Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Nature of Faith

Walking down the spiritual path is not a linear process, though the general conception is that it is. This, I feel, is a roll over from the dominant religions in the West. Truly they have had a great influence on Western thought, and therefore Contemporary Paganism as well. In Christianity, the individual is born, lives life, dies, and goes either to heaven or hell* for an immeasurable existence therefrom. Well, to be frank this is not how Witches interact with life and death. The basic tenet of reincarnation, regardless of the interpretation of the nature of such, is the idea of a continuous cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Which is one of the foundational mysteries within the greater Western Mystery Tradition. As a reflection of this, our path is cyclic; a circle.

The path of the Witch is simultaneously the circumference of the circle and the singular axis in the middle. On the surface this makes no sense. How can it be both at once? First off, people are not so simple in form so as not to be able to exist metaphorically in more than one place. After all, we do it all the time. Just look at me now, I am all over the place. If truth be told, all places. But I digress. The individual is the circle itself. Time is perceived in a linear fashion, usually anyway, and so Talking Self has no problem saying what happened before what and draw conclusions as to what might happen next. Talking Self is but part of the picture though. The past has been fated the instance it stops being the now of all in which our Self is currently focused. Likewise, any potential future has yet to be spun until it is being experienced. There is only the now, the singular moment that is the entirety of the circle. The center and the circumference reflect one another.

The pitfall that exists when people think of their path as linear is that far too often some nonexistent perceived potential goal becomes the focus. Sometimes the opposite is true, whereby what has been fated is the sole focus. If this is you: Stop it! Instead, I argue that the journey is the focus, and by journey I mean specifically the Now as is being experienced slash shaped by our actions slash inaction. Doing this puts a lot of trust into place and dare I say it-faith.

When I use the word faith though, I do not use it to mean some blind trust subscribed to the path, the Gods, or any religion slash institution. Nope, none of that. Our faith is informed by experience. As such, maybe faith isn't the best word, but it is what I am going with. The object in which Witches place their faith into is their own hearts.

One of the first processes of Contemporary Pagan Witchcraft is to learn the heart of the Self. If the heart is the guide, no step, none, can be placed out of place. Simply because each step is intrinsically informed by the spirit of the heart. So it is all about faith, faith in our own ability to know that we can seek and live in accordance with our own heart. It is not about trust in the path, nor trust in the goal. The path may be the map of the spiritual but the heart is the compass.

Place a crown of spiritual authority upon the heart and let it illuminate the path.

Boidh Se!

-SM

"Lost in a thicket bare-foot upon a thorned path."



*At least this is the generally accepted idea of post this-life that abounds within Christian theology as I understand it.

2 comments:

Lee Shawnus said...

"To Know" + Faith + "To Will" + Faith + "To Do" + "To be Silent". Temet Nosce.

Ravenous.Sarcasm said...

Very well said. Temet Nosce. Know thyself, indeed. I do trust my heart. This made so much more sense to me. Thank you.