Monday, February 15, 2010
Science and Spirituality
Pantheist ~ the view that nature/universe is god/divine.
Panentheist ~ the view that god/divine is in nature/universe.
Can one successfully blend science with spirituality? As a panentheist my view of the Earth is not purely materialistic, I'd like to think I have a nice balance between science and spirituality. It was recently said to me by a member of a forum I'm a regular on during a discussion that "Paganism is about mythology and metaphor and symbolism" and "So if you're just going to see the Earth as one more planet, why paganism?" Is this really what paganism is only about? Does that mean that because I personally have chosen to honour Nature/Earth/Gaia in a differing manner out of a cultural and mythological context that I am less of a Pagan? Or not even able to call myself a Pagan? This really got me thinking and I found the discussion which though only a few posts long got me to sit back and really evaluate my beliefs and the direction my path is heading. I believe that one should never be afraid to question themselves or others. It's only through these times of evaluation that we grow personally and spiritually and experience an evolution within. I came to the conclusion that no my views don't make me less of a Pagan, in fact I feel that the belief that was expressed seems to be a rather limiting perspective of what a personal Pagan spirituality has to offer in the form of individual practice. This was just one person's opinion of how they view Paganism. It's not wrong it just differs from my own. Paganism is many different things to many different people. That's the beauty of a free-form personal spirituality.
I may be in the minority but honestly you're more likely to catch me watching the History Channels Universe series than an ancient cultural program (though I love these too), my Book of Shadows is filled with information on the Big Bang Theory as well as other scientific theories on the formation of our planet, galaxies, the stars and beyond, all right alongside poetry and musings written for and inspired by a sentient belief in Mother Earth. (Akin to Gaia Theory - James Lovelock, formally Gaia Hypothesis)
Sometimes I may come across as if I see the world in a purely materialistic view especially when I talk about celebrating the cycles of the earth, sun and moon. I don't see a Goddess when I look to the moon I see the earth's only natural satellite, the spiritual content being that I acknowledge and celebrate the moons effects on our tides and our bodies during its monthly cycle as a intimate connection with Gaia/Mother Earth. I feel a Divine Energy current that runs through our universe and Celebrate the moon and sun's pivotal role in the creation and sustenance of life upon our fare planet. During the yearly cycle of the sun I celebrate the solstices and equinoxes on the actual days they occur because I'm not celebrating the myth and symbolism of a sabbat, I'm celebrating the literal cycle of the sun and its effects upon the earth's/Gaia's seasonal rotation.
For me personally none of the scientific aspects nullifies the spiritual quality of my personal path but rather enhances it. The more knowledge I gather the more tangible my connection to Gaia becomes, the more I understand her the more complex and magnificent she is.
I've been told before that I must not grasp what paganism is by yet another simply because I celebrate outside of a mythological and cultural context. My belief is that Paganism is a nature based spirituality,when I celebrate nature in its literal physical form I am being as true to my Pagan self as I can be. Now if you'll excuse me I'm off to go freak out my neighbours again by hugging a tree.