Saturday, July 31, 2010
On My Version of Pantheism
When I was seventeen, I found myself on a mountain overlooking Grenoble, France. I was touring Europe with a youth symphony, and my host family took me hiking up the mountain. I remember looking down from our resting point at a little glacial lake and thinking, "This is nature. This is all there is, and all there needs to be, and it is phenomenal." I took a picture, but it in no way captures the magnificent and immense scale of the scene. I really started to find myself from that perch in the French Alps.
I was raised by a Methodist on the edge of a national forest. We went to church mostly on holidays and if it was socially convenient. I think she went every Sunday until my father died when I was four, and then her perspective changed. I spent most of my time outside in the forest, and I think that is how I ended up dabbling in paganism for a couple of years. I loved the nature aspect of Wicca, but I never actually believed in gods and goddesses. In college, I had an epiphany on an overnight canoe trip. I was watching the stars overhead and realized that this, nature, was all their was, but that was more than enough. My respect for science deepened further, and I was inspired to write my first book, The Crystal Lattice. I was always a huge science and nature aficionado, and was working toward my engineering degree. After my epiphany, I started calling myself "agnostic pagan', and I refined that term to "pantheist" after I learned the terminology.
Nature calms me in a way nothing else does. After my friend died, I sat outside all night watching the Aurora Borealis. After both the Columbia disaster and September 11, I went out into the woods and wrote poetry for hours. When things got tough in college, I would spend a night camping in the forest with my schoolwork. I reclaim my oneness with nature and visit it with reverence and respect. Every particle and physical interaction in the universe is part of it. I am one little piece, but that just makes me part of the whole. Its energy is mine, my individuality is part of its collective soul. Every rock, every star, every animal is part of the whole and what happens to one happens to all. My philosophy renders me a tree-hugging vegan, but that is perfectly fine withe me. I love the Wiccan sentiment of "An' it harm none, do as you will." I let others live their lives as they wish as long as they are not hurting anyone else. I just wish other people would do the same.
I have run out of time for now. My little piece of love in the universe is now awake and ready to start his evening.