I was reading through my tumblr the other day, coming across many of my poems and spiritual writings. All of them came from a period of time when I was investigating the gnostic/christian/judaic side of me.
I while ago, when trying to figure out my spiritual path, I realized that I didn’t fit into any of the boxes. Most people don’t – and most probably don’t care – but I cared.
I came up with some tenets, practices and structure for myself, based on the concept of relating to and recognizing the Divine in the Natural world. A sort of religious Panentheism (panentheism def: belief system which posits that the divine exists [be it a monotheistic God, polytheistic gods, or an eternal cosmic animating force], interpenetrates every part of nature and timelessly extends beyond it… God is viewed as the eternal animating force behind the universe)
A few times different people from the Wiccan community – of which I had been a part of a period of time before – told me that what I was doing with this thing I called Divinaturism wasn’t anything ‘new’ but was merely an Eclectic form of Wicca. I pondered this and sort of shrugged and thought ‘hm. Okay. let’s go with that’… and for a while it seemed right. I reconnected with my Wiccan ‘things’, and even started to attend some public pagan meet-ups. From there we created our own little Wiccan meet up group – not a coven/circle , as we each had our own particular form of Wicca and practice and weren’t trying to convert each other – things were going along quite nicely.
Eventually though it began to feel empty. The personal ritual that I used in my private Divinaturist group was good. It IS good, it feels right for myself and the two others that practice with me. But at the end of the day, when feeling downtrodden and overwhelmed, I found myself doing what I had been doing for the past few years since discovering Christian and Jewish Mysticism – turning to Psalms, to Thomas Merton, to the Dead Sea Scrolls- needing that little something extra. Reaching out for sacred texts of the Abrahamic religions.
Watching the trees bend in the wind, feeling the permeating presence of the Divine flowing through all, flowing through me… the bride to my groom… connected to the Oneness of the All… I found that those varied sacred writings contained pieces of my own truths. Fragments and glimmers of my own understandings, that reflected my own understandings.
Wicca has no ‘dogma’ or sacred texts. Nature is the sacred text- or so it is generally thought to be – however Nature as a sacred text is not limited to Wicca alone. It is not the only earth-based expression of reverence .
I like my sacred texts of not only the world around me, whispered on the breeze, but the actual words from Wisdom Teachers from the beginning of time. From the Hymn to Aten to Cynthia Bourgeault, I find a deep sense of truth and connectiveness that when combined with my prayers for the quarters of the day, and earth-based ritual, all works so well together and truly breaks past the box called Wicca.
God to me is genderless for the most part. It is Mother God/Father God. Not a God and a Goddess. My mind cannot separate them like that. Above, they are one, and brought down to us, they are manifest as the Natural World – Natura Mater, and the Formless – Divinus. So closely entwined that one can not exist without the other. The trees of the Natura Mater being moved and animated by Divinus. The chalice holding the wine to give it form.
A friend of mine was telling me of an experience she had in the trees. A sudden motion of All moving, a shape that wasn’t a shape suddenly stepping forward from the trees. Huge and majestic, clothed in the writhing, moving, garments of the Earth Mother. He not being visible without Her to clothe him.
It reminded me of something, a phrase from the New Testament – Christ manifest in the Flesh… in Panentheism this could be seen as Spirit manifest in Nature.
In the writings of Jesus, those that are canonical as well as those that are not, such the Gospel of Thomas, the teachings of Jesus are universal. I would have made a good Unitarian – I can feel Jesus the man, the teacher, the sage, the friend, walking along side me sometimes when I walk. Not the ‘The only way to the father is through me’ sort of Jesus, but the Jesus that was born a Jew and was trying to share a form of Judaism that was universal in nature, one that pushed aside Rules for Compassionate Living. A form of Judaism that was not for those bound to the rules as children of Israel, but for everyone. I think that this Jesus was filled with the Christ spirit. The Divinity shone brightly within him. He allowed himself to be so filled , that somehow his words as simple as they were, have served to change nations.
This has been complete hell for many cultures unfortunately.Sadly much of what he has said has been misconstrued (and of course recreated) and people tend to follow the rules written by Paul for people in Paul’s era, in Paul’s culture, instead of realizing that Jesus’ words, like MANY spiritual masters, were made for all eras, in all cultures. The words are simple enough that they don’t have to tear down other cultures. If you recognize Jesus’ words as a finger pointing to the Moon and not the Moon itself, then those words serve to do much good. When people take those words as meaning that everyone has to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour, then troubles are bound to find their way everywhere. The way of Jesus, as said in one of the 8 points of Progressive Christianity is ‘One of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life…’
3. Jesus said, “If your leaders say to you, ‘Look, the (Father’s) kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father’s) kingdom is within you and it is outside you. ~ Gospel of Thomas
Simple good stuff. And these sorts of contemplations and understandings, I realize are for the most part very foreign in Wicca. About 90% of the Wiccans I have met are very anti-Christian and still think that Wicca originated many thousand years ago, back when the whole earth worshipped a Goddess. Then the bad Christians came in, burned all 9 million of them (yes, I have had more than one person tell me that ‘Wiccans’, app 9 million of them, were killed in the ‘burning times’ I kid you not)
I do know a handful of non-fundy Wiccans that are much more progressive in their thinking and actually DO follow a Wiccan path with devoutness and reverence, like an actual religion, but half of these are online – people I’ve never met.
Rather than trying to figure out if my Divinaturist path was a form of Wicca, or if I should indeed just be a Progressive Christian or a Jewish Renewal Syngagogue, I realized that Divinaturism is just it’s own little thing, created by me as a framework for my personal spiritual practice. An Earth-Based expression of Inner Knowing traditions including Christianity, Judaism, Hermeticism and their Gnostic varieties. Amazingly, there are a few people for whom this rings true for also, and that’s kind of cool.
My ritual, practices and beliefs have not changed from the days of when I was classified as a Wiccan. I just realize I am not Wiccan. Nor do I consider myself Pagan. Just a spiritual panentheist finding her way Home.
A few people were bothered by this, one in particular who feels I should hand over the reigns of the wiccan meet up that I have led to someone else within the group. Totally fair. But the others are content to just meet up as a group of people who experience Divinity through nature and the changing seasons of the year.
For me, being able to put the label of Wiccan aside is good. I’m too Christian/Jewish to be pagan apparently and too pagan to be Christian/Jewish so I am simply a Divinaturist.