“The Non-Theistic Pagan, Part 3” by Michele Briere

Continued from Part 2 …

So why are we alive and the table is not? I’m going to ignore the argument that everything vibrates at its own frequency. So does a vibrator, but that doesn’t mean I’m willing to grant equal rights.

Who is to say that one day science will find proof of when the primordial ooze was baked just right, that a spark didn’t switch on the On button. When you toss enough flour, sugar, warm water and yeast together, sooner or later something will rise from it.

We know that all living things have an energy field. This has been proven so often in science that I have heard very little to the contrary. Call it whatever you want; I prefer aura. Our energy has become so focused, billions of years getting it tuned just right through trial and error, that I believe –mind you, I said believe, of which can be changed when the evidence changes- this energy is capable of remaining together after the body has stopped functioning.

I have past life memories, of which I won’t argue with anyone about since they are MY memories, so I have no doubt that that ‘ball’ of energy is attracted by a new living body and attaches itself to a new home. This is a fairly new contemplation for me, which occurred after a woman I met told me how the heartbeats of her children changed at some point in her pregnancies. I think I needed to meet her just so I could hear her story. Very interesting lady. Currently, I’m thinking that maybe that was the point when this ‘ball’ of energy animated its new body. Life is defined by a beating heart and brain activity, sure, but what if there was ‘no one home’ in the new little brain? And what about that ‘white light’ that some people claim to have seen? When a baby is born it has enough neural connections to make memories, so maybe that white light is its first memory –the memory of being born.

I’ve seen two very bad car accidents over the years. The first one was a car that was right next to mine at the stoplight. A drunk driver rammed her truck into the back of his car and sent it flying out into the intersection. I pulled over, very carefully since his windshield landed on the roof of my car, and ran to the driver. He had been hit so hard that he had been knocked into the passenger seat while wearing his seatbelt. His chest was moving, this hicking breath sound, his eyes were open. I looked into his eyes, and there was no consciousness behind them. I got a call a few weeks later from a lawyer who wanted to record a statement over the phone. He later confirmed that the man died instantly in the crash.

The second one was a pedestrian who was hit right in front of me while I sat at the bus stop. The old man that hit him wasn’t going fast at all, not driving erratically. In fact, he was going fairly slow. Other cars were passing him. But the pedestrian was an idiot who was clearly on something, and walked out into the road without bothering to look at the cars. The truck clipped him just right, and he was thrown up onto the front of the truck, against the window, and slid to the ground. I ran out to him. When I touched him, checked his neck for a pulse, and his belly for movement, I felt nothing at all. Eyes were slits. Again, there was no consciousness behind them. The paramedics were there fast, since their House was just two blocks away. When they turned the man onto his back, he began breathing again.

Anyone who has ever looked into the eyes of a dead person understands ‘no one home’.

I absolutely believe in the soul, I think it’s that thing which gives us a consciousness. It is what makes us alive. But one doesn’t need deity in order to believe in a soul. One does not need the other. So far, still no evidence of deity.

Do I do ritual? No, not usually. I can write it, take it apart, understand its pieces, put it together, even do one off the top of my head. I’ve done them often in the past, and I can even teach them. I just don’t feel the need for it. I can speak with the gods wherever I am; I don’t need a special space or a dance for it. Speak to the gods? Sure, why not? For me, the gods are the face of nature. A name holds a specific meaning for me, and that is the ‘energy signature’ of that elemental. I resonate well with the older gods because they are the earliest forms of nature incarnate. They have a face, a name, a totem. Even their names translate into an elemental. Lord Air, Lady Mountain. I am a visual person, and having a face to picture in my head helps me to focus.

Ritual is a meditation just as much as walking through katas, tai chi, even yoga. Ever watch a swirling dervish? Hypnotic. People play an instrument in honor of their gods; they dance, sing, write poetry, even build a bon fire and break out the drums. I enjoy the language of mythology and ritual because it is poetry in my head. I understand where it comes from, so when I use it, I am speaking of those primordial energies that came together and clicked just right. It is the fire given to us by Prometheus. Why not call the spark of life by the name Prometheus? It invokes a much more interesting image than discussing amino acids making nice with each other.

A lot of polytheists don’t like to hear that this pagan (notice the lowercase P) is also an atheist. There is no contradiction. Being pagan is about a world view, not which gods one worships. I do my best to live with the earth and her creatures, I do my best to be a good neighbor. One doesn’t need deity to be a good person, nor do we need the man-made rules forced into the mouth of deities to be a good person. Good without god, as the current meme goes.

The reason I choose the term ‘pagan’ for myself goes back to the poetry I hear when I read the old myths, and the peaceful meditation that happens during a well-danced ritual. The language of those ancients sings to me. If the language of your chosen path doesn’t sing to you, I’d say you’re on the wrong path and to keep looking. I have been an animist for as long as I can remember, finding peace in trees and with animals, enjoying a good, strong thunderstorm, and talking with the dead in the ground. It’s about the poetry.

About the Author

51Io2siYKLL._UX250_Michele has always had a head filled with characters talking to each other, which made it only natural that she either ended up in a loony bin or put them down in writing. She blames it on Chris Carter and the writers of X-Files fan fiction for her leap into writing. Once she discovered fan fiction, it was a scream and jump off the cliff and into hangers. Lots of ‘slash’ here, (gay couples) but then it is fan fiction. –Warning: some adult content. This was only the start, though, a great place for a budging writer to practice.

With more and more original characters added to the fan fiction stories, this eventually led to fully original stories which are currently on her website at http://www.michelebriere.com

She’s on Facebook, if you’d like to say Hi: https://www.facebook.com/michele.ashipu

Or just drop an email at michele.briere@outlook.com

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