Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"My religion is connection."

Not Divided = Not Conquered

Noted author, teacher, and all-around BNP, T. Thorn Coyle recently wrote in her blog: "My religion is connection." I couldn't possibly say it better myself, so I won't try. But I will try to say what those four simple words mean to me.

My religion is connection. That's why I bother with arguing against "Pagan Monotheism" and "the spiritual two-party system". It's also why I criticize Ronald Hutton for his claim that the only thing that modern Paganism and ancient Paganism have in common "is the name". It's also why I argue against the claim that Socrates, Plato, and other ancient Pagan philosophers weren't really Pagans. It's also why I reject the idea of Paganism as an "ethnic" or "European" religion (some kind of "indigenous religion" for white people).

My religion is connection. Paganism never died: modern Paganism is connected to the Paganism of the past, and through that connection I am connected to my past. As a Pagan I feel a spiritual kinship with all those who worship the life force inherent in all of Nature, who understand that the Earth Herself is alive, as are the Moon, the Sun, the Stars - even Space itself. I feel a kinship with all those who embrace the erotic, sexual, life-affirming world-view in which there is no such concept as "dead matter". There is nothing dead in the Cosmos. Life and Consciousness pervade the whole Universe.

My religion is connection. The ancient Orphic Hymn to Aphrodite calls the Goddess of Love "the all-connecting Lady". Love is the force that binds the Cosmos together, that binds everything to everything else. To paraphrase the great modern Hindu sage Swami Vivekananda, the whole world is filled with the Divine, not with sin.

My religion is connection. There is nothing excluded from Paganism. Kabbalah is not too Jewish for Paganism, nor is Isis is too African, or Cybele too Asian, or Athena too philosophical. Paganism does not pit Celt against Roman against Hellene against German. Nor does it pit philosopher against peasant, man against woman, "the elite" against "the people", gay against straight, right against left.

Because Paganism is a religion of connection it is inherently ethical - there is nothing that I can do to anyone or anything that does not directly impact on me. There is nothing that happens anywhere in the Cosmos that does not directly impact me.

Because Paganism is a religion of connection it is inherently Magical. The interconnectedness of all things is a Great Mystery, but one which is not closed to us. Through study leading to knowledge and prayer leading to inspiration we can learn how to pull on the threads of Indra's Net in one place in order to create the intended effect somewhere else.

Because Paganism is a religion of connection, there is no part of me that is not of the Gods. Nor is there anything of the Gods to which I cannot aspire. The whole Universe is filled with Goddesses, Gods, Daemons, Nymphs, Sprites, Dakinis, Bodhisattvas, Spirits of every kind - of which the human soul is also one kind.

Awareness of the interconnectedness of everything is a luminous key that unlocks and throws wide the doors of consciousness. Without this key those doors remained closed, forming an impassable gate, a limiting barrier rather than an entryway to the limitless. In every culture throughout human history there have been those who have found this key, sometimes discovering it on their own, but most often it is passed from warm hand to warm hand as the great gift of Initiation. This knowledge is never lost from humanity, but even among those who know some know more and some less - and even those who know the most are able to communicate that knowledge to others only with great difficulty. But the Golden Thread is unbroken.

Out of curiosity young Lucius dabbled in Magic, and tried to turn himself into an owl thinking it would be fun to fly about for an evening. But because he did not know what he was doing, instead he turned himself into an ass, and, worse, was unable to regain his human form. For a long time he suffered hardship and abuse as a lowly ass, but when his time of testing and trials was nearing an end he purified himself and called upon the Queen of Heaven, The Goddess of a Thousand Names, Isis. She appeared to him, and the Divine Vision granted to Lucius is immortalized in the writings of Apuleius. And those words, in turn, were repeated in Cornelius Agrippa's descriptions of the Goddesses Luna and Venus, written over 13 centuries later during the great Pagan flowering of the Renaissance. And these words continue to stir Pagan hearts and minds to this day.

Isis commanded Lucius to seek out the sacred procession of the Goddess, and to join that procession even though he was still trapped in the body of an ass, "for all the people by My commandment shall be compelled to give thee place." And once in that procession he was to seek out the Priest, to whom the Goddess would send a vision, telling him to carry a garland of roses. And Lucius must, without doubt or fear, go right up to the Priest and pretend as if he were going to kiss the Priest's hand, but then instead to "snatch at the roses, and thereby put away the skin and shape of an ass."

So mote it be.


Hierax said...

I´ve been reading your posts from the beginning, and this one is the best so far. Thank you for this, it has come to me in a moment I needed it very much.


Apuleius Platonicus said...

Thanks for you comment Hierax! It's very good to know that this post came to you at the right time!