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Syncretism: A Faith Without Dogma or Doctrine (Part 1)
Blending Spiritual Belief Systems
I have been Syncretic for approximately 10 years. I was born into the Christian faith and I retain my belief in Jesus Christ; but, not in a traditional context. I believe the universe is a macrocosm and man is the microcosm. Christ is the Body and the total consciousness of all that is. Central to my belief in Christ is His complete and perfect unconditional Love.
12 years ago, I met a man who cracked my world right open. He was a Magus of many magickal orders. He was a very gifted natural intuitive. I loved him straight away. He was so very fascinating and beautiful---sparkly, really. He would teach me a whole new life. Today, I do not resemble my old self. If I appear to, it is because I am standing outside someone's circle looking in and remaining basically silent so that I don't willingly disrupt his/her flow.
As a junior high kid, I took part in a project called the New Mexico Trip. I spent hours on end researching the Anazazi Indians. Then I was chosen to go on a week long bus trip to Southwest Colorado and Greater New Mexico. I went on the trip in both 7th and 8th grades.
It was this honor that taught me about the indigenous peoples of the Southwest. I gained an unacknowledged transformative faith through standing in the holy kivas and imagining all the historical activity that had occurred within them. But this underlying faith would flicker in and flicker out of my personal life for years. Certainly, I felt it a betrayl when I lived as a Charismatic Christian for seven years in my twenties. Now, however, I find it a deep resounding part of who I am and how I practice my spirituality. It is, in fact, an infrastructure for my overall mental models.
Native Americans are both Pagan and Holistic. They understand the natural flow of life. They use all parts of life. The conquistadors forced their belief systems onto the Anazazi. The Catholic Church was powerful. It molded and shaped the various peoples of that time period. I began to comprehend Syncretism without a language for the word. I knew that the conquistadors were horribly wrong to invade a foreign land and then to, subsequently, force their ways on the natives. Christianity felt bad to me as I stood and listened to my teacher explain the history of the reservations and the antiquated pueblos. The Anazazi beliefs felt somehow more right than the brutal white peoples' beliefs.
But, what I would eventually discover, is that the kivas were not the only spiritual segways in my life. I was enamored with the "supernatural." I lusted for real spiritual breath. I would find some of it much later as a Chrismatic. The Holy Spirit moves profoundly in that version of the Christian Church. Moreover, I would hunger for "dark" channels of spiritual life to help balance out my life---channels that I would brush up against in the "carnal" and Syncretic city of New Orleans when I was 15.
I think the word supernatural was born because people needed to recover God's fullness in their life. I was raised in the Lutheran Church. Spirituality was very intellectualized. Liturgy was used in place of the Bible. Ritual was commonplace. I would speak creeds during church services that included the words Holy Ghost. Well, in reflection---many years later---I can see why the Lutheran faith called the third entity of the Holy Trinity a ghost. Because there was no observable action in the church by the third entity. Whereas, when I was a Charismatic, there was observable action of the so called Holy Spirit.
When I met my former boyfriend, the Chaos Magician, I expanded my spiritual repertoire to include all realms outside my religion of origin. I would learn about the chakras and the energy bodies we all have. I discovered that Christianity was greatly flawed and rather egomaniacal at times. Frankly, throughout history it was even a big, bad bully. It did not take much to feel this way. I spent time overseas as a very dedicated missionary and teacher at an international school. I learned how overly nationalistic America was. I was mistreated by believers of the church and leaders of my school. If someone could provide legitimate information about weaknesses, flaws, or historical gaffs, I would not refrain from studying the information. I would immerse myself in it.
I can say that my ex-boyfriend knew how to systematically break apart ideologies. It was apart of his training and education. This was not easy to endure, but I am thankful for it today. Why? Because I am no longer mutually exclusive about what I think and practice. My understanding of life is much greater. I know that God is the Source of all that IS. I know that God is truly omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. I know God is perfect Love. I know that everything is connected and that all we do affects all that is---just like a pond and its many ripples.
But more than that, I am thankful for the freedom that my ex gave me. I have the liberty to be the creative soul I was born to be. My art education background seeps into every corner of my reality. Spirituality and artistic endeavor are interlinked and oh so lovely. Magick is alive in me. I regularly meet with experiences that most people get "blown away by" when they have a handful of the same types of experiences throughout their whole life. Experiences called synchronicities or "fortunate coincidences."
In other words, something like a man stands on a street corner; his name is Burt. He looks up and the street sign is Burt St. Then a truck drives by at that exact moment and it is labeled Burt's Icecream. Then a woman meet's a man down the alley. She calls the man in the alley Burt.
I recently watched The Mist's of Avalon, a feminine version of the Arthurian legends narrated by the High Priestess of the Old Religion, Morgaine Le Faye. Merlin the Magician was about to die and he said he believed that the Goddess (the Divine Feminine) was living in its humanity. I believe this about God, also called in some circles, Source.
I know that Jesus lives in the heart of mankind. Christians often somehow ascribe that Christ enters mankind when asked with special words or prayers like, "Save me, Christ Jesus." I refute this belief. The Spirit of God lives inherently in all Creation. "Special revelation" is a term for when someone recognizes God in nature and then that person accepts God as real and personal.
I was a six year old child singing "Go Tell It on the Mountain" when I just knew that God was someone I had a close relationship with. I prayed nothing. I asked nothing. I just accepted the truth of who Jesus was in my life---a wonderful, loving friend and "mentor" (because I could not know what God could truly be or what God truly meant at six). I understood that I lived in His Spiritual and Cosmic hands---in His all encompassing Love. I understood because I was taught about the Love of God and who I was as His child and then suddenly the words in a song one morning brought my soul into an epiphany [a brighter than bright "light bulb" moment that lit my spirit in this "incarnational body" on the earth plane].
Children know God in ways that adults fail to imagine. Why? Because children believe with wide eyes and loads of creative energy. Love is natural to children. Babies come into the world trusting and giving. God need not fight against resistance of belief in children. Children just feel God and know God without language or intent. Children are open and receptive to the human heart chakra. Children are sensitive and bright. We all get this as we stare in amazement at small children and their many miraculous ways.
I practice my spirituality at this point in my life with reverence, a voracious appetite, with knowing and knowledge, with exploration and adventure. Love is my framework for living. I am imperfect and that gives me strength to be anything I can imagine. I once aspired to perfection to be safe and loved by the people around me. I now know that is a box I crawled into to survive. I am grateful that Source removed the box and gave me a big tub of crayons. My relationship with the eternal is so delicious when I am concentrating. I write to share this decadence with those who no longer remember the Love called Divinity. It is worth the wait if you don't remember your Source and you open your mind and heart to disocover It this instant.