Many Pagans describe our spiritual or religious beliefs as a path. Generally a path meanders, wonders or even changes direction from time to time. Thus it may be that at least some of our personal beliefs or not set in stone but are open to change or reinterpretation.
This is a post to reflect on how my beliefs may have changed over the years. Sometimes it is good to write these things down in order to see where we are at, at least it is for me…
Perhaps the thing that I am less sure of now is the nature of divinity itself. I used to have fairly rock solid ideas and now I don’t. I still believe in the divine, I am still polytheistic, I still see my matron deity Het Hert as the gateway to divinity I can most closely associate with, but I think my views have become a little more pantheistic. Also, strangely, I have more respect for the atheistic world view even though I am not an atheist.
In terms of provable, scientific evidence I think atheists have all the arguments on their side and I respect their ability to live authentically within a belief framework that asserts there is neither God nor any of the spiritual or supernatural beliefs that often go along with believing in God. I still think they are wrong. But I think the evidence for some sort of deity is instinctive, emotional and to some extent supernatural. If pushed I might criticise atheists for treating science like a religion and being prejudicial against any evidence which is not testable by current scientific method. On the whole however, I find I agree with atheists on a lot of things.
I still believe in karma, but again I am less sure about how it works than I used to be. I am coming more to the opinion that karma represents experience and that the experiences a soul needs are arranged and balanced between one life and another. I am less sure that if you do something bad in this lifetime, karma will come back and bite you immediately, although I don’t rule that possibility out completely.
I do still believe in reincarnation, but I am less sure than I once was about exactly what happens between lifetimes.
I actively practice magic less than I used to but at the same time feel rather less constrained than I did at first. I don’t believe in the “Harm None” rule or the “Law of threefold return,” which tended to be stressed when I was first studying witchcraft and Wicca.. I think my moral views and practice have become a little darker or at least more fluid. I think it is usually senseless to waste time on curses or darker, revenge magic, but I accept that I can do such things and that in some circumstances I might.
As I have said elsewhere in my blog, embracing and integrating the darker aspects of my personality and my beliefs is an important theme at this stage of my life. It is a process I am going through and very much a work in progress. As a result my views and moral attitudes to some things are very much in a state of flux at the moment and I like it that way.
What hasn’t changed is having a sense of purpose or mission with social justice and harmony at the centre of things. I don’t want that to sound as self important as it probably does. It is simply that I have always believed that most people’s lives, my own included, have a purpose and that belief hasn’t changed. I have always felt that harmony is key to something I am supposed to do because it is a concept that has always been around either leading or challenging me in some way. And the emphasis on social justice is simply because that is the way my political leaning is inclined. I have always been a political person as well as a spiritual one, I don’t really think the two things can or should be separated because they impact on each other. What may have changed is that I more and more see my spiritual practices as key to achieving political aims and I am less convinced in the political process itself.
Overall however, I feel more fiercely pagan than ever. There are occasional moments of sheer joy or even ecstasy where being pagan makes me feel totally connected to the world and the universe. I believe there are many paths to spiritual development and none of them have the monopoly of truth and wisdom. But for me personally, however many twists and turns there may be on the path I am following, it still seems to be heading in the right direction..