Following on from my previous post in this theme (link) I wanted to give a very quick and rough summery of some of the most important lessons I have learned from the various paths and traditions that have influenced me so far.
It is hard to be objective about Christianity since in the western world it is all around us and tends to be the first thing we rebel against when carving our own spiritual path. It would be fair to say that Christianity confronted me with a lot of issues I disagreed with and made me see that there can be a wide gulf between what most people think of as Christian values and the realities and politics of the Church as an institution. I have since found the same to be true of many religions. More positively Christianity taught me the value of prayer, it highlighted the strength of love and kindness and convinced me that sometimes it really is wiser to turn the other cheek. I think there are many wise things in the New Testament (although many of them are totally trampled over by the Church authorities) and there are some things I admire about the person of Jesus although I have no faith in the various accounts of his existence and so I think of him more as a legend or myth than as a real person. Most of all though Christianity kick started my spiritual growth by making me question things deeply and NOT accept anything based on blind faith or cultural conditioning.
Buddhism gave me a whole new way to look at things in which the emphasis was on personal integrity and progression rather than worshipping a deity. I began to learn how to meditate and the advantages of being able to do so. And while I can’t say Buddhism taught me about Karma and reincarnation it did consolidate things I was starting to believe for myself. Buddhism also started me thinking about the relationship between the mind the soul and the body and the relationship between human beings and everything else in nature.
Taoism gave me a philosophy I could pin my beliefs on. It helped me to value “the moment” and to see myself and other things as they really were and are. Taoism reinforced a growing sense that “harmony” is an important part of the lesson I should learn in this lifetime. Taoism consolidated my Buddhist leanings in a more practical way and helped me to get more in tune with myself and with the whole of the natural world. Actually without Taoism I would have found the journey into Wicca and witchcraft much more difficult.
Paganism took me back to my roots. It allowed me to interpret what I had learned from Buddhism and Taoism from a western point of view; but as if Christianity had never happened.It helped me to fully connect with nature, to work with the natural flow of the seasons and transit of the moon and stars. It helped me to develop my instincts and my psychic abilities. It allowed me to re-connect with deity in a more meaningful polytheistic way.
Wicca taught me practically all I know about witchcraft and thus empowered me greatly. It channelled my growing pagan instincts and opened my mind to all sorts of possibilities. It was through wicca that I first came into contact with my matron deity Hathor who continues to guide and support me.
Satanism has enabled me to explore the darker sides of my persona in order to come closer to real harmony and balance within myself. It has helped me to be more honest. It challenges all my pre-conceived ideas about the nature of everything all the time. It can be difficult but immensely rewarding. In Satan I have found a male aspect of deity I can respect and relate to; although he can be like a strict teacher who keeps saying forget everything you think you know and think it through again. Satanism has kicked me out of complacency and kept my path fresh and meaningful.
And the path continues…