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Thread: What constitutes authentic spiritual expression?

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nemyss View Post
    I'd agree with this, except the Lovecraftian deities get a certain amount of respect. Lovecraft is just assumed to have been channeling something deeper than fiction, and the idea of worshipping The Old Ones, The Deep Ones, The Elder Gods or whoever (my Lovecraft knowledge is running out) is seen as somewhat respectable these days. So why Cthulhu and not Edward Cullen?
    Like Sundragon said, you kinda answered your own question. Lovecraft said that his horrific nightmares inspired his writing - to the Magician nightmares/dreams are often viewed as being "more". Some people think he really was contacting such terrible things.

    For me, I think he was tapping into stuff in the Collective Unconscious. So, powerful and potent ideas, but not gods (per se). And certainly not something I'm gonna go on knee to anytime soon. If only to preserve my own sanity. Enough people have been mucking about with Ye Elder Thinges without the knowledge that they're fiction to make that an "ewww!" prospect.
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Njorun Alma View Post
    But if you talk to a deity, and they talk right back to you... it doesn't matter if your God is Edward Cullen or Thor, I'd advice an MRI and counseling.

    There is a danger here, I'll give you that.


    But consider this: A theoretical physicist uses calculations that most of us can not comprehend, to arrive at conclusions that have no physical proof; nor is there any chance of us traveling the gazillions of light-years out into space or back in time to verify them. Their only safety net is the handful of other scientists who also can understand what they are saying, and often times disagree with their conclusions.

    So compare mental genius to psychic perceptions. Those who communicate with the gods are also few in number, and often disagree. Yet we can at the same time, often verify each others work.

    Popular opinion has shifted over the years, and the scientists have become our cultural heroes and the spiritual people are quacks. But it used to be the other way around. Neither one is really understood by the general population, but for some reason they must pick sides. Many people dabble in the elementary sciences, and think this gives them a handle on how difficult calculations are made, but we are as a whole pretty clueless.

    It's probably just as easy to dabble in spiritual knowledge, as the physical sciences. Many people get little impressions here and there, and where psychic knowledge is valued, they imagine they too are a part of making it happen. But really all they have is a small personal verification that something is going on.


    It used to be that the Church offered a therapy (of sorts) to help cure scientists of their affliction! After all, popular opinion held that these oddballs were messed up in the head. But now things have changed, and it is the spiritually minded who are offered the "therapy", and the mind altering drugs, to see if they can make us act more normal (or simply fry our brains, which seems to be an acceptable alternative!)

    I think I'll pass that one up, thanks.
    Tobias



    Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

    -Dwight D Eisenhower

  3. #23
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    You could look at it this way..

    If I were to say I worship the wind and gravity is that any less authentic than believing in an ancient deity or modern fictional morals and characters or ideals? I can't see gravity or the wind, but I feel them and I know they are there so they need a name in which I can refer to those forces. Spirituality in any form new or old is no different nor are they more or less authentic than gravity or the invisible man in the sky. I just need to feel themb to know they are true in my eyes. One mans lie is another mans truth.

  4. #24
     is offline I was not born under a rhyming planet.
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    Are people seriously saying that hearing voices talking to you left and right is not crazy?

    I can completely understand things interpreted or experienced during deep meditation or trance work, for example. But if you're walking down the street and "God" talks to you, I highly doubt that's a good sign.
    Previously known as Njorun Alma


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  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Njorun Alma View Post
    Are people seriously saying that hearing voices talking to you left and right is not crazy?

    I can completely understand things interpreted or experienced during deep meditation or trance work, for example. But if you're walking down the street and "God" talks to you, I highly doubt that's a good sign.

    Tobias



    Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

    -Dwight D Eisenhower

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Njorun Alma View Post
    Are people seriously saying that hearing voices talking to you left and right is not crazy?

    I can completely understand things interpreted or experienced during deep meditation or trance work, for example. But if you're walking down the street and "God" talks to you, I highly doubt that's a good sign.
    No one is hearing voices "left and right" so to speak but these things do occur and frankly I am surprised that you are on a Pagan Magickal forum stunned to find out that many here experience reality from a very different paradigm than you do.

    Outside of stunned disbelief you really didn't speak on the point I made. Because mental illness isn't compartmentalized why is it that I, and others, can be mentally sound and still have these experiences? Why is it that considering the experiences I have had I am able to have a normal life?

    Those who don't know me very well cannot discern by my manner that I am into "the occult." I'm not some black robe wearing eccentric seeking identity through my practices. If you were to meet me at work, at home or at a social function you would think that I am a regular guy...a charming, articulate guy...but still a regular guy.

    Same goes for many of the occultists I know who aren't kids looking to scare mom and dad or who take up such practices as part of some teenage counterculture expression. Admittedly magick and Pagan paths attract the unstable just as surely as stink attracts flies but these types were unstable to begin with...usually. Mostly though, we are quite sane.

    The same can be said for practitioners of Voudou, Santeria, Shamanism, etc. where both Spirit and spirits are vital and very real yet generally speaking the practitioners are quite sane.

    For most, the operative term within the word "spirituality" is the word "spirit." Spirit as in Deity or soul or...dare I say....actual spirits. This isn't an aesthetic choice such as calling art, music, and love "spiritual" as many materalists do in order to impart a sense of meaning and richness to their lives.

    For those deeply involved in spiritual pursuits the reality of Spirit, as in Deity, the gods, the soul, etc. is the point of the practice. For us, this stuff is real. For those who experience the reality of Spirit there is no question as to its reality.

    We seek gnosis...we seek to know, not merely believe.


    )o( Blessed Be,

    Sundragon
    Come visit my blog

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    where I discuss Magick, Mystical Spirituality and whatever else comes to mind.

    " Wherever you are is home
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    Wherever you set your feet is holy land . . .
    You don't live off it like a parasite.
    You live in it, and it in you,
    Or you don't survive.
    And that is the only worship of God there is."

    - Wilfred Pelletier and Ted Poole

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    Popular opinion has shifted over the years, and the scientists have become our cultural heroes and the spiritual people are quacks. But it used to be the other way around. Neither one is really understood by the general population, but for some reason they must pick sides. Many people dabble in the elementary sciences, and think this gives them a handle on how difficult calculations are made, but we are as a whole pretty clueless.
    Sure we need psychologists but we also need shaman...authentic spiritual guides who understand these types of experiences. All we have now are men and woman who, generally speaking, wouldn't know the difference between real spiritual experiences and schizophrenia or a crisis of spiritual emergence from a psychotic break.

    I work in mental health and know for a fact that most psychologists or psychiatrists are woefully uneducated in regards to the modes of spiritual expression that exist and the impact of such practices.

    What they will do is write you a script.

    But now things have changed, and it is the spiritually minded who are offered the "therapy", and the mind altering drugs, to see if they can make us act more normal (or simply fry our brains, which seems to be an acceptable alternative!)

    I think I'll pass that one up, thanks.
    I work with people who are on a lot of medication. Many of them need what they are prescribed, they absolutely do. However, I have met people who have described issues of spiritual crisis and the only help they are given is some mood stabilizers, some lorazepam/ativan for things get hairy and an anti-depressant for their journey through the Dark Night of the Soul.

    If someone needs therapy they need to find a sympathetic therapist who will help them integrate their experiences. Unfortunately, such therapists are few and far between. If someone truly needs meds they should take them of course. I have seen psych meds help a lot of people. I have also seen them suck the light, creativity and genius right out of them.

    Psychologists and psychiatrists as shaman is a terrible mistake as they must work from a purely naturalistic perspective. Their training doesn't allow for them to consider perhaps that a powerful experience of kundalini energy can mimic psychosis in the unready. Optimally psych doctors and spiritual counselors/shaman would work together to help such people.

    Sadly this is not usually the case.


    )o( Blessed Be,

    Sundragon
    Come visit my blog

    Sorcery and Spirit

    where I discuss Magick, Mystical Spirituality and whatever else comes to mind.

    " Wherever you are is home
    And the earth is paradise
    Wherever you set your feet is holy land . . .
    You don't live off it like a parasite.
    You live in it, and it in you,
    Or you don't survive.
    And that is the only worship of God there is."

    - Wilfred Pelletier and Ted Poole

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sundragon View Post
    I know this sounds crazy to a materialist, but practicing magicians hear and see things that a materialist woudn't ever allow for in their philosophy.
    I know you and I don't seem to agree on much, but I wanted to comment on this. My husband falls into the group of people you mention. I swear, he could ask God to set a bush on fire, and if it happened, he'd say it was coincidence. Same with seeing ghosts/spirits/etc. We, together, have seen things... odd things. He just flat out refuses to believe they happened, and continues on business as usual. A deity could appear before him, answer his deepest questions, and he'd say it was just a dream (or possibly that he had a fever). I believe that my husband is protected by a thick bubble of denial.
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  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sundragon View Post
    No one is hearing voices "left and right" so to speak but these things do occur and frankly I am surprised that you are on a Pagan Magickal forum stunned to find out that many here experience reality from a very different paradigm than you do.

    Outside of stunned disbelief you really didn't speak on the point I made. Because mental illness isn't compartmentalized why is it that I, and others, can be mentally sound and still have these experiences? Why is it that considering the experiences I have had I am able to have a normal life?
    1. As I said, I have no problem with trance work, visions obtained via meditation or self-induced semi-trance states. That's all good and well and I enjoy partaking in such things every once in a while too. It's amazing what the human mind can conjure up.
    What I am saying is that if God talks to you when you're walking down the street or sitting on the crapper, ya need to check out to make sure all is a-ok.

    2. Because self-induced trance and meditative states are not the same as mental illness, and most good quality psychiatric and psychological institutions recognize that.
    I've been through the system and the one thing that helped me was a therapy heavy on self-reprogramming of the brain, meditation and visualization. We were even encouraged to conjure up as vivid fantasies as we could to use as a coping mechanism and utilize them in difficult situations.

    Furthermore, I can call myself spiritual while being an atheist if I so chose. Spiritual can also mean "of the mind" and just because some people think that one cannot have a spirituality and still be a skeptic and an atheist doesn't make that universal law.
    I like how your making appeals from authority. You're allowed to do this, say that and so and such because you have special knowledge I don't?
    Last edited by Aeon Flux; December 8th, 2010 at 07:33 AM.
    Previously known as Njorun Alma


    "A mind of the calibre of mine cannot derive its nutriment from cows." - George Bernard Shaw


  10. #30
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    Sundragon, I don't mean to cause offense, but a Wiccan claiming there's authentic religions and that modern religions based on obvious fiction aren't authentic?

    Really?

    A lot of original Wicca was based on lies. We know this. It wasn't an ancient religion, it was a modern interpretation of various beliefs and practices from around the world and all over history, myth and sometimes novels that are old enough to be called myth, with a bit of morality slapped on for good measure. Some of the first Wiccans and even some today genuinely believed Wicca is an ancient religion and the religion of witches throughout history. Some found out that's bollocks. From there, some disregarded Wicca completely and others stayed firm Wiccans, recognizing it for what it is: A perfectly good religion no matter what it's historical roots may be.

    As far as gods go, of all the gods that have ever been thought of, surely, surely some of them must be based on fairy tales. Some of them simply do not exist no matter what you believe, and yet, at the same time, they do exist, because people believe in them.

    One might claim it doesn't matter if Aphrodite is real or not, what matters is she's the personification of an almost divine being called Love. She's a picture we give to a force, much like the Grim Reaper is a picture we give to the force of Death. If this is so, what's wrong with invoking Miley Cyrus (oh yes, I went there) as a Maiden Goddess, representing youth, the sexuality of the "innocent", beauty and prosperity? Can you honestly claim Miley Cyrus is not as good as Persephone if one wants to invoke these qualities in a ritual?

    I honestly couldn't care how fictional the origins of anything is. Twilight spiritualists - how are they any worse than all those Wiccans who based almost their entire lives on Margaret Murray's blatant and laughable pseudohistory? The only real difference between Meyers and Murray is the first had the decency to claim her writings were fiction.

    There are many respected and accepted spiritual paths based on fiction, yet one openly so is ridiculed. Is a spiritual path based on fiction only authentic if you don't know it's fiction?

    I would not respect a Twilight spiritualist, but not because they've based their beliefs on a fictional book series. My entire philosophy was molded by Terry Pratchett and his Discworld series. If I were to give a novice a few books to read, I'd give them Small Gods, the Witch books and the Tiffany Aching series by Pratchett over Silver Ravenfluff any day. These works of fiction have more depth and truth to them than a huge amount of "non-fiction" Wiccan books.

    I would simply dismiss the Twilight spiritualist because they have no taste. Twilight's worth could only be improved if the books' pages were thinner and softer. They might make for good toilet paper then, which would be a step up.

    Fiction can hold so much more than "non-fiction". In the end, it's all written by humans and their philosophies leak through. A philosophy that resonates with your own beliefs is the only guide you need. Authenticity doesn't come into it imo.

    ~ Blog: Kitten of Discord ~ Twitter: @DiscordianKitty ~

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