I.P.V.B.M.: Fluff, Balance, and Perception
My second installment in a series of posts for International Pagan Values Blogging Month.
As a Kemetic polytheist, I have many reasons why I will not choose to join a temple or related group. Petty politicking, cults of personality, differences in Egyptological interpretation or approaches in practice. In addition, I am a being that walks always on the edge and the outskirts of things. It is part of my path. I find holiness in the taboo, in the borderlines. Like my Patron, I seek ever to be the Edgewalker, between worlds, bridging gaps, passing between boundaries, pushing limits, encouraging others to do the same.
At the same time, I can also be an opinionated person, with passions and a temper that could only be described as Setian in nature. Trying to balance this is a constant feat of self-control, a balance in it’s own right. To find balance between striking down the falsehoods, and respecting differences of opinion, is not always a clear-cut task for me.
Through the course of my travels I have encountered people who claim to interact with the same deities I claim. Sometimes I find this indeed a hard thing to wrap my mind around–their descriptions of them, and interactions thereof, seem to fly in the face of my understandings of them, and even mythological and archeological records of them. I begin to wonder if we are both speaking to the same deity. How does one draw the line between striking down falsehood, and promoting peace and unity, if such a thing can honestly be attained? For the most part, I’ve never engaged in some of the serious, but yet petty, arguments and discussions relating to paganism and polytheism on the internet. Part of this is my avoidance of group settings, another is that I am a private person, I am for the most part, as my name states “solo” in much of my habits and actions. A hermit, in every mythological sense of the word.
That won’t, however, stop me from witnessing certain arguments, or holding a strong disagreement against a certain thing. And you know, when I hear mention of occult-type gatherings where “cuddle piles” are occurring, or some perky and bubbly Kemetic proclaiming “Squee! Seth is my daddy, I’m so much like him, and he loves me soooo much!” it’s going to be very hard to relate to them, or to take them very seriously. This goes beyond the simple fact that I am a very hands-off person when it comes to physical contact or affection, and am not one prone to bubbly, fannish behavior. Then again, I never was one to treat my spirituality as a fandom, but as a way of being, incorporated in all areas of my life.
That would be where I’d define “fluffy”. On the other hand, there are many areas occultists and other pagans would think me a bit fluffy: I identify as an otherkin/therianthrope, I believe in reincarnation, just to name a couple examples. To use the term to strike down a belief structure is, I feel, limiting and closeminded. On the other hand, one should not be so openminded that their head falls completely out of their skull, that commonsense is chucked out the window. No one questions, no one encourages further learning. People take what they are given by self-proclaimed gurus handing them out on silver spoons, or try to warp the deity to fit their own paradigms, until it reaches a point to where they no longer resemble the deity of myth, or the deity of my understanding.
This kind of reminds me of earlier discussions on UPG. My view on this is that it very much has a place in one’s spiritual practice–to strike down UPG as “fluffy” is to deny the creative and individual experience of the sacred. If one adheres slavishly only to what is written in mythology and archeology texts, it grows stale, soulless. Spirituality is an organic experience, and even back in the old days, it grew and evolved and transmuted itself, even on the individual level. Again, as a borderline person, I strongly recommend a balance be struck: the UPG and the VPG (Verified Personal Gnosis), or the CPG (Confirmed Personal Gnosis). Walking this middle line isn’t being wishy-washy, to me it’s only personal balance.
I don’t think that the uneducated, the willfully ignorant, or the otherwise “fluffy” should be suffered. But one has to wonder what is there to be gained by needlessly waging war with such people. While one is out “fluffy buny hunting” as I’ve heard the term used, couldn’t that time be spent in other areas, maybe educating yourself, or otherwise developing important metaphysical skills, occult knowledge, spiritual union with the divine? How much of it are you spending in actually learning? Although I’m not what one would call a pacifist, I’ve lately taken the approach of combating the cotton candy through example, through writings, through research. I can’t be bothered to engage in long debate, or to constantly correct people, no matter how much I think they’re right and they wrong, or what the books tell me otherwise. It’s not to say that I won’t do it, but what I suppose I’m trying to say is that I’m beginning to pick my battles more and more, especially since there are things in my life that carry greater weight than what some person who I feel is a fool is spouting off about on the internet.
On top of all that, maybe I just don’t know enough about a person, especially on the internet, to tell if they’re going through a moment in their life–did they involve themselves with the wrong person or group of people disseminating the wrong information, are they just starting out, or other factors? I had experiences walking out of an abusive, cult-like situation. I also had my early start like everyone else, and said and did some dumbfuck things in the past. I still do. Shit happens.
My point, I guess to boil it all down is: are people willing to learn from their mistakes, or not? I’m not anyone’s daddy, I’m not going to wipe anyone’s asses. I’m still going to write, and share my experiences, or those I am able to share. The rest is up to whatever persons in question, or whatever gods or spirits out there watching over them.