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MoonBreath
December 26th, 2009, 12:52 PM
what was your journey to Pantheism like? Did you self identify as a pantheist from an early age, or did it take you a while to sort the pieces out and connect the dots, so to speak?

Windsmith
December 29th, 2009, 02:43 PM
Right-o. I will try to keep this short.

I grew up in an interfaith household: Mom is Christian; Dad is Jewish. I was raised Christian but never got the "one true religion" spiel - Mom couldn't justify it with a member of a different religion in the house. I went to church every Sunday, but the only thing I remember truly believing in is the Earth and the stars (I was a huge astronomy nut in junior high). I remember that, in late elementary school, whenever we would drive past another wooded lot being cleared out for new development, I would cry and say, "I'm sorry." I had no idea who I was apologizing to.

In my early teens, I asked myself, with my parents' religions teaching such different things, how could they both be right? How could either be right? In college I took a class on "non-Western" religions, and it was all over for me and Christianity.

I had some Pagan friends in college, a motley assortment of Wiccans, Asatruars, Druids, Satanists, and unlabeleds. They were my introduction to the Paganisms. Eventually I found Reclaiming, which had a perfect balance of poetry and pragmatism, contemplation and action. It is the Pagan path I still call myself part of.

For a while I said I worked with Shapshu and Yarikh (Canaanite sun goddess and moon god, respectively), and later Erishkegal (Sumerian goddess of the Underworld) and Urania (Greek muse of astronomy), but I saw them as highly metaphorical, not as actual beings.

Then I read Bruce Bagemihl's Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity. In the last chapter, he wanders away from his main thesis and talks about...a lot of other things. One thing he talks about is the idea that life revolves not around competition for resources, but around an abundance of energy provided by the Sun, and that everything we do is an instinctual dance of gratitude to use this gift to its fullest.

I dropped the facade of sun deities - or any deities, for that matter - and began to look at the world around me; Sun and Moon, stars and starless nights, as being the most truly worthy of reverence. The label of "Pantheist" didn't find me for another year or so, but I'd been on the path.

*oonagh*
December 29th, 2009, 03:03 PM
i have always believed what i believe even as a very young child. i didn't have a name for it until years later (my mother told me that i am a pantheist...i think i was no more than 11 or 12 years old). then, i didn't think of/realize it as a spiritual philosophy until after that.

MoonBreath
January 4th, 2010, 01:44 PM
Thank you for the great responses Windsmith and *oonagh*! :uhhuhuh:

Like Windsmith, i'll keep this short (plus i don't want to be late for work! lol! :) ).For me, i was brought up in a Lutheran household but the teachings didn't fulfill me. I had always had a sincere fascination with world mythology and the gods and goddesses of old. Thus, , my pagan path was born (sincere thanks to MysticWicks as well! :) ). Last year though, my beliefs and outlook on the world began to shift and change, for the better i think. A lot of this shifting came about when my boyfriend came out as an agnostic atheist, having conversations with him on the subject of religion, reading the coming out stories of other people i know who came out as atheists/agnostics, spending more time on the nontheist and pantheist forums here on mysticwicks (i'll admit, i didn't frequent here much in the past :( ), watching the atheist experience, and just plan ole being honest with myself.

as of now, i'm agnostic about the existence of personal/individual deities ( leaning more towards complete disbelief though), but they still hold meaning to me as archetypes, symbols, what they represent. I love my "pagany" items, literature(pagan themed or not) god/goddess statues, wall hangings and such, that will never change :) The closest thing in my opinion to "God" or "gods" would be the Universe/Cosmos, forces of nature. Currently i go back in forth with what to label myself as, which can be quite annoying at times! lo! :)

okay, so this response wasn't as short as i thought it would be in the beginning, my apologies! lol! :nyah:

PaganSpirit
January 4th, 2010, 02:22 PM
I've always had a bit of a problem with the idea of an anthropomorphic deity, even when I was a little kid. My idea of what God is was something like a formless essence encompassing all.
Later in life I started recognizing myself as a panentheist, due to the logic that, while I believed God was imminent, I was also of the belief that, for some reason, God had to exist outside of the Universe as well.
Fairly recently though, the label of panentheist just didn't feel right to me anymore, and I was becoming more and more drawn to the older term pantheist. As a panentheist, despite believing in the immanence as well as transcendence of God, I felt like there was a huge gap between the material Universe and the spiritual one, and I had begun to feel very far away from God. The other thing that had started to bother me about it was that, for me, the term kind of implied God as being physically bigger than the Universe, which, for me, is absurd, because I believe God is too abstract to be limited by concepts such as size.
What used to bother me about pantheism, and the reason why I'd never previously considered myself a pantheist, was the equation of God with the Universe. I guess I always saw this somewhat in terms of Naturalistic Pantheism. Nowadays I've returned to my beliefs of a Universal spiritual essence. I still believe it is transcendent of the Universe, but not in any way to do with size or geography.