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Thread: Gifts of Pantheism

  1. #1
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    Gifts of Pantheism

    What has Pantheism brought into your life that is a gift to you?

    cheddar
    In a love affair with sunshine

    Live this day like an altar to what you believe

  2. #2
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    This is a really big question for me.

    Because I've had chronic depression literally my whole life (like my parents and their parents before) I honestly don't know how on Earth I would have survived without my... "spirituality" is the wrong word, the pantheist version of that. I tried one day thinking of a better word, it was a day I had dragged myself out of bed and gone to a quite remote park and literally sat on a windy rock the whole day. Coming back to the city, free and happy I settled on a term, "the [love] affair" (and that goes beyond aesthetics and senses though they are part of it)

    Pantheism has given me, at various times, a way to bypass depression, a reprieve from it, the ability to feel, healing, the ability to say DAMMIT I want to live, love, a part of an identity that's positive... I could probably think of more.
    Last edited by Birdy; May 9th, 2007 at 10:02 PM.

  3. #3
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    Pantheism has given me the gift of knowing that I am the one in charge of my relationship with the universe and everything in it--not some pontiff, not some non-material being who sets the terms, not some other being on whom I can foist the responsibility for my life--mistakes or successes!

    For some, perhaps it's more freeing to be able to put the onus on another being to make their decisions about life for them and tell them what they have to do. I have come to know the joy and freedom of knowing that the onus is on me and me alone. I am responsible for my life, and for how I relate to the lives and existence around me. And I take that responsibility seriously. It's an honor to have it.

    Peace
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdy View Post
    This is a really big question for me.

    Because I've had chronic depression literally my whole life (like my parents and their parents before) I honestly don't know how on Earth I would have survived without my... "spirituality" is the wrong word, the pantheist version of that. I tried one day thinking of a better word, it was a day I had dragged myself out of bed and gone to a quite remote park and literally sat on a windy rock the whole day. Coming back to the city, free and happy I settled on a term, "the [love] affair" (and that goes beyond aesthetics and senses though they are part of it)

    Pantheism has given me, at various times, a way to bypass depression, a reprieve from it, the ability to feel, healing, the ability to say DAMMIT I want to live, love, a part of an identity that's positive... I could probably think of more.
    My relationship with my faith, and the universe is very much as you describe yours. When I start getting "hung up" on "supposed to bes"..I relax into my faith...and see there are no supposed to bes...there just is..what is. And I hang with it, knowing that ultimately...it is OK, and nothing, certainly not I, will last forever. I am part of something larger, and I recommit to playing my part, whatever that is.

    the gift is how it keeps me aware of the paradoxes, the glorious absurdity. And I am, like you, in a love affair with the universe.

    cheddar
    In a love affair with sunshine

    Live this day like an altar to what you believe

  5. #5
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    For so many years, I tried to force myself into the box of what I thought I was "supposed to" believe, but nothing ever fit quite right. Pantheism turned me around and said, "Here, I think you were looking for this." To find a word and a set of terminology that reflected back to me what I'd struggled so long to articulate was a great gift.

    When I was trying to be "just" a Pagan, I felt off, like some High Council of Paganness was going to tell me I was "doing it wrong" and banish me from the religion. Now that I'm a Pagan Pantheist, I do what feels right in the moment to honor this amazing Cosmos and the wonderful things and relationships in it and feel confident that the act is sacred simply by being, not because it's written down on someone's list of pre-approved holy acts.

    Accepting that I don't believe in literal deities has given me the gift of becoming more appreciative of the world as it is. When sunset paints the sky a brilliant red, or the kids in my building create elaborate make-believe scenarios, I can watch it, observe the details, and be aware of its inherent wonder. I don't have to pull myself out of the moment to give thanks to some goddess or god for their world. By realizing that I don't believe in the Creator, I am more present to the creation.

    Pantheism has allowed me to let go of a lot of my anger at the ways of the world. Everyone always told me that everything happened for the best, or everything was God's/the gods'/the Goddess's will, according to their ineffible plan. And every time one of my relatives was diagnosed with a hideous disease, or one nation bombed the bejeezus out of another, I railed against the Heavens and wondered how any deity could let crap like this happen. But at the same time I felt bound and impotent - if this was Divine Will, I was powerless to do anything about it. Now, though, I believe that sometimes pooperiffic things just happen. Sometimes they happen because I screwed up, or someone else screwed up, and sometimes they just happen for no reason. Some people might find that depressing and see more comfort in the "God's will" theory, but Pantheism has been so personally empowering for me. Instead of waiting for God to swoop in and fix my situation, I'm becoming more likely to say, "Yup, this sure sucks. What am I going to do about it?" Finding pantheism has untied my hands, and that's a gift, too.
    Last edited by Windsmith; May 11th, 2007 at 05:59 PM. Reason: Subject/verb agreement brings wisdom and harmony to the Cosmos.
    If you're lucky you'll find something that reflects you,
    helps you feel your life protects you,
    cradles you and connects you to everything.
    Dar Williams, "The Hudson"

  6. #6
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    Windsmith's words put more thoroughly what I was trying to say. Thanks, Windsmith!

    And Cheddarsox and Birdy brought out a big part of it, too. I'm in love with the universe. I adore what is simply for what it is. Whatever meaning is out there is the meaning that I choose to find, not something that has been superimposed on it. And recognizing that allows me to find a deeper beauty in all of it, because there's nothing telling me what is beautiful and what isn't!

    Peace
    Working for Peace Pruning the Rambles

    Banner made by me
    Definition of skepticism: Don't believe everything you think.

    In wildness is the preservation of the world ~Henry David Thoreau

    Pantheism Path Forum Guide

    In memoriam, Basha: 4/1996 - 12/2007 * * * In memoriam, Tika: 9/1996 - 3/2008

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Windsmith View Post
    Everyone always told me that everything happened for the best, or everything was God's/the gods'/the Goddess's will, according to their ineffible plan. And every time one of my relatives was diagnoses with a hideous disease, or one nation bombed the bejeezus out of another, I railed against the Heavens and wonder how any deity could let crap like this happen. But at the same time I felt bound and impotent - if this was Divine Will, I was powerless to do anything about it. Now, though, I believe that sometimes pooperiffic things just happen. Sometimes they happen because I screwed up, or someone else screwed up, and sometimes they just happen for no reason. Some people might find that depressing and see more comfort in the "God's will" theory, but Pantheism has been so personally empowering for me. Instead of waiting for God to swoop in and fix my situation, I'm becoming more likely to say, "Yup, this sure sucks. What am I going to do about it?" Finding pantheism has untied my hands, and that's a gift, too.
    At lunch today I was sitting listening to the people at my lunch table have this sort of discussion...about "blessings" from God when you serve him and do his will and how no evil will befall those who do so...so...fine, today we are all healthy and the sun is shining...but what does that imply about your relationship with God tomorrow when the dog gets hit by a car, and you are diagnosed with cancer? Hmmm...

    I was flooded with joy at how much I love the universe..my faith...the fact that I don't have to do those mental and emotional gymnastics any more.

    I did point out to them that Jesus did everything God wanted...and he too was blessed (in their words) more than he could stand. A blessing...isn't always an easy thing to take.

    cheddar
    In a love affair with sunshine

    Live this day like an altar to what you believe

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Windsmith View Post
    sometimes pooperiffic things just happen
    Y'know, if they had to edit out my naughty word, I'm kind of glad "pooperiffic" is what they chose to replace it with. Don't think that's how I would've spelled it, though, left to my own devices...

    Quote Originally Posted by Eleisawolf View Post
    Windsmith's words put more thoroughly what I was trying to say. Thanks, Windsmith!
    Uhhh...you're welcome!

    Quote Originally Posted by Eleisawolf View Post
    I'm in love with the universe. I adore what is simply for what it is. Whatever meaning is out there is the meaning that I choose to find, not something that has been superimposed on it.
    Yes, yes, yes! Some days I feel like there's no meaning in the Universe - and that's OK, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eleisawolf View Post
    And recognizing that allows me to find a deeper beauty in all of it, because there's nothing telling me what is beautiful and what isn't!
    Dang. I hadn't even realized that until I read this post. Many religions do put those boundaries around the world. Wow. That's sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by cheddarsox View Post
    so...fine, today we are all healthy and the sun is shining...but what does that imply about your relationship with God tomorrow when the dog gets hit by a car, and you are diagnosed with cancer? Hmmm...
    And the really crazy thing, at least for me, is that in most cases they're not doing anything differently today when these things happen to them than they were yesterday when everything was great. And yet they're going to spend so much time and effort trying to figure out how they've displeased God...it seems like there are so many better ways to spend your energy.

    Quote Originally Posted by cheddarsox View Post
    A blessing...isn't always an easy thing to take.
    That has truth on so many different levels, cheddar. I'm going to have to go and ponder it for a while and be in awe...
    If you're lucky you'll find something that reflects you,
    helps you feel your life protects you,
    cradles you and connects you to everything.
    Dar Williams, "The Hudson"

  9. #9
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    Pantheism gave me peace again, only this time it's a more joyful peace.

    When I deconverted from Christianity 20 years ago, I took up the label "agnostic", but my experience was more about what I no longer had than about where I might be going. I ignored spirituality for a long while because I associated spirituality with a religion I now found to be contradictory, troubling, and discomforting. Agnosticism was peaceful by contrast, but unfullfilling in many ways. The more I woke up to the Numinous around me and beyond me, the less comfortable I became with the label "agnostic".

    Paganism came easy in some ways, but was no more comfortable in others. I felt out-of-place for having such an amorphous concept of the Divine. I never knew what to say to people who told me to wait...that the Goddess would find me and make Herself known to me in time. I wasn't waiting, and I felt fullfilled. I felt that I had been found by myself in the process of reaching out and opening up to experiential Paganism. I was still waiting for an emptiness to be filled long after it was no longer empty.

    Calling myself a Pantheist is empty in some ways. Pantheist is a label - calling myself one makes it a little easier for me to describe myself spiritually to others. "Raven is a Pantheist". But, it's a hollow term, and doesn't convey a great deal to others. It's an easy answer that allows me to slip out of conversations I don't want to pursue because I haven't found the words to explain what I do and don't believe. Even when I feel that a particular word is resonant for me, it may not be of any use in commuicating to others.
    Last edited by ravenscape; May 14th, 2007 at 02:47 PM.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ravenscape View Post
    I never knew what to say to people who told me to wait...that the Goddess would find me and make Herself known to me in time. I wasn't waiting, and I felt fullfilled. I felt that I had been found by myself in the process of reaching out and opening up to experiential Paganism. I was still waiting for an emptiness to be filled long after it was no longer empty.
    Ravenscape, this is a hugely important point you make. I was darned near jumping up and down as I was reading it.

    So many times, new Pagans arrive at MysticWicks or in real-life Pagan communities talking about how they haven't felt "the call" or "the touch" or "the presence" or however they want to talk about experiences with personal, anthropomorphized deity. Recently, in particular, newcomers have mentioned that they're transitioning from atheism or agnosticism and that they're having trouble "making" themselves believe in gods and goddesses. Others pop in and tell them to be patient; give it time; sometimes it takes years; blah blah. I sometimes feel like the only voice saying, "Yes, patience is a noble virtue for any spiritual pursuit, but why force yourself into believing anything? The touch of the Goddess isn't for everyone who calls themselves Pagan, and it may not be for you." Goodness knows I tried to cram that hat onto myself for enough years before I realized that it's just not the right shape for my head.

    I hear you say that "Pantheism" is a term that's missing a lot of substance for you, but this is yet another gift that Pantheist spirituality has given me: the realization - and the confidence to tell others - that, like you, I'm not waiting for anything, and I'm not missing anything. I have all the divinity I need.
    If you're lucky you'll find something that reflects you,
    helps you feel your life protects you,
    cradles you and connects you to everything.
    Dar Williams, "The Hudson"

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