I don't really know why I'm posting in my journal tonight. I was going to talk about the mess surrounding my current church, but instead, with Blackmore's Night's "Under a Violet Moon"* playing in my ear, I'm going to talk about what I believe. (These are my opinions, and while I welcome debate, I will not let anyone just tell me I'm wrong. This is how I've come to understand the world through my experiences, which aren't -- can't be -- the same as yours.)
First, I believe that all that exists in the universe has to have been created by some kind of being. The thought that this is random vexes me, when even the atheists would be hard-pressed to give an explanation of what was here before. Look at anything around you, and it was created, and includes a time that was before it existed. What, then, existed before the Big Bang? The Abrahamic religions claim that there was nothing but God/Yahweh/Allah, and that he is infinite. The Norse claimed that there was Fire and Ice. Everything we see has a cycle, be it life/death or creation/destruction. This seems to be a fundamental aspect of life in this universe, since the very things that give rise to a life, or that yielded the elements that formed the object, inevitably bring about the life's end of the object's destruction. Yet, I've never heard anyone refer to the universe in this manner.
Secondly, and I suppose I touched on this in the first point, I believe that everything has a cycle. From a sapling grows a tree, from which comes a seed, which creates another sapling. Meanwhile, things such as disease, animals, weather, and man will cause the first tree to eventually die. I was born in 1976, by human reckoning, and eventually I will die. I may or may not sire a child that is directly of my blood, but my life will live on in those whose lives I touched. My friends' children will remember their "Uncle Anthony", and the lessons I provided, directly or not.
(I find it interesting how each point seems to lead into the next.) Also, I am not afraid to die. When it occurs, I may not be thrilled about it, but I will not be begging to have "just a few more years" or some other such nonsense. I was born into this life, and it is absolutely certain that I will die. I know that this may sound horribly nihilistic, but see my point about cycles. Whether I cease to exist as "Anthony" is moot. I will have left this existence, and moved on to whatever is next. People who are very important to me die: my grandparents, my first girlfriend, Pop Dunn (who affects me even now -- I get an itch in the corner of my eyes when i see his name), and Trudy. Yet I do understand that, deep down, each and every one of them lives on in my memories, in my actions, in how I perceive this world. Each had a lesson to impart to me, no matter how small or how little I remember it, that has shaped me into the person that I am. My only fear regarding death is that I will not be missed.
(Okay, so the path from one point to the other just fizzled. :-p) I believe that this world cannot exist without both light and dark. Some like to call it "good and evil," but I prefer "light and dark," or perhaps even "creation and entropy." Now, understand that I vastly prefer the light, but I recognize the value of the dark. Without night, you cannot say how bright the day is. Without someone like Hitler, you cannot properly appreciate what Gandhi did. I can apply this to even some of the most mundane things: without bills, you cannot appreciate how much of a relief it is to have money. (Okay, I'll concede that one is stretching it a bit.) As a tree grows and spreads its branches out to shelter the creatures that live beneath it, it also starves other photosensitive beings that live below it. There is a light side and dark side to everything.
I do not believe in the Christian views of Heaven and Hell. Frankly, it might be more accurate that I have trouble believing in any afterlife in which it functions as strictly the final destination. I love the Norse gods, yet I do not know that I can believe that when I die, my soul will go to my patron deity's house, where I will reside until Ragnarok.**
I believe in magic (not the card game, but real magic***). Not the hocus pocus in the Harry Potter films, or the powerful Istari from Lord of the Rings, but I believe that we can effect change in our world through force of will. Willpower matters more than many people are willing to acknowledge. Beyond that, we can find magic all around us. We have but to look. That sunset or sunrise that took your breath away? Magic. A new life being born? Magic. The intricacy with which a spider spins its web? Magic. I find magic in a particularly beautiful piece of art, or in a song that brings tears to my eyes or fills me with such energy I have to bounce around.
To this end, I believe in the Fae. I don't see why, just because I haven't personally seen anything that I identify as being a fairy, that I have to believe they don't exist. Maybe it's the Celtic heritage in me, but I absolutely love stories of fairies. Do I believe that the story of the cobbler and the elves is historical fact? No. However, I believe that they're around us, living and breathing, and are as real as you or I. By necessity, I believe in the dark fae, too. I wouldn't want to run into a real troll or hag, but they're there, just out of sight. I also believe in ghosts and spirits, too, but they creep me out, to be perfectly honest. :)
I also believe that I have not even begun to scratch the surface of my power. What that power entails, I do not know, but I will know it when I find it. I cannot even say that it's a magic that I wield. It could just be finding my life's purpose.
To sum this up:
- I believe that someone/thing created the universe.
- Everything has a cycle, including the universe, and especially the life on this planet.
- I do not fear death, only being forgotten.
- I believe that a balance between light and dark is essential for the world to exist. Good and evil are facets of the light and the dark, but I favor the light far more than the dark.
- I do not believe in an afterlife in which I exist there as I did here. After all, like I said, cycles. :)
- I believe in magic. Without it, life has absolutely nothing worthwhile for me.
- I believe in fairies, ghosts, and spirits, including the dark ones, which give me quite a fright.
- I have not yet unlocked my true power.
So there you have it. This is part one of what I believe. I had more, but it meandered a bit, so I edited that part out for another post, to be done another time. I hope that you appreciate and respect my views for what they are: my
views. Some of the preceding only occurred to me as I wrote this. Others were things I've known since I was very young.
I love all of my friends. I am fundamentally no different now than I was 1, 5, 10, or even 20 years ago, aside from my life experiences making me view things differently. I still value what I value, love what I love, and do what I do. Can anyone really ask me to do anything else? Do you think I should let them?
* -- This song strikes a chord in me that few other songs can. It was also one of the songs that I had on heavy rotation when I first discovered that my spiritual path was not going to follow Christianity...back in 2002. (Yes, I've had a feeling for just that long.)
** -- NOTE: I did not say that I necessarily disbelieve in Ragnarok or the Norse afterlife, only in the concept that I get there and stop and wait.
*** -- I refuse to use the "k" at the end. I know what I'm talking about, and if you don't, it's your responsibility to ask me.