non theistic

في كل الأنظمة الدينية التأليهية، حتى تلك الصوفية التي لا تتضمن لاهوتاً، يوجد الافتراض الذي يقول بحقيقة العالم الروحي كعالم متجاوز/ مفارق للإنسان، معطياً المعنى والصلاحية لقوى الإنسان الروحية وكفاحه من أجل النجاة والسلام الروحي. بينما في الأنظمة اللاتأليهية، لا يوجد عالم روحي خارج أو مفارق للإنسان، وعالم الحب والعقل والعدالة موجود حقيقةً فقط لأن الإنسان كان قادراً أن ينمي هذه القوى بداخله خلال عملية تطوره. ووفقا لهذه النظرة، الحياة لا معنى لها إلا ما وهبه لها الإنسان من معنى..
—  الفرق بين الديانات التأليهية والديانات اللا تأليهية
إيرك فروم - فن الحب
النص الأصلي:
In all theistic systems, even a non-theological, mystical one, there is the assumption of the reality of the spiritual realm, as one transcending man, giving meaning and validity to man’s spiritual powers and his striving for salvation and inner birth. In a non-theistic system, there exists no spiritual realm outside of man or transcending him. The realm of love, reason and justice exists as a reality only because, and inasmuch as, man has been able to develop these powers in himself throughout the process of his evolution. In this view there is no meaning to life, except the meaning man himself gives to it. - Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

Humanist monastery in Central London. This project aims to promote secular spirituality. While arguing that the future ideology of religious institutions is non-theistic, this projects is seeking inspiration from monastic traditions as a way to evangelize Humanism – a world-view which was chosen as it has underdeveloped architectural heritage compared to other non-theistic regions (such as secular Buddhism). The location of the monastery, close to a busy street in the City of London and next to famous St Mary-le-Bow church, serves as an advertisement while an adjoining square invites people to slow down and familiarise themselves with the new institution. The monastery has a selection of publicly accessible spaces – an art gallery, a cafe with a bookshop and a multi-purpose hall – all located on the ground floor and grouped around a new public courtyard which is carved into the urban fabric linking Cheapside and Watling Street. An external ramp links non-public functions of the monastery thus animating exterior by processions of monks.

Happy Winter Solstice from the Southern Hemisphere!

If you’re celebrating Yule, you probably know what to do! If you’re going the non-theistic route, spend time with your loved ones! Do some baking from scratch or cooking from the heart. Share a meal with your spirit friends. Appreciate the cold outside, and the warmth inside. Be grateful.

For me, I made brownies from scratch that were all consumed very quickly, and I went to my good friend’s birthday party and ate good Vietnamese food with a whole bunch of my friends. I’ll also be sharing a drink and probably a brownie with a spirit friend of mine, who I haven’t spoken with as often as I should have.

Enjoy the good times, everyone!

So, mini rant about housemates.

My housemate is super into the whole ‘Goth’ thing and when she found out I was Pagan she decided she wanted to at least experiment with the practices.

I said cool, we kept it loose and we celebrated as and when.

Now, I recently (in October) joined a coven. A coven she was welcome to join to. She told me ‘I’m sorry, my shifts don’t work out’. 

We actually still invited her to the group page and kept her informed in case her shifts changed.

Today, she’s taken a day off and is heading to a humanist meeting

For those of you that don’t know, a humanist is someone who rejects all notion of religion and chooses to have a moral compass based on simple non-theistic ethics and some of their big platforms are secularism and the rejection of faith based schools. One of the big ones is also the rejection of the supernatural.

I mention that last point because witchcraft is a practice and you don’t have to believe in God’s to be a witch or practice. However, it usually denotes some belief in the supernatural or metaphysical.

Girl can do what she wants. She can explore any path she wants.

But it’s kind of hella rude to constantly dodge the invitation to coven that she originally wanted, let us add her to the private group that she still has access to and checks, and still makes vague ‘Gothy’ references to burning in churches and all that shit - but the moment this work couple they’ve got ‘buddy buddy’ with makes an offer for some other (we’ll call it) spiritual thing - she takes a day off???

Like, she legit still makes ‘Pagan jokes’ despite the fact that she’s always been more half assed about it than me. I didn’t care. It’s up to her. I showed her what I knew and let her do what she wanted. 

Still kinda gets my goat though that she often uses our identity, makes jokes like she’s one of us, kinda of claims our identity but mainly as part of her ‘Goth’ thing, is always saying ‘next time’ to committing’ to anything but drops a day of work for a Humanist meeting?

TBH she doesn’t sound like she fully grasps or is interested in the humanist thing. Kinda sounds like she got invited by this couple and is just going along with it.

I mean, whatever, but let a girl know so I can cut her from the private group. You know what I’m saying?

A Non-Theistic Apologetic on the Eucharist (Or Finding Meaning in Communion Without God)

A non-theistic or theistically neutral Eucharist is just a reminder that we can take things and make them holy. That our actions can create good, sometimes out of seemingly impossible circumstances, sometimes out of seemingly nothing. Goodness is holy.

A non-theistic or theistically neutral Eucharist is a reminder that we can share and spread that good with all. That all are invited to the table of goodness, that a cup (wellspring) of compassion is available to all. It’s us faking it until we make it, practicing sharing goodness & compassion, because really, the table is supposed to be our societies & the way we live our lives.

We join together with a diverse group of people and, for a short time, we are one. Many, yes, different, yes, but also one together reading and reflecting and singing and thinking and hoping and dedicating and sharing our thoughts and sharing our food. We partake together of something that symbolizes a meal. All are welcome to this space, to this meal. Because there’s not a single one of us who wasn’t born worthy of love, goodness, compassion. Our meal is the acknowledging of that fact. We are one people: all economic levels, all ages, all genders, all orientations, all levels of ability, all mind-types, all colors, all cultures… in the end, we are all people. And that knowledge reminds us to see ourselves in our neighbors, to create relationships that are same-same instead of subject-object… when we are one and we are worthy & loved, it is harder to do injustice to our fellow people

To bring various people together, to create community, to be emotionally intimate together, to be vulnerable together, to be tender with each other, to love each other, to share that love and compassion, to inspire each other to go out in the world and create justice by loving each other and having compassion… this is holy. This is sacred.

So many former Christians and Atheists™ poo-poo on the Eucharist. I… that bothers me. To me it says they missed the point. That they never got it to begin with. When Christians believe in transubstantiation, to me, the literal part isn’t Jesus, but the changing, the being. Jesus is a metaphor. God is a metaphor. When we say “this is the body of God”, we’re saying “this is the very being of goodness”. We’re saying “we can make things good” and “we can share that goodness”.

People talk about ration and reason as if it’s all you need in life, but that’s a lie. Pure ration and reason gets you things like eugenics and the holocaust. Without love, without compassion, without seeing ourselves in our neighbor, concepts that can be very irrational at times… we have a cold cold world. It’s OKAY to have feelings, to have emotions, to have a little mystery. Because even the most rational scientist will admit that there are plenty of things we do not understand about the universe. Now, I think that with science, we’ll get there eventually… or maybe new questions will pop up as we answer the old ones. And that’s awesome. And that’s amazing. And perhaps that’s holy. But there’s more to life than ration & reason… otherwise we wouldn’t have some of the most amazing things in our world. And maybe they’re within your concept of reason, but they’re not rational. But too often do I see this concept of ration and reason to secretly mean the way that white (often cis, straight) men think. That they get to decide what’s rational, what’s reasonable.

The reality is there’s lots of irrational things in this world. Some of it is phenomena that is natural. Some of it is created by people. Some of it is Good. Some of it is Bad. Some of it just Is. But life without a little irrationality (of the type explained above) is bereft. And I’m not talking about an entire system of belief here complete with a thousand page long explanation that takes so much mental twisting. I’m talking about a few moments out of life where people who would otherwise avoid each other gather together, listen, share, and love each other. Where we take something ordinary and use it for the extraordinary, whether to you that’s a transformation or a symbol/metaphor. (Even calling to mind that metaphor and reminding ourselves of its importance can be extraordinary.) Where we share a meal, and let the simple everyday act of eating & drinking, something we often do mindlessly, remind us of our highest values, inspire us to live up to them. And where we are energized to go forth in the world and live out those values.

But even without the above 2 paragraphs, even without any form of possible supernatural, even without a little room for feelings and mystery, I still think there’s a defense for it. Because the metaphors can be that powerful. Because this is something given in love, given to all, to help us remember love, to be more loving. It is a physical manifestation created for mindfulness of the good things in life.

The Eucharist can transform your life, but only if you let it. And it’s not like it’s Jesus acting through it. No. (I mean, for the Christian theists, it’s that, and that’s fine, but it’s not for us.) This is a gift of love that is freely given to all people. It’s compassion so bountiful that it overflows the cup. To know that we are all worthy of this, that there’s nothing we can do to give up the rights to love and compassion, that this beautiful gift is for me and for you and for everyone, that we are just that awesome… that’s life changing. And that we can go forth and change others lives, that we make their lives better, that we can create a more just world, that we can inspire others to do the same… that’s powerful stuff.

And that’s the point of the Eucharist. That’s the point of services. And that’s something that’s accessible to all.

(But you have to receive it that way. And you have to remember it. You have to let it change your mindsets, to work towards becoming more loving & compassionate & just. It’s a tool, in a way. A tool on its own does nothing. A tool improperly used does nothing as well, or even could create harm. But a tool, properly used, can do great things, some of them greater than we could have possibly imagined. (I’m thinking levers and massive stones.))

(Note: I’m not saying that there aren’t other ways to get these things. Not at all. I believe there’s something of this in every religion and in many non-religious ethical or spiritual or philosophical paths. And I’m not saying that everyone should necessarily embrace this as their way that works for them. Far from it. I understand that this is too much of a cultural divide from others of other faith traditions. Or that it can be scary. That’s fine. I’m just saying that this way is valid, and trying to help those who never got it in their past lives as Christians or their current lives as Atheists™ to understand it from a non-theistic PoV. That it’s not just complete hogwash to be totally dismissed, and, at worst, mocked. That it’s a valid form to find meaning from.)

Three types of Gods...

The theistic, non-interventionist one - some sort of superior intelligence that created the universe with unknown purpose. This God set things into motion, but does not interfere. Whoever that God is, whyever they did what they did, whatever they intended with it, we’ll likely never know. For any religious purpose, this God is basically useless. Some people might find it somewhat spiritually satisfying to try and connect with it, but since this God does not answer prayers, or reveals itself, any kind of worship or great gesture of devotion is entirely wasted.

The mythological, interventionist one - basically Jahwe, Allah, or the Christian God, or basically any ancient God or Goddess that is said to have created the world, often with an ancient Holy Book or several that outline the way they chose to interact with humanity, or reveal themselves to a select group of chosen individuals. In this imagination, the world as it is follows God’s plan. 

Taken literally, this God’s myth of creation clashes heavily with our knowledge of science - astrophysics, biology, evolution, which is why many followers have taken to reading their holy books metaphorically rather than literally, This often leads to an individualized faith which cherrypicks some of the mythological elements and dismisses others. E.g.: Christians who dismiss the Old Testament as a collection of mythological/historical tales, yet still believe that Jesus was the son of God, whose sacrifice enables humanity to find salvation. However, there are very few versions where the belief in an interventionist God does not raise a number of logical question. 

Ultimately theodicy poses the biggest problem for this kind of deity:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God? 

Truth claims are another problem with this kind of God: core elements of a relgion establish it as true, which in turn means everyone else’s religions is wrong - e.g., if you believe that Jesus is the son of God, who we must acknowledge as such to find salvation, then anyone who rejects this as untrue is basically doomed. Modern day believers often struggle to reconcile their religion’s particular truth claims with their wish to respect other people’s faith and not impose their own religion on others. 

On the other hand, for people who do take their faith literally, these truth claims sever as an excuse for violence and intolerance against non-believers. 

The selectively interventionist one - this is a God that exists somewhere between number one and two, often found where people reject institutionalized religion but are still convinced that “there is something we can’t explain”, “I believe that God is love”, “things happened in my life that can only be explained through divine intervention”. This is a faith that is centered around the individual and their needs, and arguably displays a rather self-centered world view where some events, mostly positive ones that have happened to the believer or their loved ones, are seen as the expression of some higher power that is ultimately benevolent - very often, this is basically a mixture of survivorship bias and selective perception, where the individual treats their own personal experience of divine intervention as fact (I’ve felt it, therefore it must be true). 

The believe in a selectively interventionist God allows their believers to dismiss the questions of theodicy and the problem of mutually exclusive truth claims on basis of their God being less mythological and more abstract. “It will all work out somehow”, “I believe that God loves everyone”, “all Gods are inherently the same God”, “I don’t know how, but it is all somehow God’s plan”.

There are believers of this kind in every established religion, and there’s often no clear divide between them and the cherrypicking, modernist believers in a mythological God. Proponents of “intelligent design” are also a good example for people who believe in this kind of God.

irreligious

adjective

  1. indifferent or hostile to religion.“an irreligious man"synonyms:atheistic, unbelieving, non-believing, non-theistic, agnostic, sceptical, heretical, faithless, godless, ungodly, unholy, impious, profane, infidel, barbarian, barbarous, heathen, heathenish, idolatrous, pagan; More
31 days of witchcraft

Day 3:  What kind of witch are you?

(Okay we’re really behind on this haha, it’s been 1 every 2 days)

It varies through the system! I’ll say for the people who tag here the most.

  • Candyfloss - green witch, crystals, spirit worker and divination (mostly)
  • Stag - polytheistic heathen witch, divination, kitchen witch, sigil witch
  • Crow - non-theistic Satanic witch, bone witch, spirit worker, divination
  • Faerie - kitchen witch, divination, crystals
  • Unicorn - chaos witch, glamour witch, crystals, divination
  • R - polytheistic witch, lazy witch, crystals, divination, green witch, kitchen witch

There’s more witches here, but those are the ones who have used the blog the most so far :)

Diverse annos passato, al Beliefnet, io apprendeva de un forma de theismo multo estranie nominate ‘maltheismo’, le qual es le credentia que un unic deo existe, ma el es un esser mal e cruel, e assi maltheistas non le adoran. Io velle sugerir que illes simplicemente apprender ad esser atheos, agnosticos, ignosticos, apatheistas, pantheistas, o alique simile, o illes deberea facer un effortio apprender re le religiones polytheistic o le religiones non-theistic.

4

Islam isn’t a violent religion any more than Christianity is.
(Twitter: MuslimIQ)

This was directed at a white supremacist, but it’s a good response for the Bill Maher Liberals in your life too, especially the atheists.  The Angry White Man brand of Liberal Atheist Absolutism is probably one of my least favorite factions among people I generally agree with, because it always comes with a condescending air of I’m Right And You’re Wrong.  Things are this or they are that, and because I am an educated white man, I am smart, and I don’t have to listen to your rebuttals to whatever I just said.  One of their hot button issues is religion, wherein all religions are stupid and terrible, but Islam is the worst because it makes people violent.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Is non-theistic animism incompatible with Judaism? I've pretty much seen spirits my entire life and can't turn it off, but I'm exploring conversion to Reform Judaism and it feels right.

Hi Anon,

I’m not sure if you’re the agnostic anon or not, but either way – this is a fantastic question and something I can hopefully at least begin to address.

As someone who was a practicing pagan for several years after I left xianity, this actually gets at something I’ve wrestled with in my own path. I want to preface my comments with a few things – I have no authoritative answer for you. Everything I’m sharing below is part of whatever answer I, myself, am working on. Your experiences may vary quite greatly and are equally valid to mine. I also have not actually discussed this particular issue with my rabbi, for reasons I will explain later. So this really, truly is not an authoritative answer. It’s just my answer, for now, based on my own deeply personal experiences. Okay? Okay.

Prior to deciding to convert to Judaism, as I said, I was a practicing pagan. Part of that path involved spirit work, and at the time, I felt it was real and valid. How, then, do I make sense of these experiences in light of my new path? Were they just delusions? Wishful thinking? Mental illness? Or were they real, and if so, how do I explain them through the lens of Judaism? How could I possibly give up energy work when it felt as real in my hands as air – unseen, yet tangible?

And that question actually prevented me from seriously considering conversion for at least a year, even after the seed of it had been planted in the back of my mind.

For most people who decide to go down the road to conversion, there’s a turning point – a moment of clarity that sets them down this path and not that path. Of course, this is just one moment in a series of moments that happens to stand out, but most people do not get a dramatic revelation. There’s just this quiet realization that this is the path they want and need to be on. Yet, at the same time, at some point the light has to go on. For me, that directly dealt with my energy and spirit work.

I had noticed, over the years of doing energy and spirit work, that Jewish energy (which, yes, has its own energy signature) seriously interfered with my practice. I had a much harder time sensing things and at the same time, it created a bit of a protective barrier. It’s worth noting that my practice was mostly an atheistic practice that eventually morphed into a practice where I recognized all gods as valid, but in the sense that they were the synergistic collective energy of all of their followers’ prayers and hopes and dreams. (There’s probably a name for that but I’m unaware of it, so I thought I’d just describe it.) In any event, this was sort of my polytheistic way of explaining all gods as being glorified energy work.

Eventually, after months of trying to convince myself not to convert, I had a moment of clarity wherein, for the first time in my whole life, I was truly made aware of the Divine Presence.

It was a stark difference.

Prior to this point, having never directly experienced G-d, it was easy for me to conclude that all gods were basically the same, and that their reality was relative. As soon as I was actually made aware of G-d’s presence in the world, however, it was impossible for me to deny the difference.

But I wasn’t so easily satisfied. What about my other experiences, my energy work, my spirit work? Those certainly felt real! So I decided to go over to the place where I had done the most intense spirit work to see if I could still sense things, and if not, it would confirm the identity of this Presence. This place was filled with spirits and teeming with energy, and every time I had gone there it had felt very… alive. If that was all shut down, I would have my answer.

I think you can guess what happened. :)

As soon as I arrived, the only things I could sense were the natural aspects of the night around me – the light summer breeze, the smell of cut grass, the stars. And from that moment forward, I haven’t engaged in any further energy or spirit work because I have not needed to (and I doubt I even would have been able to, had I have tried.)

Now, I’m guessing you already know that disturbing the spirits of the dead is forbidden in Judaism. It is seen as quite cruel, and you may find that if you stop engaging them that they will be less apparent to you. As I do not know you and I do not know the source of your sense, it is difficult to predict exactly what will happen, but that is my suspicion.

Personally, I have not shared the more mystical side of this story with my rabbi; I have personally been able to reconcile the existence of spirits as being ubiquitous while still understanding at a very deep level that G-d is the One, the only G-d that is, indeed, G-d.

Because it has not interfered with the requisite monotheism of Judaism and because it (quite frankly) could easily be misinterpreted as mental illness, I have omitted it for now. So while I will still advise you to speak to your rabbi about this if/when you start exploring conversion formally if you are comfortable doing so, I also understand why you might not want to. If you find you can’t, you at least need to be able to find a way to reconcile your experiences.

Judaism does have a lot of folklore, and acknowledged spirits or entities other than G-d. Angels, for example, are G-d’s messengers. However, none of these other things are actually gods or even remotely on the same level as G-d. Judaism (especially the more mystical strands of it) have pretty developed ideas about souls and what happens to those souls during life and after death. So that’s another thing to think about.

The primary concerns are that you are not engaging in avodah zarah and that you are not worshipping any other entities. Closely behind that are concerns about practice – I would cease any practice that is exclusively pagan if you decide to pursue this, even if it might not technically be forbidden, and I would definitely do your best to figure out what practices are forbidden. If you can manage to understand your experiences in a way that does not lead you away from G-d, then I think it’s probably alright; I would just be very strict with yourself in deciding these issues.

All the best to you on your journey!

PSG Roundtable #8: Altars & Shrines for Non-theistic Purposes

Want to make an altar or shrine to a principle, concept, or impersonal subject that isn’t a ‘conventional’ deity, complete with names and symbols and pre-defined rituals?

First, you need to know what its purpose is.  There’s no clear delineation and they often get combined in contemporary practice, but generally speaking, a shrine is a space for devotional offerings, meditation, and/or self-reflection whereas an altar tends to be more of a practical workspace.  Both shrines and altars act as a space in which you interact with the immaterial in some way.  They’re liminal.

Please note that everything I say here is opinion, and I invite you to accept or reject what you will according to your own beliefs, needs, and desires.  I’ll be using my devotion to Death as an example, but you should be able to extrapolate for the universe, moon, sun, nature, etc.  I’m going to stick to the word “altar” for simplicity’s sake.

  • What is your altar dedicated to?

Be as specific as possible.  This helps you know exactly what you’re wanting to deal with.

Ex: Death.  What part of death?  The whole cycle of life-death-rebirth?  Death as the ultimate symbol of transformation and impermanence?  For me, death is the greatest power, and I have an obsession with the concept of entropy.  (Asimov’s “The Last Question” and Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Nine Billion Names of God” are two of my favorite short stories.)  It is the concept by which we define our very nature and how we understand our existence, the source of our greatest fears and anxieties as a mortal species, and the one truly unifying experience for all humans.  And a lot more besides, but I could go on all day about death so I’ll stop here.

  • How do you want to engage with this concept/abstract?

Some common ideas:

  1. Reflection, meditation
  2. Devotionals, worship
  3. Spellcrafting and magic

How do you normally do your meditation or magic?  How can the materials, timing, and other components be adapted?

  • What associations and visuals do you have for this concept?

Consider all the senses: scents, tastes, textures, fabrics, sounds, colors, stones, herbs, numbers, symbols, words and phrases, music notes and songs, emotions, aspects of nature, etc.  Make lists.  Hell, make aesthetic posts.  These will help you choose what kinds of objects, tools, and materials to put on your altar to best facilitate the kind of meaningful experience you’re looking for. 

(Make sure you’re not appropriating anything from a closed or initiatory tradition.  There are usually about a hundred thousand alternatives for everything, so don’t go taking sacred things out of their proper context and using them in ways they weren’t intended to be used.)

Ex: my personal associations for death include black, white, and silver; camphor, menthol, the smell of wet dirt; quiet chill, both damp and dry; grief, dissociation, sarcasm and morbid humor, relief, freedom, truth, rebellion, empowerment, justice, existentialism; the numbers two, three, and seven; obsidian, jet; Southern Gothic folk rock (Jen Titus’ cover of the American folk classic “O Death,” anyone?); black mirrors, slim dark-handled knives, scalpels; images of space; “evanescent” (the SAT word, not the band), “fate,” “tradition,” “stories,” “power”; bleached bones, blood both old and fresh, winter, corvids, silhouettes of bare trees, white bedsheets, gauzy curtains, empty hospital beds, abandoned houses, sexuality, dried flowers, candles burning either singly or in the hundreds.  See, as silly as aesthetic posts can be, they really can be useful.

Now look at your own lists and see what underlying trends and themes there are.  For me, I see impermanence and unadorned realism.  (I left out the more graphic and triggering associations I have with death because I don’t want to distract from the purpose of this post.)  Someone making a list for the sun, on the other hand, may find ‘strength’ or ‘optimism’ is a common theme in their associations.  I find that understanding the themes in your associations helps you understand your own relationship with the concept itself and why you might feel drawn to it so strongly.  It may also help you choose in which direction you want to take your engagement with it.

  • Setting up the altar.

Do what you would do for a conventional altar: cleanse the space (or container, if you’re making your altar in a box, cupboard, drawer, or something similar) and everything you’ll be using on it.  If you don’t have a tradition that comes with a prescription for setting up an altar, you can look up how to cleanse and consecrate altar items in any number of ways and choose the method that’s most appropriate for you.  I do recommend using methods that reflect back to your concept.  For example, salt, as an agent for drying, preserving, and purifying, would be appropriate for death, as would frankincense, which in a multitude of cultures is a required component of funerals.  For something dedicated to the universe as a whole, I would probably incorporate sound into the cleansing, as sound is a wavelength and much of what we know about our universe (sound waves, radiation waves, gravitational fields, matter itself, etc) is based on those principles.

Ex: My altar is dedicated to death in the impersonal, entropic sense.  This means that anything personal goes to a different space set aside for my beloved dead and ancestors; this altar is for the vast, inhuman concept of “the end” that can be so oppressively terrifying or incredibly freeing.  The setup is based on a visual that came during a meditation: the altar cloth is black with a ring of alternating smooth and rough obsidian stones (which betrays my bias as an Irish polytheist) around a circular mirror in the center.  A small sphere of obsidian sits in the center of the mirror.  A black pillar candle stands tall behind it all.  The setup is designed to facilitate my journeyings by creating a symbolically liminal space represented by the ring, made of stones that naturally draw in power rather than reflect it.  The drawing in reflects my journeying technique as well as how I connect with the greater, impersonal energy of death and darkness and all those cheerful things, especially when I hold the obsidian sphere, so it works for me.  If I were doing ancestor or spiritwork I would probably use more white, which recalls a different aspect of “death” than black does to me.

The “nature worship” tag has additional commentary on non-theistic practices.

- mountain hound  

So, Hound covered more of the altar stuff. I’ll add my thoughts on shrines. for ease of reading, I’ll mimic the format starting with

  • What is your Shrine dedicated to?

I find a shrine is much more free form than an altar due to its fundamentally different nature. Whereas an altar is used for practice in spellcraft or meditation a shrine, in my opinion, is about devotion connection in a way that is different than an altar is used for. As such, while I see altars as something that needs to be more specific (as Hound mentioned above), I find shrines do not need to be so specific. For example, my shrine is to Nature, in all its forms. I do not emphasize more the harsh wilds or the tame fields but all its forms under the complete object. If you wish to emphasize one or the other, you can, I just do not find it as necessary to do as with an altar. 

My reasoning for such is (and feel free to disagree) an altar is used more in a practical sense for spellcraft and meditation and other uses that are generally to garner a result. As such being as specific as possible is advantageous as it leaves less room for error.  A shrine, however, is used for more abstract things such as offerings, self-reflection, etc. which are generally things that are not (though can be) used to garner some sort of result. For example, I will leave offerings at my shrine more as an act of devotion with no end goal as opposed to an offering I may give a spirit when requesting its services (which is a good example of an offering to garner some sort of result).

The rest of the points are very eloquently put and can be easily applied to both altars and shrines; the primary difference is the function of active vs passive respectively and how narrow and broad the scope respectively.

Sparrow

The PSG Roundtable Index
before asking | faq+tags | resource blog

Indian Pakistani Girl, Atheism & OCD

@froglieb asked:

hey. i’m writing a fantasy story set in london (there’s magic but its set in “our world”). the protagonist is a lesbian girl born in london she has ocd. her mother is a second generation immigrant (her parents emigrated from india) and her father is a pakistani first gen immigrant. neither her parents nor her and her two siblings are religious. is there anything i should be particularly aware of, especially in regards to atheism and homosexuality and neurodivergence?

add-on to that last message: i don’t have ocd but i have experience with some ocd symptoms due to my borderline pd and anxiety disorder and i’m also doing research and talking to people who do have ocd to write that in a good way. i don’t, however, know any third gen immigrants with indian and/or pakistani roots, so i don’t know who to ask so as to not talk over the voices of actual immigrants.

Speaking to the atheism part of things, it’s going to make a HUGE difference whether the family comes from a Muslim or a Hindu background.  Why is this? Basically because atheism is a valid (though perhaps unusual) position within Hinduism while in Islam it’s not.

I’ve noticed from ex-Muslim friends, that their ex-Muslim status is often an important part of their identity—they aren’t just atheists, they are ex-Muslims, with all the interaction with Islam that entails.  Meanwhile atheistically-minded Hindu friends and family (myself included) are not so actively “ex-Hindu” as more culturally Hindu but non-believing (“Yeah, whatever, I’m Hindu but, no, I don’t actually believe”).  We’ll even go to a temple on occasion.  From the perspective of a semi-outsider, “ex-Muslim” seems to be a fairly distinct identity marker, whereas “ex-Hindu” isn’t really a term I’ve encountered much as a godless Hindu-background guy living in the west.  I believe the situation may be different in India itself where Hindus are the vast majority and vocal atheist and rationalist groups sometimes find themselves under siege from the Hindu right-wing.

While I think it’s important to make a distinction in the west of atheist from a Christian background vs. atheist from a non-Christian background, not all atheisms are the same, and coming from an Abrahamic background vs. a non-Abrahamic one is an equally important distinction.  Really, the ethnoreligious background of formerly-religious current nonbelievers is very salient and each such background needs to be treated differently (that is, ex-Christians ≠ ex-Muslims ≠ ex-Jews even though they’re all Abrahamic backgrounds, ex-Hindus ≠ ex-Buddhists ≠ ex-Jains ≠ ex-Sikhs even though they’re all “Dharmic” or Indian backgrounds, and so on).

One parent of Indian background and one of Pakistani makes it possible for their backgrounds to be either Hindu or Muslim (Though really, two generations back from the modern day, it was all India—what date did these emigrations take place?  Before 1947, Pakistan didn’t exist.), but I would say that Muslim is more likely since there are far more Muslims in India than there are Hindus in Pakistan.  If that is the case, I would suggest you seek out ex-Muslim perspectives and South Asian ex-Muslim perspectives in particular.  If this is a Hindu background you wish to address (Hindus are technically the largest religious minority in Pakistan), I would direct you to this post—that’s basically my life and perspective on identity as a non-theistic Hindu.  It is also possible, though perhaps less likely, that one parent could be of Hindu background and the other of Muslim background.  In my experience, South Asians are often just happy to meet other South Asians in the west and things like religion and nationality tend to fall by the wayside (after all, who cares about gods when you have food!).

~Mod Nikhil

I think you’re well on the way concerning the neurodivergence part, as long as you keep in mind that having traits from OCD does not mean you know what it’s like to have OCD (speaking as someone who has many traits of several personality disorders). 

You’ve made a great start with asking people with OCD about their experiences and if you find one or more who will beta read for you, that would be even better. As long as you do your research, have the OCD be more than a tag on her character (the neurodivergence should have an impact on her), don’t add to existing stigma, and are respectful in your writing, I think you’ll be fine concerning this subject.

~ Mod Alice

Looking for witchy blogs!

Hi there! We’re a new blog run by two novice secular witches who would like to learn more about basically any non-theistic witchcraft!
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anonymous asked:

To be a witch, do you need to believe in the Goddess or any deities at all? I love my home, my Earth, so so much, but I've never really felt drawn to the idea of deities..Does this mean I'm not a witch?

Absolutely not.

Witchcraft, under some form or other, exists in most human cultures. It can be tied to the religion of the region, or not, it can be in complete opposition, or exist completely aside. 

Secular witchcraft is definitely a thing. In fact, the association of witchcraft with religion is relative and depends very much on interpretation. For instance, Wicca is a religion that identifies as witchcraft, so to speak - its believers call themselves witches and sometimes use the terms Wicca and witchcraft interchangeably. That’s a conscious decision made by the founders of Wicca. On the other hand, there are other religions which have many common traits with witchcraft, but whose practitioners might not identify as witches and may in fact dislike conflating their religion with magic.

And there are other religions/spiritualities still, which can be sort of non-theistic on their own, like Druidry, and which also have many traits in common with witchcraft, especially secular and green witchcraft. The people who feel a spiritual connection to the Earth and Nature (like you, or me), who love their home and their plants and find these worthy of veneration for their own sake, often walk a bordering path between secular/green witchcraft and Druidry (that’s what I do, I’m not much into labels but that’s the place you can find me at, more or less).

And there are witches who are completely secular, atheist witches that don’t believe in deities of any kind, not even the “venerate nature” kind. Hell, there are even materialist skeptical witches that don’t really believe in magic, and practice for their own internal satisfaction. That’s also a thing.

Plus, there isn’t some Council of Witches that allows this and disallows that and tells you what you have to do or not do to be a witch. Your witchcraft depends on you. That’s one of its charms.

anonymous asked:

Good reads for starting Luciferians? I'm extremely interested, but I'm not quite sure where to start to find out more.

Here, in no particular order, are what I’ve set aside for Luciferian resources or at least explanations or content that I personally agree with or wrote about my own practice. (Some of them are very personal, but they paint a whole picture.) In this list, there are suggested books, so don’t worry, I’m not not answering your question directly.