Before I delve…you gotta listen to this song…a favorite of mine by Black Label Society.
No, seriously. Listen to the whole goddamn song!!! Zakk Wylde demands it.
With all these life changes and transitions, I feel a part of me missing. I’m not quite sure what I lost or what must be found, but I’m sojourning down the path of evolution in faith. At 14, I chucked my belief in Catholicism (save for the dichotomy of Vice v. Virtue, the virtues originally taught by Aristotle) shortly after Confirmation. As you can infer, this pleased my mother immensely [NOT].
- Chastity v. Lust
- Temperance v. Gluttony
- Charity v. Greed
- Diligence v. Sloth
- Patience v. Wrath
- Kindness v. Envy
- Humility v. Pride
Right around 17, I realized the strength of truth in understanding biblical (and religious, in general) stories as symbolic rather than strict rules to be executed literally. In undergrad, I read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for a lit class. I gathered the necessity to occasionally indulge in vices…otherwise your beast will consume you.
While the three branches of Buddhism (Theravada, Mahayana, & Vajrayana) vary in the minutia of their teachings, recurring themes of rebirth and liberation from suffering present themselves. In my early twenties, I read Marilyn Manson’s autobiography, The Long Hard Road Out of Hell. In it, Manson discusses LeVeyan Satanism. Whereas most may flinch at the mere thought of any association with Satanism as a relatable set of life teachings, I became enamored, as I do with most texts sparking an impetus toward personal self-growth. While I sincerely oppose Draconian social Darwinism at the core of my very soul, the faith views Satan as an archetype for vices one should shamelessly indulge in such as pride and lust. Magic is utilized to concentrate one’s energy toward a specific task–it is “psychodramatic catharsis.” Further, LaVey’s Satanic Church teaches mindfulness, sexual consent, and refraining from harming children and animals. Yes. I can get behind these common sense teachings.
Lately, I’ve been revisiting the teachings of Paganism and reflecting on how other religious teachings echo themes, especially holiday celebrations. Magic and Witchcraft enamors me. I grew up loving everything about the Halloween season–costumes, sweets, crunchy fall leaves, the scent of smoky bonfires, apple & pumpkin pie, another kind of spooky action…you name it…not to mention my birthday lands smack dab in the middle of October. Despite commercialism of the hallowed day, it will always remain my favorite time of year for more than the cliche reasons. As harvest time is upon us, it sparked me to contemplate more than just Samhain, but how all eight of the Pagan holidays relate to other religious holidays…
…how spiritual beliefs mirror each other, branch off each other…how the life cycle is celebrated in so many…how nature creates and destroys the same as how the Christian God is portrayed…how we are our own God…created in our personal Creator’s vision…how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are also the Mind, Body, and Soul…
For years, I rejected I could exist as both a scientist valuing rational thought and empiricism while also embracing spirituality. For the longest time, I regarded myself as an atheist, a secular humanist…but these titles never captured the entirety of myself. My close friend Tiff from high school used to read me with her Tarot Deck as well as our Dear Anna, a Shaman Priestess and fellow lover of Jim Morrison. I’ve finally discovered the term which made me say, “That’s me. That’s who I am.”
Omnism. It is an acceptance of all religions. All religions contain universal elements of truth. It includes Syncretism, or accepting underlying unity among faiths. It is not so much a religion as it is a perception or philosophical stance of sorts. I am open to receiving wisdom from all creeds. I am not a “poser” or inherently disrespectful for engaging in many world views as opposed to devoting myself to a single system.
Omnism works for me. I can question and explore spiritual inquiries using multiple sources. This procedure parallels the scientific methods of inquiry I hold so dear.
Here are some of my findings:
- Balance remains key toward fulfillment in life.
- Cyclicality is the very essence of life and death.
- While the different paths yield unique journeys, the destination is the same.
- Creation and Destruction is the essence of “God.”
Now I’ll leave you with a bit of Shaman Blues.