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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in belief
Viewing the World through Pagan Eyes, IV: The trance of belief

 

This section follows part I,   part II  And part III.

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  • M.T. Noah
    M.T. Noah says #
    I deeply appreciate your work here. I'm planning some deep reading of your series. And to share this series, if permitted. I ho
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Feel free to share!
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Two other brief points. You use 'trance' negatively. I do not. So you are not addressing my argument here. Look at my two exampl
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Notice I never wrote "uneducated cave person." I certainly do not consider that implied in the term "Trump supporter." I was mak
  • Virginia Carper
    Virginia Carper says #
    I have a question about meme trances and brains. I have a traumatic brain injury which doesn't seem to allow me to hold memes. I e
Symbols, Opinions, and "Right Thinking" in Modern Minoan Paganism

What does any given symbol mean? Is it all right if you don't see it the same way as someone else does? Do you have to view it in a specific way in order to "qualify" as following a certain spiritual path? If you don't view that figurine up top the same way I do, can you still follow a path of Modern Minoan Paganism?

The short answers: 1) Something different to each person 2) Yes 3) No 4) Yes.  Now for the long answer.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Limits of Skepticism

For years, it was my parade example of Pagans Letting Our Imaginations Get Carried Away With Us.

An interdimensional rift had opened up in a house in South Minneapolis, causing (as one might expect) no end of trouble.

An interdimensional rift.

In South Minneapolis.

Yeah, right.

Fortunately, one of the local Wiccan elders with a background in shamanic practice was able—with the help of his current student—to get that nasty rift closed and everything back to normal.

Phew.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Care of Souls

"Michael, what's wrong?"

Standing in the doorway, my friend grimaces.

"I realized today that I don't believe in the existence of god any more," he says.

The god that he means is the god of Abraham. I'd come to the same conclusion myself years before, but for Michael, who'd gone to seminary, nearly become a priest, and later considered conversion to Judaism, this was huge.

I pondered my response. Souls need careful handling.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
A Season of Mystery

   Yule nearly passed me by this year. My husband and I have been working around the clock, it seems, and the days leading up to Yule were no different: long days at work, scrambling to keep the house neat and the children fed and in bed at reasonable hours. We missed the opportunity to collect sunfire, and because of this it feels like something is lacking this year. It almost feels like the mystery has gone out of Yule.

   Over the years I have come to learn that we need mystery in our lives. Overall we believe what we can see, though some of us (many) are willing to believe that which we cannot. And therein lies a truth.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
The Role of Belief in Magic

Belief is a powerful tool in magic, and in spirituality in general. Belief is a funnel for attention and intention. Whether you believe in something because you genuinely believe in it or believe in it for the sake of something you are trying to achieve, belief has a purpose in magical work. I find the following passage to be illustrative of the importance of belief in magical work:

Be it noted that we do not have to believe or disbelieve in the actuality of such inner agencies per se. what we must believe in is the possibility they exist in their own state of being, yet are capable of interaction with ours by unspecified means or degrees...We need not believe in 'spirit' unless we want to, but we positively must believe in our capability of living and behaving as if the energies available to such entities might be employed on our behalf. From Exorcizing the Tree of Evil by William G. Gray

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Existentialism Part 1: Perceived Reality

How do I know the gods are real? How do I know other people outside myself are real? How do I know I am real?

After experiencing the mysterium tremendum during my initiation and dedication to Freya in 1989, I could feel the presence of the gods. Until 1997, there was no question in my mind that the gods were as real as anyone else because I could feel them. I could feel the presence of their minds the same way I could feel the presence of the minds of other human beings. I chose to believe the evidence of my own senses. That which I perceive as having a mind that can press against mine is real: trees and the spirits of trees, animals and animal totems, humans and human ghosts, the sun and the goddess of the sun.

In today's science, it is possible to induce sensation, vision, and hearing by stimulating the brain-- and I know this because I read about it, which ultimately means I chose to believe what a news reporter wrote about a scientific study because, in the final equation, I believe that what my eye saw was in fact words written by another person and not something my brain invented because of false stimuli. I chose to believe that other people exist and that what I perceive is true.

Whether to believe in what I perceive is an existential question. I think that if I chose not to believe that the things I sense with all my senses are real, I could not function as a human being. I would just sit around disbelieving everything, until I starved to death from not eating the food I didn't believe in. I chose to believe that what I sense is real: that food is real, and I can eat it to sustain my body, which is also real. That when I see an object across the room, that object is real. That when I feel sunshine on my skin, that the sun is real, and my skin is real, and heat is real.  I chose to believe that when I sense someone's mind, what I am sensing is real, whether they are a human, animal, spirit, or god.

Where does one draw a line between "real" and "imaginary?" If one draws that line because of social pressure to disbelieve in gods, one must first believe that other people are real for their opinions to matter. If one senses the gods with one's senses, and disbelieves in them because other people do not sense them, that is putting a faith in other people ahead of one's perceived reality.

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