Each year as I skim the post lists for the Pagan Blog Project for inspiration, there tends to be a commonality amongst many of the entries. For B this year, as with previous years, the topics of “belief” and “beginning” (or “beginner”) crop up amongst the listing. As we are still in the beginning of 2014, this is no surprise and, for many bloggers in this project, this is their first venture into the world of Pagan blogging, so setting the foundation for themselves and their readers regarding their practice and religion is no surprise.
For me, this year, I decided to go with the flow more than usual and take a good look at my beliefs. As I am stripping away trappings and looking at books to donate or give away, I take a good look at the root of my belief system, my religion, my spirituality to find out what is important to me. What are the things that I build off of? What is my foundation?
In many ways, I am starting over in my Pagan path. Beginning anew.
So what is important to me?
I am a polytheist. I say simply “polytheist” as I have days that I lean towards soft polytheism and days that I lean towards hard polytheism. To be frank, I often refer to myself as a “sleep number polytheist,” with the levels of hardness and softness being adjusted as the need arises. My personal belief is that all gods exist, though I only work with a few of them from a few pantheons, and that these deities are all made of the same “stuff” or divine energy.
I am a child of Anubis. When I say that, I don’t mean it as sincerely as others do (possibly) nor do I mean that he is my Divine Parent, as in the sense of Kemetic Orthodoxy. I merely mean that I have been with Anubis since I was quite young, I am devoted to him, and we have a teacher-student kind of relationship, one built on respect and love, at least on my part. The other deities I work with are important to me as well, but Anubis has always been a central figure in my path, steering my direction.
I am an animist/neo-animist. To me, all things have Spirit or a divine spark to them. I believe this “Spirit” or “divine spark” is a smaller portion of what makes up the beings we refer to as gods, similarly to how we are carbon-based lifeforms. This spark is what ignites us into Life and creates (or “installs,” if you’re of a reincarnation bent) our souls. I believe that the Spirit and the Soul are different things but entwined in a way.
I believe in spirits. This does tie in to the previous section but it is also separate. When I refer to spirits, I tend to mean “non-corporeal beings” or beings that we cannot necessarily see, or rather comprehend in a visual sense, but that do exist. This can be anything from land spirits to the Fae to ghosts. While some folks are able to see these things, the general populace is not (or, at least, denies such ability).
I have no set belief in the afterlife. While I believe in my soul and I believe that Anubis will come for me when I pass, I have no idea what will happen from that point on. Whether there is a grand reward at the end of this life or this soul will be recycled into a new vessel, I’ve no idea. And as I am currently not on the other side of the life-line, I see no reason to fret over it. At least, not yet. (And I still do, from time to time.)
I practice nature spirituality. I’ve spoken on this from time to time, but it bears repeating. I find divinity and personal peace and solace in nature, of all kinds. It has an important place in my life, in my spirituality, and it is a place where I find comfort.
I practice urban spirituality, too. I don’t speak on this often (read: at all) because it’s something I don’t think about often. But, in sum, the urban landscape and cities have a mysticism to them that I feel in my bones. I adore and worship the pulsing energy of cities and believe that different cities have different energetic signatures that typically manifest in taste and color to my mind. Chicago, for example, is a gritty grey, more salt-and-pepper than plain grey, and the taste of slightly bitter smoke on my tongue; Washington D.C., in comparison, is an off-white color, more oatmeal than ivory, with a chalky taste on the underside of my tongue. Boston is a warm rose gold, but matte, as if seen through a tinted glass; its taste is crisp yet briny on the back of my tongue and palate.
I believe that community is important. Perhaps it is, in part, due to the role I played in my own college campus but I cannot see myself without some sense of community. These days, I have my fellow bloggers here and other PPRWs on tumblr with whom I can converse and discuss ideas and concepts with to better understand others and, thus, myself. While I do miss having a face-to-face community, I know that it is important to have any kind of community available to me and I am grateful for that experience and opportunity.
I believe in divination. But, as many things, it is a skill as well as a gift. Practice is important and while certain types of divination (or divination in general) may come more easily to some, it means nothing without the discipline and learning to back it up. Raw power does little good without finesse and a steady hand.