I developed my beliefs sitting under a tree, by a small pond near my home. It took about two years of me telling people about this revelation I had, before someone responded with, “oh, you’re pagan.” Which was both a bummer and a blessing – a bummer that I hadn’t discovered this Truth, but a blessing that other people already knew about this amazing and enlightening fact of life. I have been calling myself a Pagan for quite a while now, but I have seen that the term is just too broad, especially when looking for like minded people. This is an attempt at defining my beliefs and practices, which I call Centergistic Celtic Shaman Druid with Native American tendencies. The tenets, or core ideas, are the Source of All Things, an interconnected existence, reincarnation, magick and the wheel of the year.
pa·gan·ism /ˈpāɡəˌnizəm / noun
- a religion other than one of the main world religions, specifically a non-Christian or pre-Christian religion.
2. a modern religious movement incorporating beliefs or practices from outside the main world religions, especially nature worship. “modern paganism includes a respect for mother earth” ( See Dictionary.com’s Essay on Pagan-vs-Wiccan )
The first definition of Paganism is most accurate – anything but a Judaeo Christian faith. What I think of is the second – an earth based faith that includes a reverence for nature. I expect another Pagan to have some basically similar core beliefs – Nature is important, animals are sentient, etc. However, this is often not the case. My faith is diametrically opposed to the modern conservative trumpery, but many who call themselves pagan are conservative. So, many are very much not like minded. This has caused many social groups to collapse, as the expectation of like-mindedness has been found to be untrue, creating a sense of betrayal and loss.
What I call my beliefs has many parts. Centergistic is something I came up with to notate the idea of “There is One Source of all things and All Things are the source.” The Celtic part is to denote that while my heritage is diverse, the lineage of Scottish and Irish is the part that calls to my soul the most. The Shaman part is telling that I feel the call to be a healer by traveling into the spirit world to bring back solutions and fixes. Druid denotes, to me, a dedication to “Truth and Knowledge, Always,” as well as fairness and service to the community. And, finally, the Native American tendencies pays homage to my Choctaw heritage and similar (from what I understand) beliefs about nature and our place in it, as well as spirits of the land.
So, why One Source of All Things? Just look around you at the patterns that are repeated. From the smallest we have been able to see so far – the atom, with it’s nucleus, protons and electrons and the ’empty’ space within such a small thing, to the cells of our bodies, to our solar system and beyond – all repeating the same pattern of circles and cycles. As above, so below – not as a reference to heaven and hell, but to atoms and the universe, small to immense. Atoms make up everything, cells make up our bodies, our bodies make up our families, our societies, and we are just another part of nature. We are a part of the gods, and those gods are part of even bigger beings, and so on. So, the Source is all things, and there is nothing that is not a part of the Source.
Just like the cells in our bodies, we are also just as interconnected to each other, and our surroundings – the plants and animals around us, the world we live on. We breathe in what the trees exhale, and exhale what the trees inhale. Even our own bodies are made up of things other than ourselves. It has been discovered that Trees in a forest communicate using a mycelium network – and just like those communities, we too can develop such connections, not just with each other, or trees, but with everything. We are all – every thing, from the tiniest microbe to the biggest trees – connected to each other, whether we realize it or not. Whether we utilize this connection, acknowledge or ignore it, it is still present.
This interconnection is based on the fact that energy is everywhere. I believe that our consciousness is fueled by this energy, embodied in what many call the Soul. A Soul, based on the law of energy, which can not be destroyed, is eternal. So, the idea of one trip through this life and an eternity of otherness seems odd. I believe that we existed before being born here. That we chose to incarnate and have this experience. Once this life is done, I think we’ll want to rest, recoup and then, eventually, return. Here or into some other physical existence somewhere else in this vast universe – another planet, even. Incarnation, I feel, is not limited to Human, but can be anything that exists. Why not incarnate as a Tree? Bird? Predator? Prey? Kraken? The possibilities are endless. But the fact that I may choose to come back here, after I have left, is a very good reason to try to make this place better than I found it – so that my next visit will be better than this one – no matter how I choose to experience it next go around.
Magick, with a k to differentiate from stage illusion, is a way of utilizing this connection between all things – to make things work better. Its not anything like fantasy magic – no casting Fireball or Chain Lightening here. For me, it is more about making subtle changes and favorable outcomes by utilizing the interconnection of all things through ritual, words, intent, motion – prayer. No matter how you go about it, praying to a god, invoking with a ritual, sheer force of will and intent, we influence our surroundings and call it magick.
Through all this, the pattern we call the Wheel of the Year is present and applicable. Whether it is the Seasons, a life or the course of nature, the cycle of the wheel shows us how things progress. Winter is the dark season, a time of reflection, death, incubation and preparation. Spring is the season of birth, a time of growth and energy. Summer is the season of maturity, implementation, the work of life. Fall is the season of the harvest, of completion, death and rest. The Celtic (pronounced Keltic, not sell-tick) new year is Samhain – the end of the harvest and beginning of Winter, as all things begin in the darkness, like a life beginning in the womb, so too does the cycle of the year. We celebrate the Quarters mentioned before, as well as the Cross Quarters (Sabbats and Esbbats) as our holidays – starting with Yule in the middle (Solstice) of Winter (December 20-23), Imbolc (February 1st), Ostara – Spring Equinox (March 19-22), Beltane (May 1st), Litha – the Summer Solstice (June 19-23), Lughnasadh (August 1st), Mabon – Autumn Equinox (September 21-24) and, in October, Samhain (October 31st/November 1st).
E Pluribus Unum – from many, there is but one – we are all interconnected and interdependent, we reincarnate, there is magick afoot and it all follows the same cycles, from the smallest particle to infinity. These ideals will, must, lead to a spiritual approach to life, everyone, every animal, every thing in Nature, our planet. I don’t believe that one can separate spirituality from politics. So, when seeking a like-minded group, ones who share the basic tenets outlined here, or at least very close to them, the term Pagan is just too broad.
I am a Centergistic Celtic Shaman Druid with Native American tendencies.
After posting this and the video, I started this book, which ties in greatly : The Wild Wood by Charles DeLint