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A Need To Join.


Moonsmith
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My 'need to join', combined with my being such an "oddball" and never fitting into any group of any description, had me join the Valley in the first place, and again returning now. 🙂 

Up until quite recently I was a sucker for wanting to "belong" ... for having a perfect description/label for who I am and what it is that I am doing ... and for being part of a group of people exactly like me/on the same path ... Obviously that's a recipe for failure.

It took me a long time to a) find my path, to b) be able to let go of too tight descriptions (moving ever so slowly towards the 'pathless path' - scary as that currently appears to me), and c) to accept that I probably won't encounter a great many people (in bodies) who walk this path too, respectively that it's not very likely that I will have a 'spiritual' community (satsang), and d) realise that all of this is just fine 🙂 

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We have two newcomers to our moot and I am pondering what advice to give.  The rest of us are pretty established in our various beliefs; we've joined groups in the past and sometimes still go back and celebrate with them.  We have come out the other side of the "belonging" experience.   We now get on with the job and leave the theatre behind each in their own way.  We are all different.  It doesn't help a newcomer.

but

We have  DONE the group thing.

I'm not in the business of telling anyone what they should do or who they should join but I'd be happier if they did join a group that was appropriate for them, something from which they could pick pockets and keep the useful stuff before graduating to self reliance.

Edited by Moonsmith
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The groups we leave behind are probably the more useful to us.  I would be a touch concerned about getting comfortable and institutionalised.

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2 hours ago, Ellinas said:

I would be a touch concerned about getting comfortable and institutionalised.

Very much agree.  The antidote is to question everything and keep on asking.

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When I was younger I was much more concerned about belonging to a group and doing the "right" things and getting my beliefs "right".  I went through quite a loremastery stage, by which I mean if it ain't in the Eddas you don't do it, kind of thing.  Then I reacted and started challenging anything and everything.

Nowadays my beliefs are much more individual and I don't give a tuppenny dam if anyone agrees with me or not.  Whether it's right for me is what works.  

 

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Thank you for your replies, that was all really useful! So far I've been reading a lot, gathering a reading list, and chatting with people. I've let my mind wander around all of the various subjects and I've worked out a few bits that I'd like to try. I've decided to do a few bits of Mabon/the upcoming equinox that appeal to me. Not sure why as yet, but it feels right. I've also found a couple of groups I'll be joining before the end of the month to see what they're up to and have a chat with like minded people.

So far I feel quite relaxed, but also really excited and very good! But then, I know that not everyone will do things in the same way...

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life is a long never ending lesson, if you don't do it, you aint going to learn. you are told alcohol is bad as a yoof and as a teenager you still go out and drink and do silly things, but, you learn some important lessons, possibly acquiring a traffic cone on the way. you are told all sorts of things, but the only way to find out is to go and find out for yourself.

groups have a number of functions besides the dangers of grand high poobahs and such like, they can be meeting places, they can be places where different viewpoints and conflict give rise to thought, they can be somewhere thought occurs, the advice that is best is don't stop thinking, question your thoughts and perceptions and anything anyone tells you, and a hatpin is always usefull.

groups also have the function of being somewhere for people to go to socialise, to chat to get out and about, the youth of this decade are different from that of the last and the one before etc, they can also teach old dogs new tricks and show them new perceptions, as well as a number of other things, advice, have a chat with them and see who they are and where you think a good fit would be, there are many groups, just warn em about the culty stuff the grand high poobahs and such, tell em to think for themselves and they will find their own way.

personally im a bit on the misanthropic side, but that's just me, exploration is the joy of life, sometimes you discover treasures, sometimes you discover someones cat has done its wotsits in your cornflakes, the only way to discover which is to go out and explore.

 

Edited by Jon
spelling, spellus repairus
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  • 7 months later...
On 11/25/2016 at 2:41 PM, Moonsmith said:

I learned that my personal authority stands with that of any other text, tradition or person living, dead or returned from same.

 

On 11/25/2016 at 2:41 PM, Moonsmith said:

From both [paganism and formal religion] I learned the power of my own thoughts. I chose my own way. I have literally become a heretic but could I have done so without both those experiences?

Hi Moonsmith, given the latest thread in Thrill of the Dark Side and your comment that we are all, as individuals, a model of society being  conditioned as we are as regards fundamental ideas like virtue, are your statements above compromised at all by that? In either event can you relate the above comments to the lack of freedom to choose our own thinking that you describe in the Dark Side thread?

On 11/25/2016 at 2:41 PM, Moonsmith said:

My experience of a single formal religion and of a narrow view of Paganism have taught me many useful things from which to construct my own practical Paganism.

[i say "narrow view" on the basis that Paganism is so idiosyncratic that a wide view in depth is probably impossible]

I agree that the content of spirituality and the experiences that go with those are so wide in scope as the variety of paths out there shows. Great to be able to touch upon some of them even if lack of time disallows in depth study 😉

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4 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

In either event can you relate the above comments to the lack of freedom to choose our own thinking that you describe in the Dark Side thread?

Of course!

The dark side thread refers to the very general concepts of good and evil, light and dark held by "people" [unspecified].  We are agreed in that thread that these concepts are subjective and vary with cultures and contexts.

I doubt whether many individuals consciously act in ways that they believe to be evil.  They will always rationalise and see justice in their actions. Why should they review their thinking?   Societies look across borders and sometimes perceive evil in those who are not of their kind; as might those looking back.  In general individuals in those societies are neither free nor motivated to look beyond their learned thinking for all the real and perceived reasons that we have discussed..  To do so might even be dangerous.

 

This thread refers to my thinking which has been jolted out of its complacency by accident and by association with other societies and changed in ways permitted by my own.  This post was my own thinking and advice to an individual.  Yes, circumstance and liberalism coupled with inclination  may allow a few of us the luxury of introspection.  Even in a liberal society most of us are far too busy for that. 

Edited by Moonsmith
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Hi Moonsmith,

As our views on good and evil etc are subjective and speaking for our own selves (I've been writing about my own view of these matters only rather than speaking on behalf of society in general) do you include yourself in the statement that you made that people are not free to review their thinking about general concepts like good and evil?. If so doesn't this contradict what you're saying about learning the power of your own thoughts, choosing your own way?

Also if you have become heretical and that is acceptable to our society why do you not see reviewing your ideas of good and evil to be acceptable to society?

As regards opportunity and motivation to do this sort of work - yes I think it is serious spiritual work but then there are many people who have put thousands of hours into their spiritual practice. We spend time doing what we need and want to do. That is a given. 

Each of us can ask ourselves whether we can spare some time each day to do some introspection. Why would they? That is for each us to answer not me on anyone else's behalf. If people are happy with their situation then that's ok.

 

Edited by Earthdragon
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  • Topics

  • Posts

    • Roundtuit
      Thank you.  Yes, I'm starting to think it's the journey that matters.   What a gorgeous image!  I'd love to get back to the fells, there's something new around very corner there.    
    • Stonehugger
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    • Ellinas
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    • Moonsmith
      Hi, Welcome.  While I rarely go to bed before three am, I am also in the habit of switching off my phone between uses.  This device is primarily outgoing.  Many of us have been Christians at some point in our histories.  Experiences vary considerably.  I was heavily involved but just lapsed.  No issues or problems. I know a lot of Pagans who have switched between different belief sets, pagan and non pagan over the years.  They have a tendency to carry over elements from each crossroads they come to.  My own beliefs have been evolving for decades.  I don’t suppose that they will change much more but if anyone gives serious thought to their beliefs there must always be the risk of a new realisation.  Don’t take any notice of what other people say, just be sure that whatever you believe is what you really believe.    There is no top to that mountain.  The road goes ever on. Take any path that leads in a direction that want to go.  Don’t worry about the destination.
    • Roundtuit
      Hi!  Welcome to my self-absorbed drivel. I don't quite know where to start about this, but after years of trying to be a Christian, I'm exploring being a Pagan.  Actually, I'd go as far as to say I am one, and was before in my late teens and early twenties.  I grew up in an Evangelical household and my parents are now Pentecostal deacons.  I started to question my faith from an early age, and later started to practice Wicca and study legends and folk customs.  I had some health problems that made me a lot more dependent on family.  I don't see any reason to ever let my parents or other family members know about my beliefs as that would be devastating for them, but they ask about church and my spiritual life every time I see them.  In my mid twenties I started to think that I had to compromise with my parents over my beliefs if they were ever to accept other life choices I made.  I have had relationships they wouldn't accept and didn't want to alienate myself from them even further.  I wanted to be pragmatic.  There was truth in virtually every belief system so I might as well re-adopt Christianity, find a progressive church and live as good a life as I could like that.  So I did that for years, as a secretly pantheistic Christian who went to a church that worshipped God using male, female and gender-neutral pronouns and lived what most people would describe as a secular life outside of church.  I'd left Christianity because so much harm was done in the name of a set of beliefs.  Then I came back because I didn't want to cause harm to my parents in the name of beliefs, religion or the lack of it.  How people are treated should always come first. Then aged 43, in January during the lockdown, I went 'pop'.  It was like I'd been getting more and more resentful and thirsting after Earth-based spirituality.  It was a need and I'm not sure it can be denied because I need to feel alive.  I've been studying various pagan traditions ever since and have taken a break from church (my vicar knows all of this and is great about it).  Not attending church is unacceptable in my family.  I feel so behind though.  Most people I meet or come across on social media has years of experience and say they've been practicing since they were teenagers.  I once heard someone say that yes, there are many paths up the same mountain but if you keep changing paths you never reach the top.  Do you agree, or not? Is anyone else here a new older pagan?  Is it at all common?  
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