Why do we need to be spiritual, anyway? And, what the heck does that mean, in the first place?

Like many other Pagans, I have come to my own interpretation of what spirituality is. Over time, I’ve come to my particular version of a spiritual pathway over time. I’ve collected aspects, ideas from different systems that I’ve come across…I’ve tried them out, played with them in my head, discarded what didn’t work for me, modified others until they felt right for me.  Even if we don’t start off as Eclectic, it seems that most of us end that way.

I don’t believe in a “God” with a personality. Divine dictate doesn’t make sense to me. Whatever reality is, I don’t relate to the idea that there is any higher being which is making judgements on how we live our human life. What doesn’t fit in with my logic is that if we were created to follow certain rules and regulations, why were we created WITHOUT the desire or inclination to do so? We were created flawed, in that case (disobedient children)….and then being punished by the Being that created us as flawed.

For many people, being “spiritual” is the same thing as being religious. This means that they follow the rules of their tradition–Christian or otherwise–and attend or perform rituals on an appointed timeline. When we are introduced to any particular religion, we often follow it because we accept that it is the correct thing to do. Other times, we have a fear of punishment, either from the presiding deity (“God”) or social repercussions from the surrounding public. In the viewpoint of the magician, we construct a thoughtform that we consider “God” from the descriptions of our families and our churches. We come to expect God to behave a certain way….and the manifest world to enact this God’s will, in the form of our personal experience.

Sometimes, we have something that passes as a “spiritual experience”–a peak energetic/magickal, emotional or physical sensation. We get excited in a way that we never have before and we assume that that is “God” touching us.  Whether one interprets this as that humans are hard-wired to seek pleasure or that as spiritual beings, we are intuitively drawn to the finer energies such as Love or Joy, Expansion or Wholeness….the experience of highly pleasurable sensations are sometimes confused as an experience of the divine. When something feels so good, it might be the MOST pleasurable that the particular being can experience….as long as it fits within the mental construct of what a person was taught was acceptable. If there is too much guilt or other negative thinking associated with that act, then the “rightness” of the sensation is negated.

Here in my hometown, there are charismatic practitioners of a church who are very devoted to their church meetings. They work in groups called “communities”. There is the safety of being socially accepted within a group–along with the feeling of inclusion/specialness of being in one group and not another community. This feeling of inclusion can be found in covens, prayer groups, study groups as well. It is being one of “God’s chosen ones”, but on a smaller level.

We often talk ourselves into being special. Whether that is being part of a particular religion, specific tradition, that we have special powers/gifts, found the right church or coven….or had a dream/vision/feeling/insight that some devil/angel/god has a special mission, purpose or plan for us…some of us feel the need to unique or different. This need to justify specialness works on at least two levels–negative and positive.

If we did not feel special growing up or our need to feel special is not being met in our adult lives, then our complex mental-emotional structures might come up with a line of thinking which justifies why we should be able to think that someone else/others need to believe that we are special.  Specialness is tied into the concept of self-worth.  If we cannot believe that we have enough worth or value for any reason, our fragile ego will come up with a justification for why others need to believe that we are valuable in some way.

To be fair about my vantage point, the concept that I work with is that I perceive that in this spiritual universe, our identity is Spirit.  Any experience which is not completely of the essence of Spirit requires the limitations of human thoughts and human emotions–which are temporary and belong to the world of limited form.  Although much beauty can be perceived and experienced in this physical plane, it is only temporary, changeable and does not include the truth of Spiritual Completeness.  That being said, anything more directly related to human life, including individual history and personality, can reflect beauty….but, is subject to change, can be distracted from and cannot include the entirety of it.  A bad analogy is that of a looking glass–we can hold up a mirror to reflect the sun rising over a field of flowers on a hill.  The size of the mirror is  comparable to the length of a human lifetime–that beauty which it is reflecting is the eternity of Life, Itself.

Some people feel the need to express their personal mythology and story to others, in order to get a reaction….approval or to make an impression of some sort.  There is a delicate line between sharing your personal story to be helpful (inspiring) and to make an impression.  There is nothing wrong with having a personal mythology, if the end result is that it makes you a more peaceful, more loving being.  Personal mythology may change over time.  In the mind of the magician, these images can be changed out when they are no longer inspiring….myths and the gods, themselves are only doors and passageways to deeper experiences of Beauty.

When one needs to get the reaction of others, approval or otherwise, it might be that one is hinging one’s personal validation on the people around him, not sincerely investing in personal experience.  The ability to keep one’s personal mythology to one’s self and derive strength, inspiration and guidance from it could be considered to be the true test of its validity.  When one’s spirituality only has value when other people react to it….one might have to ask if they are using their “spirituality” as a tool to manipulate the emotional reactions of others.

So, what is spirituality?  Let’s be completely honest.  We are all just hedging our best bets.  I could claim that I know intuitively what is my mission or that my spirit is telling me that my particular pathway is what Spirit is leading me through, at the moment.  Either of those might be true.  I have no way of proving it with any hard evidence.  When I practice, I feel peace….I feel love.  I experience what I would term “positive” energy.  As a side effect to my inner peace and joy, my physical experiences are more positive.  My intentions manifest in the world with much more frequency and detail.  But, I couldn’t say that my way is the only way or the best way.  I don’t believe that any particular set of images or imaginary storyline works better than any other.

Any religion can work.  With our belief invested into any particular religion, tradition or pathway….the individual can manifest enough evidence to justify their particular viewpoints.  Our fears are included.  Our worries about punishing deities or  spiritual “rules” are enough attention to cause them to manifest, as well.

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Why Love Magick Doesn’t Work*…And Why We Should Keep Practicing It Like Crazy–

[*why it doesn’t work like we think it should]

[Ahem.]

I am a huge fan of Love Magick.  I love the tools and ingredients associated with this form of spellcasting.  I love the roses, the aventurine, the rose quartz, the pink/red/green/orange, Venus and the Moon, water and fire….I loved that part of the movie Practical Magic, where Gillian said that she couldn’t wait to fall in love.  I’ve cast spells that have been met with amazing accuracy….a check list of qualities that have manifested in exact detail.  I’ve casually read a spell from a book and had it manifest, without lighting any candles or burning any incense.  It is the anticipation of what COULD happen that is so inspiring and the confirmation that something did happen, because of my desire.

I’ve come up with many theories about why Love Magick is valuable, why it has value in our arsenal of spellcraft tools.  Most of these theories have come about because of my own personal self-exploration, usually within the context of my spiritual growth.  Some of these theories are complete guesses, working hypothesis–some are still valid…some might be applicable at different times, in particular areas of my life.

I’m still not married.  At the moment, I don’t have a regular boyfriend.  Why have I not gotten frustrated with the whole idea of Love Magick after all those candles I’ve burned, all that incense I’ve set on fire, stones I’ve energized and angels/devas/gods I’ve called?  Because of my context, my framework, my way of understanding the world, myself and the cosmos.

Being in love has nothing to do with another person.

Don’t get me wrong.  I will manifest another love, another love interest, another  relationship.  But, the way that I have come to perceive physical reality is that our worldly interactions (physical, emotional and mental) are a reflection of what we carry inside of ourselves.  What we carry inside of ourselves includes conscious and unconscious, present and deep-rooted past, thoughts, emotions, feelings, fears, hopes, wishes.  Whatever shows up at our doorstep….however we immediately react to it…AND how we eventually respond to it are all found in our psyche.  This is not blaming the victim…because we have a wealth of internal resources that we can draw on to react and respond in any way conceivable.  Through reflection, meditation, self-growth and self-empowerment, we can learn how to respond in better and better ways to the same stimulus.

When we are born into this world, we come in with particular limitations….these are reflected as the scenario known as “home”, in whichever form we find it.  False ideas are taken on–that, as spiritual beings, are only job is to expand beyond them and reclaim (remember) our spiritual nature….way beyond our human personality and human potential.  As spirit, we are loved, loving and Love, Itself.  One metaphysical theory is that we are constantly and intuitively trying to reaffirm that state of Love.

Because humans use the outside world to justify internal reaction, we “fall in” with the perfect partners….they reflect our negative perceptions and human obstacles, while at the same time maybe reflecting some of the hopes and wishes we have for eventually experiencing that state of pure Spiritual Love, that is our essence.

One of my theories was that people who tend to cast a lot of love spells are instinctively attempting to heal their emotional bodies.  My theory is that these love magick-loving magicians are attempting to eventually flood their energy bodies with high-vibration essence to replace the illusory hurts that are taken on in a temporary human lifetime.

Part of the impetus to cast a love spell is the fantasy of what will happen once “true love”, a “soulmate” or “Prince/ss  Charming” manifests.  We justify touching on that Love/Satisfaction/Fulfillment energy that IS ALREADY INSIDE OF US, when we dwell on why we want to perform an act of love magick.  On an energy, feeling or awareness level, we are already experiencing that state–without a physical form or event to justify feeling it.

We might make a list of which qualities we want to experience in the beloved or in our relationship with them.  However, with EVERYTHING that we experience in this physical world, the thoughts and feelings that we associate with “love” and relationships will also manifest in some form with the love spell.  Rather than become frustrated that our spell did not manifest completely (purely) in the form that we CONSCIOUSLY attempted, it is another wonderful opportunity to explore the flaws in our regular, everyday perception.

Magick is a way of making our unconscious conscious.  A good magician understands that self-exploration is the key to personal evolution.  Ultimately, it’s all about being Spirit, remembering and expressing real Spiritual being….not theories or philosophies.  Magick makes thoughts and feelings concrete, good, bad, ugly and beautiful.  Love magick generously allows us to see HOW MUCH BEAUTY WE CAN EXPRESS, while showing us the obstacles that we can eliminate to allow even more in.

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