Clarification and errata

Know when someone holds a part of your soul?  Yeah.  Sort of reeling from a strange vulnerable warmth upon meeting a friend who does.  We walked by a corner that, for inexplicable reasons, is threaded into my dream-world, has been a spot of multiple visions before moving to Eugene, and standing there with him reminded me of some sort of in-folding of time, how we bear ourselves and each other within and yet embody separateness and how everything is always “okay.”

But that’s not what this post is about.  Sometimes I write aloud because it’s the only thing I know how to do after such events, such up-wellings of emotions I don’t recognise because I’m not always certain they’re fully mine.  Mayhaps they belong to the world, or to places, or to others who’ve gone under the earth or into the stars.  I don’t know.

On a less prosaic matter, I’m not always good with words.  After discussing with several wonderful and insightful people regarding my last post, I think I need to make a bit of a clarification.

When I described “self-centric” spirituality, I think I meant something different from that term.  It’s been made clear to me that self-centric to many others means something equivalent to “self-work,” or the process of developing “self-awareness.”  Thus, my essay can come across as suggesting people in traditions which heavily focus on self-work, who are hardly self-centered, would be swept into that definition.  For that sloppyness on my part, I apologize deeply.

So, to clarify: self-centered spirituality is not the same as self-centric, or, better said, traditions which help the seeker become more self-aware are not what I mean when I criticize self-centered Paganism.

So, what do I mean to criticize?  Particularly, the thread which advocates personal power as a means in itself.  Again, the question “who is this for?” can be asked.  If enlightenment is only for the individual, it does no one any good, and is self-ish.  Consider the figure of the Bodhisattva, or monks in the Engaged Buddhism tradition, or the liberation theology-inspired south american priests, or any religiously-inclined person who sees enlightenment as being something other than a means of self-enlargement or attainment of power. That is, to quote my response when I realized my mistake:

My language is very imprecise, and I apologize. By Self-centric I meant more what you folks mean by “self-centered.” Self-work isn’t self-centered in my estimation; rather, it’s a vital process that leads one to even be able to be a tool for the gods and others. That is, “self-awareness” and “actualization” are not self-centered; rather, they’re vital to actually understanding others and The Other. By mentioning Crowley and the Will-to-Power, I meant to delineate between power that is for the world through the self, versus power that is from the world for the self.

I’m not always aware of how I am understood, so I greatly appreciate when people point out when I’m imprecise or even wrong.   Thank you.

Another thing. Wyrd Ways Radio has changed their intended programming in order to present a space for folks to talk about issues of abuse within Paganism.  The information is here, and the show will be tomorrow (Wednesday, 2 April) and will have Sarenth Odinnson (a FANTASTIC person) as well.


3 thoughts on “Clarification and errata

  1. What you say there in the first part of your article I can very much relate with. I too am not the best of words but some things bubble up inside me which both feel like I need to work through them by writing about them and that they belong to the world as you put it too. I guess it’s a matter of, if I am going through this perhaps someone else out there is or has at one time too. I find blogging to be very therapeutic in that regard.

  2. Changing the word helped me better understand this section, but I’m not sure that section needs a subheading. The idea of not being self-centeredness is supporting the discussion of gifts. I think… ?

    As always, I enjoy what you write. This statement was a wonderful surprise, “humans are not any more easily understood to the otherworld…”

    On another subject, I have a habit of scanning everyone’s blogs and making a mental note of which ones I’m going to go back and read. You had a paragraph somewhere (blog? g+?, a comment in someone else’s blog?) that I can’t track down. And I wish to pontificate.

    I’m radically misquoting you, but it was something like, “I worry that my worship of Thor might be a little Nazi.” Come on, the Vikings weren’t anti-Semitic. They didn’t have any “scientific” theories of race. They wanted to travel unusual place and meet (perhaps plunder) interesting people.

    (For a year, I’ve been meaning to post about my favorite-book-that-everyone-should-read. If I do, I will send you the link and ask you to read it.)

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