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  • #46
    I know this little rant isn't going to be very popular for some people, but I'm going to post it anyway.

    In some sense I think that we all have some form of psychologically constructed deities. Most of them based on real people, or the image of real people as well as fictional characters.
    People that we deify, internally.

    The person in my signature, for example, is a man whom many Brisbanites would hold in their inner pantheon as a god.*(1)
    Darren Lockyer, would to a lot of people, personify dedication, loyalty and humility.

    Some people hold their mothers in their inner pantheon as the personification of the perfect woman. As a goddess of love and nurture, home and hearth.

    For me, the idea of gods and goddesses has always been either fictional characters or real life characters we raise up to the position of an idol and strive to be more like and/or learn from, which is honestly what I think the gods and goddesses of most pantheons in established religion was supposed to be as well.
    Characters that described how we should or should not live our lives. Ideals and idols which to learn from.

    I am sure some people will argue that the pantheons they worship hold higher credence because they are independent beings of omnipotent power, but personally I disagree.

    Spirituality, for me, has always been the concept of individual philosophy. We all have our own take on morality, ethics, how the world works, and while most people would argue that the world spiritual and by extension spirituality is something that people who are in lieu with the so-called supernatural forces have a monopoly on, I disagree with that as well.
    Just because our spirit might be the combination of different chemicals and our life experience up until this point doesn't mean it's any less important. And things pertaining to the spirit would be the things that are about us, about the inner us and who we really are. Thus, an internal philosophy.

    I know a lot of people are going to have their sensitive feathers rubbed the wrong way, because they will feel that I am somehow making light of their interpretations and individual relationships with their believes, but if so, I will address that later.

    -------------------------
    *(1) Note that I am here using these dictionary definitions of the words pantheon and god:
    god: a man who has qualities regarded as making him superior to other men
    pantheon: the place of the heroes or idols of any group, individual, movement, party, etc., or the heroes or idols themselves
    Previously known as Njorun Alma


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

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    • #47
      Originally posted by Njorun Alma View Post
      Spirituality, for me, has always been the concept of individual philosophy. We all have our own take on morality, ethics, how the world works, and while most people would argue that the world spiritual and by extension spirituality is something that people who are in lieu with the so-called supernatural forces have a monopoly on, I disagree with that as well.
      That's a fine personal definition of spirituality but you could have called your individual philosophy well...anything...to the exact same effect. I'm not saying you should or should not use the term spirituality. If I were an atheist/materialist I would choose another word because, generally speaking, the word spirituality has obvious supernaturalist/non-materialist connotations inherent in the very make-up of the word itself.

      Spirituality without "spirit" makes about at much sense to me as Christianity without Christ. Sure, anyone can call themselves a Christian but if they don't revere Christ then their Christianity is radically different from the assumed meaning of the term.

      To be fair, whatever one chooses to call themselves and their personal philosophy/aesthetic is their business. I really don't care. The only reason it came up here is because the term was part of a discussion.

      Also, I think people get their feathers too easily ruffled when someone challenges their use of language. It is to be expected that when someone uses a term in a way that violates the commonly understood definition of the term then they will be questioned about it. Especially on an internet discussion board.

      If I call myself the Fairy Princess of Narnia I shouldn't be offended if someone challenges me on it. I should be ready to explain why I consider myself to be a fairy princess when it certainly appears I am not.

      Just because our spirit might be the combination of different chemicals and our life experience up until this point doesn't mean it's any less important. And things pertaining to the spirit would be the things that are about us, about the inner us and who we really are. Thus, an internal philosophy.
      This is where you lose me. You are, of course, free to euphemistically call the chemical soup of neurotransmitters in your brain "spirit." but, like spirituality, the word spirit also carries heavy non-materialist baggage referring usually to an immortal aspect of the Self sometimes called the soul.

      I know a lot of people are going to have their sensitive feathers rubbed the wrong way, because they will feel that I am somehow making light of their interpretations and individual relationships with their believes, but if so, I will address that later.
      I am just curious as to the need to euphemistically use words like "spirituality" and "spirit" when they are probably not the most accurate representation of the ideas your are espousing.

      I like this kind on conversation and if you wish to continue it, I'm game. However, don't for a moment think I am taking any of this personally enough to be "sensitive" about it. You can call yourself the Queen of Sheba for all I care and I'd support that decision on your part.

      However, don't expect me not to ask you why.


      )o( Blessed Be,

      Sundragon
      Last edited by Sundragon; December 9th, 2010, 03:54 PM.
      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

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      • #48
        I can’t help but wonder what makes a valid individual spirituality.

        You're onto a lot of big ideas in this post. I'd have to start with what "valid" could mean in this context.

        Does it mean "true", as in conforming to facts?
        Does it mean "internally consistent" as in a valid mathematical solution?
        Does it mean "conforming to standards" as in a valid result of proper experimental design?

        Difficult term...

        I'd be inclined to say that a valid spirituality is one that meets the spiritual needs of its practitioner.

        I'm an atheist, which means I have no belief in Gods or Goddesses. I see them all as psychological constructs.

        The Gods and Spirits *may be* psychological constructs (that's one model), but if they are, I'm still willing to worship them because I like the results.

        Is that the only difference? More people believed in the Greek Pantheon, so that myth is more acceptable than the fiction about the Cullens?

        Myth and fiction are different things. A fiction is a conscious invention of (usually) a single mind, compiled in a single source. The collected adventures of Sherlock Holmes come to mind.

        A myth is not like that at all. Myths arise organically inside of cultures, usually without any specific author, and without limit as to the actions and stories of the beings involved. By the time a living worshipper learns a myth, it has been filtered through thousands of nervous-systems for uncounted years. It isn't a fiction, any more than a tree is a sculpture just because people make sculptures of trees.

        Thus, I have a preference for spirituality based on myth rather than on fiction, because myth must be deeper and wider than any fiction can be. Tolkein and Lovecraft's gang did a pretty good job of including imitation myth in their fictions, but neither is as rewarding as a cultural mythology.

        Because the message seems to be that you can't criticize someone for mixing already accepted myths however they want. Because it's a healthy and authentic expression of individual spirituality.

        This is actually a debate inside Paganism these days. Is it reasonable or useful (i.e. 'valid') to mix and match elements from disparate cultures? Is it good to pick and choose based on personal preference, or does that just lead to making a system that is an image of yourself, and from which you can learn little?

        Me, I tend to prefer taking a cultural pantheon whole, even (especially) the scary or disgusting parts, and seeing what it has to teach. That said, if a person's spiritual work is meeting their spiritual needs, then it's 'valid' by my definition above. Maybe some people don't need to be challenged and broadened by their spirituality...

        Jedi seems to be very similar to Pantheism., just with a spin.
        The Twilight as a pantheon seems to be just as diverse as a lot of older pantheons.

        No characters about which there is only one version of story is likely to be as deep as a mythic character, about whom the stories vary from village to village, and about whom many stories are told. Remember, when you read 'Greek mythology' you are reading one book full of one version of stories that would have had wide variation in real Pagan religious places. A mythos is not a book of stories, it's a millieu.

        Once again... where do we draw the line of what is and what isn't an authentic spiritual expression?

        Now you've used a very different word. 'Valid' does not equal 'authentic'. Authenticity implies that a thing is actually what it says it is, and therein lies one source of the dispute inside Paganism. If one says one is Pagan, does one have to work to do what ancient Pagans "really did"?

        Now, if you say you're a "Hellenic Pagan", then there could be a standard of culture against which to measure authenticity. But to be a generic modern Pagan?... We barely know what that is, here some 50 years into the reawakening of the Old Ways.

        We could see the phrase another way, I suppose, and ask whether a person's path is an 'authentic' expression of their own spirituality. Really, only the practitioner could answer that...

        In general, when I teach students, I suggest they focus on mythic systems that worked for countless humans over centuries, and try to build a modern practice that benefits from what they learn from those Old Ways. I've known folks who have made working systems out of Tolkein's elvish or the Cthulhu Mythos, but they inevitably must use analogy to 'real' mythic systems to make their thing work. Why not just go to the original systems and skip the romantic modern imitators? But that's just me...

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Charley Brown View Post
          I just want to sparkle in the sunlight.
          You can totally get a body lotion for that.

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

          "Demons have existed [...] for at least as long as the gods, who in many ways they closely resemble.
          The difference is basically the same as that between terrorists and freedom fighters." Terry Pratchett, Eric


          Respect is earned. So is disrespect.

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          • #50
            I'm not one to begrudge whatever a touches a persons soul but twilight... well it's message is not good. I find the thing about spirituality or religions is that they have good intentions, it's about being the best you and helping others. Twilight doesn't even come close.

            As for worshipping a musician, I for one think music can be very spiritual but a musician is human and I just can't see myself worshipping another human being. I mean a person can learn a lesson from knowing what happened to Elvis perhaps make sure they don't travel the same path and perhaps look up to certain aspects of him but worshipping goes beyond that.

            I just don't think any human deserves worship but that's me.
            For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, 'It might have been.'

            John Greenleaf Whittier

            Usually when people are sad, they don't do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.

            Malcolm X

            The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.

            W. M. Lewis


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            • #51
              Originally posted by Charley Brown View Post
              I just want to sparkle in the sunlight.

              On a serious note if the people in question feel that some fool story (modern or ancient) fulfills something in their lives then more power to them.

              It is my position to point at them and laugh.

              My wife is my goddess. She is real, warm, curvy, beautiful and right here.

              This

              FOR THE HORDE!
              "There are many intelligent species in the universe. Some are owned by cats." Anonymous
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              ~you know my motivation, givin my reputation~
              :deviltail

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              • #52
                I get stuck on this acceptable and authentic line of thinking.
                Acceptable and authentic to whom?
                Who cares what another thinks.
                All that matters is whatever your ideals are, that you approve of them!
                If someone truly feels that Barney the Dino is a god or something to be worshiped, believed in, or/and whatever, more power to them! If they approve of their ideal thats all that should matter.

                Its not my place to say what feels real, right, authentic, or acceptable to another nor to judge ideals of the metaphysical even if those ideals started on the side of a cereal box!
                :boing:

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Njorun Alma View Post
                  I can’t help but wonder what makes a valid individual spirituality.

                  I’ve seen so many people say that Christian Pagans should be left alone, that Faery traditions should be left alone, but they can be the first ones out to ridicule more recent spiritual paths such as Jedi, Twilight and the people who might treat Elvis as a god... calling these people sadly deluded fans.

                  My problem with this is that I do not see what it is we're using as a measuring stone for what is an acceptable personal spirituality or not. I'm an atheist, which means I have no belief in Gods or Goddesses. I see them all as psychological constructs.
                  The only difference I see here is the number of followers and how long a mythology has been around.

                  Is that the only difference? More people believed in the Greek Pantheon, so that myth is more acceptable than the fiction about the Cullens?
                  More people believe that Jesus rose from the dead, so the myths about Elvis aren't true because more people believed in the Jesus myth?
                  Or is it because of the age of the myths?
                  That they've been around for so long?

                  I'm extremely fascinated by what is an acceptable spirituality and what is not. Because the message seems to be that you can't criticize someone for mixing already accepted myths however they want. Because it's a healthy and authentic expression of individual spirituality. But if you chose, personally to have "The Cullens" as your personal pantheon, you're deluded and sad?
                  Where do you draw the line?

                  Jedi seems to be very similar to Pantheism., just with a spin.
                  The Twilight as a pantheon seems to be just as diverse as a lot of older pantheons.

                  If you accept one, and demand others accept one, but then you don't accept the other yourself... why is that?

                  And why is it okay for one person to consider "Twilight" an unacceptable expression of spirituality, to make fun of those who do and then turn around and get highly offended if an atheist laughs at their spirituality?

                  Once again... where do we draw the line of what is and what isn't an authentic spiritual expression?
                  Excellent post Njorun Alma! I really am impressed, not because it came from you but that it is coming up period!

                  Okay I don't know about anyone else as I only have a very few minutes so I didn't take the time to read what anyone else said so if I repeat anyone my apologies I am just going to shoot from the heart here on my take.

                  There is and should be no difference. All the old mythologies were at one time current stories.

                  To me a genuine spirituality is one that is based on anything that helps a person get closer to their idea of divinity and spirituality. Now this being said that does not mean I think young kids should be trying to be vampire-like but honestly that could be my own predjudice (sp?) speaking.

                  Living in a fantasy is one thing using current fiction as a tool to help one get closer to their perception of God or divinity is something else. The difference is in believing that Edward Cullen and the gang were anything more than imaginary characters in a book and upholding the ideals and principals that the Cullens stood for (or the werewolves if you are team Jacob. :toofless.

                  This to me is the difference and while most people of say the Jedi faith don't believe that Yoda was anything more than a muppet in real life that doesn't mean his teachings were any less valid. However I think that not allowing Anakin or other young Jedis to have any real emotional attatchments was a huge mistake and that is what ultimately led Anakin to the darkside. My theory on this is because without love, without that very necessary connection to others we lose ourselves. That is my theory anyway.

                  Blessed Be! And really awesome post!

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Njorun Alma View Post
                    Is the question really about intent though, or is it about personal spiritual expression?

                    If someone decides that they wish to follow a spiritual path close to that of the Jedi, is it the intent of the creator of the fiction or the intent of the individual that matters?

                    For me, I don't see that big of a difference. I think all paths are constructed around fiction. If we were to unearth proof that any of the widely accepted Pagan pantheons were in fact just meant as fiction to begin with, would that make the people who worship said pantheons less spiritually authentic?

                    A work of fiction is quite often based on dreams, on ideas and sometimes even on actual humans. Much like I would imagine the myths of old were.

                    I suppose it might be because I am an atheist that the ideas baffle me. I seem to be missing what is okay to make fun of and what isn't. What's okay to deem as invalid and what isn't.

                    There are plenty of holy texts that began as tales designed to express morality, which is at the foundation of a lot plain fictional literature. They also had a good dosage of cultural commentary, just like modern fiction.

                    If I write a piece of fiction with a made up pantheon in it filled of moral stories, is it a spiritual text or is it plain fiction? Are we giving the authors intent the power of deciding what is valid or not?
                    And if we do, why aren't the same rules applied to the mixing and blending of spiritual paths, such as the Christo-Pagan paths?
                    To me it's about the intent of the person. If a person finds philosophical ideals or principles with merit that guide them through their spirituality who am I to deny where that inspiration for their spirituality is derived.

                    I think we are in an era now where we are really beginning to understand how EASY it is to fabricate spirituality to fit our world view and understanding. So we are writing the rules as we go along.

                    I personally find quite a few great ideals in the Star Wars universe. Then again I often rip on George for borrowing from all the cultures of earth to make his world. The parallels can be staggering so am I really buying into something George fabricated or am I just hearing those principles in a format more pleasing to me rather than in an antiquated holy books of ancient cultures?

                    To touch on your statements about why one may be more valid than the other, I tend to think of it coming from a place where the person has to put down anything they perceive as competing with their own ideals as to accept them might invalidate their own beliefs. It's a very black and white mindset vs one with shades of gray. If yours is valid than mine must not be and therefore when you tell me you find spirituality in Twilight and I say Jedi than one must not be true ergo you must be implying that my spirituality is wrong.
                    Last edited by HetHert; January 31st, 2011, 07:43 PM.





                    "Keep away from small people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." --Mark Twain


                    If having a deep disdain for entertaining the cerebrally challenged in politics makes one a bigot than the Queen Bigot am I. :crown:


                    If you search for the laws of harmony, you will find knowledge
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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by RoseKitten View Post
                      I know you and I don't seem to agree on much, but I wanted to comment on this. :weirdsmil 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.
                      I tend to agree with you that if someone refuses to aknowledge that there is a spirit world, dispite evidence to the contrary, he probably does have a bubble of denial (to use your words). For this I would just ask: Is it possible you really did see/hear/experience what you are trying to say was just a dream/haluscination/etc.? If the denial continued by them saying that's not possible, then I would just ask that they ask themselves to explore that question, letting their spirit/soul guide them.
                      I also believe this is a highly personal issue, and each person interprets their spirituality and the things around them differently, usually drawing on their own spirits (souls if you prefer), and their personal life experiences and family teachings:weirdsmil.
                      I will give you an example from my own life.
                      When I was young (about 16 or 17), I had been seeing spirits for about 6 or 7 years, but dared not say anything for fear of being labeled (by my mother) as being "nuts". I just kept my mouth shut, denied it, until one night, a friend took me to his family's home, asked me to go get something from his room for him. I returned (according to him) whiter than a ghost, and feeling sick to my stomach. He let my stomach recover, then went down with me, the same thing happened, he asked me what I was "feeling", I told him "I can't go there, barely pointing to the door. He told me I picked up on the room where (what he previously neglected to tell me) his brother was violently murdered. I shared with him that according to my mother this is not possible:weirdsmil. He shared with me that spirits do exist, and that some people (like me), are very sensitive to them, then asked me to at least consider the possibility:uhhuhuh:. Strange things like this have happened to me all my life, and continue to this day:uhhuhuh:. I actually have learned to admit to my spiritual side of me, even if it isn't the same path as others around me might be on.
                      Blessings

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Circe3 View Post
                        I'm not one to begrudge whatever a touches a persons soul but twilight... well it's message is not good. I find the thing about spirituality or religions is that they have good intentions, it's about being the best you and helping others. Twilight doesn't even come close.

                        As for worshipping a musician, I for one think music can be very spiritual but a musician is human and I just can't see myself worshipping another human being. I mean a person can learn a lesson from knowing what happened to Elvis perhaps make sure they don't travel the same path and perhaps look up to certain aspects of him but worshipping goes beyond that.

                        I just don't think any human deserves worship but that's me.
                        I'd have to respectfully disagree with that. The Romans were pretty good at making their Emperors into minor gods, and the Greeks had Herakles and Perseus. It did happen historicly, and I think it's legitamate in that kind of context. Perhaps Elvis is the "numen" of Rock n Roll? Or for me, as a trek fan, I could totally see Roddenberry as the "numen" of science fiction. More like a catholic saint, not really a "god" in the sense of Jove or Odin or Shiva. Of course, taken to the logical extreme, that would technically make Ronald Reagan the "numen" of modern American Neoconservatism. I don't have a problem with that, but YMMV.

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                        • #57
                          If you have to name it you ain't got it.

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Aeon Flux 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.
                            this is something i have very strong feelings and opinions about. to me, it's like saying reality isn't real. you've never experienced deity? you've never had a god visitation? path i walk, the whole experience is intertwined with getting to know our gods - what we call "building rapport, and rapport doesn't happen without two-way communication.

                            saying that, i did have a student once who was convinced that the gods were living right there with her in her very own bedroom; apparently they all had daily and nightly "classes" together. how she had become so important to them that they "didn't need" to hang out (as it were) with any of the rest of us is anybody's guess. needless to say, she didn't last with us long. :snort:

                            Originally posted by Sundragon View Post
                            practicing magicians hear and see things that a materialist wouldn't ever allow for in their philosophy.
                            can confirm.

                            Originally posted by Sundragon View Post
                            Thankfully modern psychology allows for spiritual experiences within the context of religious/spiritual belief so long as such experiences, visions, voices, etc. do not impinge upon the experiencer's life in a negative fashion.
                            yes, and i'm very picky about who i allow to handle my psychiatric issues. if they have any problems with my religious practices whatsoever or even hint that they do, i'm out the door.


                            Last edited by Mairwen; May 16th, 2019, 10:35 PM.
                            ~ Mairwen

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Aeon Flux View Post
                              But if you're walking down the street and "God" talks to you, I highly doubt that's a good sign.
                              well, that depends ...

                              ~ Mairwen

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                              • #60
                                Originally posted by Sundragon View Post
                                We seek gnosis...we seek to know, not merely believe.
                                a very wise man once told me - believe nothing. either you know a thing or you don't

                                ~ Mairwen

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