The question is what do you believe? About the purpose of life, about the nature of the gods, about your relationship to them, about what it means to be a Witch....just for a start.
(This question was asked at a panel discussion in which I was a participant, in 2003. I have been re-copying some old BOS and other materials, and ran into this again. I remind myself to look at things like this periodically, so here is a recounting of my responses at the time. I am not sure, now, that I would change any of it.)
OK….several things all at once, not all of them mutually intelligible or coherent. So I will start this out as a brainstorming, and hope it coalesces into prose somewhere along the way…..
I believe that each individual consciousness is unique, irreplaceable, never to be repeated, and that each life in the Universe, both life that is self-aware and life that is not, exists to fulfill a specific and unique purpose. The purpose of Lives is not interchangeable one with another. No one’s Life, or the deeds of their conscious human life, or the result of their non-self-aware biological or non-biological existence, can ever stand in for, or substitute for, or replace, the purpose or resonance or meaning of any other Life.
I believe that it is the purpose of successive human lives to find out the ultimate purpose of the Being’s Life, and to perform or become that thing. I believe that the Lives we are given, no matter how many times a single consciousness inhabits successive human bodies, are way-stations offering learning and growth opportunities to the Consciousness so that It may grow ever closer to the purpose for which It exists.
I believe that the Being can apprehend its Purpose while incarnate, and that once it discovers the Purpose for which it exists, the remainder of Life is ideally focussed on attaining that Purpose. I believe that the Purpose of any Incarnate Being has a focus that is both Personal (for the Self) Interpersonal (for other people), Intrapersonal (for the Entire Race of Living Beings) and Impersonal (for the Universe)
I believe that a Being which has achieved the Purpose of all its lives ceases to incarnate, and becomes a part of the Body of the Universe (of which the Body of Gaia, the Earth Biosphere, is one component, but only one) and is thus available as a resource to other Beings attempting to realize their own Ultimate Purpose. I believe that the things we call The Gods are Beings who have achieved their Ultimate Purpose and have become discarnate consciousnesses who are accessible to humans and other forms of Life as resources in our own journey to our Ultimate Purpose. I also believe that beings such as the Sidhe, Devae, Elves and Gnomes and the like, Dragonkin, and other non-earth based life forms such as “aliens” are similar Beings to what we call the Gods, except that their own Journey to Purpose was not taken in a body that resided on the Earth I now inhabit, but that originated in some other Realm of Living Beings.
I believe that the Gaian Consciousness, the Essential Realm of Earth and Stars, NEEDS the Life upon it, each being thereof, whether human or not, to realize Its Own ultimate purpose, and that for every Being who does not succeed in that Quest, the Being of Gaia is diminished. I also, however, believe that it is impossible NOT to finally succeed in that Quest if one is willing to learn, grow, evolve, and get one’s Ego out of the way. For some people, it does take many lifetimes. And some people opt out of the journey of their own Will, being unwilling to participate in a life-affirming existence, and being killers of the life force by deeds of hatred, waste, destruction, violence, and other life-denying behaviors. Such Beings do not contribute their own Essence to the ultimate well-being of the Gaian Mind, and the sum of existence is forever diminished by the loss of their potential.
I believe the Soul is the Life Force, and that the Human Soul is capable of far transcending the boundaries of living in a flesh casket. However, I do believe that the physical realm of life, including food and sex and color and laughter and music and sharing and reproduction and creation and all the rest of it, is Holy, and that some people’s Ultimate Purpose is to contribute to the knowledge of the World in these realms.
I believe the Soul has personality and consciousness, and that Spirit has consciousness, but not personality. I believe the Soul remembers lifetimes other than the current one, since the Ultimate Purpose of any living being might take more learning than can be compassed in a single lifetime. I believe that a Soul that has fully realized its ultimate purpose joins with Spirit, and has consciousness of ALL other Beings on the planet or in the Realm it inhabits, not only the racial and individual and familial memories of its current or prior consciousness.
A Witch is a Being who is fully conscious that it has a journey to Ultimate Purpose to complete, and who makes use of the tools of the Will and the Intuition and the Unseen Realm to work on perfecting itself. Indeed, it might be enough to say that I believe a Witch to be a Being who is Fully Conscious. This is the reason I believe a Witch is both Born and Made, because I believe there are many unevolved souls who come to Incarnation at the very beginning of their Journey to Purpose, and such Beings cannot possess the accumulation of the Knowledge of Lifetimes that will make them Witches, even if in this life they read and study and know about the Arte.
Knowing about the Arte is not Knowing the Arte, and it takes many lifetimes to arrive at that point.
I believe that is all I wish to say on this topic at this time, since some of my ideas are still evolving or resolving themselves. I am going to promise myself and you the luxury of revisiting this essay in the future and make what changes seem good to me then.