A mind once expanded can never go back to its original size.
Many Wiccans believe that their faith embraces "maybe" logic. "Maybe" logic acknowledges the fallibility and relativity of perception, and tends to approach information and observations with questions, probabilities, and multiple perspectives. It tends to deny the existence of absolute truths.
Could our lack of theoretical insight into some of the most basic questions in biology in general, and consciousness in particular, be related to us having missed a third aspect of reality, which upon discovery will be seen to have always been there, as ordinary as space and time, but so far somehow overlooked in scientific descriptions?
"Our models of 'reality' are very small and tidy. The universe of experience is huge and untidy. No model can ever include all of the huge untidiness perceived by your uncensored consciousness ... The only 'realities' (plural) that we actually experience and can talk meaningfully about are perceived realities, experienced realities, existential realities realities involving ourselves as editors and they are all relative to the observer, fluctuating, evolving, capable of being magnified and enriched, moving from low resolution to hi-fi, and do not fit together like the pieces of a jig-saw puzzle upon one another by contrast, like the paintings in a large museum, or the different symphonic styles of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Mahler."
Robert Anton Wilson
Modern physics teaches us that there is more to truth than meets the eye; or than meets the all too limited human mind, evolved as it was to cope with medium-sized objects moving at medium speeds through medium distances in Africa.
When we try to pick out something by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
Birth and death are not opposites, but different aspects of the same thing: CHANGE. Each marks the end of an old phase and the beginning of a new phase. These are the gates of Becoming and Unbecoming, through which the path of Transformation runs a perpetual spiral. All that is must pass this way. Nothing remains the same, yet nothing is ever truly lost or destroyed. Everything changes except change itself.
Irreverence allows all ideas to be called into question, and prevents them from hardening into rigid dogmas. Any religion is capable of falling into institutional rigidity and dogmatism. However, sometimes it is better to let the dogma harden a little before dealing with it. It's easier to scoop up that way.
Our inner household is a home where uninvited guests appear. Because we're hospitable, we let them all in. Then we find that they smash the furniture, break the windows, and soil the carpet. But instead of closing the door and not letting them in again ... the next day we let them come back in. Our inner household is besieged by enemies. They create havoc, and we lack inner peace and harmony, and we wonder why. We try to find an external reason such as a bad job or a bad marriage or bad health. Everybody has a different list, but they all have one thing in common: none of them is real. Our real problem is that our internal household isn't in order. Our external household can never run smoothly until our internal household is in good shape.
Q: What's the difference between a Jehovah's Witness and a Wiccan?
A: A Wiccan has three more watchtowers.
Patriarchal Europeans believed that god was transcendent and the earth was fallen from grace. Pagans believe that their bodies and the earth are sacred, and that neither one requires conquest or denial.
Originally, in ancient mythology, witches were depicted as beautiful, alluring creatures. How did it come about that they are now shown as ugly, wart-faced hags? Simple: As society became more and more patriarchal, the prospect of a powerful woman became frightening to those who were in power. They had to depict a female witch as something repulsive.
"Once you realize that the universe is made up of processes, not things, you are really on a roll, for what makes life truly interesting are the connections between events."
Silver RavenWolf, Solitary Witch: the Ultimate Book of Shadows for the New Generation (2003)
"Religious experiences which are as real as life to some may be incomprehensible to others."
William O. Douglas, U.S. vs. Ballard (1942)
Present-day occult orthodoxy is childishly simple and childishly right about the hidden reality, much as the Greek atomists were "right" about the structure of matter.
Magick is the art of living a creative life that is graced with divine presence. It isn't something one does TO the universe; it is something one does WITH the universe.
"I, Isis, am all that has been, that is, or shall be; no mortal man has ever unveiled me. The fruit which I have brought forth is the sun."
Isis (well-known Goddess), from an inscription in one of her ancient temples
"I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong. If we will only allow that, as we progress, we remain unsure, we will leave opportunities for alternatives. We will not become enthusiastic for the fact, the knowledge, the absolute truth of the day, but will always remain uncertain ... In order to make progress, one must leave the door to the unknown ajar."
Do not follow a path simply because it is a well-worn path. On the other hand, do not reject the conventional path merely because it is conventional; if you do, you will very likely create a new convention, and trap yourself within it.
"The purpose of ritual is to change the mind of the human being. It's a sacred drama in which you are the audience as well as the participant, and the purpose of it is to activate the parts of the mind that are not activated by everyday activity ... 'Magic' becomes the development of techniques that allow communication with hidden portions of the self, and with hidden portions of all other islands in this 'psychic sea.'"
If we wish to understand the nature of the universe, we have an inner hidden advantage: we ourselves are small portions of the universe, and we carry the answer within us.
Some think they know it. Some think they don't know it. Some are just being it.
"I studied all the traditional philosophies, and eventually began to form my own philosophy. I came to the realization that one cannot merely adopt another person's philosophy; one must learn about oneself and then create his own way of life. The most important thing in the world is the individual, and each individual must have knowledge of himself before he can properly relate to others in a balanced way. I want the Eight of Cups ('a journey of self-discovery') to exemplify my life."
Someday it will all make no sense whatsoever.
No belief should be held so strongly that it can't be abandoned when it's shown to be false.
"I would never die for my beliefs, because I might be wrong."
Magick is natural. It is a harmonious movement of energies to create a needed change. If you wish to practice magick, you should stop thinking of it as being paranormal or supernatural.
Figure out what you care about. Your life isn't some god's, it isn't some priest's, it's yours - you get to decide what's right for you. Grow up and be responsible for yourself. How? Here's a hint: Decide what sorts of people you'd like to see more of in the world ... then become one of them.
We should neither believe nor disbelieve what we hear or read, but try it out ourselves.
Mindfulness does not evaluate or judge. It merely pays full attention.
When you have decided on a certain pattern, things that don't fit into it are probably trying to tell you something.
All knowledge is subject to revision. That's what we call LEARNING.
"Lord Sock Monkey was not present to give his report, nor did anyone know of his whereabouts. We hope there has been no foul play."
Covenant of the Goddess newsletter (Samhain 2004), Vol. 29, #8, page 27 (no, I did NOT make this up)
"Real magick is not merely an assortment of skills and techniques. It's more like an open-minded attitude, a blend of interest and dedication which allows each honest mage to observe, to learn, to adapt, and to invent unique ways of changing identity and reality from within."
"Our physical senses and our embodied brains allow us to perceive only a small fraction of reality. We cannot see microbes or untraviolet light, for example. We can hear only a small range of sounds. When we try to describe the otherworld of energies and spirits, we are limited not only by our bodily constraints but by the expectations, assumptions, and language patterns ingrained in us by the culture we were raised in."
The Pagan Book of Living and Dying by Starhawk (Harper Books, San Francisco) 1997
"Magicians, and their progeny, the scientists, have always taken themselves and their subject in an orderly and sober manner, thereby disregarding an essential metaphysical balance. When magicians learn to approach philosophy as a malleable art instead of an immutable Truth, and learn to appreciate the absurdity of man's endeavors, then they will be able to pursue their art with a lighter heart, and perhaps gain a clearer understanding of it, and therefore gain more effective magic. CHAOS IS ENERGY." from Principia Discordia
There is a difference between one who knows and one who practices. The one who knows may understand the words and concepts, but the one who practices is becoming his own truth. Words are a utilitarian means of communication, and they convey ideas, but words cannot completely reveal the truth; only personal experience can.
The true nature of Deity is beyond all words, images, and concepts.
In the light I see
In the dark I am blind
In the world I walk
In the circle ... I fly.
"In a reality made of energy, thoughts may literally be things. What if it was intended that we create our own realities after death?"
It saddens me that some modern witches insist on working skyclad, but as a consequence of having taken off all their clothes they have to "wear" a building! Surely it is better in the eyes of the Mother to wear comfortable clothing but be outdoors in the wind and the moonlight.
I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honor the place in you of love, of light, of truth, of peace. I honor that place in you where if you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us.
"[The ancients] could communicate with the gods in two ways. First, it was (and is) possible to go into a trance and visit the gods in their celestial retreats, as the great shamans have always done. More easily, and less dangerously, they could let the gods speak through code, that is, divination, using dice, entrails, bird patterns, yarrow sticks, cards."
Rachel Pollack, Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom
If we take water from the ocean, the small quantity of water becomes a separate entity. It is not an ocean, but it is the same, in essence, as the ocean.
Death is nothing more than the singer taking a breath.
Who then is the Guide, the Giver, the Guardian?
Look first to YOURSELF, O Seeker. Of all beings all the creatures, all the gods and goddesses, all the spirits and angels YOU YOURSELF are the one creature, the one creator, that you know (beyond all doubt) that you can truly trust.
In all your spiritual journeys, never forget this.
Time does not count itself.
"If you have no doubt, you are not sane."
Where there is great doubt, there can be great awakening; where there is small doubt, there can be only small awakening; where there is no doubt, there can be no awakening.
Do not treat your own death as an enemy.
If God is watching us, the least we can do is be entertaining.
Ritual is not the path. It is a reminder that there is a path.
Some people are afraid of the darkness. Others are afraid to leave it.
Magick can't just be written. It has to be experienced.
My life is but a weaving between the Lady and me.
The things that make life worth living cannot be thought. They must be felt.
"Just because something is old does not make it better, nor does it automatically make it viable in our lives. Thousands of years ago maybe there was a peaceful matriarchy, but unless it had pizza delivery and iPods, I'd rather stay in a century where I can vote."
"Yet rather than calling the earliest religions, which embraced such an open acceptance of all human sexuality, 'fertility cults,' we might consider the religions of today as strange in that they seem to associate shame and even sin with the very process of conceiving new human life. Perhaps centuries from now scholars and historians will be classifying them as 'sterility cults.'"
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman
"I believe the faces of the gods are aspects of something that is everywhere and nowhere, in the world and beyond it, faceless yet having every possible face."