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Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 03/25/19 in Posts

  1. 3 points
    What do I get out of it...? Principally, freedom. Freedom to think, to experience, to go my own way and to stick up two fingers and the doctrinal "we know better than you and you must agree with us" types. Been a part of that. Never underestimate the value of freedom. Also, a sense of mystery. I don't mean in some sort of "ooh - I'm so occult and strange..." way. Rather, it gives the latitude for me to explore my own mind, psyche, whatever you want to call it, whether logically, emotionally or meditatively, and to seek to synthesise these.
  2. 1 point
    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.
  3. 1 point
    Yay - well done! Looking forward to hearing it!
  4. 1 point
    I just wanted to quote this again for any newbies/oldies who hadn't seen it. 12 years since the original query was posted, and yet I still see it debated within some of the Facebook groups I'm a part of.
  5. 1 point
    *reviving* It's not silly, fluffy, or dumb. I think it is very rare to find anyone who hasn't at least once doubted themselves, overthought a situation, or considered taking a side-step elsewhere to see where it leads. Life involves a lot of curiosity and experimentation. I think the one piece of advice I would share would be to follow and learn about what is intriguing you at the time. You don't have to be frozen by your past, nor do you have to think about a "final" destination. Be genuine, but also be honest in your experiences - do things because you want/feel a need to, not because someone "expects" it of you or tells you that it must be done that. exact. way. or. else. As for the gods being perfect... Regardless of whether you see them as literal or metaphorical, I think they make mistakes like the rest of us. Some are just less honest about it.
  6. 1 point
    Trust yourself MC. I am not at all sure that turning to the internrt will bypass the BS 🙂 Here in the Valley we are reasonably measured but we aren't "right". The following is not a set of instructions, it is a description as to how I, a complete stranger to you, goes about it. Don't work hard at it. The most important thing is living: ordinary, mundane, routine living. While you do that let your mind think. Don't try and channel it, just think to yourself. Think about what you really believe. Don't argue with yourself, just let the thoughts flow through your mind as you peel spuds and vac the rug. Play with ideas without commitment. Take time. After a while you will come to understand what you really believe and what you want to do about it. It may be very different from what your education told you. No one else has ever been where you are going. Their backgrounds, ways of thinking and potential are different from yours. I would advise not to decide upon a label or join a group too soon. We suspect that the majority of Pagans are solitary and without a specific label - they are simply what they are [but we can't know that]. Of course reading here in the Valley and elsewhere, listening to others, asking them questions can all go into the mincer of your thinking but I would suggest that you swallow nothing whole. Some of the thoughts that you read might resonate, a hell of a lot will end up on the midden. Once that is eventually settling in your mind THEN MAYBE it's time to see if others might be thinking as you do - It will never be the same but it might be sufficiently similar for you to enjoy and contribute to a group. [I mean a specific group 🙂 Here in the valley you can think whatever you want - it is a great sounding board] Or not. I didn't for thirty years. I originally wrote "once that is settled" but it probably never really will be completely settled.
  7. 1 point
    When I wrote "What you believe is what you do"; I meant it in the context of the advice that we tend to give here in the valley. = If you are wondering what to do then do what you believe. Emphasis on YOU. 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] From religion I learned the power of blind faith, the function of space, sound, light, movement and regalia, the function of theatre and the necessity for a reasonable level of oration. I learned not to fear being highly visible as I functioned before large groups. I learned the power of ritual and the importance of doing it well. I also learned that apparently authoritative statements are backed by varying degrees of authority, knowledge or reference right down to nil even when delivered by high ranking, well paid and respected members of the clergy. My scientific learning taught me that sermons can be completely made up. I lapsed. I learned that my personal authority stands with that of any other text, tradition or person living, dead or returned from same. I managed. When I found Paganism I was sufficiently reluctant to join that I "tagged along" with the Earthworks tribe for three years before "joining". I learned that Paganism had much to learn from the experience, psychology and professionalism of formal religion and that formal religion had much to learn about the psychology and individual & shared perception found in Paganism.[uPG and SPG]. I learned exactly the same lessons from both about sermons, talks, literature, stories, legends, sources and lack of them. I learned that neither had it "right" as far as I was concerned. I learned that both are "right" for innumerable others. From both 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? I very often wonder where I would be and what I might believe without those two experiences? I often examine the validity of my belief against this history. What would I be doing now if I had come to the valley and asked "What is my path?".
  8. 1 point
    It's not ALL mine! You beat me to that one. I was going to ask just how many branflakes you'd been eating... If we give the passers-through the confidence to go their own way rejoicing, all to the good. Have we not then fulfilled a rather important purpose? If they find the need or maturity to return in due course, good. But they owe us nothing, so if they do not, what's the problem? I do think we should be a little careful about how we talk about shallowness elsewhere, however. Yes, it exists, and bullshit should be called out where it is advanced. But there are other sites that do manage - or, at least, have in the past - managed to integrate madcap humour with sensible discussion. The Valley does not have the monopoly, just its' own style. And, in the end, we are all in the process of growing - perhaps, even, of growing up. We, each of us, need to be careful not to belittle those who are "behind" us, so to speak - just as we need to realize we are likely to meet, at some point, someone who is "ahead" of us. Encouragement where it is appropriate - confrontation where it is necessary, I suppose.
  9. 1 point
    There is so much stuff on the internet - much is just plain rubbish and even more is Moonsmith's bullshit ... it is hard to know what to bother with ... what to think upon ... Here in The Valley, whilst we do have fun, it is also a place for quite serious discussion and contributors trust their readers and air their views accordingly with only the very occasional spat :) That is not what happens on most pagan sites! It may well be that newcomers, with little or no knowledge, find the lighter stuff on the internet in general, more enticing than serious discussion - that is getting a bit near to a sweeping generalisation which I abhor but ... those that stay and join in the discussions, are the core of The Valley membership and I for one, value each one greatly! Maybe we all have to start with the lightweight stuff - or come from some other religious background with which we are disenchanted - in order to start to chime with pagan ideas and beliefs. When I first discovered a sort of label for things that had lurked in my mind and thinking since I was a child, I was astounded - and so many newcomers here say similar things! If The Valley and those of us in it, provide even just a starting place for folk seeking paganism to bring to their life's journey (path), then that is good enough. If those fold stay a while and contribute as they learn ... all the better!
  10. 1 point
    Right, I'll try to get my head round this, but there is a danger I'm misinterpreting you. I'm not saying that authenticity is dependent on consistency - merely upon honest self appraisal. A person who is spiritually "authentic" may be shown to be inconsistent and, therefore, mistaken. His or her reaction to that revelation will indicate whether he or she is "authentic". In my view the absence of doctrinal consistency between umpteen denominations suggests that there is, indeed, no "authentic" Christianity - or at least, none that is identifiable. That's not the same thing as saying there are no authentic Christians. Spirituality is - or should be - always personal, even within a framework that seeks some sort of orthodoxy. That's right. Just blame the poor old Hellene... Nope! That's Honest or even [i find] Integrous! Unless authentic spirituality is a special case of authenticity then: Oxford English Dictionary: 1. Of undisputed origin and not a copy, genuine. ..... made or done in the traditional or original way, or in a way that faithfully resembles an original. And 2. Based upon facts; accurate or reliable. I suggest that we don't pursue #2 regarding spirituality otherwise we will be attempting "spiritual truth" and that might get hairy. So applying this to the OP an Authentic Teaching or an Authentic Teaching Group might be expected to have have some original source, document, history, icon or recorded philosophy whose provenance is demonstrable. That each learner will create their own interpretation of such is inevitable. "The greatest illusion of the teacher is the belief that what is taught is what is learned" Boots and Reynolds. I'll post the reference when I can remember where it is. This has a significance where learning is passed from a teacher who was a learner and where the source is elusive. Up to a point, but I think "authentic" can only be used as a term of art with a fairly specific meaning in this context. The problem is that my spirituality is personal to me, as yours is to you. Whatever the sources and inspiration, we each establish our own "authenticity" not by following a tradition but by synthesizing the ideas and making them our own. In fact, I would say that, in spiritual terms, authenticity is the very opposite of following the tradition and the herd mentality; that results in a copy of the beliefs of others, which makes the individual the very opposite of "authentic". The problem is that spirituality is, by its' nature, subjective. It is difficult, therefore, to found it upon "facts". "Made in a traditional way" works for Melton Mowbray pork pies; I'm not sure that it works for a belief system which, in terms of its' relationship to the past, can only ever be an interpretation of what has gone before, and if too restricted in the interpretation, makes the individual a a rather unimaginative copy of what has been observed in the past with no personal depth or understanding. The dictionary definition would make the "authentic" teacher the one who steadfastly refuses to think beyond the surface. If that is what it means, then I'd rather avoid the authentic. So, I would return to the idea that those who are "authentic" in their spirituality are those who are constantly re-examining their beliefs, ideas, experiences etc and are prepared to act upon their ever changing conclusions. I think...
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