Well, to the 3 or 4 readers who used to come to this blog, this must be a bit of a shock. I have gotten rid of all the old crappy entries from when this blog was a bastion of misery and self-pity, and I have begun anew. I don't know if more people will come to this blog now, but frankly, it doesn't really matter. After years of struggling with finding and defining a spirituality for myself, I have finally reached a point in my life where I am comfortable in my beliefs. I think one of the biggest problems I had was allowing others to define what being spiritual and having a relationship with the Divine is all about. I had forgotten I have a brain of my own, and that my own personal experiences are valid and real. One of the greatest lessons I have learned in my journey towards embracing a naturalistic path of modern paganism is that spirituality is, and should be, an intensely personal experience. I fully support everyone's right to seek and find a Great Truth, and I am happy for those who find it, no matter where. What I do not support, and never will, is the idea of religious expansionism, or the idea that one's spiritual beliefs are the only acceptable ones, and all others should follow suit. I think a huge part of why this is such a widespread problem in our world is that so many take such a strong literalist approach to religion.
As humanity has evolved, and knowledge of the universe and our place in it has grown, the need for a literal belief in the supernatural has waned to practically nothing. We can see existence around us and know what is causing the waves to crash on the shore, why the sun rises and sets, and where our babies come from. Deities have evolved from an explanatory role ("what" is causing a natural phenomenon) in our universe to a metaphorical, illustrative one. This does not mean they are any less important than they once were, at least not to me. Through the study of ancient gods and goddesses, their myths and attributes, and how they were honored throughout history, I am able to connect to my cultural and spiritual ancestry, as well as feel a sense of awe, and even comfort, in my place in the wider existence. My spiritual needs are fulfilled, without compromising my intellect or conscience. I do not have to take anything on faith, and scientific knowledge is not an enemy of my religious convictions. I do not have to reject any scientific discovery on religious grounds because my religious convictions are rooted in a naturalistic worldview. Physical reality is the ground of being, and my religion is an outgrowth of my own emotional and intellectual responses to that reality. The fact that my gods are archetypal and metaphorical in nature does not mean they are not "real." If anything, they are more real to me than any intangible, supernatural, dogmatic deity ever could be. My gods grow and evolve along with humanity, and are intimately interwoven with my physical and mental identity. I am not indebted to them, I am not a groveling servant with no will or intuition of my own. They are my friends, my teachers, my environment and myself.