collapse
2020 Donation Drive

It's time for our annual Server Donation Drive! We need to raise at least $710 to keep The Cauldron's server online for another year. Please help! Either hit that Paypal button to the right and make a one-time donation in any amount or set up a monthly Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor subscription. You can find more info in this message!

Donations as of 19 October 2020: $556 donated. Only $154 more needed! Thank you, donors!


Note: This total is updated manually, usually once a day


* Recent Posts

Author Topic: General/Non-Specific: When the religion one thinks one settled for swings along with one's mood: help!  (Read 1577 times)

Kaio

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2014
  • Posts: 109
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
 It's been almost one and a half year since I disclosed my chronic religious undecidedness on this forum.
 I think I made some progress not in the process of settling for a religion itself, but in recognizing that emotional responses to what I experience also complicate said process.
 Until some time ago I thought making a list of what and how I would like my religion to be and to have would help me to make up my mind regarding religion, but I was wrong; it's not enough.
 I noticed that when I thought I'd settled for a religion, something happened emotionally that made me reconsider my decision to settle for that religion.
 I don't know anyone who's been through anything like it, but I still think other people can help me.
 
 I will try to provide more context regarding the religions I've considered settling for and how emotional swings change my decision.

 Heathenism is the religion I've considered the most from almost two months now. As for my list of desirable traits in a religion it meets #1, #3 (partially), #4 (and #5 may not apply for historical reasons), #6, #7 (partially), #8, #9 (partially), #12, #13, #14, #15 and #16; I'm not sure about #17; a) (to some degree) and b). I see Heathenism as a complete religion and as a religion that has a solid community.
 A positive emotion I feel when I think of coming back to Heathenry is alleviation of my hypochondria and my fear of death in general. I suffer from hypochondria for years now and my doctor says it may be associated with OCD, which I suffer from since I was a teenager.
 A negative emotion I feel when I think of coming back to Heathenry is the sense of being obliged not to do everything I want regarding my sexuality and to stop both questioning and fighting social phenomena like classism and racism, because these can be the result of Divine action; cf. Rígsþula.
 There are people who think there's no inherent problem with fighting classism and/or racism and still being a Heathen, but I don't know if the Heathen lore can be stretched enough to acommodate it with no damage to its consistency. The same applies to Heathen groups who emphasize, say, sexual diversity to a degree that didn't exist in Scandinavia prior to the siðaskipti according to extant sources.
 When I face racism and/or everything I hardly can be, do, have and live because my hair isn't blond and my eyes aren't blue, it's very difficult to keep the process of settling for Heathenism. Then sometimes I make the controversial effort to try to remember everything I am, do, have and live because my having a blond, green-eyed and fair-skinned mother, because my have other very white ancestors and because, in my country, it's really uncommon for me not to pass as white; most people here consider me white. (Our local idea of white don't match that of North America.) It makes me try to accept my place in this social order that may be seen as product of Divine action.

 Theistic Satanism is a religion I never practiced, but that I keep thinking about since I started to see that most religions Pagan people try to reconstruct upheld their contemporary status quo, most of which weren't less oppressive than those there are today. Regarding positive emotions, it's a religion that inspires me to care about myself first, to save most of what I earn to myself in secret (that means telling my family I have nothing left from my money when it's not true), to try to look better for better and more frequent sex, to begin studying again to earn more... it's a religion that I also think of when I feel I'm discriminated against for racial motivation because African(-Brazilian) or African(-Brazilian)-related lore can be associated with it. It makes me not just seek revenge for when I think other people wronged me, but it makes me think said revenge is possible. As for my list of desirable traits in a religion it meets #1 (but I think it depends on Who one thinks Satan is), #3 (possibly), #4, #5, #6, #7, #8 (possibly), #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, #16 (partially), #17 (possibly), a) and b).
 Negatively, however, Satanism is a religion that I fear. I don't know if I could ever either pray, or to worship Satan. I was raised a Christian, after all. I also fear possession. I fear that some really bad thing could happen to me, my mother, my sister, my house and/or my room if I worship Satan. Well, and practicing a religion completely in secret can be non-optimal.

 Some months ago I began developing a personal reconstructionistic religiosity inspired mostly by Greek, Egyptian, Gaulish and Roman - but also can include Levantine and Mesopotamian - religious ideas and practices. It's a path that encompasses (Greek, Graeco-Egyptian, Gaulish and Gallo-Roman) reconstructionistic magic and witchcraft, reconstructionistic worship of Deities primarily associated with different religions and sacred sexuality. It's not finished and not completely coherent. It's sources are too many to remember off the top of my head. It's built to be a Left-Hand form of Paganism exclusively based on ancient sources.
 I feel for it more or less the same positive emotions that I feel for Satanism, because its moral space may be empty as well. It, however, don't have the same potential regarding racial oppression, as it's composed by beliefs and practices primarily associated with white people.
 As for my list of desirable traits in a religion it meets #1, #2, #3, #4, #5 (but the evidence is thin), #6 (but it's controversial), #7 (but the evidence is mostly literary, #9, #11, #12, #13, #14, #15 (to some degree), #16, #17 and b).
 Negative emotions I may feel for this religiosity is insecurity; what do the Deities think of this put-together of disparate ideas and practices primarily associated with different peoples, places and times? I may irritate Them unwillingly. This path also includes much study of sources and require from acquaintance to full-blown knowledge of several languages. It may further preclude the realization of any rituals until one doesn't have everything that this practice requires.

 I've also been considering to start a Church of Aphrodite revival. It's obvious that I would be alone in the beginning.
 Gleb Botkin's In search of reality basically is the theological foundation of the Church of Aphrodite. It shows a modern Pagan religion's sofisticated theology and syncretic monotheism; it addresses topics like the nature of Aphrodite, the problem of evil and life after death.
 When I think of the Church of Aphrodite I think softness, calm and ease are words associated with positive emotions I can feel. It's a very non-demanding religion ritual-wise; English is the only language one needs to speak to study it, there are no complex rituals, one doesn't need to know ancient lore, its practice doesn't include any purity-related observation. Personally the Church of Aphrodite has a strong appeal because Aphrodite was, as far as I remember, the first Goddess I made a ritual to before I knew anything about modern Paganism. I think it was more or less one year before the first time I heard about modern Paganism.
 What I can say about the Church of Aphrodite that can be seen as negative is that it seems to lack any solution to social unequality among human beings and doesn't approve casual sex. One can suppose social activism is discouraged because Botkin's book I previously mentioned says nothing good/productive can result from anything bad/improductive. It means anger, for example, that's common among oppressed people, can just stir more anger, as well as hatred produces hatred, criticism produces criticism, social unrest produces social unrest... so I conclude people shouldn't fight for anything according to this doctrine. And everything bad that happened in the past, I think, should also be forgotten according to it. Casual sex also seems to be frowned upon because it's described as sex without love.
 The Church of Aphrodite meets the following criteria present in my list: #3 [in Botkin's book(s)], #4 (seems to be possible), #5 (seems to be possible), #6, #7 (not clear, but seems to be theologically possible), #10 (through syncretism), #12 (seems to be possible), #13, #14; I'm not sure about #15; #16 and b).

 Can you help me?
 What religion do you think is capable of adressing the emotional needs of mine that I exposed on this thread?
When in Rome do as the Romans do. (Ambrose)

Anon100

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jun 2019
  • Posts: 405
  • Country: gb
  • Total likes: 103
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Pagan
It's been almost one and a half year since I disclosed my chronic religious undecidedness on this forum.
 I think I made some progress not in the process of settling for a religion itself, but in recognizing that emotional responses to what I experience also complicate said process.
 Until some time ago I thought making a list of what and how I would like my religion to be and to have would help me to make up my mind regarding religion, but I was wrong; it's not enough.
 I noticed that when I thought I'd settled for a religion, something happened emotionally that made me reconsider my decision to settle for that religion.
 I don't know anyone who's been through anything like it, but I still think other people can help me.
 

Ok, so I'm not sure if I'm about to trip over some obvious point here but.., why are you wanting to fit yourself in a single framework when it sounds like none of them are big enough or shaped quite right to be comfortable?
Is it not possible to leave certain of the edges of the framework sketchy and just grow those parts which fit for you.
I know you have rules 4, 8 and 12 which appear to rule this out but a fair few religions I've read about appear to have absorbed new deities and aspects over time - the Romans were famous for taking on other people's gods and goddesses and adapting to them; I seem to recall that ancient Crete's religion tied into ancient Greeces'; I also recall reading that Voodoo was an entwining of several beliefs and that's only the tip so far as I know. 

Castus

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Location: Virginia
  • Posts: 821
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 76
    • View Profile
  • Religion: that’s a great question
It's been almost one and a half year since I disclosed my chronic religious undecidedness on this forum.
 I think I made some progress not in the process of settling for a religion itself, but in recognizing that emotional responses to what I experience also complicate said process.
 Until some time ago I thought making a list of what and how I would like my religion to be and to have would help me to make up my mind regarding religion, but I was wrong; it's not enough.
 I noticed that when I thought I'd settled for a religion, something happened emotionally that made me reconsider my decision to settle for that religion.
 I don't know anyone who's been through anything like it, but I still think other people can help me.
 
 I will try to provide more context regarding the religions I've considered settling for and how emotional swings change my decision.

 Heathenism is the religion I've considered the most from almost two months now. As for my list of desirable traits in a religion it meets #1, #3 (partially), #4 (and #5 may not apply for historical reasons), #6, #7 (partially), #8, #9 (partially), #12, #13, #14, #15 and #16; I'm not sure about #17; a) (to some degree) and b). I see Heathenism as a complete religion and as a religion that has a solid community.
 A positive emotion I feel when I think of coming back to Heathenry is alleviation of my hypochondria and my fear of death in general. I suffer from hypochondria for years now and my doctor says it may be associated with OCD, which I suffer from since I was a teenager.
 A negative emotion I feel when I think of coming back to Heathenry is the sense of being obliged not to do everything I want regarding my sexuality and to stop both questioning and fighting social phenomena like classism and racism, because these can be the result of Divine action; cf. Rígsþula.
 There are people who think there's no inherent problem with fighting classism and/or racism and still being a Heathen, but I don't know if the Heathen lore can be stretched enough to acommodate it with no damage to its consistency. The same applies to Heathen groups who emphasize, say, sexual diversity to a degree that didn't exist in Scandinavia prior to the siðaskipti according to extant sources.
 When I face racism and/or everything I hardly can be, do, have and live because my hair isn't blond and my eyes aren't blue, it's very difficult to keep the process of settling for Heathenism. Then sometimes I make the controversial effort to try to remember everything I am, do, have and live because my having a blond, green-eyed and fair-skinned mother, because my have other very white ancestors and because, in my country, it's really uncommon for me not to pass as white; most people here consider me white. (Our local idea of white don't match that of North America.) It makes me try to accept my place in this social order that may be seen as product of Divine action.

 Theistic Satanism is a religion I never practiced, but that I keep thinking about since I started to see that most religions Pagan people try to reconstruct upheld their contemporary status quo, most of which weren't less oppressive than those there are today. Regarding positive emotions, it's a religion that inspires me to care about myself first, to save most of what I earn to myself in secret (that means telling my family I have nothing left from my money when it's not true), to try to look better for better and more frequent sex, to begin studying again to earn more... it's a religion that I also think of when I feel I'm discriminated against for racial motivation because African(-Brazilian) or African(-Brazilian)-related lore can be associated with it. It makes me not just seek revenge for when I think other people wronged me, but it makes me think said revenge is possible. As for my list of desirable traits in a religion it meets #1 (but I think it depends on Who one thinks Satan is), #3 (possibly), #4, #5, #6, #7, #8 (possibly), #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, #16 (partially), #17 (possibly), a) and b).
 Negatively, however, Satanism is a religion that I fear. I don't know if I could ever either pray, or to worship Satan. I was raised a Christian, after all. I also fear possession. I fear that some really bad thing could happen to me, my mother, my sister, my house and/or my room if I worship Satan. Well, and practicing a religion completely in secret can be non-optimal.

 Some months ago I began developing a personal reconstructionistic religiosity inspired mostly by Greek, Egyptian, Gaulish and Roman - but also can include Levantine and Mesopotamian - religious ideas and practices. It's a path that encompasses (Greek, Graeco-Egyptian, Gaulish and Gallo-Roman) reconstructionistic magic and witchcraft, reconstructionistic worship of Deities primarily associated with different religions and sacred sexuality. It's not finished and not completely coherent. It's sources are too many to remember off the top of my head. It's built to be a Left-Hand form of Paganism exclusively based on ancient sources.
 I feel for it more or less the same positive emotions that I feel for Satanism, because its moral space may be empty as well. It, however, don't have the same potential regarding racial oppression, as it's composed by beliefs and practices primarily associated with white people.
 As for my list of desirable traits in a religion it meets #1, #2, #3, #4, #5 (but the evidence is thin), #6 (but it's controversial), #7 (but the evidence is mostly literary, #9, #11, #12, #13, #14, #15 (to some degree), #16, #17 and b).
 Negative emotions I may feel for this religiosity is insecurity; what do the Deities think of this put-together of disparate ideas and practices primarily associated with different peoples, places and times? I may irritate Them unwillingly. This path also includes much study of sources and require from acquaintance to full-blown knowledge of several languages. It may further preclude the realization of any rituals until one doesn't have everything that this practice requires.

 I've also been considering to start a Church of Aphrodite revival. It's obvious that I would be alone in the beginning.
 Gleb Botkin's In search of reality basically is the theological foundation of the Church of Aphrodite. It shows a modern Pagan religion's sofisticated theology and syncretic monotheism; it addresses topics like the nature of Aphrodite, the problem of evil and life after death.
 When I think of the Church of Aphrodite I think softness, calm and ease are words associated with positive emotions I can feel. It's a very non-demanding religion ritual-wise; English is the only language one needs to speak to study it, there are no complex rituals, one doesn't need to know ancient lore, its practice doesn't include any purity-related observation. Personally the Church of Aphrodite has a strong appeal because Aphrodite was, as far as I remember, the first Goddess I made a ritual to before I knew anything about modern Paganism. I think it was more or less one year before the first time I heard about modern Paganism.
 What I can say about the Church of Aphrodite that can be seen as negative is that it seems to lack any solution to social unequality among human beings and doesn't approve casual sex. One can suppose social activism is discouraged because Botkin's book I previously mentioned says nothing good/productive can result from anything bad/improductive. It means anger, for example, that's common among oppressed people, can just stir more anger, as well as hatred produces hatred, criticism produces criticism, social unrest produces social unrest... so I conclude people shouldn't fight for anything according to this doctrine. And everything bad that happened in the past, I think, should also be forgotten according to it. Casual sex also seems to be frowned upon because it's described as sex without love.
 The Church of Aphrodite meets the following criteria present in my list: #3 [in Botkin's book(s)], #4 (seems to be possible), #5 (seems to be possible), #6, #7 (not clear, but seems to be theologically possible), #10 (through syncretism), #12 (seems to be possible), #13, #14; I'm not sure about #15; #16 and b).

 Can you help me?
 What religion do you think is capable of adressing the emotional needs of mine that I exposed on this thread?

Yeah, so, if I were you I’d prepare for the possibility that ‘what religion is right for me’ is not something which can be answered definitively; but rather is a question which you will continue to pursue for the foreseeable future.

In my experience, such a situation is generally an unrelenting Hell of despair and anguish... but I promise you’ll get used to it.
“Castus, meanwhile, goes straight for the bad theology like one of those creepy fish that swims up streams of pee.” — Darkhawk

PerditaPickle

  • Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Aug 2015
  • Location: UK
  • Posts: 1376
  • Country: england
  • Total likes: 333
  • It's all metta - at least, I believe it should be
    • View Profile
    • Portrait of Perpetual Perplexity
  • Religion: Druidry-leaning learner
  • Preferred Pronouns: She/her/hers


Sorry to hear you're going through that.

You've obviously been thinking about it a while and you took lots of time to give us quite a bit detail, but unfortunately I still feel as though it's a question only you will ultimately be able to build the answer to.

Perhaps it might be helpful to have a review of your reasearch methods so far? For example, if you've mainly been doing book research so far, could you introduce some new element/s, such as seeking out local communities/groups and start spending time with existing practitioners, if possible?

Maybe take a step back for a time and give journalling, automatic writing, or meditation a go - possibly  even taking up some sort of artwork for self-expression and see what emerges?

Good luck with your search.
“Radiate boundless love towards the entire world — above, below, and across — unhindered, without ill will, without enmity.” – The Buddha
(From the Metta Sutta)

My Portrait of Perpetual Perplexity blog

Anon100

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jun 2019
  • Posts: 405
  • Country: gb
  • Total likes: 103
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Pagan
When I think of the Church of Aphrodite I think softness, calm and ease are words associated with positive emotions I can feel. It's a very non-demanding religion ritual-wise; English is the only language one needs to speak to study it, there are no complex rituals, one doesn't need to know ancient lore, its practice doesn't include any purity-related observation. Personally the Church of Aphrodite has a strong appeal because Aphrodite was, as far as I remember, the first Goddess I made a ritual to before I knew anything about modern Paganism. I think it was more or less one year before the first time I heard about modern Paganism.
 What I can say about the Church of Aphrodite that can be seen as negative is that it seems to lack any solution to social unequality among human beings and doesn't approve casual sex. One can suppose social activism is discouraged because Botkin's book I previously mentioned says nothing good/productive can result from anything bad/improductive. It means anger, for example, that's common among oppressed people, can just stir more anger, as well as hatred produces hatred, criticism produces criticism, social unrest produces social unrest... so I conclude people shouldn't fight for anything according to this doctrine. And everything bad that happened in the past, I think, should also be forgotten according to it. Casual sex also seems to be frowned upon because it's described as sex without love.
 The Church of Aphrodite meets the following criteria present in my list: #3 [in Botkin's book(s)], #4 (seems to be possible), #5 (seems to be possible), #6, #7 (not clear, but seems to be theologically possible), #10 (through syncretism), #12 (seems to be possible), #13, #14; I'm not sure about #15; #16 and b).

 Can you help me?
 What religion do you think is capable of adressing the emotional needs of mine that I exposed on this thread?

Just another thought, reading your post again.
1. Are there forms of protest or activism which could be seen as good/productive? For instance protest marches are as much about the positive of people coming together in solidarity and building communities as about making constructive changes - It's about the focus being on a positive aim. For instance you could say "I hate so and so as mayor" or you could say "I want a mayor who will do this positive thing" - One is negative but the other positive.
2. How do you define casual sex? If it is sex with love then, even without some kind of formal title ( marriage/handfasting ), it becomes more than casual sex, whether that friends with benefits or companions or close support. Does the work actually lay judgement ( either way ) on the fact of having sex without love?     

Kaio

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2014
  • Posts: 109
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
Ok, so I'm not sure if I'm about to trip over some obvious point here but.., why are you wanting to fit yourself in a single framework when it sounds like none of them are big enough or shaped quite right to be comfortable?
Is it not possible to leave certain of the edges of the framework sketchy and just grow those parts which fit for you.
I know you have rules 4, 8 and 12 which appear to rule this out but a fair few religions I've read about appear to have absorbed new deities and aspects over time - the Romans were famous for taking on other people's gods and goddesses and adapting to them; I seem to recall that ancient Crete's religion tied into ancient Greeces'; I also recall reading that Voodoo was an entwining of several beliefs and that's only the tip so far as I know.

 "Composing" an individual religious identity and/or practice ia a possibility excluded by requirement #8.
 I miss having a definite religion. It matters: it helps one to be part of a community to share what would be difficult to share with Christian people, it makes one feel settled and it's comfortable to have a definite answer when asked what religion one practices.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2020, 08:48:19 pm by Kaio »
When in Rome do as the Romans do. (Ambrose)

Kaio

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2014
  • Posts: 109
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
Sorry to hear you're going through that.

You've obviously been thinking about it a while and you took lots of time to give us quite a bit detail, but unfortunately I still feel as though it's a question only you will ultimately be able to build the answer to.

Perhaps it might be helpful to have a review of your reasearch methods so far? For example, if you've mainly been doing book research so far, could you introduce some new element/s, such as seeking out local communities/groups and start spending time with existing practitioners, if possible?

Maybe take a step back for a time and give journalling, automatic writing, or meditation a go - possibly  even taking up some sort of artwork for self-expression and see what emerges?

Good luck with your search.

 Thank you!
When in Rome do as the Romans do. (Ambrose)

Kaio

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2014
  • Posts: 109
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
Yeah, so, if I were you I’d prepare for the possibility that ‘what religion is right for me’ is not something which can be answered definitively; but rather is a question which you will continue to pursue for the foreseeable future.

In my experience, such a situation is generally an unrelenting Hell of despair and anguish... but I promise you’ll get used to it.

 In my case being unable to settle for a definite religion could mean not to be religious at all, once that it doesn't seem manageable to start a set of religious practices within the context of a definite religion just to start a completely different religious practice two weeks later.
 Try to imagine getting a bible, a Christian cross, a rosary, maybe a statue of Mary and starting to attend Roman Catholic masses. Two weeks after you just become a Muslim, then a Buddhist, then a Mormonist, then a Jehovah's Witness...
When in Rome do as the Romans do. (Ambrose)

Kaio

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2014
  • Posts: 109
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
Just another thought, reading your post again.
1. Are there forms of protest or activism which could be seen as good/productive? For instance protest marches are as much about the positive of people coming together in solidarity and building communities as about making constructive changes - It's about the focus being on a positive aim. For instance you could say "I hate so and so as mayor" or you could say "I want a mayor who will do this positive thing" - One is negative but the other positive.

 You're right! I didn't notice it may be positive as well. Maybe this way of thinking can be developed through habit and the practice of a different thought pattern.

2. How do you define casual sex? If it is sex with love then, even without some kind of formal title ( marriage/handfasting ), it becomes more than casual sex, whether that friends with benefits or companions or close support.

 I define casual sex from my social point of departure, as a gay man: in this context I think casual sex is sex made for fun between two or more consenting adult human beings who aren't neither in an emotional, neither in a formal relationship with each other. Among contemporary gay men, as widely known, it's possible to have anonymous sex with men one never met before after chatting very briefly on an app or even after no talk at all in clubs, etc..

Does the work actually lay judgement ( either way ) on the fact of having sex without love?

 (Moderators, I know this may be against the rule regarding quoting too long parts of published material, but keep in mind it's from a book already downloadable for free on a popular website where one can download books long out of print.)
  Yes, it does:

 Even in the realm of sex, contempt for the human body defeats completely one of its advocades' major avowed purposes, namely, the prevention of indiscriminate indulgence in sexual intercourse. Indeed, it's precisely in societies ruled by the dualistic philosophy that such indulgence, even if forbidden by law, inevitably becomes particularly widespread. The fact that sexual indulgence without love - which may well be likened to a present of counterfeit money, or, in some instances, to the serving of poisoned food - represents an abuse of - and, hence, contempt for - not only the given personalities or souls, but also the given bodies and, by the same token, is as cruel physically, as it is spiritually or mentally. In short, had human beings, in the course of so many centuries, been taught, not to despise, but to respect, admire, cherish and love the human body, they would long since have, not only become incapable of murdering and maiming one another, but also cured themselves of most forms of cruelty; and modern mankind would by now be well on its way towards a new Golden Age.

 Quoted from Botkin, Gleb. In Search of Reality. Charlottesville: The Wayside Press, 1968, p. 3.
When in Rome do as the Romans do. (Ambrose)

Anon100

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jun 2019
  • Posts: 405
  • Country: gb
  • Total likes: 103
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Pagan
Yes, it does:

Ah, right...
I have to say that I can understand why that put you off. I'm lucky enough to have found love and connection with one person and so not ever dealt with any form of casual sex but, even with it not touching on my life, that seems really harsh 

arete

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jul 2018
  • Posts: 423
  • Country: gr
  • Total likes: 58
    • View Profile
  • Religion: pagan
It's been almost one and a half year since I disclosed my chronic religious undecidedness on this forum.
 I think I made some progress not in the process of settling for a religion itself, but in recognizing that emotional responses to what I experience also complicate said process.
 Until some time ago I thought making a list of what and how I would like my religion to be and to have would help me to make up my mind regarding religion, but I was wrong; it's not enough.
 I noticed that when I thought I'd settled for a religion, something happened emotionally that made me reconsider my decision to settle for that religion.
 I don't know anyone who's been through anything like it, but I still think other people can help me.
 
 I will try to provide more context regarding the religions I've considered settling for and how emotional swings change my decision.

 Heathenism is the religion I've considered the most from almost two months now. As for my list of desirable traits in a religion it meets #1, #3 (partially), #4 (and #5 may not apply for historical reasons), #6, #7 (partially), #8, #9 (partially), #12, #13, #14, #15 and #16; I'm not sure about #17; a) (to some degree) and b). I see Heathenism as a complete religion and as a religion that has a solid community.
 A positive emotion I feel when I think of coming back to Heathenry is alleviation of my hypochondria and my fear of death in general. I suffer from hypochondria for years now and my doctor says it may be associated with OCD, which I suffer from since I was a teenager.
 A negative emotion I feel when I think of coming back to Heathenry is the sense of being obliged not to do everything I want regarding my sexuality and to stop both questioning and fighting social phenomena like classism and racism, because these can be the result of Divine action; cf. Rígsþula.
 There are people who think there's no inherent problem with fighting classism and/or racism and still being a Heathen, but I don't know if the Heathen lore can be stretched enough to acommodate it with no damage to its consistency. The same applies to Heathen groups who emphasize, say, sexual diversity to a degree that didn't exist in Scandinavia prior to the siðaskipti according to extant sources.
 When I face racism and/or everything I hardly can be, do, have and live because my hair isn't blond and my eyes aren't blue, it's very difficult to keep the process of settling for Heathenism. Then sometimes I make the controversial effort to try to remember everything I am, do, have and live because my having a blond, green-eyed and fair-skinned mother, because my have other very white ancestors and because, in my country, it's really uncommon for me not to pass as white; most people here consider me white. (Our local idea of white don't match that of North America.) It makes me try to accept my place in this social order that may be seen as product of Divine action.

 Theistic Satanism is a religion I never practiced, but that I keep thinking about since I started to see that most religions Pagan people try to reconstruct upheld their contemporary status quo, most of which weren't less oppressive than those there are today. Regarding positive emotions, it's a religion that inspires me to care about myself first, to save most of what I earn to myself in secret (that means telling my family I have nothing left from my money when it's not true), to try to look better for better and more frequent sex, to begin studying again to earn more... it's a religion that I also think of when I feel I'm discriminated against for racial motivation because African(-Brazilian) or African(-Brazilian)-related lore can be associated with it. It makes me not just seek revenge for when I think other people wronged me, but it makes me think said revenge is possible. As for my list of desirable traits in a religion it meets #1 (but I think it depends on Who one thinks Satan is), #3 (possibly), #4, #5, #6, #7, #8 (possibly), #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, #16 (partially), #17 (possibly), a) and b).
 Negatively, however, Satanism is a religion that I fear. I don't know if I could ever either pray, or to worship Satan. I was raised a Christian, after all. I also fear possession. I fear that some really bad thing could happen to me, my mother, my sister, my house and/or my room if I worship Satan. Well, and practicing a religion completely in secret can be non-optimal.

 Some months ago I began developing a personal reconstructionistic religiosity inspired mostly by Greek, Egyptian, Gaulish and Roman - but also can include Levantine and Mesopotamian - religious ideas and practices. It's a path that encompasses (Greek, Graeco-Egyptian, Gaulish and Gallo-Roman) reconstructionistic magic and witchcraft, reconstructionistic worship of Deities primarily associated with different religions and sacred sexuality. It's not finished and not completely coherent. It's sources are too many to remember off the top of my head. It's built to be a Left-Hand form of Paganism exclusively based on ancient sources.
 I feel for it more or less the same positive emotions that I feel for Satanism, because its moral space may be empty as well. It, however, don't have the same potential regarding racial oppression, as it's composed by beliefs and practices primarily associated with white people.
 As for my list of desirable traits in a religion it meets #1, #2, #3, #4, #5 (but the evidence is thin), #6 (but it's controversial), #7 (but the evidence is mostly literary, #9, #11, #12, #13, #14, #15 (to some degree), #16, #17 and b).
 Negative emotions I may feel for this religiosity is insecurity; what do the Deities think of this put-together of disparate ideas and practices primarily associated with different peoples, places and times? I may irritate Them unwillingly. This path also includes much study of sources and require from acquaintance to full-blown knowledge of several languages. It may further preclude the realization of any rituals until one doesn't have everything that this practice requires.

 I've also been considering to start a Church of Aphrodite revival. It's obvious that I would be alone in the beginning.
 Gleb Botkin's In search of reality basically is the theological foundation of the Church of Aphrodite. It shows a modern Pagan religion's sofisticated theology and syncretic monotheism; it addresses topics like the nature of Aphrodite, the problem of evil and life after death.
 When I think of the Church of Aphrodite I think softness, calm and ease are words associated with positive emotions I can feel. It's a very non-demanding religion ritual-wise; English is the only language one needs to speak to study it, there are no complex rituals, one doesn't need to know ancient lore, its practice doesn't include any purity-related observation. Personally the Church of Aphrodite has a strong appeal because Aphrodite was, as far as I remember, the first Goddess I made a ritual to before I knew anything about modern Paganism. I think it was more or less one year before the first time I heard about modern Paganism.
 What I can say about the Church of Aphrodite that can be seen as negative is that it seems to lack any solution to social unequality among human beings and doesn't approve casual sex. One can suppose social activism is discouraged because Botkin's book I previously mentioned says nothing good/productive can result from anything bad/improductive. It means anger, for example, that's common among oppressed people, can just stir more anger, as well as hatred produces hatred, criticism produces criticism, social unrest produces social unrest... so I conclude people shouldn't fight for anything according to this doctrine. And everything bad that happened in the past, I think, should also be forgotten according to it. Casual sex also seems to be frowned upon because it's described as sex without love.
 The Church of Aphrodite meets the following criteria present in my list: #3 [in Botkin's book(s)], #4 (seems to be possible), #5 (seems to be possible), #6, #7 (not clear, but seems to be theologically possible), #10 (through syncretism), #12 (seems to be possible), #13, #14; I'm not sure about #15; #16 and b).

 Can you help me?
 What religion do you think is capable of adressing the emotional needs of mine that I exposed on this thread?
In greek pagan religion we say that people reject what they don't understand. You need enlightenment. Approach a religion and try to enlighten yourself. ;)
I pray that religious animosity will end.

Aisling

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 3736
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 187
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Eclectic Pagan Witch
A Reminder:
Hi, arete,

Just a quick note:  When you're responding to a very long post with a brief reply, please remember to trim the text of the quote to only what's necessary for your reply (you can even trim all of it out, as I did above, as long as you take care to leave the opening and closing quote code - the parts inside square brackets - intact and on separate lines).  It makes the discussion easier to follow, and it's required by our rules.

This isn't a formal warning, just a reminder. No reply is necessary, but if you have questions or need clarification, please feel free to contact a member of staff privately.

Thanks!
Aisling
TC Forum Staff
"All your questions can be answered, if that is what you want.
But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them."
~Neil Gaiman,
American Gods

Haptalaon

  • Sr. Apprentice
  • ****
  • Join Date: Apr 2020
  • Location: Wales
  • Posts: 54
  • Country: gb
  • Total likes: 41
    • View Profile
    • Fencraft: Seekers of the Landweird
  • Religion: Fencraft (Pagan animism/trad witchcraft/cunning craft/folklore)
  • Preferred Pronouns: he
"Composing" an individual religious identity and/or practice ia a possibility excluded by requirement #8.
 I miss having a definite religion. It matters: it helps one to be part of a community to share what would be difficult to share with Christian people, it makes one feel settled and it's comfortable to have a definite answer when asked what religion one practices.

I really relate to this. I get why eclectisism is a thing, and certainly appreciate the freedom to define the divine in a way which reflects my genuine sense of awe. But, it is good to feel settled and in a rhythm, and also to feel like you've got out of the "endless seeker" phase of paganism. Which it is really, really easy to get stuck in.

What helped me was defining my own path, and then writing it up and asserting it "as if" it was a real path. Which, one day, it might be. "This is the religion called{X}, its practices are {Y and Z}, our values are {these things}. We believe in {this} but not in {that}; and we attempt to be more {positive quality} and less {negative quality}. Setting out what I was doing in a way that anyone could follow and copy was essential for me, to define what I was doing and why.

Composting your own faith from bits and bobs doesn't have to be vague, random, shallow, fluffy - so long as you take it seriously, and assert the importance of what you are doing with the confidence of someone handing out religious leaflets at a bus stop. My path has a name, it has a holy book, it has a seeker grade, and rituals; I am absolutely happy to stand my own alongside Aleister Crowley and Gerald Gardener and assert what my faith is, how it is practiced, and why.

But yeah, I def feel you. I've read for years things like "there's nothing wrong with eclectic witchcraft" - and there isn't! But, I found it uncomfortable and unmoored, and it made it hard to feel like I was deepening and developing at anything. It helps to have a map. And if there isn't one, making your own map.
Pagan life blog: Haptalaon @ Dreamwidth
Fencraft Handbook: Seekers of the Landweird: for land-trance, pagan animism, folklore and traditional witchcraft

Kaio

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2014
  • Posts: 109
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
I really relate to this. I get why eclectisism is a thing, and certainly appreciate the freedom to define the divine in a way which reflects my genuine sense of awe. But, it is good to feel settled and in a rhythm, and also to feel like you've got out of the "endless seeker" phase of paganism. Which it is really, really easy to get stuck in.

What helped me was defining my own path, and then writing it up and asserting it "as if" it was a real path. Which, one day, it might be. "This is the religion called{X}, its practices are {Y and Z}, our values are {these things}. We believe in {this} but not in {that}; and we attempt to be more {positive quality} and less {negative quality}. Setting out what I was doing in a way that anyone could follow and copy was essential for me, to define what I was doing and why.

Composting your own faith from bits and bobs doesn't have to be vague, random, shallow, fluffy - so long as you take it seriously, and assert the importance of what you are doing with the confidence of someone handing out religious leaflets at a bus stop. My path has a name, it has a holy book, it has a seeker grade, and rituals; I am absolutely happy to stand my own alongside Aleister Crowley and Gerald Gardener and assert what my faith is, how it is practiced, and why.

But yeah, I def feel you. I've read for years things like "there's nothing wrong with eclectic witchcraft" - and there isn't! But, I found it uncomfortable and unmoored, and it made it hard to feel like I was deepening and developing at anything. It helps to have a map. And if there isn't one, making your own map.

 Thank you!
When in Rome do as the Romans do. (Ambrose)

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
1 Replies
2889 Views
Last post December 25, 2011, 02:13:37 am
by Nomad of Nowhere
6 Replies
998 Views
Last post January 06, 2012, 10:10:46 am
by entwife
4 Replies
780 Views
Last post December 27, 2012, 08:55:39 pm
by millergrls
3 Replies
3419 Views
Last post March 01, 2014, 09:24:22 am
by Aisling
1 Replies
1121 Views
Last post May 02, 2020, 04:31:46 pm
by Gwen

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 43
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 1
  • Dot Users Online:

* Please Donate!

The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.

* Shop & Support TC

The links below are affiliate links. When you click on one of these links you will go to the listed shopping site with The Cauldron's affiliate code. Any purchases you make during your visit will earn TC a tiny percentage of your purchase price at no extra cost to you.

* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Host:
Sunflower

Message Board Staff
Board Coordinator:
Darkhawk

Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Senior Staff:
Aisling, Jenett, Sefiru

Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, EclecticWheel, HarpingHawke, Kylara, PerditaPickle, rocquelaire

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, LyricFox, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Site Administrator:
Randall

SimplePortal 2.3.6 © 2008-2014, SimplePortal