Tags: god

Miscellany, God and Stones

I was brought up Catholic too and still remain so in many ways. I still really "pray" mostly only to God. I "worship" only the Creator. Even Our Lady and the Saints, I only "venerated" them and asked for their intercessory prayers to God. But my own Catholicism is different from the norm. I spent much more time on the land than in church. The Land taught me much. I encountered the Creator in Creation.

However to all the other forces of nature, to mountains, thunder, and such, I don't really worship them, but instead think of them as Persons of greater age and rank than myself. I treat them with respect and friendship, and offer them things out of that respect and friendship. Same as with the Powers of my Ancestors. It's about relatedness, kinship and friendship for me.

That works the same for Catholics, and the way I was taught, by my Native American way, which has One Creator of All, but Mother Earth, etc and many Spirit Helpers, Genius Loci, etc. I still am also a Trinitarian: Father, Son and Holy Ghost-- God in Three Persons. I don't get into it too deeply, just keeping things simple.

That's how I keep my own cognitive dissonance under control anyways. It keeps me "worshipping only One God" in the Catholic mindset and so keeps my guilt at bay, but luckily I can also apply the saints veneration and friendship and intercessory model from Catholicism, and the "Everything in Nature is My Relation" of the American Indian model, --maybe some would call it semantics, but all can fit together, for me, anyways.

I am actually out of phase with a lot of Catholicism and had another run-in with the local priest and hierarchy, so I haven't gone to Mass in over a year, although I stop in to pray once in a while (we have a beautiful huge gothic cathedral). There are of course differences as to whether one is a heretic, a schismatic, or an apostate I mainly confuse priests when I talk to them, and frighten them a little, unintentionally (at least that's how I read their body language). But I always got along with the oldtime holy priests. We saw past our human frailties to the brotherhood of the human condition.

I don't see it as the JudeoChristian god vs pagan gods I guess. I just know there is "God." I have never had a god of any type talk to me, pagan or otherwise. I just pray to "God." I call him "Grandfather." Maybe some would call what I do with the Earth, the Land, and the Directions/Winds etc. "prayer" (shrug) I don't know.

I personally have never met a horned god, or a goddess, or Jesus, or Apollo, or Lugh, or Odin, or an angel. Not that I know of anyways. God has never "told" me anything in so many words, unlike Pat Robertson, Jimmy Swaggart and their ilk (said tongue-in-cheek). Nor have I seen any ghosts. But I have PERSONALLY seen Nature spirits, and the Little People, and more, Other things...yes, I have seen with my physical, unaltered-state eyes. No drinking, no drugs, no weird mental states...just being in the wrong/right place at the wrong/right time. I know what I have seen. While I believe in God and pray only to God since childhood, I know those "Others" are residents and neighbors on the Land, and it always is a good idea to be "neighborly."

About stones-- Some stones are "alive" and can reproduce, making "baby" stones. Some large boulders are alive, some transformed from other beings into stones, some move on their own and "do things" and thus I count them as alive. Most traditional cultures, from English and Irish to Hawaiian, know that certain large stones are alive. Some small stones have memories attached (as in psychometry) but some can have actual human or nonhuman spirits attached as well. Some are "houses." Some move about. And some are just alive on their own. It varies. Just like hills or cliffs.

And of course stones' "flesh" (their mineral and chemical composition) have different qualities which can be helpful in practical and craft matters, taken both from indigenous folklore and those European systems of magic ultimately derived from GrecoRomanEgypto Hermeticism (rose quartz for love etc.)

I don't pretend to know the ultimate Truth of the Universe. I'm just a speck of dust on a small planet, which itself is just a speck of dust in an immense galaxy, which itself is only one of millions of such galaxies.

I think Catholicism does have truth, which is why I won't reject it. I have problems with the people involved, the power structures, the history, the twisting of dogma and doctrine to suit those wishing to gain power, riches, etc. But pagans in Rome, Babylon, etc. all did the same human things.

Catholicism also has great beauty in its liturgy, art, music. I am an artist, and so that also appeals. I just won't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I cannot reject what I was taught as a kid, because when I try, it feels like I am rejecting a part of my own soul. I just try to somehow reconcile it all. Not just the Catholic part and the Native American part, but Science as well, and Humanism, and Americanism, and.... I have all these belief systems tugging and churning and merging and contradicting each other in my psyche.

But then, I have lots of struggles with ALL the spheres of belief I have encountered: Christianity/Catholicism, Native American, science, and the various forms of witchcraft and neopaganism/reconstructionism. Every one of them, IMHO, have areas where they have problems with "truth" and blind spots. But that is being human I guess.

Personally, I am mostly guided in my day-to-day life by my own conscience, human compassion and brotherhood, and reason/Greek ethics (with a strong dose of the Golden Rule and Animism!).

Truth resonates. It hums and your body knows it, like a tuning fork.

I am a Neutral Good Human Druid/Cleric

My scores in the Dungeons and Dragons quiz. When I was younger, it might have been different of course, but at the age of nearly 50, not as strong or quick or sure of things as I used to be, I am okay with the results :-)


I Am A: Neutral Good Human Druid/Cleric (4th/3rd Level)


Ability Scores:

Strength-14

Dexterity-13

Constitution-12

Intelligence-18

Wisdom-16

Charisma-14


Alignment:
Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment because it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.


Race:
Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.


Primary Class:
Druids gain power not by ruling nature but by being at one with it. They hate the unnatural, including aberrations or undead, and destroy them where possible. Druids receive divine spells from nature, not the gods, and can gain an array of powers as they gain experience, including the ability to take the shapes of animals. The weapons and armor of a druid are restricted by their traditional oaths, not simply training. A druid's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that they can cast.


Secondary Class:
Clerics act as intermediaries between the earthly and the divine (or infernal) worlds. A good cleric helps those in need, while an evil cleric seeks to spread his patron's vision of evil across the world. All clerics can heal wounds and bring people back from the brink of death, and powerful clerics can even raise the dead. Likewise, all clerics have authority over undead creatures, and they can turn away or even destroy these creatures. Clerics are trained in the use of simple weapons, and can use all forms of armor and shields without penalty, since armor does not interfere with the casting of divine spells. In addition to his normal complement of spells, every cleric chooses to focus on two of his deity's domains. These domains grants the cleric special powers, and give him access to spells that he might otherwise never learn. A cleric's Wisdom score should be high, since this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.


Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)




Detailed Results:

Alignment:
Lawful Good ----- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (23)
Neutral Good ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (28)
Chaotic Good ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (24)
Lawful Neutral -- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (18)
True Neutral ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (23)
Chaotic Neutral - XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (19)
Lawful Evil ----- XXXXXXXX (8)
Neutral Evil ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXX (13)
Chaotic Evil ---- XXXXXXXXX (9)

Law & Chaos:
Law ----- XXXXXXX (7)
Neutral - XXXXXXXXXXXX (12)
Chaos --- XXXXXXXX (8)

Good & Evil:
Good ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (16)
Neutral - XXXXXXXXXXX (11)
Evil ---- X (1)

Race:
Human ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (14)
Dwarf ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (14)
Elf ------ XXXX (4)
Gnome ---- XXXXXXXX (8)
Halfling - XXXXXX (6)
Half-Elf - XXXXXXX (7)
Half-Orc - XXXX (4)

Class:
Barbarian - (-2)
Bard ------ (-4)
Cleric ---- XXXX (4)
Druid ----- XXXX (4)
Fighter --- (-2)
Monk ------ (-19)
Paladin --- (-23)
Ranger ---- XX (2)
Rogue ----- (-4)
Sorcerer -- (0)
Wizard ---- XX (2)


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Theism, Deism, Animism, Animatism

"Animism (from Latin anima (soul, life) is a philosophical, religious or spiritual idea that souls or spirits exist not only in humans and animals but also in plants, rocks, natural phenomena such as thunder, geographic features such as mountains or rivers, or other entities of the natural environment... Animism may further attribute souls to abstract concepts such as words, true names or metaphors in mythology. Religions which emphasize animism are mostly folk religions, such as the various forms of Shamanism, Shinto, or certain currents of Hinduism." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animism)

In anthropology, some differentiate between animism and animatism.

"Animatism is a term coined by British anthropologist Robert Marett to refer to "a belief in a generalized, impersonal power over which people have some measure of control". Marett argues that certain cultures believe "people, animals, plants, and inanimate objects were endowed with certain powers, which were both impersonal and supernatural".
Mana, Marett states, is a concentrated form of animatistic force found within any of these objects that confer power, strength, and success. To various cultures, animatism and mana are visible through the successes and failures of these various objects. Success equals a high amount of animatism, or mana, whereas failure is the result of animatism, or mana, being lost." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animatism)

Mana is the Polynesian word for "power" much like the Force in Star Wars, or chi (Chinese) or Orenda (Iroquois).

I have heard it explained sometimes is that in animism, a mountain has a spirit (a spirit indwelling the mountain), whereas in animatism, the mountain is alive.

Animism/animatism is perhaps the oldest of all beliefs, as it is found in every traditional indigenous culture of which I am aware.

If one believes in the existence nature spirits, with the souls of dogs and elk and rocks and trees and rivers and thunder, one is aligned with animism/animatism. The idea of "virtues" in plants connects to the idea of the "mana" (power) of plants.

THEISM

theism = a traditional and/or scripturally based belief in God (belief based on what has been handed down or taught, whether one's elders in oral tradition such as Native American tribal ways, or writings such as the Koran, Bible, etc.

pantheism = God IS the whole (the universe IS God)

panentheism = the whole is IN God (the universe is only a manifest part of God)

polytheism = multiple gods/goddesses

monotheism = one god/goddess

DEISM

deism= a category of rationalistic (reason-based) belief in God (Spirit, Deity, ground of being, Dao, etc...) based on reason, experience, and the observation of nature

panendeism, polydeism, monodeism, etc.

ALSO:
"Polytheists do not always worship all the gods equally, but can be monolatrists, specialising in the worship of one particular deity. Other polytheists can be kathenotheists, worshiping different deities at different times."

-- all have room for belief in ghosts, spirits, wights, etc.

It can get as complex and convoluted as you want.

Animism does not require any sort of belief in God, of any kind. It just says everything has life, is alive. One could conceivably be a atheist and an animist.

Deism/theism (including polytheism, monotheism, pantheism, etc.) focus on the deity/gods. Pantheism says god is in/behind everything.

Animism just says everything is alive in some way.

You can be a pantheist and not be an animist. In other words, you could believe God is behind/in everything, but not believe that a tree has a soul of its own.

Theism and animism are two independent concepts, except for their belief in something beyond the material and visible.