Oct 9, 2016

Affirmation (October 2016)

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 that the mythology to which each of us subscribes is personal--and our belief in that mythology is True even if the myth is not Real.  Some may hold to established mythologies that have been around for centuries or millennia, while others may hold to mythologies that are merely decades old or even personal mythologies that are far younger.  The stories in which one believes should not be mocked; instead the faith created by those stories and the rituals it engenders should be both encouraged and developed.
I believe in Revelation, the capacity of all persons to receive personal scripture through inspiration.  I believe that Revelations can take the form of words (written, spoke, or heard) or images (seen in the world, in the mind, or simply understood) or any other form that the receiver can understand.  Tools such as tarot cards, rune stones, dowsing rods, crystal balls, etc. may be used to invoke Revelation without diminishing its validity. I believe that I have received Revelation throughout my life and will continue to until the end of my days.
I believe in God as 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 Mother, Father, Child, Companion, and Stranger; 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 Mother is representative of the human experience—all of human evolution and history to date, and the continued impact of humanity on the world.  I believe the archetype of the Eternal Father is representative of humanity's intelligence—the extent of its understanding of the universe, and the continued expansion of that understanding.  I believe the archetype of the Eternal Child is representative of humanity in its current state—the product of its history and its understanding of the universe.
I also 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.  Just as I contain GOD in me through the Eternal Child, 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 the archetype of the Eternal Companion is representative of all that humanity desires, and all things humanity is driven to pursue; those things which are familiar and comforting, or that which is canny.  I believe the archetype of the Eternal Stranger is representative of all that humanity fears, and all things humanity is driven to flee; those things which are unknown, or that which is uncanny.  These two factors form the extremes of an emotional continuum to which the human experience (the Eternal Child) is bound.
I believe that gender is an essential part of the Self, as is the relationship of gender to sex and the relationships of the genders and sexes 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 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 morals differ from those of others.
I believe in Creation as the chain of events leading from the cosmogony 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 First Cause as the force which acted on the Universe in a single moment to begin the process of Evolution. Wherein the personification of a Creator may be beneficial, this is fulfilled by the archetype of the Eternal Father.
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--and I accept that there is nothing to stop other animals from developing these qualities through an ongoing Creation.
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 that meditation, mantra, and prayer are ways of bridging the gap between Mind and Body. 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 that sexual acts are as profound to the human experience as ceremony, religion, magic[k], and meditation. We have stigmatized sex for too long in Western / American / U.S. culture, and it is long overdue for us to allow open and honest dialog about sex and nudity and sexuality. GOD and sex are experienced in similar ways--selective, pleasurable, guilt-inducing, and terrifying. I believe that these experiences can be enjoyed alone, as well as shared with friends and lovers to whatever degree they are comfortable.
I believe in the use of mundane objects (including candles, precious and semi-precious stones, tarot cards, incense, and herbs) in ritual. I believe that the symbolism attached to these objects has developed over the course of human experience and become rooted in the archetypes of the Collective Unconscious. 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. If one is willing to learn, then one is ready to lean; 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.  As Creation is an ongoing process, so also is Affirmation.

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