Beautiful Ones, a question burns in my soul. Does holiness have a place in modern pagan practice?
This is the question plaguing me more and more these days.
I’ve walked away from Protestant Christianity, Wicca, Thelema, New Age, Catholicism, Celtic Druidism, and most recently Heathenism (specifically Lokean Heathenism). I have doubted myself through every transition. Until Now.
For 32 years I have sought something I could not quite put my finger on. I finally got a pulse recently.
Oddly enough, it was in turning to Hellenism that I discovered just what it was I was seeking.
I was seeking purity, kindness, charity. In a word, Holiness.
Rather, I was seeking a supportive community where I could pursue Holiness in the form of charity, kindness, and purity. Through these things it is known we develop spiritually. This is a Universal thing. Until one steps into paganism and one finds a glaring lack of these things. At least, this has been my consistent experience.
Spiritual communities, especially online communities, have only reinforced to me that Holiness is a singular and very lonely pursuit. I tire of continuous arguments over this bit of lore or that, whether the gods are real or archetypes. I experience Them as real and to what end?
If not to become better people, strengthened in our kindness towards others, and chasing after purity of heart and right action, then what the hell are we doing going about training and studying to just meet the gods and encounter Them?
Beautiful Ones, my heart breaks for us as a species. If we should be touched by deity and all that comes of it is for the strengthening of our ego, then let us burn. Let us meet our demise this night and quickly. We should be ashamed that we look to Them as our wish-fulfilling trees, our genii lamps, our badge of status.
The Beloved should mark us so that our Spirit rises above the common, base struggles of competition that these arguments very thinly mask.
The Goddess still sleeps , even among those who profess Her. With lying mouths, Beautiful Ones, we strive among ourselves to determine if gods are real. They are. With poisoned hearts we contrive to be seen as more favored by the gods than another. To what end? The only reward in the end is loneliness and a black soul.
Much of what passes for being godtouched these days is nothing more than the mental gymnastics of a fertive imagination that feeds and strengthens the ego rather than put one in genuine encounter with the Divine. Whatever Spirit is manipulating the environs is not deity if it is not leading us to a purified spirit that serves the world rather than the self. On that point, all religions agree. Except paganism.
I am finding a clearer path through Isian / Hellenistic practices. But I am aware that I may one day find it needful to walk away from even this. I am consumed with the idea of miasma of environment, mind, and spirit that I might be purified. I burn to be of some useful help and yet I still am unworthy because deep down I know it is for my fulfillment and not the fulfillment of my fellow man. Beautiful Ones, it is a hard thing to pray and feel the prompting of my Beloved urging me to have a care for my sisters and brothers who have taken my kindnesses and spit on them. Who have taken me at my most vulnerable and attempted to destroy me. And yet, I must heed the voice of my Beloved. The Divine will not be persuaded to turn aside and let me sink . They urge me to struggle forth , to seek Holiness.
Paganism shies from Holiness because it reminds too easily of religions we deemed harmful to our souls. I declare that if we do not seek to embrace the Holiness of spirit, that all men know deep in their souls is our natural state, we will perish in misery instead of meeting Sublime Divinity.
It is a decision that each individual must come to. There is no hanging scapegoat who will take your wrong action from you in this religion. You must face the mirror of Spirit. You must sink or swim toward right action, right living, honor, the Great things of Spirit.