“Doctrine” vs Personal Experience


John Beckett, writing for “Under the Ancient Oaks” over at Patheos Pagan, presented a point of view this week that matches my own.  Please go over & read it.  I’ll wait.

Welcome back.

I understand the idea of mythology and the value of using the stories of our ancestors as a framework for our belief structure.  However, I have a problem when that mythology is supposed to supersede what, through my own experience, I “know” to be true.  I would extend that to “official” teachings as well.

For example – I grew up around the Great Lakes.  Lake Erie was always North.  You can tell me that Earth is North until the cows come home, but to me Water is North.  Always will be.  And if you force me to say that Earth is North then it just feels fake.  If I don’t believe what I am doing then the power is lost – so forcing me to call upon the Spirits of Earth by facing North may be proper, but it dimishes my belief and ultimately the power of the spiritual experience – which reduces the Magick.  This is in line with Glen Gordon’s article that I wrote about in a recent post.

To anyone that puts mythology and “official” teachings above UPG – Unverified Personal Gnosis – I have to ask:  why?  Why is it so important to be “right”, especially when we are dealing with mythology?  If we are dealing with established facts then by all means, fight for whats right.  But insisting that Earth is North is just silly.

Whats important is the belief that is put into the workings, whatever they may be.  And when it comes to spellwork and rituals, belief is the fuel that charges the work and gives it power – please don’t do anything to diminish that – whether it is “right” to you or not. – Cypher

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