Thursday, 30 October 2008


EURYBIA was the goddess of the mastery of the seas. She seems to have presided over the external forces which influenced the main, including the rise of the constellations and seasonal weather, and the power of the winds. Her husband was the Titan Krios, who may have been associated with the constellation Aries, marker of the Greek new year. Her grandchildren all had power over the sea. They included the Anemoi (Winds), the Astra (Stars), Hekate (Witchraft), Selene (the Moon), Nike (Victory), Bia (Force), Kratos (Power), Zelos (Rivalry). Some of these represent human command of the seas : the winds for sailing, stars for navigation, and force, power and victory representing naval supremacy.
According to Hesiod's Theogony, Εὐρυβία had a heart of flint within her. She was the daughter of PONTOS (the Sea) & GAIA (the Earth). So if the sea makes love to the Earth, it erodes the rock, deposits it somewhere else, and makes chalk - which has a heart of flint. So I wonder if Eurybia was also a goddess of chalk? As someone who was born on the chalk, I find it very magical. Also Εὐρυβία is the grandmother of Hekate, goddess of witchcraft. I read somewhere recently that Doreen Valiente found chalk landscapes very conducive to magic.

As goddess of the sea and the winds, Eurybia is very closely allied to witchcraft, because witchcraft was often about the control of the winds; witches used to tie knots to bind or release the wind. And of course, the sea symbolises either the subconscious or the collective unconscious, the supernal mother.
I am the soundless, boundless bitter sea
Out of whose depths life wells eternally
Giver of life and bringer-in of death;
HERA of heaven, on earth, PERSEPHONE;
LEVANAH of the tides and HECATE
All these am I, and they are seen in me
I am the soundless, boundless, bitter sea
All tides are mine, and answer unto me.
~ Dion Fortune

Thursday, 16 October 2008

a symbiotic relationship

What is our relationship with the deities? Some people serve them. Now, maybe I'm being cranky and difficult, but I am not at all sure about this. I will happily co-operate with someone who has the same values and agenda as I do, but not because they're a discarnate entity; rather because they have the same values and agenda as I do - which may mean I only co-operate with them on a temporary basis while the shared goal is being worked on.

I don't think I'm on an equal footing with the deities in their domain (the numinous, nebulous, eternal, non-local) - they graciously allow me to access their form of consciousness; and in return I allow them to access my local, focused, finite, time-based consciousness (in which they are not equal to me). So no, it's not equal in the sense of being the same, but it is on equal terms - they're better at some things than I am, and I'm better at somethings than they are. It's a symbiotic relationship.

Maybe this means I am not religious in the conventional sense - but I became a Pagan because I didn't agree with blind faith and subservience to the big bully in the sky, so I am not going to give this one up without a struggle.

Yes, I want the world to be a better place, with more peace and harmony, social and economic justice, and respect for the environment (by which I mean deep ecology) - but I am not at all sure that giving power to floaty entities (and most likely ending by having a priesthood that claims to speak for them) is the way to achieve these goals. Domination and submission games are for consenting adults in private.

So, I will happily co-operate with any entity (incarnate or discarnate) who wants peace, harmony, social and economic justice, and respect for the environment - but I will not serve.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Only connect

I engage in interfaith dialogue for a variety of reasons: partly because I want to help others to realise that Wicca and other Pagan traditions are valid spiritual paths and inform them about what we do, so that they realise we're not scary; partly because I want to learn about other faiths and respect their insights into the spiritual journey; and partly because I think interfaith dialogue promotes tolerance, understanding and harmony, and is the only way to resolve conflicts between different religions.

I do think, however, that the basis for interfaith dialogue has to be mutual respect, with no hidden or overt agenda of proselytising or evangelising. In listening to the other points of view in the dialogue, I should be open to them to the point of willingness to change my own position, but they shouldn't be trying to convert me. It's rather a paradox, but it's the only way to make it work.

Sometimes interfaith dialogue can be slow, and one is sometimes rebuffed by people who don't consider Paganism a "proper religion" - but patience is a virtue. It's precisely the people who are hostile to the ideas of interfaith and religious pluralism that most need to engage in interfaith dialogue; there's no point in "preaching to the converted", otherwise it just becomes a cosy little club. The whole point is to try to build a world where religions can co-exist peacefully, and if a whole tranche of religions fail to engage in interfaith dialogue, then the goal won't be achieved.

My position is that I would always encourage people to follow the spiritual path that is right for them. For me, the goal of the spiritual path is to transform the world by raising the consciousness of everyone; and whatever symbolism best represents that process for you - whatever speaks to your soul - is good. Only connect, as E M Forster said.

But I don't think that all denominations or all practices of all religions are equally valid; there are some really unpleasant practices and beliefs with disastrous consequences in many religions; but there is also good in all religions. Our task is to discern what is good, and work towards it together - offering constructive criticism rather than blame, and accepting criticism from others.

We now live in a globalised world where every religion has to rub shoulders with the others; we have to get along and learn from each other. No single religion will ever appeal to everyone in the world; each has different strengths and weaknesses, focusses on different issues, works in a different philosophical paradigm, and has different blind-spots. That's not to say that their truth claims are entirely irreconcilable, because they're not; just that diversity is a good and natural way for the human race to be.

This post is part of the interfaith synchroblog on interfaith dialogue.

List of participants

Friday, 26 September 2008

balance and cyclicity

An address given at Frenchay Chapel on 21 September 2008.

The Archangel Michael, whose feast day is associated with the Autumn Equinox, was a dragon-slayer. The dragon that he slew, according to the Book of Revelations, was the Adversary, the serpent from the Garden of Eden.

What a tangle of mythology is involved in this story! In the West, dragons are seen as ferocious fire-breathing beasts; in China, they live at the bottom of the sea and of wells, and bring rain and other blessings. And in other ancient stories, serpents are a symbol of wisdom. Indeed, the Gnostics saw the serpent in the Garden of Eden as a manifestation of Sophia, the personification of wisdom.

So why is a being of light slaying the dragon? To find out, we need to look at the evolution of another dragon-slaying story, that of St George. In the earliest version of the story, George tamed the dragon and led it into the city by the golden girdle of the maiden who was to have been sacrificed to it.

If we see the dragon as a symbol of the beast within all of us, we can see that it is better to tame it and harness its energies for good, not to try to kill it (for it will assuredly resurface somewhere else, when we were least expecting it). We need to balance the energies within ourselves.
So why did the story evolve into one where the dragon was killed? Because the dragon was seen as the untamed power of nature, which must be subdued wherever it was found – in women or in the wilderness.

In China, meanwhile, they saw life as the balance of opposites – yin and yang, night and day, life and death, eternally cycling around each other in the great dance of existence. Hence dragons were the dynamic energy of the elements, bringing rain and growth. They were part of the dynamic equilibrium of nature. Equilibrium means “equal freedom” – freedom to move, to grow and to change; freedom of choice.

This dynamic balance of opposites can also be seen in the dance of the seasons – “a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted”. The wheel of the year turns; falling in the autumn, rising in the spring. As it falls in the autumn, and the nights draw in, we turn inward, towards home, and hearth, and spiritual things; baking, and making jam and wine; creative projects.

It also means that, instead of being harsh with ourselves when we get things wrong, we need to forgive ourselves; as Mary Oliver writes in Wild Geese:
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Many religious traditions call upon their followers to empty themselves and allow the Divine to fill them. This sounds to me like a painful process. Rather, I think the work of spirituality is to relax, to find the inner stillness and space that is already there. All we have to do is to remember who we really are; to reconnect with the ebb and flow of the cycles of life. Everything is cyclical – the seasons, the tides, the orbits of the planets – why not human life? But it is not just a ceaseless round of the same old things, repeated ad nauseam. Everything changes; everything is always becoming something else; nothing is ever lost.

In Judaism, the Autumn Equinox is the birthday of the world. According to the Jewish website “Tel Shemesh”:
Rosh haShanah, in Jewish legend, is the anniversary of the day on which God created humans and animals—the beginning of the world. God creates humanity out of the dust of the earth, and out of God’s own spirit. Of humans, it says that “God created the human in God’s own image, in the image of God God created the human, male and female God created them.” Adam and Eve are born on Rosh Hashanah, as is the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. The first of the year falls on a day that reminds us that the Divine is within us and all beings. We blow the shofar, the ram’s horn, to signal the thunderous impact of this Presence on our lives, and we engage in memory—considering all that we have done during the year, seeking to make right where we have erred, seeking to become whole where we have been in turmoil, seeking to make ourselves new. It is a time of conception in all its forms. There is a tradition that the Jewish year has a “mother”—Rosh haShanah, the 1st of Tishrei—and a “father,” the 1st of Nisan (both are new years according to the Jewish calendar). If Rosh haShanah is the mother, then the shofar is the womb through which our spirits pass on the way to redemption. The ram’s horn represents the power of the Shekhinah to be hollow, to be a vessel for creation. Yet the shofar also reminds us of the ayil (ram) who sounds like El (God)—the masculine forces of the Divine. The liturgy of Rosh haShanah focuses on avinu malkeinu—our father, our king, the stern but loving father of Jewish tradition. We cast bread into bodies of water in the ritual called tashlich (throwing away), to cast away those behaviors we no longer want or need. Yet we can balance this image with the phrase in the Rosh haShanah liturgy: “hayom harat olam”—today is the birthday of the world, or more accurately, today is the pregnancy of the world. On Rosh Hashanah our world becomes pregnant with God, and God is pregnant with us. It is a time of mutual awareness and understanding. It is the time when we enter the inner world, the world of the womb, in order to be reborn into change.
Joseph Campbell wrote about the journey of the hero, who descends into the underworld, confronts his deepest fears, and returns to the everyday world bringing back a blessing for humanity. This story appears in a thousand different forms: The Epic of Gilgamesh, Jonah and the Whale, Jesus dying and being resurrected, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and the plot of just about any film you can think of; they all conform to this pattern. We are all heroes on our own journeys, bringing back wisdom from the depths for the benefit of humanity.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

for a given value of...

The Rev Dr Incitatus writes:
I think Stephen's new approach is better, in which he simply asks whether it's worth worshipping God, rather than trying to address whether God exists at all. The former question is far more straightforward, independent of the ambiguity of the term "God", and thus amenable to empirical assessment, imho: clearly, it really isn't terribly important to worship him, because it makes no tangible difference to the lives of people whether they do or do not.
Whether it's worth worshipping depends on what you mean by "God" and what you mean by "worship".

If by worship you mean "assign ultimate worth to" (as opposed to the opposite end of the worship spectrum, "abase yourself before") then worship is something we all do when we decide on our values. We do it when we fall in love, stand enraptured before the beauty of Nature or are awed by the exciting knowledge about to be revealed by the Large Hadron Collider.

If by "God" (I prefer the gender-neutral term "Divine") you mean the wonder and mystery of being alive, the beauty of the white Moon among the stars, the magnificence of galaxies, and the beauty of Nature, then yes, it's worth worshipping (in the sense of assigning ultimate worth to). It's also worth communing with, meditating on, writing poetry about, and exploring empirically. But is there any point trying to reclaim the words "god" or "divine" to mean all that? Not, in my opinion, if you mean something supernatural, ontologically transcendent, and of pure essence. I think the term Tao describes it much better; it means the way, and thus implies constant movement and change, and it is immanent in the universe, or even an emergent property of it. If the divine/deities/genii loci is/are (as I propose) the emergent consciousness of complex systems, why shouldn't the Universe have consciousness? (Teehee, I said this to a major proponent of emergent complexity; I think he was a bit horrified that I was using his theory like that - but I reminded him that I was only proposing a hypothesis, at which he was somewhat mollified.) There's no particular reason why walking bags mostly made of water suspended from a calciferous internal structure should have consciousness, so why not other complex systems?

If by "God" you mean the alleged authoritarian in the sky with the big stick, then the answer is definitely no, especially if the worship is of the self-abasement variety.

Thursday, 4 September 2008


There are two forms of transcendence; ontological and epistemological. Ontological transcendence being the idea that some world of ideal Platonic forms or divine essence exists beyond the world (I reject this) and epistemological transcendence being the idea that transcendence can be experienced in collectivity - the experience of coinherence, for example, or the moment of identification of the Beloved with the world ("Thou art that"). I imagine that A N Whitehead (and most Pagans) would have no problem with epistemological transcendence, which is entirely consistent with the immanence of the divine. For me, the transcendent quality I experience in the contemplation of Nature is in identifying with it, not in the idea that it points to some ideal Platonic form.  I sometimes experience Nature transfigured (though not all the time) but I believe the transfiguration is in my perception of it (as in Blake's assertion that if the doors of perception were cleaned, everything would appear as it is, infinite) not in the breaking through of Divine essence.

I am interested in Teilhard de Chardin's idea of the Omega Point but he regards the world as being drawn towards the Omega Point by a complex consciousness residing in the future, which seems unnecessarily elaborate.

The Pagan version of cosmic consciousness is Oberon Zell-Ravenheart's Gaia Thesis, formulated in his book Theagenesis (1970).  This simply posits that the Earth, as a complex system, has consciousness (maybe as an emergent property).  It predates the better-known Gaia Hypothesis of James Lovelock by four years; and Lovelock and Zell actually corresponded on the subject in the 1970s.

In the Tao Te Ching, the Ten Thousand Things are born of the Tao, and include everything - there is no artificial distinction between good and bad.
The Valley Spirit never dies
It is named the Mysterious Female.
And the doorway of the Mysterious Female
Is the base from which Heaven and Earth sprang.
It is there within us all the while;
Draw upon it as you will, it never runs dry.
They also return to the Tao, because it is in their nature to do so:
In Tao the only motion is returning;
The only useful quality, weakness.
For though all creatures under heaven are the products of Being,
Being itself is the product of Not-being.
Note that "Not-being" is probably not the same as "divine essence"; in Buddhism, the distinction is between being and not-being, rather than between essence and energy/existence.  I would imagine the same was true of Taoism.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Read this and weep

Falling out with Oscar
- John Gray, Oscar Wilde and Dorian Gray. Via {feuilleton}

How terribly, terribly sad that John Gray had to deny his sexuality in order to live his spirituality. And how heart-breaking that this is still happening to many LGBTQ people in churches.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

the apotheosis of Symmachus

When we were in the British Museum earlier this year, I was thrilled to see a plaque (half of a diptych) which is thought to depict the apotheosis of Quintus Aurelius Symmachus.
This splendid leaf is one of the last great commissions of pagan art in Rome before the triumph of Christianity. The scroll at the top bears a monogram probably reading 'SYMMACHORUM', a reference to one of the leading families in Rome. The Symmachi family probably commissioned this ivory panel to commemorate Quintus Aurelius Symmachus (about 340-402), the greatest orator of his day, a prominent pagan and opponent of Christianity.
The plaque depicts his ascension and apotheosis:
On the upper section the famous man is carried into heaven by winged figures who personify the winds; they pass an arc with signs of the zodiac and are watched by Helios, the sun god. At the summit five ancestors welcome his arrival and apotheosis (elevation to divine status).
I think he should be honoured as the patron deity of tolerance and diversity - values which are very important to me.

Another plaque is thought to commemorate the marriage of Symmachus' daughter to a member of the Nicomachi family. Sadly, her half of the diptych is damaged.

heresy and haeresis

A heretic is literally a chooser - one who chooses between a variety of faith positions. This is anathema in Christianity because, after the Diocletianic persecutions, the survivors couldn't find anyone to set up a church with, because they all believed different stuff; and so it was decided to have a creed that all Christians could subscribe to (this was finally codified at the Council of Nicaea, 325 CE). In subsequent centuries theology became ever more codified, until there was a bewildering variety of heretical positions to choose from.

Haeresis (the word from which heresy is derived), in the ancient pagan world, appears to have meant a school of thought. The tolerant attitude of ancient pagans is summed up by Quintus Aurelius Symmachus (a hero of mine):
Everything is full of gods. Whatever men worship, it may fairly be called one and the same. We all look up to the same stars; the same heaven is above us all; the same universe surrounds every one of us. What does it matter by what system of knowledge each one of us seeks the truth? It is not by one single path that we attain to so great a secret.

- Quintus Aurelius Symmachus

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Journeying to Otherworlds

(part of the mythology synchroblog)

What do we mean by "otherworlds"? According to many Pagans, there are no "supernatural" realms. Michael York has suggested the word "preternatural" instead; implying perhaps uncanny, but still within nature; just an extreme example.

Although many Pagans talk about otherworlds, they regard them as intertwined with our own, just vibrating at different frequencies or inaccessible to everyday consciousness; not on a separate level of reality. So spirit is still immanent in Nature. (I know that other Pagans take this view because many people expressed it in my recent research on Pagans and science.)

So how do we access these "otherworlds"? By shifting consciousness, or accessing "divine" consciousness - in other words, expanding our awareness to include other "levels" or frequencies. This can be done by meditation, pathworking, visualisation, shamanic journeying, theurgy, and ritual; becoming aware of our own inner divinity. It's worth remembering that otherworlds can be like Wonderland - things are not always what they seem.
Bifröst by Arthur Rackham.
Bifröst by Arthur Rackham.

Maybe otherworlds only exist in our own psyches, or in the collective unconscious; but whatever and wherever they are, it is possible to experience them. Maybe they exist in the other "dimensions" intertwined with the visible four of space-time.

Anyway, a rather startling otherworld experience that I had was when I was once doing a visualisation before a rune-reading. Normally I would visualise going to the Rainbow Bridge (Bifröst) and going to Asgard to stand at the Well of Wyrd. Instead, I found myself sliding down the Ice Bridge into the underworld, and standing at the Well of Mímir. This was not what I was expecting: the place was dark, slippery and shadowy. The important thing about this experience was that the otherworld itself directed me to somewhere other than where I had planned.

I have also had experiences where otherworlds intruded into the everyday world, like the time in 1995 when a friend and I got lost in a very small wood in the dark, and it felt as if we were being pixie-led. Or at Samhain 1989 when I saw small semi-transparent beings on the forest floor. (No, I wasn't under the influence of anything.) Or in 1992 when I was in a Pagan shop in Cambridge, chatting to the owner, and saw what I thought was an amazing carved wooden face on the shelf beside my head - but when I looked again, there was nothing there. Apparently candles would get flung across the shop by some unseen force from time to time, as well. Of course, Paganism is all about noticing the worlds that are all around us, intertwined with our own. In a way, other animals' perceptions of the world around us are otherworlds (as Barry Patterson points out in his excellent book, The Art of Conversation with the Genius Loci). In a mouse's eye view of the world, humans are scary giants with horrible flat faces and booming voices. If, like Granny Weatherwax, you could practise Borrowing (the art of overlaying her mind on the mind of another creature so that she can see through its eyes and steer its actions without it being aware of her presence), you could perceive these perceptual otherworlds.

Other Otherworlds mythology synchrobloggers:

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

what kind of Pagan?

This quiz was heavily biased towards reconstructionists and polytheists, and I disliked the use of the term "faith"... but it's only a bit of fun, and the characterisation of me as a Eastern Pagan is fairly accurate:

What kind of Pagan are you?
You scored as an Eastern Pagan
Eastern Pagans come in two breeds; the Buddhist-Pagan, who follows the Buddhist belief of the "middle way" and the Hindu-Pagan, who leans to the Hindu Pantheon of gods. Thoughtful, calm, insightful individuals are often drawn to Eastern mythology and thought. Enlightenment is more than a theory; it's a state of mind to aspire to, and there are certain key elements that you've found in the Eastern paths that offer to help you on the journey. Those who seek these paths are often the teachers, the peacemakers and the intellectuals of our world.
Eastern Pagan

Egyptian Pantheon Pagan

Eclectic Pagan

Roman Pantheon Pagan

Zoroastrian Pagan

Sumerian, Babylonian, and Mesopotamian Pagans

Shamanic Pagan

Celtic Pantheon Pagan

Greek Pantheon Pagan

Kabbalistic Pagan

Norse Pantheon Pagan (Asatru)

Catholic (Pagan?)


ways into the otherworld

Do all roads lead up the same mountain? Or do different techniques of ecstasy lead to different otherworlds?

In Wicca, there are various techniques of ecstasy, and I am not sure that they all lead to the same altered state.

My friend James speaks of a childhood vision of two trees; this made me think of the stanzas from Thomas the Rhymer:

O see ye not yon narrow, narrow road
So thick beset with thorns and briars?
That is the road to righteousness
Though after it but few enquires.

O see ye not yon broad, broad road
That lies across the lily leaven?
That is the road to wickedness
Though some call it the road to heaven.

And see ye not that bonny road
That winds about the ferny brae?
That is the road to fair Elfland
Where you and I this night must go.

I choose the winding road to fair Elfland, though it lead through fearsome places.

According to some adepts the way out of the world leads around a cypress tree by a white tomb; I am quite sure this goes to some Elysian field or similarly Greek otherworld.

Likewise there are different gates in other mythologies; the Kabbalist hero of Richard Zimler's novel The Seventh Gate speaks of a way to the Divine Source; you know you have reached it when your eyes shine like silver.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

the Christ archetype

Interesting post about Herne, Aslan, lions and Christ over at Quaker Pagan Reflections, which moved me to comment as follows - but I've been thinking about this for a while.

I personally think it's a mistake to conflate the cosmic Christ with the man Jesus. Jesus was sometimes inhabited by the "Christ" (as at the Transfiguration, for example) and sometimes he was just a man (as when he turned away the Samaritan woman at the well, for example).

The concept of mashiach / Messiah (or Anointed One) in Judaism does not apply only to one person, but to being a Chosen One and to the act of sacrificial giving, and according to the Hasidim, there's a messiah in every generation. It's worth reading The Anointed One by Z'ev ben Shimon Halevi and The Seventh Gate by Richard Zimler for two extended meditations on this concept.

I also think that when Paul started building up the concept of Christ, he drew upon the imagery of Adam Kadmon, the cosmic man (or the Gnostic equivalent).

The people of Brittany (around the forest of Broceliande) associated Cernunnos with Christ. There's even a church in Trehorenteuc with a big mosaic deer representing this. There's also a rather interesting icon by Fr Robert Lentz of Christ as Cernunnos (and some thoughtful reflections on it); when I first saw this I was slightly offended on behalf of Cernunnos, but I got over it when I thought about what it meant.

Aslan represents the Christ-archetype, but not the man Jesus. Jesus represents the Christ-archetype, but not the figure of Aslan. Al-Hallaj (and possibly Cernunnos and Herne) represent the Christ archetype, but not Jesus or Aslan. And so on.

Saturday, 9 August 2008


Ethics cannot be based upon our obligations toward [people], but they are complete and natural only when we feel this Reverence for Life and the desire to have compassion for and to help all creatures insofar as it is in our power. I think that this ethic will become more and more recognized because of its great naturalness and because it is the foundation of a true humanism toward which we must strive if our culture is to become truly ethical.
~ Albert Schweitzer
Ethics, too, are nothing but reverence for life. This is what gives me the fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, promoting, and enhancing life, and that destroying, injuring, and limiting life are evil.
~ Albert Schweitzer, Civilization and Ethics, 1949
Reverence for Life affords me my fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, assisting, and enhancing life and that to destroy, harm, or to hinder life is evil. Affirmation of the world -- that is affirmation of the will to live, which appears in phenomenal forms all around me -- is only possible for me in that I give myself out for other life.
~ Albert Schweitzer
How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one's culture but within oneself? If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction, because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.
~ Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams
The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures. It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers. It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth and of death, in ebb and in flow. I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life. And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment. Rabindranath Tagore, from Gitanjali
For everything that lives is holy, life delights in life.
~ William Blake
Source: Wisdom Quotes: Life

relationships with deities

I do not worship deities; as far as I am concerned our relationship is one of mutual benefit. I get to access their expanded, non-local, timeless consciousness; and they get to access my finite, local, time-bounded and focussed consciousness. Not all spirit beings are necessarily following an agenda that is the same as that of life on planet Earth; just as humans often don't take other species' needs into account, sometimes spirit beings don't either (for monotheists reading this, that includes your god as well). I think we can align our agenda with the spirit of life, for the benefit of all life; but we must listen very carefully, not just blindly obey because another entity (human or spirit) tells us to do something. In fact, I am always deeply suspicious of anyone or anything telling me to do something. (Remember that "I was only obeying orders" doesn't cut any ice with war-crimes commissioners.) In fact, I would go so far as to say that obedience is not a virtue. It is sometimes necessary in situations of extreme danger (such as in battle, or when a child is about to stick their fingers in an electrical socket and you tell them not to) but it must be accompanied by trust. Well, you might say, in the realm of the deities we are potentially like a child blundering about, unaware of the rules of engagement. Well, maybe; so we should proceed with caution; but the procedure in that case is to learn the way that world works, just as a child in our world learns how it works and gradually ceases to be reliant on adults. So, if the analogy works, the deities should be helping us to operate independently and explaining what's going on, not telling us what to do and expecting us to obey blindly. And that is probably the difference between magic and religion: magicians are like systems developers; religionists are the users. And that's why the practice of magic is regarded as arrogant by religionists. Whereas I just see it as learning how to operate effectively on all levels of reality, and participating in divine consciousness.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

the pleasures of the flesh

Corn Rigs

It was upon a Lammas night
When the corn rigs were bonnie,
Beneath the moon's unclouded light
I held awa' to Annie.

The time flew by wi' tentless heed
'Til 'tween the late and early,
Wi' small persuasion she agreed
To see me thro' the barley.

Corn Rigs and barley rigs
Corn rigs are bonny
I'll ne'er forget that Lammas night
Amang the rigs wi' Annie.

The sky was blue, the wind was still,
The moon was shining clearly.
I set her down wi' right good will
Amang the rigs o' barley.

I kept her heart, was a' my sin.
I loved her most sincerely.
I kissed her o'er and o'er again
Amang the rigs o' barley.

I locked her in my fond embrace.
Her heart was beatin' rarely.
My blessing on that happy place
Amang the rigs o' barley.

But by the moon and stars so bright
That shone that hour so clearly,
She aye shall bless that happy night
Amang the rigs of barley.

I hae been blythe wi' comrades dear
I hae been merry drinking.
I hae been joyful gath'rin' gear
I hae been happy thinking.

But a' the pleasures e'er I saw
Tho' three times doubled fairly,
That happy night was worth them a'
Amang the rigs wi' Annie.

Robert Burns.
A joyful and blessed Lammas to all.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

more on liberal values

On the subject of what liberal values really mean, Sara Robinson at Orcinus tells it like it really is in Of Madmen and Martyrs.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

liberal values

People often refer to liberals as woolly, vacillating and so on, but they are wrong.

The Unitarian Universalists are about as liberal as it is possible to be. They stand up for gay rights, women's rights, and include gays, Pagans, Buddhists, Hindus & Jews in their congregations. Two of them died for their beliefs last Sunday. You can't call that "vacillating". They stood in front of other members of their congregation to shield them from a gunman who was shooting at them. The gunman shot at them specifically for their liberal and inclusive attitudes. Their liberality is not built on shifting sands; it is an ever-expanding circle of inclusivity. Their Kingdom of Heaven is not receding from them as they march towards it; they are building it here on earth.

I am truly honoured to count myself as a Unitarian knowing that such people are Unitarians.


Joys and Concerns by IsirtoskyThe Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church was attacked yesterday by an anti-gay extremist with a gun, who killed two members of the congregation.

It is terribly sad that people were killed for being open, inclusive and loving to other people.

My heart goes out to the congregation and the families of those who died, and they are in my thoughts and prayers.

You can leave condolences at this special blog set up by the Unitarian Universalist Association.

There's also an update on UUA News.
The only thing to hold on to, in the midst of such an experience and the aftermath, is that we can hold on to each other and affirm the web of love and compassion that unifies us even in such dark moments.
- Rev Steve Dick

Saturday, 26 July 2008

The androgynous divine

Rabbi unveils a secret of God

Finally the mainstream has noticed what mystics and occultists have known for centuries: the "divine" contains both masculine and feminine, but transcends them.
"This is the kind of God I believe in, the kind of God that makes sense to me, in a language that speaks very, very deeply to human aspirations and striving," Sameth said. "How could God be male and not female?"
Rabbi Mark Sameth noticed that the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) read backwards spells 'hu, hi' (he, she in Hebrew). How marvellous. This will give new impetus to people trying to use gender-inclusive and gender-neutral language in both Judaism and Christianity. Hurrah!

Hebrew Letter name Pronunciation
י Yodh "Y"
ה He (pronounced "hey") "H" (or sometimes silent)
ו Vav "V" or placeholder for "O"/"U"
ה He "H" or silent
source: Wikipedia

April winds are magical

Emerson in mythopoeic mode:

The April winds are magical
And thrill our tuneful frames;
The garden walks are passional
To bachelors and dames.
The hedge is gemmed with diamonds,
The air with Cupids full,
The cobweb clues of Rosamond
Guide lovers to the pool.
Each dimple in the water,
Each leaf that shades the rock
Can cozen, pique and flatter,
Can parley and provoke.
Goodfellow, Puck and goblins,
Know more than any book.
Down with your doleful problems,
And court the sunny brook.
The south-winds are quick-witted,
The schools are sad and slow,
The masters quite omitted
The lore we care to know.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, 15 June 2008

moving accurately

This is one of my favourite quotes of all time; it keeps me going when times seem hard or there's a difficult decision to be made. It also seems to express the idea that the way to move through life is to follow your bliss and act as seems right to you, because no matter how unlikely it seems that your endeavour will have a successful outcome, if it's the right thing to do then it will open doors in unexpected ways.
Only one heart had to find its true position and travel on from there and all the rest would follow, for no matter how isolated the one felt itself to be, in the deeps of all life all were united and no one could move accurately without all ultimately moving with it...

~ A Far-Off Place, p.304, Laurens van der Post
There are many wonderful bits in this book, and I highly recommend it.

Friday, 13 June 2008

you are the hands of the Divine

Today's Poetry Chaikhana has a poem with an excellent message of responsibility for everyday practical compassion and working for justice:
You are Christ's Hands

By Teresa of Avila
(1515 - 1582)

Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which to look out
Christ's compassion to the world
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about
doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.

-- from The Essential Mystics: Selections from the World's Great Wisdom Traditions, Edited by Andrew Harvey

I've liked the message of this poem for a while now. Never mind about what or who you think the Christos is; just think about the message that only we, who have hands to heal and bless and mend, can actually do the practical work of compassion.

As Ivan (the editor of Poetry Chaikhana) remarks:
It is a prayer of supreme spiritual maturity. It is not someone imploring Christ to come and fix everything in the external way imagined by so many fundamentalist sects; rather, it recognizes the presence of the Divine within each of us and our sacred responsibility to embody that compassion and service to the world. Each one of us is the vehicle through which Christ (or Ishwara, or however you name the personal form of the Divine) sends blessings. Our job is to get out of the way and let that sacred current flow through us unhindered.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

One more reason why I'm a Pagan

It's called substitutionary sacrifice - the idea that Jesus, the pure lamb of God, had to be sacrificed to the implacable Jehovah in order to pay for our sins. It's not something that all Christians subscribe to (it's pretty much a heresy in Orthodoxy), but it is a widespread view among fundamentalists and evangelicals. The kind of chorus song illustrated in the picture expresses the vile substitutionary doctrine.

The idea that Jesus' life, death and resurrection is a mystery that his followers can participate in is a much more humane view (though if this is the case, why did the Church have to stamp out all the other mystery traditions?)

Another possibility (the Unitarian position) is to embrace the ethical precepts of Jesus; this leads one to an appreciation of other similar thinkers (Gandhi etc.) and a rejection of Christian intolerance.

But the twisted substitutionary doctrine leads to a rejection of natural desires and a rejection of the divinely-bestowed fullness of life.

Whereas the Pagan view embraces life, nature, and sexuality and the presence of spirit in all these things, the fundamentalist Christian views them as inhabited by demons - a word which originally meant a spirit of place or a tutelary genius (a daimon in Greek).

The Pagan view celebrates the immanence of spirit in matter, and seeks to encourage matter to become ever more ensouled, ever more aware of itself; to re-enchant matter, as in the old animist worldview of our ancestors. Ironically, I think this was actually Jesus' aim (if we can ever really recover what he thought from beneath the mass of doctrinal statements about him); and this was the source of Gardner's and Sanders' claims that being a witch made you "a better Christian".
In a dream I saw Jesus and My God Pan sitting together in the heart of the forest.
They laughed at each other's speech, with the brook that ran near them, and the laughter of Jesus was the merrier. And they conversed long.
"And now let us play our reeds together."
And they played together.
And their music smote heaven and earth, and a terror struck all living things.
I heard the bellow of beasts and the hunger of the forest. And I heard the cry of lonely men, and the plaint of those who long for what they know not.
I heard the sighing of the maiden for her lover, and the panting of the luckless hunter for his prey.
And then there came peace into their music, and the heavens and the earth sang together.
All this I saw in my dream, and all this I heard.

[Sarkis an old Greek Shepherd, called the madman : Jesus and Pan]
from Jesus the Son of Man by Kahlil Gibran
Io Pan!

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Happy Beltane

At last the leaves are properly out on most of the trees. There are bluebells everywhere, but there is still cherry blossom. The chestnut candles are poised to burst into flower. Beltane is in the air. It's my favourite festival because it seems to me to embody in many ways what Paganism (or at least its contemporary revived form) is about - the simple joy of being alive, relating to other people (including other-than-human people) and the Earth and Nature.
"Oh, do not tell the Priest of our Art,
For he would call it a sin;
But we shall be out in the woods all night,
A-conjuring summer in!

And we bring you news by word of mouth
For women, cattle and corn
Now is the sun come up from the South

With Oak, and Ash and Thorn!"

-- A Tree Song from Rudyard Kipling's Weland's Sword story in "Puck of Pook's Hill"

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Mystic moments

Last year, I had one of those moments where everything seems illuminated from within, filled with light. I've had a couple of such moments before; once in about 1994 I had a vision of Yggdrasil, possibly inspired by the poem Hertha by Algernon Charles Swinburne, where everything suddenly seemed to be right, and to fit together and make sense; also around 1989 I remember my first experience of the Goddess was like a big bright light shining in the night.

Of course one expects these things to happen in ritual; it's when they happen spontaneously without any particular prompting, and with such intensity, that it's really mind-blowing.

Last year's experience was approximately between 2 and 3 pm on 8 July 2007 on the Pennine Way, just west of Manchester. I was walking along looking at the plants and trees and everything seemed to glow with an inner glow of divine presence. Sort of nebulously numinous. Everything seemed interwoven, coinherent even; all part of one enormous Being of light.

Has anyone else had something similar?

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

peace is the way

Concordia, Roman Goddess of Peace
I am a pacifist, but what exactly do I mean by that? I know that war is wrong, but what is the right response to aggression, or to interpersonal violence? What do I mean by peace?

Peace is not simply the absence of war, nor is it a state - it's a process of dialogue and the active resolution of conflict. One saying that particularly affected me was A J Muste's "There is no way to peace, peace is the way." This neatly encapsulates the idea that peace is not a state but a process or a journey; a process of engagement and dialogue. In order to dialogue effectively, one has to enter into the viewpoint of the person one is dialoguing with, and be open to them, even to the extent of being prepared to adopt their point of view; but for the dialogue to be truly mutual, they have to be equally open. If there is a conflict of viewpoint, the parties need to seek truth and reconciliation, not blame. The truth and reconciliation process in South Africa involved all parties acknowledging what they had done to each other (on both sides of the divide), and both asking for forgiveness, and giving it. Both sides had to recognise that they had done wrong things, and only when that truth was out in the open could they move on and begin to heal.

If this process of mutual understanding, dialogue, tolerance and forgiveness does not occur, then the situation begins to slide towards warfare. But can war ever be justified? If my country was invaded, would I take up arms against the invader? No, because if I did the particular enemy soldier that I killed might be a conscript who was unwilling but couldn't get conscientious objector status, or a guy who joined the army because he didn't have any other prospect of employment and then regretted it. And anyway, non-violent resistance is more effective, particularly if you don't have the firepower for a war (which presumably you wouldn't if you'd just been invaded). Gandhi wrote a lot about how satyagraha (non-violent resistance) works and why it works; it is still a process of resistance, using civil disobedience and actions like the breaking of unnecessary or unjust laws (like curfews, or the salt monopoly).

What about individual violence? I am not sure about this one - personally my first instinct is flight rather than fight; but if one of my loved ones was being attacked, i don't know how I would react. But saying that this slight inconsistency doesn't make me a pacifist is like attacking vegetarians for wearing leather shoes. It's just that both pacifism and vegetarianism make people uncomfortable, so they have to try and find an inconsistency in order to make themselves feel better.

Certainly my conviction that peace is the way leads me to engage in dialogue and conflict resolution activities as much as possible; because pacifism is not just a matter of going on anti-war marches, it's about living my values of peace, understanding and forgiveness every day (even though I sometimes get it wrong), and actively seeking to engage in dialogue with groups with whom I might otherwise be in conflict. Being a pacifist doesn't stop me getting angry about injustice, either - it leads me to seek to channel my anger into a constructive process for change, rather than getting depressed or lashing out. Anger is a good emotion, and it is a pity that it is generally so taboo; provided it is used effectively, and allows space for a response (either of apology, restorative justice, or explanation) it can be a very necessary warning signal to others that they are treading on your corns.

How does this relate to my Pagan spirituality? I guess it's my conviction that all life is sacred, which is a part of my Pagan world-view, but I'm not sure which came first; did my conviction that life is sacred lead to my Pagan worldview, or did my Pagan worldview lead to my conviction that life is sacred? I think the ethics came first, actually. I'm not a pacifist because a deity told me to be; I am a pacifist because I see it as the best way to remain in harmony with the Tao.

I am also convinced that social justice and environmental concern are pre-requisites for peace; the fair and sustainable distribution and use of the world's resources would go a long way to helping to prevent war.

Monday, 31 March 2008

Yakut Prayer

A wonderful poem from the Poetry Chaikhana --

Yakut Prayer

By Yakut (Anonymous)
(19th Century)

My words are tied in one
With the great mountains,
With the great rocks,
With the great trees,
In one with my body
And my heart.
Do you all help me
With supernatural power,
And you, Day,
And you, Night,
All of you see me
One with the world!

-- from The Essential Mystics: Selections from the World's Great Wisdom Traditions, Edited by Andrew Harvey

Thursday, 6 March 2008


My ethics most closely match those of the Epicureans (though for many of the questions I ticked "Dislike all answer choices").

1. Epicureans (100%) Information link
2. John Stuart Mill (90%) Information link
3. Aquinas (86%) Information link
4. Jeremy Bentham (82%) Information link
5. Aristotle (76%) Information link
6. Nietzsche (64%) Information link
7. Thomas Hobbes (61%) Information link
8. Ayn Rand (59%) Information link
9. Nel Noddings (59%) Information link
10. Spinoza (59%) Information link
11. Jean-Paul Sartre (49%) Information link
12. Prescriptivism (49%) Information link
13. Cynics (46%) Information link
14. Kant (46%) Information link
15. Stoics (43%) Information link
16. Ockham (41%) Information link
17. David Hume (35%) Information link
18. St. Augustine (35%) Information link
19. Plato (25%) Information link

Find out what philosophical viewpoint matches your ethics.

Via Methodius

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

this week I arr bin mostly...

... Unitarian Universalist! That's the first time that I have done the Belief-O-Matic and come out as 100% UU and 94% Pagan (previously I came out as 100% Pagan and 86% UU). I wonder what I answered differently...

Either way, I was so obviously not Orthodox (what was I thinking???)

Here's the quiz questions, and my answers are in bold:

1. What is the number and nature of the deity (God, gods, higher power)? Choose one.
  • Only one God--a corporeal spirit (has a body), supreme, personal God Almighty, the Creator.
  • Only one God--an incorporeal (no body) spirit, supreme, personal God Almighty, the Creator.
  • Multiple personal gods (or goddesses) regarded as facets of one God, and/or as separate gods.
  • The supreme force is the impersonal Ultimate Reality (or life force, ultimate truth, cosmic order, absolute bliss, universal soul), which resides within and/or beyond all.
  • The supreme existence is both the eternal, impersonal, formless Ultimate Reality, and personal God (or gods).
  • No God or supreme force. Or not sure. Or not important.
  • None of the above.
What priority do you place on this selection?

2. Are there human incarnation(s) of God (or of gods/goddesses)? Choose one.

God is (or gods/goddesses are) supreme, and no incarnations.
One incarnation.
Many (or countless) incarnations.
No particular incarnations because God is all and all are God (or God is in all).
No incarnations as there is no God. Or not sure. Or not important.
None of the above.

What priority do you place on this selection?
(hmm, I think I may have ticked "many or countless incarnations" on previous occasions, which is more Pagan than UU)

3. What are the origins of the physical universe and life on earth? Choose one.
  • As in the book of Genesis, God created a mature universe and mature life forms from nothing in less than 7 days, less than 10,000 years ago.
  • As in the book of Genesis, but "day" is not 24 hours, possibly refers to thousands (or even millions) of years, or to creation phases.
  • God is creating and controlling the phenomena uncovered by scientists. Or there are other spiritual explanations, but not in conflict with scientific discovery.
  • All matter and life forms are manifestations (or illusions) of the eternal Absolute (Ultimate Truth, Universal Soul or Mind, etc.).
  • Only natural forces (like evolution) and no Creator or spiritual forces. Or not sure. Or not important.
  • None of the above.
What priority do you place on this selection?

4. What happens to humans after death? Choose one.
  • Souls are judged immediately for a foretaste of heaven or hell. At the final judgment, God (or Christ) will resurrect and judge all for heaven or hell. (Or souls may also be judged for punishment and/or purification before heaven.)
  • Death results in unconsciousness until, at the final judgment, God (or Christ) will raise the living righteous to heaven; resurrect and destroy the wicked on earth; return the righteous to a paradisal earth for eternity.
  • Souls don't survive death. God (or Christ) will resurrect the righteous at the final judgment for eternity in heaven or on a paradisal earth; the wicked will remain dead.
  • The soul's spiritual development continues after death so that all may eventually experience the indescribable joy of closeness to God. Hell is not a place but the tormented state of remoteness from God.
  • Rebirths occur (continually, or until all life's lessons are learned and one merges with the life force, or until complete enlightenment and eternal bliss are attained).
  • There is definitely an afterlife, but the specifics cannot be known or are unimportant--most important is one's conduct in life.
  • No afterlife; no spiritual existence beyond life; no literal heaven and hell. Or not sure. Or not important.
  • None of the above.
What priority do you place on this selection?

5. Why is there terrible wrongdoing in the world? Choose one.
  • Humans inherited sinfulness, or a damaged nature, or tendency to yield to Satan's temptations from Adam and Eve, who committed the original sin against God.
  • Wrongdoing results from God-given free will plus a weak side, or a drive to satisfy personal needs, which sometimes results in wrongful choices (and/or vulnerability to Satan's temptations).
  • Ignorance of one's true existence as pure spirit and as one with the Universal Truth (or soul, mind, etc.) can lead to wrongdoing.
  • Not listening to the voice of God, who resides within all, can lead to wrongdoing.
  • Egoism (self-importance) leads to desire, craving, and attachments, which can lead to unwholesome thoughts and behavior, i.e., greed, hate, and violence.
  • No supernatural or spiritual reasons. Human nature, psychology, sociology, criminology, etc., explain wrongdoing. Or not sure. Or not important.
  • None of the above.
What priority do you place on this selection?

6. Satan's presence results in much suffering.
  • Agree.
  • Disagree.
  • Not applicable. I don't believe in Satan.
What priority do you place on this selection?

7. Why is there so much suffering in the world?
Choose ALL that apply.
  • The original disobedience of Adam and Eve caused all mankind to inherit mortality, which includes bodily imperfection, illness, and decay.
  • Suffering is part of God's divine will, plan, or design (to discipline, test, challenge, strengthen faith, strengthen character, promote moral growth, or for reasons that we cannot or may not know).
  • Suffering is a state of mind (or illusion); only our spiritual nature is real.
  • Spiritual or cosmic imbalance and disharmony may result in suffering.
  • Unwholesome thoughts and/or deeds (greed, hatred, and violence) in this or prior lives return as suffering (karma).
  • None of the above; human suffering has nothing to do with the supernatural or karma.
What priority do you place on this selection?
Medium (ah, I think I ticked "spiritual or cosmic imbalance or disharmony" before - so hanging out with Unitarians is clearly making me more rational...)

Respond to the following (Questions 8-12) based on how you believe a person attains salvation, exaltation, eternal reward, spiritual liberation/enlightenment, spiritual harmony, merger with God, etc.

8. Worship:
  • The Supreme Power, God, or Gods.
  • God--three persons of one essence.
  • God the Father, His Son, the Holy Spirit--each a distinct essence.
  • Not Applicable.
9. Baptism (or initiation) ceremonies:
  • Required.
  • Not required.
  • Not Applicable.
What priority do you place on this selection?

10. Regularly confess or repent:
  • All sins/wrongs to a cleric.
  • All sins/wrongs, but not necessarily to a cleric.
  • Not Applicable.
What priority do you place on this selection above?

11. Doing good works (deeds) and acting compassionately is:
  • Necessary.
  • Not necessary.
  • Not Applicable.
What priority do you place on this selection?

12. Choose ALL statements below that represent your beliefs.
  • Adhere strictly to the rites, practices, precepts, commandments, prohibitions, laws, sacraments, or ordinances of the faith to be rewarded after life.
  • All, even the wicked, are rewarded after life (e.g., go to heaven, merge with God) as God(s) is infinitely good and forgiving.
  • Extinguish all cravings, attachments, and ignorance, or rid oneself of all impurities, to become fully enlightened.
  • Learn all life's lessons through rebirths.
  • Realize your true nature as purely spirit (or soul) and not body, as one with the Absolute, Universal Soul.
  • Live very simply; renounce worldly goals and possessions.
  • Tap the power of the Ultimate (God, or the divine) through intercessory methods such as psychics, channeling, tarot cards, crystals, magic.
  • Humankind is "saved" through human effort rather than through religious or spiritual means.
What priority do you place on this selection?

Respond to the following moral statements (Questions 13-20) based on how you would want your religion or faith category to address them.

13. Elective abortion should be accepted (not proclaimed or treated as immoral).
  • Agree.
  • Disagree.
  • Not Applicable.
What priority do you place on this selection?

14. Homosexual behavior should be regarded as immoral or out of harmony.
  • Agree.
  • Disagree.
  • Not Applicable.
What priority do you place on this selection?
High -- if there had been a "strongly disagree" option, I would have ticked it

15. Roles for women and men should be prescribed.
  • Agree.
  • Disagree.
  • Not Applicable.
What priority do you place on this selection?
-- if there had been a "strongly disagree" option, I would have ticked it

16. Divorce and/or remarriage should be restricted or punished or condemned.
  • Agree.
  • Disagree.
  • Not Applicable.
What priority do you place on this selection?
-- if there had been a "strongly disagree" option, I would have ticked it

17. Social betterment programs (e.g., equality, anti-poverty, education) should be fundamental.
  • Agree.
  • Disagree.
  • Not Applicable.
What priority do you place on this selection?

18. Nonviolence (e.g., pacifism, conscientious objector) should be fundamental.
  • Agree.
  • Disagree.
  • Not Applicable.
What priority do you place on this selection?
Low - it should be a matter of personal conscience.

19. Prayer, meditation, or spiritual healing practices should be favored to the exclusion of conventional health treatment (for all serious conditions or certain types of serious conditions).
  • Agree.
  • Disagree.
  • Not Applicable.
What priority do you place on this selection?
Medium (they should supplement conventional treatment)

20. Revering nature or the environment should be fundamental.
  • Agree.
  • Disagree.
  • Not Applicable.
What priority do you place on this selection?

The top score on the list below represents the faith that Belief-O-Matic, in its less than infinite wisdom, thinks most closely matches your beliefs. However, even a score of 100% does not mean that your views are all shared by this faith, or vice versa.

Belief-O-Matic then lists another 26 faiths in order of how much they have in common with your professed beliefs. The higher a faith appears on this list, the more closely it aligns with your thinking.

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Neo-Pagan (94%)
3. Secular Humanism (93%)
4. Liberal Quakers (83%)
5. New Age (81%)
6. Theravada Buddhism (75%)
7. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (72%)
8. Mahayana Buddhism (67%)
9. Nontheist (64%)
10. Reform Judaism (60%)
11. New Thought (56%)
12. Taoism (56%)
13. Jainism (56%)
14. Scientology (53%)
15. Orthodox Quaker (50%)
16. Sikhism (49%)
17. Bahá'í Faith (41%)
18. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (37%)
19. Hinduism (36%)
20. Orthodox Judaism (35%)
21. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (26%)
22. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (25%)
23. Islam (24%)
24. Seventh Day Adventist (19%)
25. Eastern Orthodox (16%)
26. Roman Catholic (16%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (9%)

I hereby tag Steve Hayes and Cat Chapin-Bishop to do this quiz and post your results on your blogs (and maybe your answers too, if you feel like it).