Thursday, June 21, 2007


This is not about Marcus Aurelius, but about some things that have
been happening to me in the last few months, thoughts, musings, and
occurrences that have, I think, lead me to some conclusions about my
place in this religion and how it affects me, and, more importantly,
how I might affect others around me.

I am becoming a Christian!

OK, that was a joke, but in all seriousness, I have been reading up
on some of the ideas and subject matter that have been pondered by
Hindus and Buddhists through the centuries because I feel that, as
living pagan cultures and religions, they can offer me insight. Not
into the Gods, as I believe that insight into the Gods must be
pursued through the context of the religion they are embodied in, but
into the methods by which we as human beings can commune with the Gods.

I have come to the conclusion that the praxis of the Greeks was only
at the beginning of its development into more intimate methods.
Methods such as meditation, which we know many ascetics in Greece did
apparently practice, and internalized prayer and introspection can, I
think, prove to be the way in which we move beyond this almost
childlike exploration that most of us have been indulging in, and
into true communion.

Pondering such ideas, things began to come to me, and in one
particular story I read from a Buddhist work, I saw that, perhaps, I
was on the right track.

As the story goes, a man who sought enlightenment was confronted by a
goddess who taught him many things, and then she guided him to
another goddess, who also taught him many things, and so forth.

This story came into contact with some forming, and inspired, ideas
in my own head and I was soon presented, in my own mind, with an
image I have discussed before, the contiguous 12 point star. But this
time, something else became clear, the image of a home, and the
varying levels at which "home" interacts with us, from the protection
of the walls from the elements, to the sense of internal safety we
feel when we feel at ease in our own homes.

What does this mean? WTF is this image supposed to teach me?

That's when I finally saw it. The story is true of all of us. We all
seek some kind of "enlightenment", and while we do not seek the same
things that the Buddhists do, we all seek it none the less, and here
I was, sitting in front of her altar, thinking on things and images
that seemed incongruous to me, and she was knocking on my head,
perhaps with a hammer, trying to get me to see. She is the first guide.

Hestia, the fire of the hearth, the protector, the inner safety, is
the first guide, the one who points out to us that encircling
yourself with "home" and the safety of "home" is an error, and,
perhaps, as a way of telling me that I have to break free from my own
inner safety and explore what she is trying to tell me before I move
on to another deity who will lead me further and further away from

But the star in the home also has that peculiar fire burning at its
center, and if I follow the lines of the star I will always be lead
far from the fire by each of the Gods only to once again be lead back
into proximity with it as I move along the lines toward the next
teacher, and, that I will eventually end up where I started.

That scares me a little bit, because in a way, I have always though
of spiritual exploration as something that is supposed to lead me
away from the demons that haunt me, yet here she is telling me that
no matter what I do, what I learn, I must return to where I began, to
confront those demons, perhaps...

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