One of the most interesting things about doing this work is the reaction I receive from people who claim to be open-minded spiritual beings on a spiritual path. To give you an example: I once submitted a piece of writing to Goddess Pages about a wonderful experience I had with the Goddess energy on Dingle. (Posted below). It was promptly sent back because the editors, both spiritual and open-minded I would have thought, as they profess to work with the Goddess, didn’t care for the part about St. Patrick releasing the energy of an angry female energy which needed healing. They instantly jumped on this as some sort of New Age rubbish. All it showed me was that they were closed-minded individuals who had no idea about how the Goddess has been worked with over the centuries.
People who claim that they are pagans, or following the Goddess seem to me to be just as closed-minded as those people who follow Jesus! They are still following a set of pre-judged versions of accepted reality rather than having the courage to follow all paths without judgement. Following a religion whose rules have been set out by someone else does not strike me as an adult adventure in consciousness expanding. It has its place certainly in that, at some point in our spiritual development we need to follow a set of ‘rules’ so that we know how to change ourselves. Religions also have their place in this same way. Many people I know have become involved in ‘Christian religions’ because they needed a surrogate family and a sense of belonging. Something they may have been lacking in during their life. They just don’t have to make any of their own decisions any more as the religion makes them for them.
During my own life I too became involved with ‘organised’ religion. As a teenager I became involved with the Hare Krsna’s. This was in Ireland and I’d always had a thing for Eastern spiritual ideas. I was with them for two years and I loved it, well…almost. I loved the food, I loved the philosophy and I loved the morning ceremonies and music. What I didn’t love was the 3.30 am mornings with a cold shower and the constant restraints placed upon us, as women, to not ‘upset’ the boys. i.e women always had to have their heads covered in front of them. We had to sit with our legs tucked under and not stretched out. We were not allowed to laugh out loud as we would ‘agitate the boys’. We couldn’t look them in the eye as they might become aroused etc etc.
Women were ‘no-class’ citizens and the men were all important. I got so fed up with this demeaning of myself as a young woman that I left. Looking back on it I had unconsciously chosen to join this movement to reinforce my underlying belief that I was a bad sexual person who was to blame for all of men’s feeling towards me. I had been sexually abused for a number of years prior to this so this belief was obviously very much part of my psyche and I joined groups that reinforced it. Mind you, I became thoroughly fed up with being held responsible for men’s sexual desires and started to challenge their ‘rules’. I would talk to the boys and look them right in the eye. They were not more important than me and I would not allow myself to be treated as ‘Temptation’ either!!
One of the most valuable lessons I had was around blindly following a spiritual master. The spiritual master who was ‘in charge’ of our section of the Hare Krsnas was called Tirthepada. He was an American and was very tall and thin and did look rather serene. When he visited our temple we cooked special food for him and generally treated him much like the Catholics treat the pope. (I was raised as a Catholic!). I remember during one of his ‘teaching classes’ how one of the female members gazed lovingly at him, tears rolling down her face. I couldn’t quite get that and felt quite cynical about it ! Too contrived for my liking!
Everyone told stories about how special this man was and how he didn’t need to eat so much food because he lived off of Krsna’s energy. When he danced in the temple during morning Kirtans he seemed to be in a state of bliss but I wasn’t convinced. Oh I kept his little garlands and a bit of the food that he regularly left. He was supposed to be the nearest thing to God after all.
However, a few years later he bluped. This was a term we used for people who left the community of Hare Krsnas. Akin to a fall from grace! It turned out that he was an Acid head and was constantly taking LSD. That was why he didn’t eat and why he looked blissed out during ceremonies. He wasn’t filled with Krsna’s essence he was tripping!! The woman who had been crying in adoration at his lecture also bluped with her new husband, sex obviously being too much of a temptation to be able to deny themselves. I found out many years later, in England, while working in the Speaking Tree Bookshop in Winchester that Tirthepada had actually lived above the Glastonbury Speaking Tree and had started his own religion using LSD as the central focus, and the ‘only true way’ to God! He was later beheaded in a woods by one of his followers who claimed that God had instructed him to do so! So much for LSD! What was weirder was that my boss had known him!! How things come around again…
This taught me a very valuable lesson in following anyone blindly. As far as I am concered we are our own way to the Divine, be it God or Goddess or both…or neither.
When I came to England many years later I became involved with a Wiccan circle. This too was vital experience and made me realise that following any religion can be fraught with illusions and delusions. We had a Samhain Celebration close to Danebury Ring where I was accepted to be trained in the coven for a year and a day. However, when I saw how the other members behaved and how they bitched about each other constantly I discontinued my training. I have gone my own way ever since! Spirituality was supposed to be about learning integrity not gossip and I was very surprised that this went on. I have seen the same things with other pagan groups.
Not all groups do this obviously. I’m sure there are some very dedicated people out there who do the work from their heart. I’ve just met very few of them. The people who I notice do their work without judgement are those who follow their own path and who have learned what is right and wrong, for themselves. Usually the hard way. Its a lot harder to make your own way through the healing of lifelong issues and behaviours than it is to follow someone else’s dictates and learn it superficially. I notice also with people who follow a religion that they tend to regurgitate information rather than discovering it for themselves through learning by experience and exploration.
Which brings me back to The Goddess pages. They are focussed on the Goddess, in all her guises but in a pagan way. I was disappointed to find that they were not open to other realities of Goddess Energy. Again its all mind stuff, no real feeling. For me the Goddess is all about feeling, deep feeling, intuitive feeling. It is about living in a way which we have not lived for hundreds of years. And yes even Christian’s have recognised her. The Knight’s Templar worshipped Mary and the energy work they did is exactly the same as the work carried out by the early Christians in Ireland England, Scotland and Wales, before they became Romanised and when it was still Nature-based. It was always a surprise to me when I discover that a Christian saint did the very work that we do now. And you know what the difference is? They didn’t judge it. They just did it.
I have connected to some of the most wonderful energies planted by pagans, Christians, Egyptians etc who were working from their soul and their hearts many years ago. If we cannot accept that our beliefs will change as we grow then we are not growing! If our beliefs are not open to change then we are not changing. If we are not changing then we are not on a spiritual path but on a path which strokes our egos. It will fulfill some of our needs but we will remain who we are without movement. As a counsellor I have seen it many times.
It makes me laugh how fearful people can become as soon as you mention something Christain or biblical. Why? What is there to fear in opening up to another possibility? Did it not occur to anyone that even Christian stories have a basis in fact? All we have to do is open up and discover what the story truly means. We have been brought up on tales of the Bible which are now surrounded by rules and dogma but many of those stories, when you trust your gut, have a reality which has nothing to do with dogma. You have to learn which part is ‘coded’ as it were and which is the junk inserted by humans who used the stories to control. Our entire consciouness, and unconsciouness, is riddled with Christian beliefs. It has been the foundation stone of our entire belief system. But in rejecting the stories in favour of ‘better’ ones, without really understanding them, is like throwing the baby out with the bath water. There is truth in everything, if you only look. Only experience and exploration will tell you what is real and what is superficial.
I don’t follow any religious rules as I feel that if I choose the path of my soul, which doesn’t judge me, then I will find my own set of standards to live by. Working with the Goddess is so different from what we are used to and it takes much clearing of belief to work with her energy. We are trying to work with her based on beliefs we unconsciously hold about the nature of religion. We have to clear these first before we can understand how to work with her energies. We also need to question everything for only in questioning can we hope to find a truth. If we accept everything blindly then we are not growing, we have just thrown a security balnket around our shoulders, which will keep us safe but will not challenge us to grow and change as spiritual human beings.
So if someone presents you with a possible reality don’t just reject it offhand because it doesn’t fit with your ideas of ‘reality’. But keep yourself open to the possibility of it. You might find that it contains a little spark of wisdom which you may need one day. Throw out the water but keep the baby!