To carry on

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Over at the Atheopaganism blog, Mark Green wrote a heartfelt post asking why, in dark times, we should bother with spiritual practices?

For more conventionally theistic Pagans, the answer may be obvious: to beseech the gods to change situations to our benefit. But for Atheopagans, a category which I largely include myself in, there are no anthropomorphic gods who can hear our prayers and perform miracles to save us. My gods are the powers of land, sea and sky, vast and ancient forces of Nature that neither hear nor care for the trivialities of human life or the arrogant pomposity of human politics.

When I enact ritual, or meditate, or intone the Awen or say the Druid’s Prayer, I am not doing so in the hope of contacting some supernatural being, of whom I can ask favours. I am simply connecting my intention, my Nwyfre, my “soul” for want of a better word, with the intention, Nwyfre and “soul” of Nature itself.

I don’t do these things so I can change the Sacred: I do them so the Sacred can change me.

In times of great uncertainty and upheaval, spiritual practice can seem vain and futile. Yet, these practices can create a necessary and firm foundation on which we can build lives that engage with the world meaningfully. They can give us the strength to carry on, and to support others.

Mark points out that, from a non-theistic perspective;

our religious observances and practices are now more important than ever. Here’s why.

  • Our rituals and observances bring us into our power as humans. They center us in the fierceness of our personal Will. They let us know that even though the forces arrayed against us are great, we, too, are mighty. Each of us is a force to be reckoned with.
  • They keep us focused. They remind us what is most important to us, and what we must do to serve what is Sacred.
  • Finally, they draw us together into community where we can be powerful together. Resisting the coming storm is going to take a group effort. Bonds of love and friendship will be what keep us from becoming demoralized. From contemplating surrender.

Druidry for me does these things. It connects me with myself, with the past, with the natural world, with the community of Druids and other Pagans, and with the Sacred, whatever you conceive that to be.

It’s not easy to keep up the discipline of practice, and sometimes these things do fall by the wayside. And that’s OK too. But, as Mark says, even in hard times:

The world is still magnificent. Life is still miraculous. Love is still sublime…Light a candle. Burn incense. Sing. Dance. Keep on living in the fullness of who you are. 

 

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