing more than religious propaganda, deliberately obscuring the subtleties in order to condemn and other-ize.

Read Full Post »

I’ve been moderately interested in Asatru for years, and as a Mormon I even often said and thought that if I wasn’t Mormon, I’d be an Asatruar.  But I don’t think it’s the direction I’m going to go, for a couple of reasons.

1. I don’t actually believe in the Norse Gods.  I don’t believe in any kind of literal polytheism (which means real Paganism in general is probably not going to happen–I’m more pantheistic or panentheistic in my ideas about what God is, if God is anything external to us at all). Furthermore, while I think the Norse Gods and Norse mythology are cool, and even compelling, that doesn’t translate in my head to the calling to follow and honor the Aesir as a religious practice.  Maybe if I had some kind of mystical experience with Odin, I’d feel differently enoh about it–perhaps even enough to overcome points 2 and 3 below, but since mystical experiences for me do not seem to be particularly forthcoming, there’s not much I can do to make myself believe something I don’ believe.

2. I like Vikings and Norse myth, but not at the expense of everything else.  I don’t really want to live a Viking-flavored life because I am a contemporary person, and I’m happy with that.  I don’t really feel constant yearnings for the past.  Formulated differently, this point is closely connected to my general dissatisfaction with the idea of Reconstructionist religion.  I’m not an ancient Norseman, so why is the religion of the ancient Norsemen the right religion for me?  Plus, I’d honestly feel like I was always LARPing.

3. I have serious problems with the “Folkish” strand of Asatru.  I realize that it can be phrased or looked at in a way that might not sound like overt white supremacy, but when you listen to the rhetoric of Folkish people like Steven McNallen, it winds up sounding an awful lot like just more racist tripe.  I also realize that there are plenty of universalist heathens out there (and there’s a kindred of them near where I live even), but I’m not necessarily comfortable self-identifying with a movement that has ties to white supremacy and neo-Nazism, even if it’s just be broad association.  The question is “am I willing, even in the broadest terms, to be in the same club as those people?” and the answer is no.  Especially given points 1 and 2 above.

There are a lot of things I like about Asatru, especially the heathen virtues, which I think are a more realistic and pragmatic ethical system than that which is offered by a lot of religions.  And like I said, Norse myth is extremely appealing to me.  But not so much that I think it’s the one way for me.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: