Recently in coven there was a thread where we all shared our paths, traditions, religions and beliefs so I thought it would be interested if we got a chance to do the same in genreal on a in depth level. It helps if you have a firm foundation of your beliefs and practices, rather than having co clue what to believe or for some who just believe something right after they read or hear about it so here goes my path and spiritual journey and it's development.
I have been studying a wide breadth of occult and pagan subjects for around sixteen years now, since I was eight. Although I am still quite young I have never let my age overcome my passion and spirit for my journey, my study, and my practice. Many would say I am too young to be wise or to be credible, but I believe that experience and study is subjective as each person follows their own path along the crossroads. Each person studies what they wish, they choose to believe what they want, and practice that which they desire. So therefore to each person their knowledge, wisdom, and experience will be unique to their path and their path alone. Words alone do not speak for the veracity of one's experience or their ability.
I was originally brought up learning Druidism, Wicca, and Gypsy magic. One of my aunt's who passed years ago first started teaching me Gypsy magic and lore when I was eight. From there I branched out into Wicca, no specific tradition, but in a general sense I learned of the Goddess (Lady) and the God (Lord), the Wiccan rede as ye harm none do what ye will, the threefold law, and other various beliefs focusing on positive earth and deity centered practices especially candle magic and spell casting.
From Wicca I started to learn a great deal on herbalism and alternative healing practices such as Reiki which is one of my more centralized areas of study and practice today. From there I started learning about druidism as I am of mostly Irish and Danish descent along with Native American and some other Eurasian backgrounds. At the age of thirteen I started studying Shamanism, and since then that has been of of the most influential and main focuses of my core spiritual beliefs and practice. I have studied much more, on various pagan paths and traditions, and Witchcraft although not really a tradition rather more of a practice. I have also studied some African and Afro-American folk religion such as Voudon, Hoodoo, Yoruba even branching out into Haitian Voudon and American southern Voodoo. In addition I have studied Eastern religions and paths primarily Buddhism and Taoism.
My current path today is one of my own design, and although I am the only follower of my specific path that I know of I have named my path and its beliefs and practices as Azrielism after one of my sacred spiritual names Azriel (not to be confused withe the Judo-Christian angel of death Azrael). Azriel was one of my ancestors from Ireland. He was an Oracle, a Druid Arch-priest, and a Shaman. My core beliefs are centered around primarily Shamanism, Druidism, Witchcraft, Wicca, and Buddhism. If I had to label myself other than just a Shaman Priest, I would say that I am a shaman, priest, druid, witch, herbalist, healer, and oracle.
My concept of deity is simple I believe in the supreme being that transcends all others which I call the creator who is neither male nor female, although sometimes I will refer to the creator as mother creator or father creator depending on circumstance. I also believe in lesser god/goddess like beings that are sons and daughters of the creator, that I see more as higher spiritual beings, who I worship and pray to depending on their aspects and my needs or circumstances. They are sort of laypersons to the highest form of divinity. This belief of mine sort of resembles voodoo in a way in which people work and interact with the Lwa being that their monotheistic deity Bondye is virtually unreachable and inaccessible and is believed that he turned his face from the eyes of the world. Although the difference being that in my path and faith the creator is not only accusable and reachable but the creator is within every living being meaning that we are a part of the creator and the creator is a part of us.
I believe that magic has no color nor an inherent will or intent, meaning when people refer to black magic and white magic, I rather see it as the intent of the caster or practitioner, as magic is neither good or bad, however the act of magic or practice being performed could be considered either dark or light, white or black, and so on. When people speak of white witches and black witches, good and evil and the like; I personally believe in dualism. Dualism to me is the sense that one should be well acquainted in all areas and practices of magic to be a well rounded and thorough practitioner. Truthfully I believe that one cannot exist without the other, you cannot have either just bad or just good, but instead you must know each of them to know and understand each other. One cannot heal unless he or she understands pain and damage, and one cannot inflict pain or damage unless they know how to heal. Essentially meaning one should know how to heal and defend, but likewise one should also know how to hurt and maim, especially to understand it better, and be more aware and alert. Just because one may identify with a path or side of good or light, or, bad, evil, or dark does not mean one shouldn't know the ways of the other; the difference is you adhere to your beliefs and know how, when, and where it is appropriate to work or practice certain magics and same said as far as crossing the boundaries that our moralities are defined by.
I do believe in the Wiccan rede, as ye harm none do what ye will, however for me it is not a law, moreover it is rather a personal aspiration and goal to achieve while on my journey through life. I am to do good and right, help people, heal and console. However that does not mean I am weak, and certainly not defenseless. While I would never kill for any reason, I will still defend myself and enact justice and punishment of those who do wrong to either myself or of my fellow kin, family, and people in general.
I also aspire to follow my own version of the Buddhist eight fold path adhering to the primary goals of the path. Many now of days refute the threefold law and karma, some saying the two are different and the same alike and so on; many people even go as far as to say that Karma was/is just an invented or fashioned law or dictation to control the masses, to keep people from doing wrong, they also say it's just an excuse etc. However I personally believe that the energy, emotion, and action you send out into the universe not only on a physical level but as well as a spiritual and even so a divine level, that which you send gains momentum and at sometime when the universe and the creator see's fit, will return to you. Not necessarily in the same manner, but more so in a metaphorical manner deserving of your actions and your spirit.
Nature is around us and it is our environment, and it is that which gives us life, and therefore I not only find nature to be sacred but life as well. I believe that we all have a time and purpose in the universe, no matter our beliefs, our actions, or our feelings; and to that end regardless of who we are as individuals or as people in general no one person or being is more important than the other but rather we all share a unique role. We live together, we work together, and we survive together and regardless of how impersonal it may seem at times we all need each other and not just humans, but animals, plants, and our environment (nature) work together in unison to ensure that the cosmic web spins it's ever so delicate web. We are all interdependent one one another no matter whether we like it or not.
Another important aspect of what I believe is that we are all connected both individually and as a whole. I believe in what I term as the collective consciousness or the living collective. The living collective is a united shared consciousness and spirit that we each share as a whole. In my path and belief it is my goal to align myself to the living collective, to share my knowledge and wisdom arcane and mundane. We are all brethren or family as we are all constructed from the same physical matter and to that end we should all be kind, loving, and compassionate to each other. To heal and help each other is essential and crucial in my path and belief.
Within my path there is no judgment among one another for who you are as a person or as a community or group. You are loved and liked equally no matter your physical appearance, your color, your race, your beliefs, who you love etc. because in the end we are all still just people. The only thing that matters is how you treat yourself and how you treat others, from there the aspiration is to enjoy life, making it everything you want it to be. My biggest law for myself and within my path is to strive not to cause harm. However in reality this is difficult to achieve as sometimes you must harm others to protect either yourself or another. But within my path I don't disapprove or disdain the necessary actions one must take depending on the circumstances, thats why I emphasize the "Strive to do no harm" aspect.
Another aspiration in Azrielism, my path and tradition, is that we each strive to attune ourselves with the balances of nature, magic, and the divine. To unite the powers and to act upon them: To Love- love yourself first and love others being compassionate and kind holding grace and humility, and to not pass judgment on others and be fair in all matters. To Be Peaceful- strive not to harm others, respect everyone around you reminding them that it is likewise expected in return and delegate truthfully acknowledging both your flaws and your strengths. To Be Wise- having knowledge is power but one must use wisdom to use that power responsibly and accordingly as it is the only way to make harmony with nature, destiny, and the creator.
Truthfully I can keep writing until either my hands wear out or until I get sleepy but I think that what I have said here puts a light to my path and tradition, call it a religion if you will although I just like to call it my spiritual journey.