Things I might consider…

Writing about if I got around to doing the codification thing I spoke of earlier…

Brainstorm for lack of better idea how to get started:

  • Animism
    • Why choose animism as the base/core?
    • Is it a belief or a framework?
  • Ethics
    • Charging for matters of the spirit… Don’t folks have to make a living?
      • Are fixed costs appropriate (rental, materials)?
      • Is it ever appropriate to charge for services only?
    • What are the obligations we have as pagans/witches/non-Abrahamic religions to the world and each other?
    • When does it become appropriation?
      • Is living in the US make adoption of Celtic beliefs appropriation?
        • Even if you have an ancestral background in Ireland/Scotland/Wales?
      • What spirits and practices are appropriate for a European Caucasian to adopt that are local, but not appropriation?
      • Where does the line between appropriation and core, base truth lie?
  • Urban nature and spirit
    • Learning our local system
      • What birds, animals, plants live in your area?
      • What are the native systems that we’ve overlooked? Has city dwelling destroyed? Can we replenish and coexist with the native systems? What laws and rules hinder such transformations?
    • Too many folks thing following a nature-based system means running “back to nature”.
      • Ignoring the fact that city has own ecosystems and nature.
      • Get away from overly-romantic notions of “natural” and nature.
  • I’m okay being a city guy
    • See Urban nature and spirit section above.
    • Is being a city guy closing myself off from other types of natural experiences and spirits?
      • Are “field trips” a requirement?
  • What is the point? Harmonizing self, others.
  • Collective consciousness
    • Yes, even with rocks and plastic
    • Yes, plastic
    • We’ve got iktomi-like dreamcatcher webbing binding us together
    • We are all related and interconnected.
    • Butterfly effect.
  • What is nature?
    • When is it not nature?
    • Why do we think some things are not nature? Just because they are man-made? But then, are they not an effect of us, children of nature, making tools? Is that not part of nature? Where do we draw the line and is that line artificial?
  • The ethics of technology
    • Is tech evil, or just another consciousness state?
    • Is tech distracting or liberating? Both?
    • Can technological tools have spirit?
  • Peopling as a process of nature
    • Common possible myth: we are the destruction and rapists of nature or are we just acting within our own nature?
    • Is there a chance that we need to smash the nature system to save it? Devil’s advocate approach.
    • Old George Carlin joke: Mother Earth wanted plastic, so she made humans. Now she has lots of plastic, time to off the people.
  • Non-mechanistic thinking
    • Not everything is direct cause/effect
      • Sometimes it is a web of effect, so complex we cannot see the direct impact.
    • Chaos theory and thealogy/theology
  • Nondualist thinking in practice
    • Moving away from male/female thinking
    • Moving away from evil/good thinking
    • Middle way thinking
  • Concepts of action without action (wu wei)
    • Wu wei is not inaction
    • Paradigms of the bamboo versus oak in a hurricane/tornado
  • Redefining uselessness
    • Is anything truly useless?
    • Things sometimes have value because the mechanistic mind cannot leverage those things for profit or power.
  • Pantheism, Polytheism, Monotheism, Panpolytheism, Monistic Panpolythesim
    • Which is what and who is that?
    • Does it matter?
  • Ecstatic states
    • Are props and tools necessary?
    • Are there drum beats without drums?
    • Listening to the spirits, living the spirits, breathing the spirits
    • Do words have value, or are they more often misleading?
    • Does ritual enhance or detract from an ecstatic state? Is it limiting?
  • Transformative process of internal alchemy
    • Barking up wrong tree with philosopher’s stone
    • Nonchemical “alchemy”
  • The shamanism that can be told is not true shamanism (stolen from Tao Teh Ching Ch1)
    • Value of early Zen patriarch teachings towards shamanism
    • Do we need to break the perceived reality for a person so they can receive the real reality?
    • Value of Rinzai methods, including “insulting” revered things to wake people
    • Value of Soto methods, including zazen (sitting zen) as a ecstatic tool
      • Why so much emphasis on “just sitting”?
      • Is there more value to moving contemplation/working meditation?
      • Does moving meditation (e.g., tai chi chuan) help with “muscle memory” of meditative state?
      • What is the purpose of meditation?
  • Is dogma an emergent thing in neopaganism?
    • Where does it appear and how do you move beyond those elements?
    • Are you having dogmas?
  • The problem with some Heathen and Norse-based systems
    • The bad actors with their bad press
    • How to move beyond these bad actors and how to reclaim and liberate these systems from “blood and soil” groups that have less to do with spiritual belief and more to do with excusing their racism and hate.
  • Purpose of totems/spirit guides/spirit animals
    • When do things go woowoo on this subject
  • Visions and vision questing
    • Best practices
    • How tos
    • What to expect
  • Definitions of sacrifice
    • Sacrifice =/= necessarily blood sacrifice
      • Personal sacrifice
        • Discomfort
        • Sweat lodge elements
      • Willingness to endure pain
        • Piercing, tattoo
        • Sundance-like ritual
    • Personal deprivation as sacrifice
      • Think Lent as a type of sacrifice
  • Near death as transformative state
    • Necessary for shaman? No
      • “sympathetic spirits” healing possible
  • Absurdity
    • See chaos theory and Eris-worship
  • Poetry as ecstatic practice

This is a living list. I could probably go on for several more hours with just bullet points in a brainstorm format (this was a single hour of brainstorming, give or take thirty minutes).

I can see — now that I’ve started listing out subjects that should be covered — why I was sitting in front of the screen and thinking that if I wanted to get down to refining my thoughts on spirituality that I suddenly felt overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of such an endeavor. I started thinking — okay, where do I start? Goodness. It gets crazy in this head of mine and sometimes it is easier to deal with each situation as it comes around, rather than do something sensible and codify it a bit so I’m slightly more consistent in how I talk about such things (not that I get to talk about such things much these days, having lost my contacts with the “community” and not having in-person people in my life that would be interested in such matters).

And I didn’t even get into the whole concept of deity.

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