One 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.