Monday, September 06, 2010
When I started the class I was not sure what it would be about or what I would learn... Having grown up in a world that considered anything out of what was considered “The Norm” I had misgivings and second thoughts about the course. I have several friends that are practicing forms of Paganism and wanted to further understand their points of view on the subject and therefore started the course.
Would I be expected to dance around a fire or learn to fly on a broom? My knowledge of the subject was clouded by media and what others thought was going to take place. I was traversing on new ground in an area I had no true knowledge. It was to prove to be a very interesting course and not at all what I had been led to expect.
The excellent teaching given to move the student forward into a knowledge base of the subject was a great help in understanding that this was an early means of gaining knowledge of who we are and what our purpose is on earth. The idea of do no harm to others is the universal law for all who are One. The ideas of taking care of the earth an all upon it was what I was learning in other classes at the same time as I was taking this course. I could find no fundamental difference in Paganism and other beliefs I was studying. Each was going on a different path to the same destination.
The accent on the feministic parts of god is the new learning I have been receiving. The basis of the catholic mass and the high ritual of Paganism denote the same end of teaching the Truth of who we are and the mission to progress we as we live out our earthly time.
Each lesson just brought out further that these rituals had been taken and incorporated into the forms of church rituals. The Roman form of understanding and worship was still being practiced in both Christian and pagan meetings. There is no difference except in name for the basic ideals and rituals of each.
I have know for years that the holidays and the festivals of the church are at the same time as the Pagan festivals and that parts had been incorporated to appeal to the population as the church grew with the expansion of the Roman Empire. I also knew that the rulers wanted to have the people on their side and the best way was use of a religion and worship they were already practicing. It was not until I got into the course that I realized to what extent this had transpired.
I found my favorite part of the course was in lesson One on creation. I marveled at “In the beginning there was Chaos.” My understanding of Chaos has always been that it was what brought forth understanding and life and this just reinforced my feelings. I now understand this is a Greek term for “nothingness” and Chaos being stirred brought the earth and all it living creatures, plants, and natural parts into being. I picture a giant cauldron being stirred and from it coming water features, mountains, rocks, sea creatures, animals, and man. Each being brought up on a giant spoon and placed on the orb we call Earth. Knowledge, as required, is given to each and we are all part of One as we are part of the creator.
The interaction of the god and goddess plurality is something I am continuing to study. With my understanding of the culture of those now called Native Americans I have accepted this for some time. It must have been very hard for those who do not have an understanding to see that the feminine was also revered and equal in all things as it should be. This idea was taken from any type of formal religion by those governing the church in the third century, even to the point of rewriting the texts to just not including them in the final book that is used by most religions.
The Wheel of the Year is no different than the calendar that tells us when to do something. There are also other parallel items that are not all that different from formal religion.
The worship of varied god and goddesses is no different then paying honor to the saints or the attributes of God. It is just practiced in a different form but is still part of the path to understanding.
Both Paganism and Christianity work on the concept of integrity and doing what is right. As Dennis Waitley said “integrity that strengthens an inner core value is the real human bottom line.” By doing what is right and valuing all beings and things upon the earth with dignity and integrity the earth will be a better place and so will those who practice doing the right thing.
I was most surprised at what I was able to learn from the course and what I will continue to learn as I continue my studies on the subject of Paganism in the 21st Century.
Rev. Sharon J. Mayer
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