Still other times I know the person thinks they know what my pentagram stands for and are attempting to antagonize me so I reply that my pentagram means that I believe in famous people or aliens.... So, with these people in mind I thought I'd take a break from my recent concerns with my employment situation and share with my readers old and new a few of my principles of belief.
The Nature of God
That which has been called God and will herein be referred to as Spirit is neither male nor female, but rather is both androgynous and asexual, and which exist as pure love. Because we as humans find it difficult to identify with someone or something that is simultaneously male, female, and neuter we attempt to understand Spirit by associating it as one or more of many archetypes, including male, female, and even sometimes animal forms as in Ancient Egyptian and Native American belief systems.
Many individuals find it extremely difficult to accept forgiveness and unconditional love, as represented by Spirit. Therefore, rather than take responsibility for our own failings, humans have often painted their concept of God as having traits which we find undesirable within our selves resulting in mythologies that portray God as jealous, petty, and cruel, as well as loving, kind, and generous.
All living things from humans to animals, and plants, all the way down to the “lowest” forms of life carries within their self the divine spark which is that part of themselves that is Spirit and which is connected to all living things and seeks to reunite with the original source of this light (the cosmic consciousness).
God in Nature
Spirit experiences what it means to be alive through the divine spark within all life. Spirit shares the full range of human and non-human experience, such as falling in love, being scared, being lonely, being hungry, being happy, being healthy, etc….Through the divine spark in the plants and animals, Spirit knows what it means to be sacrificed as food in order for other life to continue, what it means to be planted in the Earth as a seed, to grow and sprout and join the natural order. Therefore, Spirit has the highest compassion for every living thing and the desire for all living things to be in harmony with one another.
Our belief that Spirit shares in the totality of all human and non-human experience is the basis for many of our religious and ritual dramas. As Wiccans, we do not worship Nature. However, we see within Nature symbols of spiritual forces and recognize them as a metaphor for our own individual spiritual journeys.
One Voice, Many Faces…..
The God, or more commonly the Horned God, is that part of Spirit that is male. He is the standard by which men judge themselves and by which others judge him. As a symbol of sexuality, the Horned God represents one of the most elemental forces in Nature, and is therefore complementary to female fertility deities known collectively as the Great Mother. His strength is active and dynamic. Far removed from the image of God as jealous and vindictive, he is the provider and protector and he does not judge.
The Goddess is the female aspect of Spirit. She is the woman that all men want and all women want to be. She is held to be the summation of all other goddesses, who represent her different names and aspects across the many and varied cultures spread out over the world. She is held to be the source of all life everywhere. Her strength is subtle yet potent. She is the nurturer, the care-giver, and her love knows no bounds.
As Wiccans, we recognize that the God and Goddess are themselves aspects of a greater Prime Mover (Spirit), but also their many archetypes, or aspects, are outer reflections of our own inner masculine and feminine selves.
The Role of Satan
Satan is a product of the Christian religion and has no role in the beliefs and practices of Wiccans. God and the Devil, as they are presented in the mythology of Christianity are forever tied to each other. To believe in one, a person must believe in the other; Wiccans are not Christian, therefore they do not believe in or acknowledge the existance of Satan.
The idea of witches worshipping Satan entered the minds of people during a period in history when the Christian church attempted to convert Pagans to their system of belief. The Christians saw in one of our images of God, specifically the Horned God, their own concept of Satan and mistakenlly assumed that witches worshipped Satan.
Wicca is a religion which recognizes magick as one tool available to all seekers along their spiritual path, but the practice of magick is only one part of the greater whole of Wiccan belief and practices. It has been put forth that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” therefore, we recognize magick as a science which we are as yet unable to fully explain.
However, while there are certain principles which we believe are essential for the successful practice of magick, the application of these principles is highly personal and subjective to the individual. As Wiccans, we affirm that magick does not come from any tool; it is channeled through the tool from the individual himself. All one needs in order to perform successful magick is a connection to the divine, a firm belief in one’s self and the belief that you can have that which you desire, reaffirm this with positive thoughts, words, and deeds, and the knowledge that what you send out will come back to you.
The Law of the Power
The path of the witch is a continuous journey, often taking many lifetimes, towards self improvement and the ultimate reunification with the Godhead It has been said that power corrupts and even witches are not immune to its temptations. Many people, at one time or another, lose their way along this journey. However, Spirit does not mete out reward or punishment in so much as the individual rewards and punishes himself according to the realities he creates for himself through his own choices. The gift of free will is that we create our own realities. This has been expressed as “what you think, you become,” or in a different context “I think, therefore I am.” For this reason, Wiccans are urged to abide by a code of conduct comprised of two rules, known as The Wiccan Rede and the Threefold Law.
“An it harm none, do what you will,” these eight simple words represent the whole of Wiccan ethics. Since humans have free will, the ‘Rede’ is not an immutable cosmic law, but rather a model for ethical behavior. The Rede is thought to be similar to the Golden Rule, a form of which appears in almost every religion, but while the Golden Rule forbids subjective harm to another, the Wiccan Rede advises that no harm be brought to anyone or anything. Nonetheless, this does not mean that you do not have the right to defend yourself or those you love in the face of danger or abuse.
The Wiccan Rede also alludes to following one’s True Will, a term which has been defined as a person's ultimate destiny in life as well as a moment to moment path of action that operates in perfect harmony with Nature. Therefore, the Rede is less about just following your desires and more about knowing one’s purpose and not only working towards it, but being true to to that purpose.
Whereas the Wiccan Rede represents the foundation upon which our ethics are constructed, the Threefold Law represents the consequences of not adhering to the Rede. The Three-Fold Law states that both the good and bad that you create in thought, word, and deed will be returned to you threefold. In other words, good deeds are magnified in like form back to the doer, and so are ill deeds. The Three-Fold Law is therefore seen as a pragmatic reason for ethical behavior and compliance with the Wiccan Rede.
On Divination and Prophecy
The human mind is a fountainhead of untold power and it has abilities that for centuries have remained untapped. One of our greatest ‘gifts’ as witches is our ability to transcend time. Many individuals perceive time as linear, and it gives them a great deal of comfort to measure it like a length of thread, giving it a beginning, middle, and an end. However, time as we know it does not exist. The wise witch can take that thread, and roll it into a ball so that the past, present, and future all exist as one. This is what makes such things as divination, prophecy, and second sight possible.
By recognizing that all time is omnipresent the human mind is able to analyze both the past and present in order to scan the probability spectrum of alternate futures. The closer the future comes to the present the more possibilities become probabilities, and ultimately inevitabilities. Therefore, the accuracy of a witch’s ability to see the future decreases in direct proportions to the distance those future events lies ahead in time. By active participation in the events occurring in our lives, a person is then able to shift the probabilities to their desired ends.
According to the words of our Goddess, all acts of love and pleasure are sacred. Therefore all sexual orientations are to be considered positive, provided that each individual relationship occurs between consenting partners and is both healthy and loving.
There are those people who blame Spirit for the circumstances in which they find themselves and who turn away from anything remotely religious or spiritual. It is not the will of Spirit to force its presence on anyone and for this reason Spirit has appointed for each human soul a guide. All spirit guides have had at least one incarnation on Earth and are able to relate to the human condition. Humans have called them Guardian Angels, Spirit Guides, or Totems, but they all have the same purpose, to assist you along your spiritual journey and intervene on your behalf when necessary.
It is the ultimate destiny of each individual to discover Spirit through the choices that they make, however, each individual incarnates on the earth plane with a specific purpose which is designed to nurture their spiritual growth to a point where they reunite with Spirit. In terms of your own spiritual growth, every personal relationship that you have has the potential to be of assistance to you. All relationships, including the relationship to self and to Spirit, are destined to repeat until they are healed, and over many lifetimes if necessary.
Death and the Afterlife
Death is not the end of life, but rather life in another form. What has been referred to as an afterlife doesn’t exist to punish us but rather to teach us. Reincarnation is the process by which our souls grow and involve over successive lifetimes. In accordance with the law that you create your own reality, upon physical death, the soul journeys to a place of its own choosing. There will be no god to condemn you to hell, and no Satan to punish you for your perceived sins, unless that is what you truly believe that you deserve. You are your own judge, and the architect of your own afterlife and therefore what you truly believe you will manifest.
In order to assist the individual into peacefully leaving the earth plane, we as Wiccans teach that the Otherside is a place of peace and rest (called the Summerland) where all our needs are met. Here, with the assistance of our spirit guides we evaluate our most previous incarnation, our experiences, and the lessons that we learned in that incarnation. If, after this period of evaluation, we feel that more lessons are warranted, our spirit guide assists us in writing an outline for our next life. This outline will include those experiences necessary to learn the lessons we feel are needed for our continued evolvement. Unfortunately, as we age we lose conscious awareness of our outline, and tend to stray from the path we have planned for ourselves. Our spirit guides are there to put us back on the correct path. From their vantage point on the spiritual plane they have access to divine knowledge and they can be in several places at once.
Similar to the beliefs and practices of other religions such as Buddhism, Shinto, Native American Spirituality, and Vodun, ones Ancestors are revered and honored in Wiccan religion. Those who ‘pass away’ don’t simply cease to exist, but rather ascend to higher states of being, from which they can look on and assist us. In this state, the Ancestors exists outside of time and therefore have knowledge of the past and future, and can guide us toward the best possible future. In addition, they can intercede with the Godhead on our behalf and protect us in times of need.
The Road to Heaven
It is not our way to proselytize or to attempt to cause others to accept our beliefs as their own through fear, intimidation, or coercion. There are many “roads to heaven” and of those who choose Wicca as their path, each must come to the Craft by their own free will and mind.Carolina Dean