Pantheism

Pantheism is the belief that deity present in everything in the universe. The primary tenet of this is that the deity as a whole is unknowable. The deity can be purely physical, purely spiritual, or any combination of the two. I call this deity the Essence. It is similar in concept to the Hindu concept of Prana-Shakti, or the Chinese concept of Chi (Qi).

One of the major repercussions of this belief is the question of how much effect the individual parts of the universe can have on the entirety of it. In other words, "Am I God?" is a question that needs to be answered. The Pagan belief in magic is predicated in part on the belief that all things are connected, and all things carry the spark of the divine.

The Church of All Worlds (CAW), one of the earliest Pagan churches in America, emphasizes the deity in the individual. The most common expression of this is "Thou art God". In Stranger in a Strange Land (one of the inspirations for the CAW), Robert Heinlein expanded on this concept:

Thou art God ... Anne is God. I am God. The happy grasses are God ... All shaping and making and creating together ...

Similar in concept to Pantheism are Pandeism and Panentheism. Pandeism is essentially the belief that a deity created the universe by becoming it. Panentheism believes in a separate deity, but one which interpenetrates and encompasses the universe.

The Wolf and Raven Path

The Wolf and Raven tradition follows a blend of pantheism and polytheism. We believe the only way to understand the Essence is by viewing it through its various Aspects. An Aspect (or Avatar) is a single part of the essence given shape and form by belief. These are generally the dynamic opposites, such as God and Goddess, Light and Dark, or Order and Chaos.

It is important to note that these opposites are not ethical in nature. "Good" and "Evil" do not enter into the equation. Even aspects generally seen as negative are necessary and important. Darkness is a time of rest and rejuvenation. Chaos breaks through stifling order to bring change and growth (try planting a garden without sending the dirt into some form of disorder sometime).

Aspects of the Essence are often appear as Gods and Goddesses. Each God or Goddess represents some specific part of the universe as a whole. Often, they are a specific driving force in mankind or the universe (for example; Love, Chaos, the Sun, Planting and Harvest, or Lightning).

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