This morning I gradually woke up thinking about something I dreamt- only it wasn’t quite a dream- it was some kind of hazy philosophizing. It was like I was contemplating deity in my sleep, and the general feeling I had from it was one of pessimism. In my semi-dream state, my thoughts or dream-voices were arguing the case for atheism.
Throughout my adult life, my beliefs about deity have flitted around a bit. In my late teens, I whole-heartedly believed in the Wiccan duality of God and Goddess. I believed there were actual spirit beings, residing in Nature or in the cosmos, who were the Lord and Lady.
Later, in my twenties, my beliefs turned more toward agnostic bordering on atheist. I was really into Jungian theology; archetypes, the collective consciousness, and all that. The problem I began to see with this scenario was that if Jungian theology is one’s only philosophy, it eventually leaves a shallow feeling in the stomach- for it seems to rest upon the basic premise there is no spirit universe outside the mind of humanity.
Then I read Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earthby Dr. James Lovelock. The Gaia Hypothesis– the idea that the Earth may be a living organism- really blew me away! (I still believed in psychological archetypes, but I added pantheism to the mix, and my agnostic/atheist beliefs kind of just faded away for a while.) My ideas about deity began to take on solid form, quite literally. I no longer thought of them as beliefs, but as knowledge, understanding, experiencing.
Then another thing happened- a guest minister came to speak at the UU church I attend and her sermon was based on the book The Living Energy Universeby Gary Schwartz, and Linda Russek. The Universal Living Memory theory proposes that everything is alive, eternal, and evolving, and that all dynamic systems have memory. I thought this was nothing short of amazing. It gave me reason to believe in life after death- the one part of my belief system that I was still agnostic about. It also enlivened my belief in magic. (Before I had only thought of magic in psychological terms- the power of belief and the shared subconscious, etc.) This book awakened new possibilities in my mind, in my imagination. Remember when you were a kid and you believed that all kinds of wild and silly things were possible? Realizing that they weren’t is like saying good-bye to something wonderful and magical. Well, reading about the Universal Living Memory theory was like getting some of this magic back. So many more things are possible than what we know.
Learning about Celtic Reconstructionism also opened up new ideas of spirituality for me. I began to explore the concept of ancestor worship, of deity being also ancestral, and the idea of honoring spirits (of place, of the land) as well as deity. Polytheism and animismworked their way into my belief system. It would not have been possible for me to believe this way before I read about Universal Living Memory theory and the Gaia hypothesis.
Now I think my dream or “dream state” was trying to get me to think about these things. I think it was a reminder to examine my beliefs. All this stuff is not at the forefront of my mind on a daily basis. I guess it’s just too much to think about, and it may sound crazy, but I think my mind may go into disbelief mode now and then in order to function for day to day stuff. So what I need is to remind myself from time to time why I believe the things I believe, and think about how they all fit together, and how my life should reflect those beliefs.