Friday, February 14, 2014

Intersections of Spirituality

Today's topic is the relationship between different forms of spirituality. This is an interesting topic, will folks ever learn to get along? And how about the "grocery store pagans" growing from this modern information age, taking a little from every practice and making their own way?

To paraphrase George Carlin: "Do you believe in God? No? BANG! Do you believe in God? Do you believe in MY god? No? BANG!"

This pretty much sums up the results of most of history's meetings of different religious ideas. Politically correct or not, this is especially true of Christianity, which remains the leading religion of the world.

I see culture clashes all over the place, and I find them unnecessary. Some of the recon Hellenists don't approve of my work. Some pagans in general criticize me for the dark nature of my path. Random strangers have walked up to me in public (in bookstores no less) and warned me of the "dangers" of the so-called "Left Hand Path".

I see vicious conflicts over who can call themselves a shaman, what is "real" Wicca, and even silliness about whether not a ritual is "valid" if it's done correctly by someone who doesn't follow the tradition it comes from.

The ancient Hellenes who I seek to emulate didn't have these problems. They regarded outsiders as lesser, as most cultures do. The word "xeno", foreigner, was and still is usually colored by insulting implications. However, to be Greek wasn't a matter of being born in the right place to the right family, it was a choice. When a xeno came to Greece, they had the option of assimilating, of adopting the Greek religion and culture, and thereby becoming Greek, as Greek as anyone else.

History and mythology is full of stories of the Greeks adopting the practices and deities of other cultures.They facilitated the blending of cultures by altering their own mythology, allowing newcomers to adapt without losing the value of their own traditions.

So why can't we do this today? Well, that's a question which at present I cannot answer. I do not understand it myself. Why is it not possible for everyone to be right? I think we're all just stupid.

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