I was reading a friend’s blog on Dreamwidth and I got inspired to write this article. See, going out and finding friends IS good for something.
Wicca is sometimes called “The Craft of the Wise” because you are supposed to gain wisdom from your chosen path, ie your religion. You aren’t supposed to just accept everything that gets thrown at you like a sponge, you are supposed to question it, you are Supposed to wonder “yes, but…” and you are SUPPOSED to find things that work for you within that framework of faith.
All these things are what you should be doing from the start. You are supposed to find answers for yourself, not eat the digested answers that another has found.
Religion is SUBJECTIVE, meaning that it is a one person only experience. You see and feel and smell and think these things while you are in an ecstatic trance at your local grove. That being said, even if your bestest buddy in the whole world and your twin are having the exact same process as you have, they will NEVER have the same experience as you. There will be things that are different for each, based on their own mental state, their understanding of the world and the things that they learned, and their perception of what was happening.
Given that they will have a different experience, they will understand what you mean when you say something to them about that experience, but they will never draw the same conclusions as you have about that time. They will have their own conclusion of what was going on, their own “spin” on the events.
Believe it or not, but every religion and faith on the face of the Earth is like this. No one person gets the exact same experience out of a Sunday Meeting as any other. Every religion is “customized” to a point for the practitioner.
Many “mainstream” religions and “organized” religions will try to sell you a bill of goods that says “Do A, B, C, D, and E, and you will get to the good after life and be free of the cycles of life.” Except, that in most cases, if you just blindly follow those instructions, you won’t understand or appreciate that YOU have to be an active participant in your own religion.
That’s what is lacking from most religions, active participation.
The purpose of religion is to give an explanation for the questions remaining in the world. “Where do we come from?” “Where are we going?” “What can I do to make my life better?” “Who created the universe?” “What happens when I die?”
Those questions are at the CENTER of every religion. It is these same questions that are attempted to be answered by the coda of the religion. In some they say “be good and you will get to the afterlife”, others say “do good works for your fellows and you will reach Nirvana”, and still others say “separate yourself from all passions”.
Know what? They are all right.
Yes, EVERY religion is right. And all of them (except one) is also wrong. The religion that is not wrong is the religion you find that fits you.
Finding a religion is a lot like finding the perfect pair of sneakers. Is it too tight? Too loose? Does it pinch at the big toe? or does it have miles of room and you walk out of it?
This is where your intelligence and your discretion come into play. Only you can say “this religion is not for me, it constrains my actions too much.” or “This religion is not for me because it doesn’t give answers to the basic questions that I have.”
YOU have to find the religion that fits you. YOU have to be honest with yourself and say “okay, Wicca has a lot going for it, but I don’t like to do all the study and introspection that goes with it”. And you know what? That’s absolutely fine.
The subjective religion is there PRECISELY to make you find the one that “fits”. It is not an attempt to trick you, nor to hurt you, nor to force you into a mold that you are not meant for. YOU have to decide for yourself what you know and what you want to have as an influence in your life.
Some religions give you the tools to make those decisions, others take them away from you and say “trust me”.
This is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life, which religion to follow. Once you start following down one religious path, it is very hard to change it. Even if you go from Pentecostal over to the Mormons, you will still have the initial teachings from the Pentecosts in your head, and that will change how you look at Mormonism, and put a whole different set of interpretations.
Generally speaking, that is the most prominent reason that new Wiccans have such a hard time with the transition. Most have come from a Christian background into Wicca for a variety of reasons. They still have the mindsets of Christianity (sin, redemption, worship of a remote god, angels and hierarchies of Heaven, punishment and reward in the afterlife and so on) and that causes them to interpret Wicca with those base beliefs.
But Wicca holds almost none of the beliefs as Christianity does.
Wicca tends to be radical in that while it will give you answers to “what happens next” it will not give you an easy path to get to the Afterlife you want. Instead of answers, it gives you more questions.
It is this questioning and discovery that makes Wicca what it is. Without that, Wicca would be another “faith of the book”, meaning that it would ask you to surrender all yourself and simply follow a set of rote beliefs, without deviation.
But Wicca says “Yes, there is an afterlife. What do you think it will be like?” and it says “Yes, there is a God, what do you think his name is?” and more. And no matter what you answer, you are right.
Now understand the subtlety of that statement. Think about it for a while.
Done thinking? Can you answer why those questions without answers would be a good thing for you?
Okay, I’ll go easy on you. They are good because it lets YOU decide for yourself what Heaven is like, and what the God’s name is. It is the searching and discovery of those answers that makes life worthwhile. If you were simply handed all the answers from the beginning, then you wouldn’t have any fun finding those answers for yourself. You would have the enjoyment of finding and researching those answers taken away from you.
It would be like your father giving you a car on your 18th birthday. It may be what you want, it may be great and neat, but you wouldn’t treasure that car because you didn’t do anything to get it.
However, if you got a job and worked long and hard to get the money to buy a car, then you would treasure it, you would treat it differently, you would take care of it, and you would put even more of yourself into that car, instead of simply letting it take you where you want to go.
That is where the “Craft of the Wise” comes in. There is Wisdom in the search, because in searching for the answers you want, you also find out who you are and how you can do what you do. You discover the inner depths of your soul and what you believe, and no one can take that from you.
Finding an answer for yourself is a greater treasure than anything else, for that answer is now special and you will always remember that answer, even when you don’t know anything else.
And if you find enough answers, answers that fit you as a glove fits a hand, then you gain wisdom from that.
Those answers become unquestioned facts in your life, that nothing and no one can take from you. They merge with you and begin to make your soul up, supporting it and allowing you to have a solid base to find more answers from. And when you find THOSE answers and you share what you have found, others will be calling you wise. When you life the principles you have discovered in the quest to find the answers, you will begin living them, and others will see that and begin to do so as well. You will have power over yourself and your reactions to the world around you, and that is the best kind of power, power over yourself.
This has probably been shown to you many different times, but you didn’t understand. “Know thyself”, “This above all/to thine own self be true.”, “Tis’ dearness only that gives a thing its value.”, “As above, so below.” and many more. That is what these sayings are for, they are the guide map to your own questioning and your own discovery.
Wicca gives you a starting point, and ONLY a starting point. In the words of Morpheus “I can show you the door, you have to open it.”
And when you have found all the answers you are seeking that work for yourself, well, no one can take them away nor can they make you question them. They will be YOUR answers. If those answers don’t work for another, that’s THEIR problem. You found your answers.
And that’s the whole point of being alive, after all.
Originally posted 2010-03-20 03:57:04. Republished by Blog Post Promoter