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Author Topic: The Matter of Mysteries  (Read 6678 times)

veggiewolf

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The Matter of Mysteries
« Reply #30 on: November 06, 2011, 01:24:57 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;28535
...

Which is only true as far as it goes, because it is trying to justify the fact that Mysteries are not universals in hostile terms (often in response to "outsider" hostility).  It does nothing to explain why people pursue these things, which means that it often gets a response of "Well, if it's so hard and unrewarding, why are you doing it?"

Which often gets a baffled response from the practitioner, who has never claimed that it was unrewarding.  Only that those rewards are contingent on being the sort of person the Mystery is for.

You see?  It's hard.  It's not for everyone, but for the people it's for it's vital.  And "vital" is the right word, because it roots in words for "life".

Thank you for this topic!

The word vital sums up Mysteries for me.  I've more thoughts, but will post them when I'm not using Tapatalk.
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Fier

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Re: The Matter of Mysteries
« Reply #31 on: November 07, 2011, 12:01:14 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;29090
sex as mystery, childbirth is something you cannot explain to someone. This would make it a 'mystery' of life, but not a Mystery.


 
That depends on one's religion. In Dianic Wicca, for example, childbirth, menstruating, and menopause most definitely ARE Mysteries.

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Re: The Matter of Mysteries
« Reply #32 on: November 07, 2011, 12:26:21 pm »
Quote from: FierFlye;29280
That depends on one's religion. In Dianic Wicca, for example, childbirth, menstruating, and menopause most definitely ARE Mysteries.

 
One of my religious frustrations a few years ago was lacking a sense of context, religiously and ritually, for going through the childbirth experience.  I tried, but honestly working that shit out from first principles while already pregnant was too much work.

I am not that great at making contact with specific deities and entities at this point, or I would totally try to have a heart-to-heart with Meshkhenet for tips on that.  It's something that I think really matters, and (as has been commented elsewhere) that sort of thing is something really lacking in a lot of modern paganisms.  People talk a good line about the sacredness of the reproductive cycle but there's pretty much fuck-all commonly accessible about actually navigating it.
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veggiewolf

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Re: The Matter of Mysteries
« Reply #33 on: November 07, 2011, 12:41:49 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;28535
...Mysteries in this context are experiential spiritual events, the sorts of things which cannot be fully explained in advance but only truly understood when on the far side of them.  (One cannot actually give meaningful consent to a Mystery, because of their unknowability; however, one can know what sorts of things Mysteries do and agree that the risks are worth the potential payout.)...


Knowing the sorts of things one might expect from a Mystery (seeing one's place in the Universe, for example) is important, IMO, in the sense that being hit by a truck that you see coming might be better than being hit by one you don't see.  ;)

Quote
...But here's an essential thing about Mysteries: they are pretty much optional.  The general population of people doesn't have any need of them; people get on just fine without them.  As a general state of being, the Mysteries are not actually important knowledge.

At the same time, a given Mystery can be absolutely essential to the peace of mind, personal path, goals, or development of a specific person.  They may have issues that a particular Mystery school can resolve or work with; they may have calling to a particular mystical apprehension of a god that a Mystery school can present; they may otherwise have resonance with the Work presented around a particular Mystery.

This dichotomy makes Mysteries additionally hard to talk about these things.  Because the Mystery is both unimportant and essential, depending on which angle one looks at it from, it's hard to define a clear path explaining its value.  I fear that culturally we are too accustomed to universalist religion to readily understand that some threads of spiritual practice or discipline may only be valuable to those people who specifically need them...


This.  

Quote
...Craft circles have in my experience navigated around these questions somewhat erratically.  There are people who get angrily labelled meanie poo-poo heads for maintaining the appropriate shrouds around their Mysteries, because "knowledge wants to be free", you know.  (If the knowledge has not leapt into your head yet, clearly it doesn't want to be as free as all that.)  I've seen a lot of discussions of Mysteries and derivative subjects that have basically orbited around accessibility - about the obligation in some people's minds for those who can present the Mysteries to do so to anyone who wants to know...


And then, there's the expectation from some corners that everyone needs to experience Mysteries in order to be a "TWOO "...but if that happens, so does EPIC failure.  A society of mystics just doesn't work.

Quote
...(Oh, the Feri threads on the last board, sigh.)  And in response a lot of people have come down on "This is hard, you won't do it unless you need it, and if you need it you will do what you have to do to get it."

Which is only true as far as it goes, because it is trying to justify the fact that Mysteries are not universals in hostile terms (often in response to "outsider" hostility).  It does nothing to explain why people pursue these things, which means that it often gets a response of "Well, if it's so hard and unrewarding, why are you doing it?"

Which often gets a baffled response from the practitioner, who has never claimed that it was unrewarding.  Only that those rewards are contingent on being the sort of person the Mystery is for.

You see?  It's hard.  It's not for everyone, but for the people it's for it's vital.  And "vital" is the right word, because it roots in words for "life".


In my last response, I said I'd post something coherent on the vitality of Mysteries...and here I am in epic-Kermit-flail. *sigh*

I had my first experience with a Mystery before I even came to paganism; I was in a situation where I saw my place in the Universe.  I recognized where I fit, and why, and for one glorious moment everything made sense...and then it was over.

More recently, I've been in that place again but with more knowledge under my belt, more understanding of what to expect and why it was presented to me.  The work I do is incredibly difficult, but those glimpses and sudden insights are awe-inspiring because of the difficulty.  

I didn't ask for this, initially, but when it was held up to me as a choice of "Know, or ignore" I went with "Know".  And Know rhymes with Grow - in the case of Mysteries the two are synonymous, at least for me.
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veggiewolf

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Re: The Matter of Mysteries
« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2011, 12:59:08 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;28660
...I don't think this is necessarily true.  There might well have been Mystery cults (or paths or groups or whatever) in many ancient cultures but evidence of them either didn't survive through the ages or hasn't been found (and/or properly interpreted) yet.  I think it's well within the realm of the possible that the ancient Celts, just to name one example, could well have had something that could be called a Mystery cult.  It's quite probable that the Druids kept certain Mysteries that have now been lost.


I struggle with the documentation issue on a routine basis in both my job and my religious practice.

In my job, documentation is critical.  "If it isn't documented it didn't happen" is gospel.  But the same cannot be said of my religious path - there's so much documentation about what Bob Mainstream Priest in X Temple did but next to nothing about the practices of the common people.  We know that Jane and Joe Hotep had household shrines and participated in festivals for the gods, etc. but we don't know *what* they did.  We cannot assume, though, that the onion hoers did nothing just because no one bothered to document it.

Quote
...How do we define "Mystery"?  Can a solitary practitioner really experience a true Mystery at home in her bedroom?  Or does it require a progressive experience guided by people who have gone through the same thing?

Is "Mystery" the same for all of us?  Or is my "Mystery" your "mundane"?  ;)

~ Aster


Well, I'm a solitary and I've peered into the abyss and come back. However, my abyss may not be yours...and that's okay.  ;)
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veggiewolf

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Re: The Matter of Mysteries
« Reply #35 on: November 07, 2011, 01:08:06 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;28683
I am suddenly reminded of my basic explanation of non-proselytisation, which is basically "If you want a relationship with my husband, you better ask him yourself, I'm not going to set you up.  Same goes for gods."

Same goes for Mysteries, too, though the social dynamics of that can be notably different.  But I think that's a big chunk of the core thing that throws a lot of people who are interested in Mystery-oriented groups - the whole "Whatever, man, it's not my job to set you up on a date" thing. ;)

 
Hell, I don't want to set my friends up with each other; I'm certainly not qualified to match-make for the gods.  :eek:
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Jenett

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Re: The Matter of Mysteries
« Reply #36 on: November 08, 2011, 02:48:44 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;28833

There are Mystery experiences of human groups, which may also partake of pieces of the above; as I have no personal experiences of group Mysteries I am hesitant to speculate too hard about them.  Perhaps Jenett or some other initiate will be able to elaborate.

 
Ok, let me see if I can make a try at this.

There's a couple of different approaches to group Mysteries, as far as I can tell from conversations and experiences over the years:

1) Shared experiences

The thing that most people think here is initiation rituals, but there are other things - for example, my trad has a series of meditations that all students go through in some form, and that shape experiences later in the learning process. Not everything in those meditations is something I'd describe as a Mystery, but there are points that I would - usually those where it's about an internal choice of some sort.

2) Extended metaphor turned reality, for lack of a better description.

My tradition has - as anyone who looks at the group names can probably figure out - a particular affiliation with the Phoenix, and likewise an emphasis on transformation and rebirth. There are awesome things about this: learning to more consciously make (often major) changes in one's life that lead to greater happiness/contentment/ability to do awesome stuff in the world is a good thing.

There are also the sometimes less awesome things: transformation is not easy, and that's as true for groups of people as individuals. Choosing to explore this particular line of practice ... well, I don't think it's surprising that there are rough spots in particular ways along the way. (Rough spots are often part of growth, after all.)

3) The mysteries of actual group work.

By which I mean doing emotionally and ritually and energetically intimate work with people who are not you, and who have all the glories and all the complications of being  people. There are mysteries around how you set a problem aside, because there's something more important, and mysteries around how you come back to it fairly. There are mysteries around how you grow and change and still work together, even when people are changing at different stages.

Related to this is something that's relatively common within multiple degree systems, at least - the relationship of someone to the HPs/HP of the group is different when they're a 2nd degree than it was when they were first a student, even if those two things are only separated by a couple of years. In some ways, it can be like the period from childhood to adulthood being compressed into two or three years, with all the friction that teenagerhood and pushing boundaries (again, a necessary part of growth) can cause.

There are mysteries to that, as well. The lessons I learned from my own round of that not only affected the obvious relationships - but they've changed how I handle work interactions, for example.

4) One of the things about group mysteries is that you often get them in two directions.

There's the experience of going through something - but there's also the experience of guiding someone through it. The initiations I've helped with, for example, are more clear, and in some ways, more deeply resonant, than my own were. (And I expect that to be even more true when I'm the actual initiator, instead of assisting...) It's the same box, but you learn different things about what its contents can do, if that makes sense.
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Juniperberry

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Re: The Matter of Mysteries
« Reply #37 on: November 08, 2011, 09:10:06 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;29096


Can we please get back to substantial conversation now, rather than reiterating the sort of 101 that belongs in the newbie folders?


Sure. :) I didn't realize how frustrated you were, but I have no problem respecting your feelings. I'll go ahead and leave you to your discussion.
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