I've had this blogspot account since about January, I believe. I created it in order to subscribe to a couple of blogs some friends sent to me. In reading those blogs, and upon the suggestion of a couple of those friends, I've decided that perhaps it's time for me to give a hand at a blog for spiritual purposes. At one point, I had intended that for Xanga, but I'm not much of a fan of Xanga anymore, as there seems to be too much spam and too many teenagers the few times since 2007 that I have logged in there. So then I proposed that my livejournal blog be a "spiritual diary" of sorts, but it evolved into a place to rant about things and people that I didn't/don't want to make easily read by everyone who is on facebook and myspace. So here I am, creating a new blog specifically for spiritual purposes. Spiritual matters tend to get pushed aside when life gets busy - and boy, has my life been busy these last few months, balancing two jobs and school! Apparently, I didn't balance them all that well though, as evidenced by my being put on academic probation for having a 2.9 GPA(3.0 is required to not get expelled), and the class I did the worst in was an online class at that. I quit one job, and in less than a week I will be officially part-time/flex at the other. Thank God, because we're getting some crazies there! But I digress. Perhaps this blog will help me maintain some sort of 'spiritual focus', some sort of bigger picture during the crazy times when I feel like I'm getting stuck in the problems of the day. And isn't that, after all, what spirituality is? Finding some kind of divine connection, some sort of hand to hold onto when life gets tough, to help the seeker feel as though it will all be okay in the end?
I think, in the end, I've always been a Gnostic Druid. Like many who find their spiritual path, rather than simply being raised into it, when I finally took the time to explore it, I realized I had believed it most of my life, I just didn't have the exposure or words to realize it.
In early Christianity, there were many sects: Jewish Christians, Gnostic Christians, and what would later become "orthodox" or "mainstream" Christianity. From my understanding, most of them simply referred to themselves as "Christian" - labels such as "Gnostic" were put on them later by academics for differentiation. The books that made it in the canon via the Council of Nicea did so partly because those were the ones most widely circulated at the time, and therefore already the "most popular".
Gnostics, although still Christian, held some very different beliefs from the "orthodox". For example, early Christians(and I assume most Christians today) view(ed) that they worship the same God as the Jews. Gnostics believed there were two different "gods"... the Demiurge, which created the physical world and is evil(and was equated with the Jewish YHWH), and an Unknowable Supreme Being of sorts. To the Gnostics, Christ came not from the Demiurge, but the Unknowable Being, to liberate us from the physical world, which could be done by recognizing our spiritual selves and escaping the physical world. Likewise, the serpent is seen as another Christ-figure, for making us aware of the limitations of the physical world and showing us our greater spiritual selves. This is just a very brief overview, as Gnostic mythology is very complex and diverse.
It should be noted that while ancient Gnostics were very ascetic and viewed the physical world/Demiurge as downright evil, most modern-day (neo)Gnostics do not believe as such, seeing the physical world as more of a "learning place" to prepare us for union with "God". Most of us consider ourselves just as much Christian as any other Christian, the main differences being that we are typically more moderate/liberal, believe in the possibility of reincarnation, view much of the Bible as metaphorical rather than literal, many(including myself) have a bit of a Buddhist flavor in our thinking, and we incorporate Gnostic writings into our spiritual practices in conjunction with/instead of the canonized Scripture - my current scriptures of choice are The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible with Apocrypha and Deuterocanonical books not included in most Protestant Bibles; and The Other Bible, which holds a collection of Gnostic(Christian and Pagan)Gospels, Jewish Pseudepigrapha, Dead Sea Scrolls texts, and Kabbalistic writings. My daily prayers involve a combination of the aforementioned scriptures, structured within the liturgical prayers from Celtic Daily Prayer.
Druidry is another subject altogether. I discovered it in my brief time with Paganism. It, obviously, is very nature centered, and follows the cycles of nature. While I'm still not as "in touch" with nature as I would like to be, I am more so because of this path. I've always felt connected to nature in some way. I just did not have the means, courage, or knowledge to strengthen it. While I always felt more connected to what we call "God" in nature, I never was exposed to anything that would open my eyes to the fact that God could be worshipped in nature, as part of nature, and through nature. Paganism, and ultimately Druidry, opened my eyes to that fact. Yes, like witchcraft, there is use of spells and ritual, and as such, it holds a bit of stigma and is seen with a more skeptical eye than most other spiritual paths. But,even if only psychological(and ultimately *any* faith or spiritual practice can be argued as solely psychological), the things I have tried have worked well for me, and so, for the most part, I am a believer. Unlike witchcraft, however, there is less emphasis on those spells, and more emphasis on the connection with nature. Once I finish school for my career goals, I plan on putting more effort into the Druidic practices and lessons found in The Ancient Order of Druids of America, including learning more about local wildlife and plantlife. In the meantime, I content myself with as many beach trips as possible(I'm definitely a water-based person, it seems) and spending at least a little bit of time outside each week, weather permitting.
Perhaps it's a bit New Agey, a bit weird. But I've always been weird. And I'm finally in a place in my life where I'm okay with that. I close this admittedly long, link-filled post with these words from The Gospel of Thomas, which is one of my favorites, and one I feel represents well the sum of my beliefs:
"Jesus said, 'It is I who am the light which is above them all. It is I who am the all. From me did the all come forth, and unto me did the all extend. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.' "
- Gospel of Thomas, 77
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