Religious Thinking Impacts Discovery and Sustainability

religion-vs-scienceReligious Beliefs Influence Discovery From Science

Rev. Joshua Klaus | Religion in Prehistory | January 28, 2017

Dead End

Religion and Science have been at odds for decades on a variety of questions raised by Paleoanthropologists pertaining to the beginning of when Religion was created, as are Scholars. Religion for this paper is defined as a set of “rituals”.  If Religion and Science cannot find the origin of Religion, what can they agree on? James McClenon is an associate professor in the Department of Social Sciences at Elizabeth City State University. In the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, (1997) he goes into to exploring Shamanic healing. He goes into length with a proposed model portraying religion as the “evolutionary product of therapeutic ritual and language.” He concludes, “evidence supports the models major features; Shamanic rituals increase survival and fertility, in part by hypnotic processes.” (pg. 351, Shamanic Healing, Human Evolution, and the Origin of Religion) We were given another excerpt by Ina Wunn, a German religious scholar and philosopher. She wrote a paper titled Beginning of Religion (2000). Looking at this subject trying to connect Science to Religion she concludes, there is no evidence of early ritual practices nor belief in an afterlife going back to the Palaeolithic period, specifically the middle Palaeolithic period. What I’m lead to question is how their own religious and scientific beliefs impacted their conclusions? I would propose we are walking across the bridge in our modern era nearly connecting two very conflicting communities, in coming together to prepare for our continuance into the future.

As I sit at my desk I can’t help but think of the Shamans of today’s modern era. Depending on your denomination or personal beliefs you will form opinions of Shamans because of the “mythical” rituals your religion has an opinion on. Ever think Shamans wonder the same about other religions? What about Scientist and Paleoanthropologists? James McClenon explores the rituals of Shamans. Is there any linkage to the origin of Religion? He proposes Homo Sapiens practices shamanic healing rituals for a millennia. There are many clear indications that hypnotizable abilities link these rituals to a modern form of religious sentiment. One part of his model goes to say, “Hypnotizability affects the frequency and characteristic of anomalous, paranormal, and religious experience.” He’s referring to the Shamans, but I also feel there is a strong possibility Paleoanthropologists and other members in the Science community can very well likely be influenced by their constant “trance” of study – meaning- what influences them. Either way he concludes Shamanic rituals have a direct impact in their culture for survival because of the hypnotic processes. This would be the exact process he garners credit to for establishing religious ideological development. His hypotheses clearly overtime will be revised or possibly rejected but we shall see.

I personally do not agree with his conclusion. I believe Shamanic rituals exists because of evolution and not looked upon as founding religion nor will it sustain itself for future Millennia. The idea of communicating with life after death so long ago, with chants, drawings, hypnosis etc., I would be safe to hypotheses these practices evolved overtime and likely cultures used their rituals and new teachings to raise their vibration; communicate with the after world.

As for Ina Wunn and her paper on the Beginning of Religion (2000), she starts off her paper with a summary indicating and telling you immediately her conclusion shows “…neither evidence of early ritual practices nor of belief in an afterlife can be endorsed.” So basically, she’s not endorsing anything now because her research came up inconclusive? For discovering where religion began, of course it’s inconclusive. Civilization for thousands of years has been trying to find the answer to the beginning of religion. That’s what makes it probably the most sacred mythical question of all time. Religion and Science, in my opinion, are the closet they have ever been in agreeing how Ecology cannot be ignored of what the future of humanity will be or what direction it will go in. They both agree, very extraordinary steps need to be taken globally for the benefit for all humanity, currently. Well, maybe we can use Ecology to provide clues in the origin of Religion. If Ina Wunn goes onto to explore burial rituals from the Paleolithic period, looking for answers to connect the beginning of Religion to now, and comes up empty handed; like many in the Scientific community, then why not observe how homo sapiens were in their ecosystem? My hypothesis on this matter is the Science community should be closely examining and testing the earth for more clues of which yet have been discovered. People in their respective religions have very differing views about the origin of religion. This is precisely my point. Scholars like Ina Wunn and James McClenon along with the variety of sources they cited in their research, are human. Human, I’m defining as a bodily entity with a belief system. Whether belonging to a specific religion or being an Atheist. Regardless, it’s possible our own beliefs system interfere often with what reality is. What reality was and what reality could, scientifically be proven to have once, have been.

So, I propose both Science and Religion stop looking to find the origin, the beginning of “religion” as time is running out in where humanity will be in thousands of years from now. That is if humans are still around. Why do I say this? Let’s say the “origin of religion” was discovered tomorrow. Will it help humanity survive in the next transition on this planet? One fact is for certain that the Scientific community and nearly all religions agree on is the future is in deep despair. The world we live in, is getting worse and everyone is starting to question our sustainability. We are an intelligent species. The most intelligent species the world has ever had. We are clearly more advance and smarter than we were twenty years ago, whether an Asteroid hits this planet or Mother Nature decides to clear slate and start over again, humans will be ready evolve with great change due to Science and Religious beliefs. Two usually very conflicting communities will come together in my belief to see this world into the next millennia.

I conclude by proposing to religious leaders and scientists, that way too much time is being wasted in tracing back the origin of religion when our concernment about the future of this planet, should be how does civilization prevent catastrophic extinction of all species, from happening.  A million years from now, humans will study their ancestors from 2017 and say out loud, how stupid we were, even though we had evidence indicating catastrophic changes were set to happen because of technology. How stupid? But we’re not! But we are! They will raise the question of why did humans not respond together to save the world? Then the long debate of who is right and wrong will be pinned on the Science and Religious communities, by each other. Once again the debate will continue, millions of years from now on the origin of religion. My point is, we are hypnotizing ourselves from the constant trance of searching for an origin, that put simply…may never be discovered and in current time we are ignoring the warning signs planet earth is yielding us to catastrophic events in our immediate future.

Climate Affecting Humanity

How the Climate Impacts My Ecosystem

Rev. Joshua Klaus | Ecology & The Sacred | January 25, 2017

earth

How Climate effects my Ecosystem

Our climate historically changes over time. It’s proven, Scientifically, to be changing now. Why do you and I take for granted the wonderful resources offered by mother nature? How has it effected my Ecosystem around me? And, why in the world are most humans not significantly trying to stop bad habits to protect the gifts nature has to offer our children and future generations to come? These are just a select few questions I have raised through my observations this past week. In this paper I will go onto to share my observations, exploring these questions I now make you ponder for yourself.

OBSERVATION

Recently upon my time studying and doing research for my Ministry listening to some good lectures there was this one that struck me deep in my heart. Rev. Michael Dowd, a “pro-future” Evangelist, has some quite compelling lectures in regards to the future of humanity.  Also during this period of my life, I’ve been assigned to closely observe the climate around me. This week we have had temperatures in the 50’s towards the end of January? My back yard is “squishy” not even frozen. I remember the ground would be frozen stiff growing up. Ecology shows us global warming is very much real. I watch my son get so excited for a snow day from school, only there to be three inches this week. Most of it sleet. I took a walk into the woods. I found so much liter. (Trash) I found cigarette butts all around on the sidewalk and the road out front after the snow melted. I see asphalt all around. The road is paved as is my driveway and parking area. In the brook, out back I see not a lot, but some pieces of trash clinging onto a stick here and there. I see remanence of smashed pumpkins from this Halloween that my son and a friend took out back after Halloween. The liter I spoke of, the asphalt, and everything else I look around to see was all manufactured by the very resources we will someday lose due to our lack of conservation and respect. I have never stepped back to observe my Ecosystem and the damage; the abuse, we are doing to earth until this week. We are abusing Mother Nature in my observation. I have asked Universe to forgive me; I have asked God to forgive me.

REFLECTION

Like I just finished saying, I asked for forgiveness. From who? From Universe. From God. From the Higher Power. Whatever Deity or central figure there is, I’ve honestly asked for forgiveness. Gosh, when I was a child I remember winters to have been much more cold than it is now. I remember when we would get snow more consistently than we do now. My son only knows of stories from my childhood of how it was in the winter. Now many years have gone by where the ground, the soil, freezes then thaws. Prematurely in my opinion. Clearly living in New England this is abnormal for me to see.  I remember snow days bringing my childhood feet of snow by January. I’ve realized how many bad habits many of us have that effect the ecosystem. We have all contributed to the extreme depletion of our resources, climate and sustainability of this planet. If you have never truly observed your interaction or relationship with your Ecosystem, I strongly beg of you to do it. Why? Well, this mess wasn’t created by just a handful of people. It was not even created by a single generation of people. The fate of this planet is grave if we don’t come together and stop abusing our natural resources.

My first thought is we need to humble ourselves and conserve on our resources. For years, people have been trying to clean up, create renewable energy etc. There’s simply not enough people doing it! I see the need for participation to be increased, to save this planet now, so future generations don’t live in an environment where it feels like “hell on earth” so to speak. Honestly now think about that.

We have so much technology but where does it come from? It comes from what earth must offer. Well, should we not recycle other items than our bottles, bags, and other materials? I’m talking about the circle of life. We use natural resources to create life as we know it. I think we need to use our advances to save the future of humanity. Would that not be recycling, while conserving? I believe it is a way to slow down the destruction of our Ecosystem. God gave us everything we see and have. Universe gave us everything we see and have. Whatever you prefer to say is up to you. The point is here, we are taking advantage of our gifts. How is this love? It’s not. When two people in a relationship are together and one or both abuse each other, I’ve given the advice and received counsel in the same that abuse is NOT love. It just isn’t. Where there is love, we show respect and empathy. God wants us to love everyone. What better way to show people we love them than by coming together to show humanity today and in the future, we love them; we tried saving our Earth. As of right now how history will look back at us, doesn’t look good. We will look barbaric to humanity 500 years from now. If humanity makes it that long.

Family in our Ecosystem

Observation & Reflection

Rev. Joshua Klaus | Ecology and The Sacred | January 22, 2017

backyard-tree

Observation of myself in the ecosystem I live in

For purposes of this paper I will share my observations of myself in my home environment, both inside and outdoors.  I will share what it is like in my home and in my immediate area surrounding my home.  I live in a city, there is not a lot of wooded areas around, but I’m fortunate to have some in my back yard. I live with my husband and my nine-year-old son. We have no pets at this present time but we love having plants in the house.  Depending on the time of day or what’s happening in each of our lives affects our mood and in turn affects relationships. This paper I will share my observations of relationships in my environment.

I live in a City of approx. 45,000 people. It is well developed with big chain stores, restaurants, retail stores, banks and many Condominium complexes.  My husband, son and I live on one of the busiest streets that goes straight through the city.  We have a two-bedroom apartment on the second floor, the only other tenant in our building occupies the first floor. They are a family of four and very much keep to themselves.  We have a large back yard of which has a stream that cuts right through our property.  Beyond the stream is a wooded area that’s just beautiful to look at any time of the year and walk through if I desire.  We have the typical stray cat that comes wondering through every now and again.  I’ve also seen many different birds, just recently an Owl.  Squirrels, chipmunks, mice, skunks and sometimes a bunny goes hopping by.  About two years ago, a black bear, medium size came strolling through my back yard. Next to my home I have neighbors on both sides. To our right, the fence separates our two properties and every now and again during the warmer months they will be sitting out back (where we park our cars and where the fence is) and we greet each other with a simple “Hello”, followed by small talk. To our left the neighbors and we share both of our driveways because they connect into the parking area behind our homes. Directly next to where I park is a beautiful full oak tree, and in the summer, it’s great coverage to keep my car cool.

Inside our home, it’s very relaxing I must say. Many of our friends that come visit have stated out loud and sometimes we laugh about it because when in the living room, some, (including my husband) have been known to fall asleep to easily. My son loves his bedroom. It is big. He has his play area, T.V. and video game area, his queen bed and his own office space for homework and computer time. We are fortunate to have a cozy small laundry room off the kitchen along with our bathroom.  We have a large enough kitchen and it’s where I decided to put my home office, in the corner part of the kitchen near two big windows. Our bedroom is our sanctuary. It has colored lighting shooting up from the bottom on all four walls. Blue, green and purple are the color lights we chose. We have a queen bed with a variety of colored comforters but our purple one is my favorite. On his side of the bedroom sits his home office (for when he works from home too) along with his waterfall that he likes to put on at night. In the front part of the bedroom sits a flat screen T.V. that I like to use for my guided meditations. Like I said, this is our sanctuary. On my side of the bedroom sits my altar. I adore my altar, as does my husband and sometimes he will sit with me during certain prayerful rituals or meditations etc.

I hinted in the last paragraph how relaxing it was in my home. It was created intentionally this way. We use the healing energy of lights to bring a warm comfortable environment. Besides the three of us who enjoy lighting in each of our rooms (my son has green and blue lights shooting from the bottom up onto his walls) we have warm white lighting beaming up onto our living room walls and barely ever need a glaring overhead light. For extra lighting, we have tiny lamps hidden behind furniture to lessen the glare but still very effectively light the room. We have received so many compliments from family and friends who come to our home. They always say how relaxing, clean and refreshing it smells. My husband and I have beautiful scent warmers and love picking seasonal favorites. (My son has one in his room too and loves picking his scents, he usually shoots for a fruity scent) Many of our friends have been so moved with our creativity, they have started doing the same idea ultimately bringing them an enriched comforting, relaxing environment. Our kitchen is our heart of our home. I do most of– if not all the cooking because I’m great at it and in many ways, it’s how I show my love for my family and friends. We like hosting dinner gatherings often, at least twice a month.

Like I said earlier we don’t have pets, but our plants in my belief helps keep the air clean and they add so much life to our kitchen, and living room. My husband has the “Green Thumb”. We have a huge wrap around deck out our front door. It’s the place where we spend a lot of our time when the weather is nice. For gatherings, we will sit on our deck, or go into our large back yard and have BBQ as kids play at the stream or enjoy the tree swing.

I work and study from home. My husband mainly works at his office and works from home if the weather is not good. My sons school is a mile away, not far at all. So, for me I spend a lot of my time in this environment. It’s important for me to love and enjoy my space but also discipline myself to work from home too. I get up every morning and start my routine for the day. When the weather is nice, I’ll go on the deck or on my bench swing out back and do some reading or meditations. As an Empath, it is how I nurture myself after absorbing everyone else’s energy all the time. Sometimes it can be completely draining. I simply love our little home, but it’s not too last much longer. We will be transitioning in 2017 into a bigger home and we are considering a different smaller community approximately 20 minutes from where we are now. We have chosen to start looking for a new home because we are out growing this environment. Our relationships have been great with neighbors, our landlord, mother nature and our feelings in and out of our home.  We are nervous that we won’t find what we are looking for, but you never know if you don’t look. As for now, I continue to enjoy our home.

 

My Reflection

Prior to this course I have often reflected on my environment and incorporated my home inside; outside in a variety of spiritually connected fashions. I was raised Roman Catholic but left the church a few years ago, when I was awakened very shortly after my mother’s crossover. I went through a transformation or “Calling” of sorts. I’ve always felt a Divine connection with people and our biosphere.  I am an Ordained Spiritualist Minister. I practice Esoteric Christianity for the most part, however my bottom line belief is we are all Universally connected to Divine and Spirit. I know this from personal experience. In many ways, I honor God and Spirit in my environment. I feel it is to say “Thank You” to God or Universe for helping me see the signs I’ve needed to see.

My mom raised me Catholic. However, she was more spiritual I saw than a “Practicing Catholic”.  I’ve seen over the years prior to my mother’s crossing over how she nurtured herself in her environment. It was not until after she passed where I received my calling and spiritual awakening. I feel in many ways I was given answers from Divine and Spirit to help spread the word about what messages I receive. I protect my environment and myself with a variety of items and rituals to block lower vibrational beings from attacking me or my home. For example, if you were in my home you would not see how every door and window of mine has clear quartz above the entrance way. It is my belief and experience it prevents evil vibrations from entering my home. I also have most of my rooms and furniture set up in a way to respect Divine along with earth. I like it to “flow” easily and smoothly; not cluttered. I notice with the many changes I’ve done to my home because I’ve received communication to do it this way, my energy level is usually very protected therefore I have an abundant amount of positive energy where I’m able to give others I know or even the common stranger I may cross paths with. My ministry is personal, independent from any one church and is full of love, kindness and respect for humans, animals and nature.

Religiosity to Archaeologists

A Myriad of Environments

Rev. Joshua Klaus | Religion in Pre-History | January 21, 2017

laussel_venus_cropped

Uncovered artifacts help explore the beginnings of Humanity

 

For purpose of exploring cultural beginnings of Religion through Art & Archaeology I have chosen to look more closely into the Paleolithic Period. (The Old Stone Age) This is the period where human origin begins. The Paleolithic period dates from early time of 200,000 BCE (Before Common Era) to 10,000 BCE.  Neanderthals existed in the earlier parts of the Paleolithic period after global warming at around 10,000 BCE, Homo sapiens were human relatives of the Neanderthals. Unlike there primate relatives Neanderthals left behind nothing indicating a culture existed among them, let alone a belief system. Tools have been discovered they used for survival, but no Art. As for Homo sapiens Archaeologists have discovered and collected evidence that indicates otherwise. From artifacts to drawings, the first humans left plenty behind to be discovered and interpreted. With discovery comes lots of debate between Scholars of the religiosity of Archaeologists.

Neanderthals as a primate relative, as Archaeologists have discovered, used flake tools and tools for their survival. They did not draw or try and convey meanings through Art. There tools were not pieces of Art (Art being a form of language) There seems to be no evidence of a religious belief system. Even such basic human behavior as the creation of art and personal adornment does not seem to have appeared until just before the end of the Paleolithic and the same may be true of religion. (Harold L. Dibble, The Search for Our Human Heritage 1992, EXPEDITION) In some of the images of artifacts I have seen, there is a clear distinction of what the Neanderthals left behind for us to learn of and what the earliest humans have left behind for us to learn of their religious beliefs or spiritual beliefs. One primate relative shows the creation of tools to be used for hunting, to scraping and for cutting. The other creates Art through drawings, sketches, and statues for means of language or communication. Each culture of humans has different Art that has been discovered. Like today’s modern language, they did not write, our relatives produced art to convey a message or history ( Art being a language).

Homo sapiens lived with Neanderthals until about 26,000 years ago when they became extinct. Complete extinctions occurred at different times across the world. With this stated, there is conflicting research by Archaeologist regarding the migration of humans. The Mesolithic Period which dates to 12,000 – 5,000 BCE has no evidence of contemporary hominids in existence. As the Neolithic period arose (5,000-200 BCE) there was formation of Northern, Central and Southern cultures.  Archaeological images show drawings of humans, both male and female. Interestingly it’s been uncovered their belief systems from humans in higher beings or mysterious creatures. Can the basic instinct of survival from humans today be connected to our desire for believing in a “Supreme Being”, “God”, “Higher Power”, “Nature”, or nothing at all be connected?

It’s my belief; likely our earliest ancestors tried to leave their marks in history with the Art and images I have seen produced by Archaeologist from around the world. Modern cultural anthropology concerns the role of language and symbols, both of which are essential in the transmission of culture to each generation and the maintenance of cultural identity. Many cultures have a belief system. Our culture defines who we are for thousands and millions of years to come. Paleolithic life is very difficult and controversial to interpret. Stemming from nature and data, to cultures and communities documenting history through Art and language. Humans are always seeking the greater meaning in life. In doing so we seek evolutionary forces that shaped us spiritually and biologically. Paleolithic Archaeologists primary position and relationship to religion is to discover the greater meaning in life, therefore making a large part of their vocation, religious.

Connections with Divination

Diviners in their native language

Rev. Joshua Klaus | Foundations of Divination | Ocean Seminary College | January 20, 2017

tarot-boy

Eastern and Western Cultures with Divination

So many scholars and religious leaders have researched Divination. For purpose of this paper Divination should be known to be practices of the Occult who search to connect with God, Goddesses, Supreme beings or a higher power. Eastern and Western cultures have visualized and interpreted Divination in a variety of methods with unique tools as Archaeologists have uncovered over the years. Esoteric Christianity has opened subjectivity to those Christians around the world. This paper will explore historical and spiritual meanings of Dr. Barbara Tedlock. Barbara is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the State University of New York at Buffalo where she teaches courses on the Maya and in psychological anthropology and religion, as well as holistic health and integrative medicine.

Dr. Barbara Tedlock brings to light in her research article, Divination as a Way of Knowing: Embodiment, Visualization, Narrative, and Interpretation. In the Eastern world, Greeks encouraged mantic behavior. Also, known as inspired behavior while the Romans did not. In Greek culture, it is believed the God, Prometheus gave what’s called a “gift” of Divination to humanity. To my knowledge, it was believed by Greek thinkers that Divinity existed as it was witnessed by people. Epilepsy for example was believed to be connected to Divination. This is one example as to why Romans possibly did not accept Divinity. They saw instability and confusion with symbolism and techniques in those who claimed to practice Divination. Romans were believers however of Oracle deities. Romans had their God’s and Goddesses and on that basis, worked or socialized with Greeks around this commonality of Divination.

In the Americas, Native Americans looked to birds and serpents as spiritual beings. The bird appeared to the American primitive as a spirit, in probability under the spell of some potent enchanter (a spell that might be broken only by some great sorcerer or medicine man.) Birds were known to be, good and of evil forces as seen by Natives and Romans. Divination by hypnosis was also well known in the Americas; as was dreams and visions in South and North America. Dr. Barbara Tedlock talks about the use of hallucinogenic substances in the Mayan community and how quartz crystals were introduced together to provoke lucid dreams as interpretations varied greatly of this Divination technique. Each of these cultures in the Americas provided their own tools of divination and multidimension inductive; interpretive ways of knowing.

Christianity today around the world largely dispels tools and instruments of Divination. Why? In the United States Paganism increases while Christianity has seen a decrease. Tools of Divination have proven, to many, a mystical truth of sorts that Christianity and many scholars just don’t have enough knowledge of ethnography of divination. Dr. Barbara Tedlock concludes the lack of ethnography has “not stopped scholars from attempting to explain away divination by placing it within evolutionist, diffusionist, ecological, or functionalist theories.” (Divination a Way of Knowing, Barbara Tedlock) I personally very much agree with Dr. Barbara Tedlock in her conclusion in her article. Esoteric Christianity is slowly acknowledging along with Catholic leaders that forms of Divination that connects human beings to spirit, is good to learn more of oneself through a current situation allowing for an individual to have knowledge for making better choices in the name of love, compassion and empathy for others. While some want to debate subjectivity and objectivity rather than work together to practice one true native theory of which resembles a person to appear as a Scientific Investigator.

The greatness of our country allows each person the freedom of religion. It has sustained and proven we can each practice our own spiritual techniques or belief in whatever supreme being we want; or not to believe in anything. Through Archeological discovery of historic Eastern and Western art time shows all cultures have some Divinity tools associated with their beliefs and God’s. This remains true in modern history. I feel regardless of your religious and spiritual beliefs one has the capacity and freedom to study and practice freely. More scholars in Divinity are reluctant to come forward in both the Western or Eastern communities in fear of telling truths with grave consequence of their professional reputation or character. More people are realizing the dangerous effect of modern medicine. My belief more people are turning to Divination in hopes of becoming dependent with tools and meditative holistic techniques rather than co-dependency on modern medicine.

Neo-Paganism is NOT Evil

pillarsOne Mans Spiritual Beliefs

Rev. Joshua Klaus | Neo-Paganism in Contemporary Society |January 19, 2017

Neo-Paganism is an umbrella of modern contemporary spiritual beliefs, usually, not connected to Christianity.

 

The Occult. Dancing Witches laughing and conjuring spells. The creepy man in his basement chanting looking at his Tarot cards and worshipping Satan. How about the woman practicing Reiki and energy healing who lives next door providing her talents to those who seek it. The imagery our brain can produce is nothing but amazing to think we can manifest whatever it is we are thinking. I was raised Catholic. My family and leaders around me taught me that any religion or practice outside of our faith was the wrong one. The one that will dam me to hell if I ever thought of crossing into another religion. WOW! Kind of rough, no? Of course it was. The Catholic church taught me, with the help of my family if there was any one religion of which was “Evil”, it was Roman Catholicism. This is a paper that will explore the meaning of Neo-Paganism as I understood it but over time and some experiences, Neo-Paganism is a part of me today.

Neo-Paganism (For purpose of being less confusion in this paper) I will just call it Paganism. Paganism gives me a bad feeling when I hear someone openly tell me they are a Pagan, or practicing Paganism. Not because of any other reason than I was mislead to believe any other spiritual practice outside of Christianity is evil. Tarot, Oracle, Angel or Lenormand cards, Divination tools, can be bought at your local book store, read and used. A person can use these Divination tools by learning them. Learning the Occult practice of Tarot. Many who do believe in the Divine connection with such tools, crystals, pendulums, pendants and so much more, may consider their self a Pagan. More specifically I’ve even heard some call their self, Wiccan. I once belonged to a Meet Up group in my region where we would meditate, feel our energy, flip a few Tarot cards around here or there even astral travel. I was not Pagan. It was a diverse room of people and beliefs  for sure. I had great opportunity to meet Spiritualists and those who claimed to be Pagans. Spiritualists didn’t realize they would fall under the Pagan “Umbrella”. What I learned from these Pagans and Tarot readers, Reiki Healers and Light Workers was how abundantly obvious it was that the higher power loves each of us and the gifts each of us have to connect in a divine way to higher vibrational beings, or universal energy.

We have all heard meditating is encouraged to keep our mind, body and spirit healthy. When we meditate and pray we are manifesting our thoughts and energy into the Universe. Christians do not like associating meditating with prayer, as if it’s two different things? I don’t believe they are. Newberg is a pioneer in the field of neurotheology, the neurological study of religious and spiritual experiences. In the 1990s, he began his work in the field by scanning what happens in people’s brains when they meditate, because it is a spiritual practice that is relatively easy to monitor. Newberg agrees that spiritual beliefs are influenced by a person’s genetics and environment, and that meditation practices are more effective when they reinforce a practitioner’s belief system. However, he says researchers are still investigating whether religious beliefs in general make healthier and happier people. He considers atheism to be a belief system as well, and says that a possible a mental health benefit of belonging to a religious denomination could be not just belief, but the built-in social network. (The Atlantic, What Happens to the Brain During Spiritual Experiences, Lynn Blumberg, June 5, 2014)  I believe our brain, when centrally focused on connecting with a higher power it is projecting healing energy and images to our inner spirit for the purpose of cleansing out mind (brain) from stress. It’s a common practice in Paganism to experience these rituals. I saw nothing “Evil” as some Catholics claim with Paganism. Go figure,  my Catholic faith has made me seek, many meditations for myself.

I was Baptized as a baby. Raised Roman Catholic by my parents and extended family. I was uncertain at the age of sixteen if I wanted to get Confirmed, so I waited until I was twenty nine. I wanted to wait until I was older and time had passed for me to decide to learn as an adult about Roman Catholicism.  I was proud of myself and the class I took for a solid year in order to be confirmed as a Catholic.  It liberated me entirely.  My life changed.  This was surely not because of any Roman Catholic practice of faith. No, no, no, it was what I learned about God, or a “Supreme Being”.  I learned I was created in a perfect image of how I was meant to be.  I was perfect.  I was a Universal being. I am loved. My purpose is to love everyone, however I can. Some may say, I was awakened. Thank you, Paganism. No not thank you because I studied Pagan traditions at that time. I thank Paganism for there being an honest interpretation of Divine. Wiccans feel how they practice is service to Universe. As does Humanists, Spiritualists and Pantheists. Where there is love, there is no hate.

It takes personal responsibility of one self and interest to learn about a variety of religions. Some say those who follow the heard to the cliff will fall like the rest. While a few stray, wonder into the sunset because they felt a sensation to go a different direction. Like many organized religions, Roman Catholicism is structured and feared to learn about thy neighbor, because we were told to fear the unknown. Why fear something when you have no substance or evidence to fear it?  There is just as much evil in Paganism as there is in Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and the list goes on and on. We have the power and knowledge to focus our thoughts and energy in ways many people have no idea how or why. We were created to use our brain for life. We were created to discover all the greatness Universe offers us and all living things. Energy never dies. Now do I sound Pagan? Is that so wrong to believe? Neo-Paganism to me is a contemporary Umbrella for so many different practices of spiritual beliefs. None of which is wrong. All of which is right, when the right “being”, is doing… all of which is right.