Not a surprise to most of the people who know me well. It’s been coming for a few years. I was a Neo-Pagan. Not your “We all come from the goddess”, love and bunny kisses type of Neo-Pagan but a Pagan looking to find answers, which in retrospect, was a fool’s errand. Meh, not really – knowledge is never truly wasted, unless it is used to trick the unwitting or the foolish, as is so often the case in religions, all religions.
In order to find answers, one must search out knowledge – in the form of facts, not hearsay and wishful thinking. Actual facts. Most religions are pretty short in the whole facts department, that’s why they have something they call “faith.” And while most religions are short of empirical evidence, Paganism has them beat. They have no evidence aside from stories created by ancients trying to understand natural phenomenon or attempting to answer humanity’s eternal question: What about…“after”?
So I searched, and I researched and I read and I researched some more. I read obscure books, I read theological tomes, I read whatever I could get my hands on – the good, the bad..the REALLY bad and the ugly. What I discovered was that religion, all religions are basically, full of shit. A bunch of people gather around, create a whopper, call it good and then label it as a “religion”. Just ask L. Ron – his whopper has gone on to make a lot of people rich. Gardner should have stuck around a little longer, he could have had made some serious coin. Poor Aleister…so ahead of his time. A cult would have allowed him to not only live the life of a Golden Magus but he could have had all manner of sycophants just dancing to his tune, indulging his every whim. Instead, both men died pretty much, penniless. So much for the Gods and Goddesses providing…
While religions are bullshit, some of them contain some pretty high ideals, good principles and quite a few parables with application even today. People being who they are, after all. Good stories, illustrating moral standards and encouraging ethical behaviour does not a religion make and so, you have to come up with some larger than life characters. Even a high school kid knows that any really good story must have a protagonist or protagonists and their opposite, the antagonists. Plots, settings – equally as important..oh and a theme. The conclusions are all pretty nifty – if you follow the instructions, you get to go to Heaven, Arcadia, Canaan, Elysium, Shangri-la, Utopia, Zion, Nirvana or if you don’t quite measure up? You are on your way to: the bottomless pit, Pandemonium, Abaddon, Domdaniel; jahannan, sheol., purgatory, gehenna, the abyss or maybe Tartarus, Hades, Avernus, Styx, Stygian creek, pit of Acheron, Cocytus.
Personally? I figure when we go…we go. I toss around the Universal Unconscious theory when I’m on the bus and bored. Or lying in bed with “the scourge of the older than crowd” – insomnia. It’s a possibility, on a positive day; you may even hear me say that it is a remote probability. I don’t need to believe nor am I so arrogant as to think that “the wonder that is me” will continue on, brightening the universe or whatever. I believe, the wonder that is me will be cremated and be so much ash scattered on the trade winds in the Caribbean. That’s it, that’s all. Been real, had a time, what a slice!
And that’s it, isn’t it? This is our life. We need to toss aside the childhood thing that is religion and faith. We need to take control and accept responsibility for our own actions. There is no dessert at the end, if we’re good. There is no eternal torment if we are real shits in this life. Instead, we will have lived a good existence, something of which our family and friends may remember with fondness or we will, if remembered at all – have the mention of our name precede lung butter hitting the sidewalk. Our choice.
There may be a universal unconscious or conscious, who knows? There’s no proof either way but gods, goddesses? Come on. You may as well believe in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, same premise but far less judgmental.