2/31 Foundations: Cosmology

From Ree na Réaltaí‘s 30 days of Paganism/Polytheism.

Foundations: Cosmology – How you see the universe and its make-up.

Uh oh, time for the equivocation!

I believe in the evidence of my eyes, above all other things. I believe there are things yet to be desired from many of the sciences: a fuller understanding of social and cultural factors when they are relevant to experimental conclusions, and an examination of bias and blind spots in the disciplines, for two examples, but I have no bone to pick with almost any “secular” exploration of the world. The sciences are not “missing out” on examining the spiritual or searching for it through an experimental frame of reference. I believe the skeptical-experimental frame of reference – because personal experience cannot be proven or disproven – has very little to say to or about the content of religion.

I believe there are gods and spirits: of the dead, of places and things. I believe they exist in and alongside all parts of this world. I believe they emerge are understood through the dialectical relationship of humans and their environment, and all language used to describe them and interaction with them is at best metaphor and approximation.

Does that definition leave room for a variety of ultimate realities, including one in which the independent existence of deities could be proven experimentally AND one in which they exist outside the individual only as part of the collective unconscious? Yes!

The need of some spiritual people, once they have found a “whyfore” to reality that satisfies them, to not only agitate for that explanation to be adopted universally, but also bend facts and practice pseudoscience to “prove” that their explanation is “true” bothers me. I dispute the utility of that type of truth value – ‘this thing is true because it is proven by experiment’ – even if their science was sound, for many types of truth. The reality of my personal experience is unassailable, for me, but not universal, or provable in that way. To prefer proof by experiment accidentally admits that that person is not confident in the reality of their own experience. (a phenomenon, alas, not confined to experiential religion.)

I am open to my understanding evolving, but to me, Midgard and Malkuth are one and the same: the realm of ordinary experience. The place where I am and where I will live my entire life. Overlaid with this world are all the others.

Similarly I believe in mythic time. The god tales of my or any other faith happen cyclically or simultaneously: Thor is born of Jord. Odin and Loki meet. Baldr walks the Hel-road. Ymir is dismembered to make the worlds. The fires of Ragnarok consume. Fenris-ulfr is fostered to Tyr. They “make sense” narratively when told from “beginning” to “end” but beyond that they connect in a web of religious mystery – I accept backwards causality, as well as the truth of multiple versions of the same “story”.

I believe that my set of god tales are 100% compatible with the existence and equal reality of any other set of god-tales. Yahweh separated the light from the darkness. Set contends with his brother Wesir. Oya becomes the favorite wife of Shango. Aphrodite is born of the castrated organ of Uranus as it falls into the sea. They do not describe material reality, but encode relationships that elucidate meaning. Myths create the world as they describe it, because the world is understood through them.

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