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Author Topic: Earth based v.s other systems  (Read 15840 times)
Odjn
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« Reply #30: January 01, 2009, 06:45:15 pm »

To me, you seem to be assuming that pagan religions are only surface deep because that's all you can see.

I am trying not to assume..this is why I am emphasizing words like "SEEMS" or "APPEARS". However I have been reading on these systems and you are right that it SEEMS to me that many of these paths are focusing so heavily on the aforementioned that the deeper meanings SEEM to be obscurred.

Please do not misunderstand me too much..I am not after a religion; that does not suit me. What I am after is a system that helps me to understand things such as my place in this world, my purpose for even existing and the reason/purpose for any existence.

As for experience...I have, admittedly, become quite jaded, dismayed and rather skeptical about any "spiritual" type experiences because I want the experiences to be authentic and not something that is resulting from wishful thinking. I am speaking soley on my own self and not speaking about anyone elses experience.

You are right though..it is hard to understand anything because I have not experienced anything. I have tried even simple rituals and tried to keep a clear yet unexpecting mind yet I have not "experienced" anything except maybe smashing my foot on the leg of my bed frame because I did not have the brains to turn on my light first before I blew out my candles. Tongue

Anyways..forgive my ambiguity and vagueness..I am trying to explain while choosing my words carefully and apparently I am doing a poor job. I appreciate the suggestion of the Flamekeping Path...I shall indeed research it.

Dem: What I originally was after is to find out what, essentially, makes earth based pagan systems any different from any other religion? After all..isn't Wicca, Druidism,Shamanism, etc religions too? It seems they have all the hallmarks of such from deity and prayer to worship and observance of sabbaths (sp?)

On that note it simply seems to me that the more I read on systems of Wicca and so forth..it is like bumping up against a wall that I cannot get past. I am well aware of the tools, the rituals, the methods but it seems like there is something else to it all that is far greater and of far more relevance than what I am seeing in the plethora of books.

And yes..I do suppose I am trying to figure out what makes a religion like Wicca any different even though it carries the category of "earth based". If the responsibility of spirituality lies with the adherent then why does it seem like the emphasis is placed largely on the means rather than on helping one to understand what the collective goal is?

If the underlying concept is some manner of spiritual development then what makes earth based paganism fundamentally any different or overly distinguishable from any other religion other than varying concepts of the universe?

Again I am obviously REALLY bad at explaining what I want...I am not good with words..my thoughts are formed but I find it hard to express them.

Thanks again everyone.
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« Reply #31: January 01, 2009, 07:02:20 pm »

If the underlying concept is some manner of spiritual development then what makes earth based paganism fundamentally any different or overly distinguishable from any other religion other than varying concepts of the universe?

You'd probably have more luck if you didn't fixate on totally meaningless terms like "earth-based".  The reason you're not getting clear responses about what "earth-based" means in practical terms is that it doesn't really mean anything.  It's one of those vague incoherent terms that someone came up with some time ago to try to make a distinction that they weren't articulating well.

I have seen it cited as meaning:

"Concerned with the stewardship of the planet rather than the exploitation from the planet"
"Concerned with real embodied experience rather than transcendence"
"Concerned with here rather than an afterlife"
"Focused on earth-deities rather than sky-deities"
"A nice generic fluffy environment-friendly term that we know all pagans can agree on!"
and probably some others I'm missing.

You're not going to get a meaningful, "Oh, this is what earth-based is all about!" from a forum where the majority of people, so far as I am aware, only consider themselves "earth-based" insofar as that's the planet they live on.
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« Reply #32: January 01, 2009, 07:13:09 pm »


Yes...apparently so. Thank you.

However there is one issue that I failed to express and didn't know how to convey it until just now...it is a lack of connection; that is part of my problem is I never felt connected to anything in my life. Not a thing. It didn't matter if I was in the garden or helping the neighbor or feeding the cat...I have always felt detached...as if my puny existence meant nothing..which could be entirely true for all I know.

This is one big reason I tried researching various aspects of "paganism" like Wicca, Witchcraft and even smidgens of Shamanism and tidbits of Odinism and Druidism. The precepts sounded nice enough yet othing fit.

The rituals, for the most part, did nothing for me and beyond that I had nothing as far as viable tools to help me formulate anything that even remotely constituted a feeling of connectedness. In fact the more I read up on paganism the worse I felt.

Anyways..thank you DarkHawk for the help.

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« Reply #33: January 01, 2009, 08:05:52 pm »

However I have been reading on these systems and you are right that it SEEMS to me that many of these paths are focusing so heavily on the aforementioned that the deeper meanings SEEM to be obscurred.

I don't think it's really possible to understand the deeper meanings of any religion by just reading books about it.  IMO, religion is not a spectator sport.  Wink  You (again, general "you") have to experience it -- either by participating in the rituals or services or Mass or whatever, or by working with a teacher who can guide you through the teachings to deeper understanding, or both.

So I don't think it's surprising at all that the paths you have read about SEEM to be focused so heavily on the rituals and tools, etc.

Please do not misunderstand me too much..I am not after a religion; that does not suit me. What I am after is a system that helps me to understand things such as my place in this world, my purpose for even existing and the reason/purpose for any existence.

That's interesting.  How do you distinguish between a religion and a system that helps you understand the things you mention?  I'm not sure what the difference between a religion and a "system" is.  Maybe what you're looking for is a philosophy?

You are right though..it is hard to understand anything because I have not experienced anything. I have tried even simple rituals and tried to keep a clear yet unexpecting mind yet I have not "experienced" anything except maybe smashing my foot on the leg of my bed frame because I did not have the brains to turn on my light first before I blew out my candles. Tongue

I'm totally with you here.  Cheesy  I just have never been able to get into any kind of ritual, whether in the Christian church I grew up in, or the Wiccan group I visited when I was younger, or the public rituals I've attended over the last few years.  Ritual just doesn't do anything for me.

And I don't think that's unusual.  There are certainly plenty of people who both enjoy rituals and find them deeply fulfilling.  But there are many others who just don't. And that's OK.

Dem: What I originally was after is to find out what, essentially, makes earth based pagan systems any different from any other religion?

Other than the focus on honoring the earth, and the different deities, and the different rituals and symbols?  Maybe there isn't much difference beyond those things.  Not being a part of an earth-based system, I don't really know.

I would guess, however, that the people who are worshiping or working with those different deities would cite that as a major difference.

From your posts, it seems to me that you don't believe in god/desses as actual independent beings.  IOW, you're not a hard polytheist.  Is that right?  If so, I can see how you would consider one deity to be the same as any other deity, rather than a major difference.  A hard polytheist (like me) would not agree, and would instead feel very strongly that the specific deity worshiped in a particular religion makes all the difference in the world.

I'm not a Christian primarily because I feel no connection to the Christian God.  I do feel a very strong connection to Brighid.  Are "God" and "Brighid" two names for the same thing?  I definitely don't think so.  But you might.  And if you do, then the deity/ies involved in a specific religion is not going to matter much to you.

After all..isn't Wicca, Druidism,Shamanism, etc religions too? It seems they have all the hallmarks of such from deity and prayer to worship and observance of sabbaths (sp?)

I think Wicca is considered a religion.  But I'm not sure the others you mention are.  But I guess it really depends on how you define religion.

Druidry might be more closely described as a system of beliefs and practices.  I'm not really sure, but there are some Druid types on TC, so maybe they can weigh in here. 

I don't think shamanism can be classified as a religion.  I think it is a type of ecstatic trance practice that could be used in any religion.  Shamanism does not have any specific connection to a particular deity, no special holidays, etc.

As for the many other pagan paths, some are religions and others might not be.  My path, for instance (and for want of a better term), is not a religion, per se.  I have a connection with Brighid and a commitment to serve Her.  But I don't have any particular prayers or rituals, and no real holidays.  I like to celebrate Imbolc because of its connection to Brighid, but I don't consider it a requirement.  I make offerings on a daily basis, but there is no special ritual involved, unless lighting a bunch of candles and pouring a shot glass of Irish Mist is a ritual. 

And, maybe most importantly for the purposes of this discussion, my dedication to Brighid carries with it no moral or ethical code of behavior, nor does it include any creation myth or teaching about what happens after death or anything like that.  My moral and ethical code is my own, totally separate from any religion.  My beliefs about an afterlife are solely my own.  Granted, I have studied Celtic cosmology and incorporated some of those concepts into my own beliefs.  But that is a separate thing from being dedicated to Brighid.

If that makes any sense...

IOW, I'm trying to point out that there are, in fact, quite a few differences between the various pagan paths, even if those differences are not obvious at first glance.

On that note it simply seems to me that the more I read on systems of Wicca and so forth..it is like bumping up against a wall that I cannot get past. I am well aware of the tools, the rituals, the methods but it seems like there is something else to it all that is far greater and of far more relevance than what I am seeing in the plethora of books.

You're absolutely right.  There is much more to it all.  But you're not going to find it in books.

In the case of Wicca, you need to find a teacher who can work with you and guide you through the teachings and experiences. 

In the case of other paths, you might need a teacher, or you might need to find a group to join, or you might need to expand your research and thinking, or you might need to read some essays like Shad's FlameKeeping essays to prompt your own thinking.

But, trust me on this, the books are only going to get you so far.  Even if you're on a recon path that focuses heavily on historical accuracy, you can still only get so far by reading the histories and mythologies.  Eventually, you're going to have to open yourself to connecting with deity, or something like that, in order to experience the deeper part.

And yes..I do suppose I am trying to figure out what makes a religion like Wicca any different even though it carries the category of "earth based". If the responsibility of spirituality lies with the adherent then why does it seem like the emphasis is placed largely on the means rather than on helping one to understand what the collective goal is?

If the underlying concept is some manner of spiritual development then what makes earth based paganism fundamentally any different or overly distinguishable from any other religion other than varying concepts of the universe?

I can't really add much more to what I've already said. 

As Darkhawk said, I don't think "earth-based" is really the issue for you,

But it really seems like you're asking what makes any religion different from any other?  You're the only one who can decide that for yourself.  And in order to do that, you have to figure out what is important to you.  A particular deity or pantheon?  Specific practices?  A particular understanding about our place in the world or whether there is an afterlife?

What do you believe?  If you can work that out, maybe there will be an established religion that fits you.  Maybe not.
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« Reply #34: January 01, 2009, 08:43:11 pm »

The rituals, for the most part, did nothing for me and beyond that I had nothing as far as viable tools to help me formulate anything that even remotely constituted a feeling of connectedness. In fact the more I read up on paganism the worse I felt.

Here's the thing. I *like* formal ritual, and structured ritual, and ritual with all the smells and bells and tools and everything else. But the rituals described in most books about exoteric Wicca (i.e. the stuff you can learn without a coven or teacher) leave me absolutely cold. I'd say maybe 5% at best is stuff that makes me feel connected to anything, and some of that 5% is only because a piece of it's helpful, and I adjust from there. Most of that 5% is also not from very common books - they're not the first things people come across or try.

Working with a coven - the traditional way that Wicca is taught - has a lot of differences. One is that learning from other people - rather than a book - engages different parts of your brain and your body. My training had some reading - but a lot more discussion and exercises. I enjoy learning from books, but learning by doing it - and getting advice and suggestions from my teachers as I tried things - was a much more well-rounded experience for me.

Another is that in a coven setting, you have people who are experienced who can set up the experiences for you to some extent. Many *many* people feel very silly the first time they try to cast circle (or the first dozen times, or more) especially if they don't have much background in the performing arts (which teaches you to get over some of the "I'm standing here doing *what?*" feeling and get on with having the experience.) They're also often doing rituals that they're pretty sure will be effective and meaningful and a good experience, especially if they're used to working with seekers or new students every so often.

In a coven setting, you can experience the ritual in a different way - in the circle I trained in, the HPS and HP and initiates would set things up, and students would experience things. (And gradually, as you learned parts of the circle cast, you'd start helping with those parts.) This meant that beginning students could focus on their own experience, not "Am I doing this right?" or without the "This is really silly" or "Where *did* I put that lighter?" going through their heads, all of which can be very distracting. (Certainly was for me for a bit. Being able to just focus on my own experience was very helpful.)

The thing that I think was *most* helpful for me in deciding that something more or less Wiccan was where I wanted to be wasn't reading. It wasn't research. It was actually going to rituals, and seeing what moved me, and what I wanted to do more of, and how. It started with that ritual I described in that post, the MIT Samhain ritual - but after I moved to Minnesota and decided to seriously explore Wicca (some 3 years later), I went to a number of other public rituals. The rituals were mostly put together by our local Covenant of the Goddess grove, which has different groups take responsibility for planning the rituals - while they were all loosely Wiccan in format, they had some very different styles and practices within that.

None of those was as moving and breathtaking as that first Samhain ritual - they all had some glitches, or things that didn't work as well for me, or things that just weren't my style. But from each one, I came away with "Ok, I really liked the fact that there was formal structure here." or "I really liked doing a guided meditation (something new for me then), but I wish there hadn't been a really noisy five year old running around. I wonder what a meditation as part of ritual would be like if I could focus better." or "I see the things you can do when you have 35 or 50 people there - but I think I really want to find a smaller group."

And so on, until I had a better idea what I was interested in, and started emailing local groups who were open to students. (And found the group I trained with, and have since hived off of, years of training and work together later.)

The final thing is - not every ritual is going to be earth shattering. Heck, even my *personal* rituals aren't always that - and those, I'm designing for myself, and I know my own preferences and things that move me really well. (I'm about to go do a New Year's ritual, in fact.) What I hope for, each ritual, is some seed, some idea that I take forward with me, that helps me create the kind of life I want to live, and the kind of world I want to live it in. But sometimes, that seed is tiny - it's one small thing that isn't particularly moving. Sometimes, I get really lucky, and a ritual is deeply moving, and everything shifts around it. But there's a lot more of the tiny shifts and ideas than the big huge ones (I can probably count the truly huge rituals on both hands, and that includes three initiations, two dedication rituals, and two festival rituals that were deeply effective.) 

And you know what? That's okay with me. The big huge ritual shifts take a lot of time to work through and process and understand and make part of my ongoing life, and I'm definitely not up for having that happen every full moon or every Sabbat. Once or twice a year is pretty sustainable, though.  And the rest of the time, I aim for those smaller shifts, those ideas, those times where I honor my gods, build community with my circlemates, and come away with a new way to think about something.
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« Reply #35: January 01, 2009, 08:46:34 pm »

I make offerings on a daily basis, but there is no special ritual involved, unless lighting a bunch of candles and pouring a shot glass of Irish Mist is a ritual.

Definitely! A ritual is something done on a regular, repetitive basis. Brushing your teeth when you wake up every morning is a ritual. Saying a prayer every night before going to bed is a ritual. Taking a walk around the block every day at noon is a ritual. Lighting a bunch of candles and pouring a shot glass of Irish Mist every day sure sounds like one to me.

Rituals do not need to be big and elaborate. They can be very small and simple.
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« Reply #36: January 01, 2009, 08:55:02 pm »

This is one big reason I tried researching various aspects of "paganism" like Wicca, Witchcraft and even smidgens of Shamanism and tidbits of Odinism and Druidism. The precepts sounded nice enough yet othing fit.

One suggestion that may help in all this: stop thinking of these many, separate religions as "aspects of paganism". Wicca and Asatru are not denominations of paganism as Catholicism and Pentacostalism are denominations of Christianity. Wicca is a religion and has it's "denominations"- generally referred to as "traditions"- Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Blue Star,  to name a few. Asatru is a completely separate and unrelated religion, much like Christianity and Buddhism are completely separate religions. "Pagan" is an umbrella term that includes probably hundreds of different religions but those religions stand on their own, they are not subsets to "paganism"- which really isn't an "ism" for this reason.

Hope that helps.
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« Reply #37: January 01, 2009, 09:23:13 pm »

In the so-called 'earth based" ones you have apparently a implied freedom to choose whatever deity suits you and implied freedom to choose what, if any, rituals to perform.

For some people, yes, for some people no. I did not pick the deities that I worship. Not the main ones anyway. I've also been chased off by one goddess.

However it seems that there is still this seemingly implied requirement to worship and cater to a deity to the point of having your life being run by said deity...so it SEEMS.

For some people there is. For others, no. Those of us who do, don't generally see this as a bad thing.

AS for "magic" it also SEEMS that a disproportionate amount of emphasis is being placed on tools and symbols to the point that it SEEMS that they are being viewed as magic rather than mere tools and intermediaries.

In some views of magic, the tools do have inherent magical properties. I get the impression that you think this is a bad thing?

So what makes earth based paganism any different from any other belief system. What is the point of switching when it SEEMS one ismerely making a lateral transition from one method of worship to another?

No, it's not. To give a personal example...I worship Greek gods. I am a member of ADF, which is a neo-Druidic religious organization that includes all Indo-European cultures. ADF has a very specific and somewhat elaborate ritual format. Each step in ritual has a specific purpose and fits in with all the other steps in a specific way. It's great for groups. Due to the complexity, I and many other people find this ritual format to be extremely cumbersome for one person, or even for groups of fewer than five or six people. Much as I love ADF's ritual format (done correctly and with the understanding of what's going on, it can be quite the experience) for this and other personal reasons, I do not perform my own personal rituals in this manner. My own personal rituals take a more traditional Hellenic style. I'm worshiping the same gods, but I'm *not* doing the same things (for the most part- some of the big obvious things like making offerings are common to most rituals) This is not a lateral shift.

You make an even more drastic change if you move from say Wicca to a reconstructionist religion, Wicca being a religion of one god and one goddess and their life cycle of birth and death, reconstructionist religions being the reconstruction of old cultural religions- which are generally not "earth-based", by the way, though usually including some degree of a natural element, but with the potential for a lot of variety- and their specific gods and goddesses, festivals and methods of worship. 

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« Reply #38: January 01, 2009, 10:11:40 pm »

Depends on the person. I do actually know a few people who have long-term major commitments to deity, that effect everything from work to relationships to other parts of their life. (Some of these, though not all, are what are sometimes called god-spouses.)

To elaborate, with some personal experience...

My relationship to Apollo runs to this sort of intensity, (Some people who know the details of my life describe me as being god-owned. I have a hard time arguing with it.) It has an effect to some degree or other on oh...everything...though, I would not say that He runs my life, I am not a slave. (Those do exist though) I go along with this willingly. Its not exactly a cakewalk though...Apollo is very scary and difficult, I've recently taken to thinking of him as "God of my Nightmares" for a number of reasons...lol.  It affects my relationships, my employment, my everything.

This isn't easy, but I know this much: in the last few years, since I became a serious devotee of Apollo, and especially in the last year and change, a lot has fallen into place for me. I am far happier than I've ever been, healthier, my head is much straighter emotionally and psychologically (my therapist, who is well aware of many of the details of my religious proclivities has noticed this as well, and believes that all this has definitely had a strong impact on me.), life is better overall, and I'm not the only one. My girlfriend is a devotee of similar intensity to Hermes, and has experienced many of the same sort of positive changes as I have.

At this stage in the game, I don't think I could just get up and untangle myself and walk away, but really...I have no desire to try either.
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« Reply #39: January 01, 2009, 10:22:51 pm »

(Just using your post as a springboard for my own musings, Marilyn!)

And yet, there are lots of pagan religions where introspection and self-development ARE the goal! That kind of diversity is why I enjoy the label 'pagan': it echoes the diversity that is apparent in my life. However, it's also the biggest problem when it comes to defining what is pagan, especially to non-pagans and/or seekers.


Pagan religions though are not the only ones that have introspection and self-development as a goal.  You can find that in strands of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. They might be only used by a minority of their adherants, but if the pagan religions had 3 billion adherants, you'd have a very small percentage that does introspection or self-development. 
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« Reply #40: January 01, 2009, 10:26:49 pm »

And yet, there are lots of pagan religions where introspection and self-development ARE the goal! That kind of diversity is why I enjoy the label 'pagan': it echoes the diversity that is apparent in my life. However, it's also the biggest problem when it comes to defining what is pagan, especially to non-pagans and/or seekers.

And mine has that as a solid goal - BUT you then have to go out and make changes in the world TOO.  Just one OR just the other is a misunderstanding of the faith.
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« Reply #41: January 01, 2009, 11:52:08 pm »

Yes...apparently so. Thank you.

However there is one issue that I failed to express and didn't know how to convey it until just now...it is a lack of connection; that is part of my problem is I never felt connected to anything in my life. Not a thing. It didn't matter if I was in the garden or helping the neighbor or feeding the cat...I have always felt detached...as if my puny existence meant nothing..which could be entirely true for all I know.

This is one big reason I tried researching various aspects of "paganism" like Wicca, Witchcraft and even smidgens of Shamanism and tidbits of Odinism and Druidism. The precepts sounded nice enough yet othing fit.

The rituals, for the most part, did nothing for me and beyond that I had nothing as far as viable tools to help me formulate anything that even remotely constituted a feeling of connectedness. In fact the more I read up on paganism the worse I felt.


Maybe I'm just coming at this from a different perspective because I'm so used to being a skeptic, but I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with not feeling anything from any of the rituals you've tried so far. I have a very hard time feeling "spiritual" and when I do, it's not explicitly connected to religion. Singing, for instance, can bring on ecstatic feelings, like when I lock into a chord and *bam*, it's just right, but after years of agnosticism, even when I sing a religious text (which happens frequently, since so much choral music is religious) I don't associate it with the Christian god, or whatever. But years of going to church and participating in those rituals just left me feeling extremely awkward most of the time, and I would feel the same way about a Wiccan ritual. But if I don't associate any religious meaning with those, why should those rituals mean anything to me? It's sort of like...if you woke up one day and discovered that you were dressed in a graduation gown and hat, and someone handed you a diploma, and you didn't recognize your surroundings, why should you feel any sense of pride or accomplishment? It would be a ritual with no background or meaning for you. Whereas, I know on the day of my own graduation from college, the cap and gown, the silly part of the ceremony where we moved the tassel from one side to the other, I was very proud that I had finished in time, and that I was surrounded by friends. The meaning was only there, however, because of the background. Similarly, if I participated in a random ritual for a deity I did not believe in, or didn't want to believe in, I'm not sure I could expect to get anything out of it.

If you want to experience a feeling of "connectedness", your best bet is to go try to connect with whatever it is you want to connect with. If you don't have any attachment to one or more deities from reading about them, and rituals didn't work either, then maybe it's just not for you. There's nothing wrong with that. But if you just want to connect with, say, nature, then you're probably better off ditching the ritual aspect and just finding a nice spot to sit and think/observe/meditate. Or if you're not into contemplation, maybe you need something more active, like volunteering to maintain trails/collect data/some other goal-oriented task. If you just want to be introspective, there's nothing wrong with that either, and there are plenty of non-religious meditations and guided workbook-type activities out there.
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« Reply #42: January 01, 2009, 11:55:53 pm »

However there is one issue that I failed to express and didn't know how to convey it until just now...it is a lack of connection; that is part of my problem is I never felt connected to anything in my life. Not a thing. It didn't matter if I was in the garden or helping the neighbor or feeding the cat...I have always felt detached...as if my puny existence meant nothing..which could be entirely true for all I know.

This is one big reason I tried researching various aspects of "paganism" like Wicca, Witchcraft and even smidgens of Shamanism and tidbits of Odinism and Druidism. The precepts sounded nice enough yet othing fit.

The rituals, for the most part, did nothing for me and beyond that I had nothing as far as viable tools to help me formulate anything that even remotely constituted a feeling of connectedness. In fact the more I read up on paganism the worse I felt.
As I think you already guess:  no, there is no religion, system, path, philosophy, whatever, that will somehow create the sense of connection you lack.  There might be a something - could be a religious/spiritual thing, could be therapy and/or antidepressants or some such, could be some or another not-particularly-religious life experience, could be an academic subject that engages you deeply, could be anything - that helps you to have/feel connection, or there might not be a something; but ultimately it's internal, something you do.  (Either developing a sense of connection, or coming to terms with your sense of detachment.)

I'm making a bit of a guesswork leap, that a) this is what you've been trying to ask in this thread, and b) that the self-development you have in mind involves moving from detachment to connection; my apologies if I'm completely off-base.

Sunflower
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« Reply #43: January 02, 2009, 01:42:16 am »

Pagan religions though are not the only ones that have introspection and self-development as a goal.

For sure. I wasn't trying to say that it was limited to pagan religions, so my apologies if my meaning was a little foggy! Smiley
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« Reply #44: January 02, 2009, 06:03:50 am »

I have been feeling quite frustrated lately because it seems like way too much emphasis is placed on tools, deity and suchwhat that these symbols SEEM to take center stage and obfuscates the real issue.

All I want is to go beyond symbolism..ritual is okay yet I never seem to find how it pertains to the real goal. It SEEMS that the ritual is viewed as THE magic itself rather than one of many means to accomplish it.

I think I understand what you mean. There's this huge emphasis on the truths in the mythic tapestry, the comfort in the presence of deity, etc. and not a great deal on the practicalities of living life and making good decisions sometimes.
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