Reviewing my files, I found this item - unpublished, I think. If I'm wrong and you find it on here somewhere, tell me and you get a no-prize.
Here in our modern esotericism we are seldom very far from the whole issue of whether and how humans have the divine power to create our own world and shape our own fate. This is a topic that has been present in Neopagan discussion for as long as I remember. I see it as one of the recurring intrusions from ‘New Age’ thinking into traditional western magical and polytheistic religious ways. In general I view it as pernicious.
In the early 80s it was common to hear newer Pagan teachers suggest that we all choose and shape our own incarnations, and that some ‘higher self’ chooses our life-path for us, usually with the excuse of ‘teaching us lessons’. ‘Rebirthing’ was one New Age system that spread the notion widely, along with the Course In Miracles. The discussion and dissent around it happened largely inside the feminist community, where the issue of rape, victimhood and the responsibility of the parties involved pulled New Age thought up short against perceived reality.
Shall our spiritual path teach us that we choose suffering, and must only forgive our tormentors, because they only serve our greater good?
Sit down, Dr. Pangloss…
Years ago I rejected the idea that some divine source within human beings creates our own universe and controls our own destiny. I always try to reject doctrinal teachings in favor of direct description of reality, and I simply don’t see any way to reconcile my observation of either my own life or those of my fellows with the idea that we’re all making the life we… need… deserve… whatever. The paragraphs of special pleading required to imagine a mechanism by which the events of various tragedies can be reconciled with the New Age model just can’t stand up to “Shit happens, and nobody is in charge.”
My philosophical path in this is made easier by my polytheism. I hold to the theorem that there is no supreme person of divinity, no single will that guides the cosmos. I don’t think that absolute omnipotence or omniscience exist in any personal being, or *can* exist in any personal being; neither in macrocosmos, nor in microcosmos. Thus I have no reason to expect the divine portion of myself to be able to perfectly guide my evolution through the shaping of events.
I do think there is a portion of myself (and everyone’s) that participates in the same power and awareness as a god. I think that the quest of mysticism is to bring the conscious personal self into proper relationship, even identity, with that personal divine self. I don’t think the result of that work will be complete control of apparent reality, or the freedom to act without consequences. I don’t think the gods have those things now.
So we’re all just stepping on through the Great Dance, hoping not to trip or stumble. It’s good to be a god, if that is one’s fate, but it doesn’t guarantee an end of trouble or strife. I think that’s why the Buddhist impulse arose – can’t we just go somewhere quiet?
None of that for me… I like the nightlife, baby.
So, I’m all for abandoning the teaching that individuals choose our births and our fates. Nature just doesn’t seem to be that way, and imagining that it is seems puzzling, and more likely to allow various smugness and guilt; that just doesn’t seem wise. We all dance along. Those with a plan try to work their plan. Some of those may be Gods, and some big plans may be happening; if the mortal actors play along. Things bump into each other, conflict brings strife and pain. Strife and pain aren’t *for* anything, they’re symptoms *of* something. They teach the wise.
Inside all that we are tiny beings with a spark of the power of a god in us. Discovering that power certainly produces euphoria, and so it should. However there’s always training to do, to stay as wise as we are strong, etc. There’s no harm in reveling in one’s divinitude, as long as it isn’t taken too seriously… it’s only god… It won’t plow the field unless you can get the oxen to work.