Feb 14, 2012

Belief-o-Matic: Take Three

Today, my top 3 Faith Match Profiles Are:

1. Neo-Pagan (100%)
2. Unitarian Universalism (94%)
3. New Age

Take the Quiz

Decree of Priapus

Quisquis venerit huc, poeta fiat
et versus mihi dedicet iocosos.
qui non fecerit, inter eruditos
ficosissimus ambulet poetas.

"Whoever comes hither let him become a poet and dedicate to me jocose verses. He who does not, shall, teeming with piles, walk amongst learned poets."

"Piles," it seems, are a "frequent result of sodomy." Among the sins that Priapus will punish with buggery is that of not writing him doggerel. Luckily, my own work includes several examples of such verse.

Several persons took this to heart, which has resulted in a collection of epigrams from ancient gardens entitled Priapeia, which is available online.

This may be another candidate for my list of personal scripture.Link

Feb 7, 2012

Scripture for the Modern World

In my most recent Affirmation, I added the following passage:
I believe in the veneration of the written word as scripture. I believe that venerable works are not confined to a single tradition, era or culture. Canonization only causes stagnation. The works of contemporary poets and philosophers are no less valid than ancient or historic works. Scriptural veneration is an individual practice, and venerated works differ from believer to believer.
Growing up as a Mormon, however, I would recite the following:
We believe the Bible to be the Word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God.
We believe all that God has revealed, and all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
(Articles of Faith 8 & 9)
In effect, the latter articles extends the former to include the Mormon Church's Doctrine and Covenants, their Pearl of Great Price, and possibly even their more recent The Family: A Proclamation to the World (though there has been no official Church declaration to this effect). While my current belief certainly extends from the teachings of my youth, it is both more inclusive and exclusive.

Following through with my recently understood personal belief, I have lately been considering what works I view as "scriptural." The resulting list comes in two parts: 1) selections from tradisional canon; and 2) works of more recent poets and philosophers. The list which follows represents those works I currently use in my personal ritual, with the acknowledgement that these works do not work for everyone, and that the list will evolve.

Current Scripture for the Enlightened Evolutionary

Selections from the Holy Bible (including the Apocrypha)
In particular, I have a soft spot for the Elizabethan diction of the King James Version
American Poetry
Humanist Documents

Remember, this is neither a complete list, nor a final one.

Affirmation (February 2012)

It's time to redo this again... (surprisingly, little has changed this time around)

I believe that ritual, the practice of religion, is a healthy exercise for the mind and I claim the privilege of practicing it according to the dictates of my own conscience; I allow all others this same privilege of worshiping how, where or what they may. I believe in the emotional fulfillment that comes from ritual, and that the subconscious is the source of spiritual experience.

I believe in the veneration of the written word as scripture. I believe that venerable works are not confined to a single tradition, era or culture. Canonization only causes stagnation. The works of contemporary poets and philosophers are no less valid than ancient or historic works. Scriptural veneration is an individual practice, and venerated works differ from believer to believer.

I believe in God as the personification of human desire, need, and potential—a culturally universal construct of the mind that can be articulated in one or more archetypes of the Collective Unconscious. I believe that this God is One, and that all gods are archetypes reflecting this One. I honor the archetypes of Father, Mother, Child, Lover, and Other; I do not favor these archetypes equally, and do not restrict them from changing in the future. I do not believe in God as any combination of one or more human-like being that exists on an alternate plane of existence.

I believe the archetype of the Eternal Child is the Self waiting for the unification of conscious and unconscious minds. Each individual is God waiting to be realized, and life is a time to prepare for and achieve that realization. The Self is the perfect mind that accepts and completes the flawed Ego.

I believe that gender is an essential part of the Self, as it is the relationship of gender to sex and the relationship of the genders to each other. I believe that the confrontation and resolution thereof between the genders and the Child (Ego) can bring a person to the enlightenment of Self, and therefore "God." Understanding and living as one’s actual (not necessarily physical) gender is essential to this process.

I believe the archetype of the Eternal Other is the Child in all other people; and the Eternal Lover is the Child in one or more other persons that compliments the Child of the Self. Just as I contain God in me, all others contain God in themselves. For this reason, all people are inherently equal and deserve the same respect, the same punishment, and the same privilege as all others.

I believe that which is given in deed will be returned in kind; so long as no harm is done, one should do as one pleases. I believe that each person is responsible for one’s own actions, and that responsibility for actions sown will be reaped in this life. In my own life, I seek to live a moral existence, and I recognize that my own moral differ from those of others.

I believe in Creation as the chain of events leading from the cosmogyny of the universe through the evolution of humankind and human culture to the modern age. Creation is a continuing event that contains all explainable processes of this development and those which are as-of-yet unexplained. I believe in the Creator as the force which acted on the Universe in a single moment to begin the process of Creation. This belief does not necessarily include a belief in a Creator.

I know that human beings are animals, and I accept that we share elements in common with all life on Earth. I believe that Instinct is what separates animals from other life forms, and that Sentience and Sapience separate higher animals from lower ones. I believe that Morality and Inspiration are the only thing that separate humankind from other animals.

I believe in the duality of Body and Mind. The Body is the compound set of organs that experience the various senses, while the Mind is the conscious and unconscious interpreter of those senses. The Body is incapable of being ethical, moral, or artistic; the Mind is incapable of sensing its surrounding environment.

I believe in meditation, mantra, and prayer. The ritualistic use of words, breathing, and posture can help to settle and focus the Mind. Sexual activity—both masturbation and sexual intercourse with one or more partners—is a similar focus for the Body.

I believe in the use of mundane objects (including candles, precious and semi-precious stones, tarot cards, incense, and herbs) in ritual; I believe in the symbolism attached to objects with has developed over the course of human experience. By making use of mundane objects in the practice of religion, one can tap into the inherent symbolism consciously and unconsciously attached to those objects.

I believe that the forcible preaching of one’s faith to others is detrimental to and ignorant of their own spirituality. When one is ready to learn, one will ask; and when one asks, one is ready to receive—even if only the smallest portion. While one should not hide one’s faith, one should not require, force, or persuade others to believe as one does without first being approached.

I know this affirmation of my beliefs is neither constant nor set. As I further examine and understand the world around me, my beliefs and my knowledge will change.