My Creed in Creeds

Looking back over the history of my beliefs is interesting, especially to see how much has changed. I’ve learnt that beliefs aren’t static statements of who we are and what we think, they are a process, a way of learning about the world and ourselves, and of checking our thoughts with reality.

Some beliefs were mistaken, but others were not, they were the right beliefs at the right time, and I had to go through them. Now if I stayed with those beliefs and not moved that would have been mistaken, and I wouldn’t have come to where I am now – which I feel is where I “should” be. Retrospectively they were not mistaken (no matter how fantastic) because otherwise I might not have got here. They all had something to offer me in some way, but I didn’t need to become obsessed over them.

For each belief I looked deeply into them, seeing how deeply it went and whether I could get any actual nutrition from them. The more nutritious the belief the better it is for me I figured. And they’ve all, in a sense, been nutritious, food for thought indeed. There’s a lot of beliefs out there, and they can all lead us to interesting, beneficial and dangerous results, which is why they must be gone through thoroughly and given no mercy. Who knows what treasure, what stepping stone you might find on your journey?

The Role of Magick

Inspired by a recent forum discussion about the role of magic(k) in modern paganism:

My attitude to and belief in magic has changed. I got into Paganism via “nature worship”, that’s what really drew me in, and magic just happened to be a part of the whole Pagan thing (my first excursion into the subject was through Wicca). The magic side of things did interest me for a while, but I was more interested in its significance than its practice. My questions to myself “why do I need it? Do I actually need it?” I once read something that really changed my view of it, which was that I can make a spell but the result will not be the exact one I want; it will be an unconscious change of myself that influences how I act in my life. I can ask for love, wealth or health, but unconsciously I will be making changes to myself that will somehow draw these things into my life.

I think I was more for personal development, making changes within myself than making changes outside of me. And since I can make change within myself without magic, why bother? On the other hand Buddhism influenced my thinking: instead of changing things, maybe it is my perception of things that needs changing. So I left magic behind, though I still held symbolic actions important.

Nowadays I don’t believe that simply by ritualised intent I can make things change (except myself). I believe making symbols (artistically, ritualistically or otherwise) to symbolise my intentions or wishes is important, but these act more as a “mission statement” to myself, a plan or vision by which I can act… and then the changes occur.

For me “real magic” is art and creativity. It is the way we can apply our imagination and perception to transform the world. It the the transformation of inanimate elements into living beings, the transformation of reaction into reflection, the transformation of imagination into concrete reality. It’s an alchemy of the world and ourselves that involves our perception of it.

I may have let go of certain ideas about magic, but it’s become something else as my perception and understanding of it changed. Magic itself has undergone a transformation of alchemy.

Final Frontiers

“Space: the final frontier,” or so this well known phrase would have it. But is it the final frontier? Apparently we know more about space than we know about the depths of the oceans and seas of our own planet. Maybe seaQuest had it right and that “below beneath the surface [of the sea] lies the future”? We known more about what’s “out there” than “in here”.

But this is a good metaphor for our psychological life: we know more about what’s happening in the world around us than the hidden dimensions and dynamics of the human psyche, in a sense in our own “marine” depths. And yet, unbelievably, it is the closest thing to us. “Outer space” is a known quantity to us, but we are unaware of the depths that we carry around with us. And perhaps we have inexhaustible depths, worth a lifetime of exploration and discovery, both in terms of history and future development, a whole new adventure for the rest of our lives.

At least until another “final frontier” makes itself known to us. ūüėČ

International Day for Biological Diversity

BV2 034What are you doing for it?

I shall be busy taking more pictures for Biodiversidad Virtual. This’ll be the last day of the testings. We already had a lot of pictures loaded, and there are around 130 species of invertebrates¬†identified. Plenty more not identified, and loads more not even¬†photographed. And most of the photos have been taken on less than a third of the property. And that’s not even talking about plants and vertebrate animals.¬†As you can see, I don’t think we’re going to run out of subject material for a while!

BV2 029 BV2 028 BV2 033

The Mysteries

Mysteries, esotericism, the occult: these words bring up images of secret orders, with strange rituals and sharing their secrets only to the select few. Historically this has been true, and is still true today. I’m sure most of us have heard of the Freemasons, for example. But information that was esoteric in the past isn’t so much now, and the content in many modern day “mystery schools” is out in the open. I’ve been told by a Wiccan that most, if not all the information of Alexandrian and Gardenarian traditions, is out there already, and as a member of ¬†druid order (OBOD) I can see that a lot of the information isn’t necessarily esoteric, but the structure by which it is presented is; it is meant to guide you through certain information along a certain way, instead of having to wade through the chaos trying to make sense of things by yourself (though this also has its virtues).

There are many subjects that are “esoteric” to me, and there are people with specialised knowledge in which I am not trained. Quantum physics for example, is an esoteric subject for me, though I understand or know of some ideas from it. Through the ages there have always been people with specialised knowledge and those without. I rely on the “esoteric” knowledge of builders, plumbers and electricians to fix what I can’t. School, colleges and universities are “esoteric” organisation, sharing their knowledge with the fortunate few (though in recent centuries education has become more open, not to just an elite class).

What really makes these subjects esoteric for me is my own willingness, ability and necessity to understand these things. There is nothing barring my way from understanding them except my own limits. And it is much the same for anybody. The “exoteric” information is simply data that the general public can understand, whilst “esoteric” information is what we don’t. And the boundary between exoteric and esoteric is always changing as the understanding of the general public changes.

If I want to understand something, I will. If I am able to understand it, I will. If I need to understand something, I will. And these three things, more often than not, should coincide. A year and a half ago the world of linguistics was very unknown for me, but I have since waded into the subject and understand more than I thought I would have. Though there still remain things I have a lot to learn about.

All “esoteric” information is out there, in plain sight. What “hides” or limits ¬†it, rather than secret orders (thought we might assume there are some), is simply my own need, want and ability to understand certain information. “Know thyself”, at the heart of esotericism, is something that no one can hide from you, except yourself.

Virtual Biodiversity

022¬†There are so many species here, it’s hard to know them all, and keep a record of them all, but that doesn’t stop us from trying! There are so many types of butterflies, shieldbugs, ants, trees, flowers, birds, fungi, that I don’t think we’ll run out of subjects any time soon.

006We had quite a few people turn up last Saturday, all with their own cameras and even specialities. In the end it all gets uploaded onto the Virtual Biodiversidad website, and there identified by experts. 036After¬† that we had a nice shared banquet, talking about all things crawling and growing. And tomorrow (and every Saturday this month) we get to do the same. The photos here are some I did last week, and I’ll carry on sharing what I take this month.¬†011

Pure Subversiveness

Why fight against the system from within when you can do something much more subversive? To fight against the system is easy: you just become its opposite and do stuff that goes against that system. But then you subvert the person that you are, because you are still defined by that system, just as its opposite.

It is far more subversive to be¬†who you are and live your own life, especially if the system is somehow antagonistic to these. Even better when you can doing it legally, in accordance with the system’s rules. The old becomes effortlessly obsolete, and the new grows in it place, without moving so much as a revolutionary finger!

Creating something new seems so much more appealing than destroying the old, doesn’t it? ūüėČ

 

The Roots of Imagination

Imagination, in the context of escapism, can often seen an alternative to reality, something that gives an opportunity to “get away” from reality, which distances it from reality; the imagination is seen as something abstract. But I think, instead of an alternate reality, it gives alternatives of reality; that we can generate ideas about reality, testing these and creatively applying them to the world around us, transforming it.

Another thing is that the imagination is seen as something abstract, but I think it is something very physiological. When we see a movie or read a book the stories evoke reactions in our bodies: hearts may race, breathing may slow down, butterflies might jiggle in our stomachs and hands get clammy. The imagination has its roots in the body, not in an unseen, abstract realm.