Category Archives: Gnosticism

Apotheosis

 

 

letterAApotheosis is one of those big theological words that you don’t hear regular people speaking about that often.  In fact, to many in our society, I think the idea of apotheosis seems ridiculous.  To put it simply, apotheosis is the elevation of a human to divine status.  It’s what Elder Price is singing about in the clip above when he says, “I believe…  that [God’s] plan involves me getting my own planet.”    He’s singing about  the Mormon idea that “As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be.”  The Book of Mormon is, of course, a spoof.  It’s an exaggeration of what Mormons believe.  But still, people laugh when Elder Price talks about getting his own planet because on some level, many people think the idea of a human becoming a god is ridiculous at worst, and weird at best.

This disdain for apotheosis was something I was very familiar with when I was a conservative Christian.  In the garden of Eden the serpent tempted Eve with the forbidden fruit  and said  “’You will not certainly die… For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'” (Genesis 3:4-5)  As a conservative Christian I had it drummed into me that the Great Lie that led Adam and Eve into their fall from grace was the desire to be like God.  In the Christianity that I followed, God was wholly other.  Humanity was wholly sinful.  Our basic nature is seen as evil and opposed to God.  It’s only through the death of Jesus on the cross that we are made acceptable to God, and through our life as a Christian we are made more like Jesus.  But even these ideas of justification and sanctification are states of being that come from outside of us.  When I was in college training to be a minister I was taught that God chose to view us a certain way because of Jesus.  The New Testament texts paints it as an adoption, or putting on clothes so that our outward appearance is holy.  However, our basic nature is still very much NOT divine.   The idea that humanity is in any way divine or can become divine is seen as close to blasphemous.

It’s one of the reasons that the Mormons were always portrayed as a cult.  I can remember being shown the “documentary” The God Makers and ridiculing the idea that these people actually believed they would become a god and get their own planet.  How stupid could they be?  But there’s a wide gulf between when I was a conservative Evangelical Christian and the spiritual slut that I am today, and that gulf doesn’t consist of just clown makeup and glitter.  Now that I follow a more progressive spiritual path, apotheosis doesn’t seem so strange to me.

To be fair, I don’t think that portraying Mormons as believing that they will get their own planet is totally accurate.  (I’m not a huge fan of Mormonism, and disagree with them on MANY issues, but I like to represent people’s views fairly and accurately).    Joanna Brooks, a Mormon blogger, responds to this conception in a blog post from January of 2012.  She says that she has never heard anyone seriously discuss the idea that Mormons will one day get their own planet, but she points out on any given Sunday you might hear that “we are the children of Heavenly Parents, that our spirits lived with our Heavenly Parents before our mortal lives, and that we came to earth on the plan that we should gain experience through mortality and prepare to return to our Heavenly Parents… And it is a Mormon teaching that souls continue to grow, progress, and experience throughout the eternities, and that part of that expansive experience is to become like our Heavenly Parents.”    Joseph Smith in his 1844 sermon called the King Follett Discourse says this:

                “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! … It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did.”  …  “Intelligence is eternal and exists upon a self-existent principle. It is a spirit from age to age and there is no creation about it. All the minds and spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement.”

While I have many areas of faith that I strongly disagree with the Mormon church on, as a Gnostic Neopagan, I can accept the way that apotheosis is portrayed here.

Apotheosis wasn’t uncommon in the ancient world.  A quick review using that ancient tome of knowledge, Wikipedia, shows that imperial cults were known in both Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.  In Egypt, deceased pharaohs were deified as Osiris.  In the Greek world, the first leader who accorded himself divine honors was Philip II of Macedon, and his son, Alexander the Great, not only claimed descent from the gods of Egypt, but decreed that he should be worshiped in the cities of Greece.  After his death, the custom of apotheosis became very prevalent among the Greeks.  In ancient Rome, apotheosis was a process where a deceased ruler was recognized as having been divine by his successor, usually also by a decree of the Senate and popular consent.  At the height of the imperial cult during the Roman Empire, sometimes the emperor’s deceased loved ones were deified as well.

Apotheosis is a key element in devotion to Antinous.  I talked about Antinous, and my devotion to him, in my last post.  I won’t regurgitate that here, but the basics are this:  Antinous was the young companion and lover to the Roman Emperor Hadrian.  While in Egypt Antinous drowned in the Nile.  Because of the sacred status of the river, anyone who drowned in the Nile was deified and syncretised to Osiris.  Antinous became a god.  And so, one of the gods I am devoted to, was once a human being just like I am.

I’ve spoken a little bit about how, for some people, the idea that Antinous was once a very human boytoy of the Emperor but is now a god is difficult for them.  I believe some of this has to do with what I spoke about above.  Much of traditional Christianity finds the concept of apotheosis distasteful and ridiculous.  Ironically, I don’t think this was always so.  I believe that the story of Jesus is actually a story of apotheosis.  The idea of Jesus as divine is one that evolved in the early Jesus community.  You can see the development in the Gospels themselves.  One of the big questions the Gospel writers wrestled with was when did Jesus become divine?  On the cross?  At his baptism?  At his birth?  By the time we get to when John’s Gospel was written, his answer was that Jesus was always divine.  Jesus had always been God.  In this way, apotheosis was thrown out because Jesus had never been not-God to become God.  That view won out, and other views that Jesus had been human and become God (including views we now label as Gnostic) at some point were painted as heretical, and that view has carried on into much of modern Christianity.  While not everyone identifies as a Christian, I don’t believe that one can fully disassociate the impact of Christianity on the wider culture.  I believe this distaste for apotheosis and view of it as heretical has seeped over into the general culture.

For me, however, the apotheosis of Antinous, and the idea that a human being can become god is one that I resonate with.  It points to my own death and rebirth, whether that death is a crucifixion or a drowning.  The story of a young man that drowned in a river and was risen as a god is not just a story about something that happened.  It’s a story of something that happens.  It’s my story.  Just like the story of a man who died on a cross and came back to life if not just a story of something that happened in the past.  It’s a story about what is happening right now, and will happen.  It’s the story of my divine spark being incarnate in the physical world.  It’s a story about the death, both physical and spiritual, that we all face, as well as the triumph of our Divine soul.  I’ve called that Divine soul the Buddha nature before.  I’ve also referred to it as the Christ nature.  I’ve never called it the Antinous nature, but why not?  In my opinion, the story of Antinous points to our eternal nature as much as these other stories do.

The idea of apotheosis also plays in to the name of this blog.  Whereto We Speed is taken from a line in the Excerpta Ex Theodoto, a collection of notes made by Clement of Alexandria dealing mainly with (and quoting) the teachings of the Theodotus:

“What makes us free is the gnosis

of who we were,

of what we have become;

of where we were,

of wherein we have been cast;

of whereto we speed,

of wherefrom we are redeemed;

of what birth truly is,

and of what rebirth truly is.”

Indeed.  Whereto we speed is the same path that Antinous trod.  May Wepwawet clear the way before me, and Antinous walk alongside me in the path to apotheosis!

pbp4

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Z Budapest, Antinous, and a Gnostic walk into a bar…

No clue what the punchline to the subject of this post might be, but it seemed fitting since I have a little bit to share on each of those topics.

 Z Budapest and Pantheacon

A final few words (at least from me) on the discussion surrounding transgender inclusiveness at Pantheacon:

I did mention this in my last post when I spoke about keeping perspective, but I’d like to reiterate the point and join P. Sufenas Virius Lupus and in saying that “PantheaCon 2012 was great from start to finish, and a ton of really wonderful stuff came out of it. And when I say ‘great,’ that doesn’t mean that it was without some pain, discomfort, or annoyance at various points, but the positive aspects far outweigh and overshadow anything negative.  Z Budapest’s “genetic women only” ritual and the action organized in response to it by T. Thorn Coyle was held on Sunday night.  The rest of the convention was filled with many fantastic workshops, rituals, parties, gatherings, and connections with new and old friends.  Truth be told, I even found my participation in the action for trans inclusiveness to be very meaningful and worthwhile, but when seen in the context of Pantheacon as a whole, it was only one part of my experience.

The issue of transgender inclusiveness is an important issue, however, and I understand why this discussion has come to dominate the blogs and Facebook comments after the convention.  I’m not sure that I have much more to say than what I have already said.  Therefore, I’ll let others do the talking for me!  There are a couple other posts that are worth reading/hearing.

  • I highly recommend the latest podcast from Hyperion of The Unnamed Path.  In it, he sums up the events that have taken place and gives us his take on things.  I have to say, I agree with 100% of what he says in this podcast.  He’s managed to boil the issues down to their core elements and has managed to do so while showing compassion to all involved and without demonizing one side or the other.  Thank you, Hyperion, for being a voice for inclusion and for a reasoned response!

 Antinous

As an initiate into the Antinoan Mysteries and a devotee of Antinous, I found this news that P. Sufenas Virius Lupus has shared over on the Aedicula Antinoi blog to be pretty damn exciting: Polydeukion now has a dedicated oracular medium!

(More on my devotion to Antinous, as well as other aspects of my personal spirituality, can be found in my blog post Spirituality Squared.)

Polydeukion may not be familiar to many people.   Lupus says quite a bit about him in this post.  I think of him as one of the figures involved with, and surrounding Antinous, part of an “Antinoan pantheon,” so to speak.  A dedicated oracle for Polydeukion is fantastic news.

According to Lupus:

A certain gentleman I know rather well has come forward and will be acting as the Oracle of Polydeukion until further notice. The gentleman is called Stephanopotamos, and will be doing an oracular session with Polydeukion for semi-public consumption every three months, starting this year on Polydeukion’s festival of March 9th, and then on the 9th of June, September, and December ad infinitum (!?!). I fully support, endorse, and recommend this oracle, and he will be my “go-to” oracle for Antinous-related and Ekklesía Antínoou-related matters from here on out. In addition to the regular three-months-apart sessions, the oracle will also be available for private consultations with those who wish to seek them.

Khaire Polydeukion!

Gnosticism and Leap Year

The Rose Cross Community of the Apostolic Johannite Church is one of the gnostic/esoteric communities that I frequently take part in.  They are hosting a Special Leap Year Eucharist tomorrow evening.  In the description for the event it says, “This will be a celebration of the Johannite Congregational Eucharist, to celebrate a day which only exists every 4 years. Align your spirit and will with the energies of the next four through this uplifting ritual.

This sounds very cool, and I plan to attend, but it also got me thinking about Leap Year and the day of February 29th itself:

  • Does February 29th have any special energy that is different than all the other days?
  • If so, what kind of energy is it?
  • What kind of magic and intentions would be appropriate for this day?
  • Are you planning to do or observe anything differently tomorrow?
  • Or is this just another day and my musing are mental masturbation?

I’d love to hear some thoughts and ideas on this.  Feel free to comment.

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Late to the Party – New Year, New You

 

I’m a little late to this party.  But what fun would a party be without a few grand entrances once the music has started?  In this case, the party started a few weeks ago.  That just means I’m really fashionably late.

Early in December, the Charmed… I’m Sure blog posted this call to an “experiment in magical, radical, transformation”:

So, you’re supposed to be, like, magicians, occultists, witches in the woods and the kitchen and on the soccer field, right?  Workers of wonder.  Dream weavers.  People who get shit done.  Isn’t this the year to make your own luck?  You’re feeling especially awful with the nights that never end and run over by the holidaze and you can’t drink joie forever before needing a meeting.  So now’s the fucking time.  Don’t wait until that stupid glitter ball drops and you’re already making drunk and/or sentimental mistakes, start now.  Start now when it’s hardest.  Start now when you feel so weighed down with emotions better left to glittery and not so glittery vampires and when you feel like you could sleep forever.  Now is the time you need to wake up.  Get up, get up!  Don’t miss this moment.  Create magics great and small, mundane and mystical.  Find everything you’ve been looking for, mysteries revealed in every form of divination and song and when you fuck it up, when you are too tired to try, bring each other up from bloodied knees to get back up smiling.  You are all made of stars and you have stardust in your veins.  Do something about it.

Can I get a hell yeah?!

A few of my friends picked up the call.  Both Michael Sebastian Lux and Msgr. Scott Rassbach posted their replies to the challenge.  Now it’s my turn.

Actually, my work on this has already started.  On Sunday evening, January 1st, I did a ritual for the Festival of Janus, calling on Janus, Antinous in his lunar aspect, and Helios/Sol.  As the Roman god of doorways, beginnings and endings, and the past and the future, Janus is the perfect god to work with on New Year’s Day.  As part of the ritual, I worked with Antinous as the moon to determine and meditate on the things in my life that I wanted to leave behind in the past.  I particularly meditated on the things that would keep me from becoming fully mature as an individual.

I also worked with Helios as the sun to determine and meditate on the things in my life that I want to bring into manifestation in 2012.  These are more than just resolutions, more than just goals.  This is about working will.  This is about transformation.  This is about magic!

What I share here are the intentions that I am going to be putting energy into during the coming months.  This is where I will be working my will.  This is where I get down and dirty and “do something about it.”

The Physical

  • I intend to inhabit a healthier body by the end of the 2012.  This does not translate into a weight loss goal.  I’m a bear.  I’m happy being a bear.  I have a tummy, and I get plenty of attention with a tummy, thank you.  However, a little over a year ago I had surgery on a torn quadriceps tendon.  My right knee/leg is still healing.   I intend to help that healing along, and bring a healthier body along with it.

The Emotional

  • I intend to build and nurture intimate relationships with those whom I can share my spirituality and participate in magical practice with.  I did a similar ritual last year to the one that I just did a few days ago.  In that ritual I asked for a sexual and romantic partner to come into my life that I could share my magical practice with.  That request was fulfilled… although not quite in the way I expected.  I thought of asking for the same thing this year, but I realized that I didn’t need to ask for what I already have.  I do however, need to build and nurture what already exists, while still being open to new things that may come.  Oh, yeah, and I also asked for more sex, because, you know, who doesn’t want more of that?

The Spiritual

  • I intend to help build and nurture the Gnostic and Antinoan spiritual communities in Portland.  The Gnostics already have a presence here in Portland.  Queen of Heaven Gnostic Church has been established for ages.  I’d love to see Queen of Heaven continue to grow, but my main focus of energy with the Gnostics will be in assisting Msgr. Scott Rossbach in the establishment and growth of Rose Cross Community AJC.  As far as the Antinoan community goes, The Ekklesia Antinoou does not currently have a presence in Portland.  I intend to change that.


Other Goals 

  • To enter into a discernment process to determine if I wish to pursue ordination in one of the spiritual traditions I am a part of.
  • To consistently update this blog 3 times a week and develop my skills as a spiritual writer.

There you have it.  Only 4 days into the new year and it’s a new dawn, a new day, a new me, and I’m feeling good.  No, really.  I’m feeling good.  2012 is the year to get shit done.  I’ll be using this space over the next few days to get caught up on the New Year, New You challenge.  After that?  Who knows.  I’m made of stars and have stardust in my veins.  Now that the party has started I’m ready to get out on the dance floor and live the dance.  Let’s party.

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Spirituality Squared

I’ve been a spiritual seeker my whole adult life. For most of that time I’ve struggled with labels. To many, I’m sure it looks like I’m all over the place. Am I a Christian? Pagan? Something else? Some people look at me and get the impression that I jump from religion to religion to religion, never really settling on one path or another. I can certainly understand why others might get this impression, and for years I struggled with how to define myself. While I still don’t have a good answer on having a singular label that defines my path, there are a few different labels that one could stick on me: Gnostic, Witch, Devotee, Sister.

When I look at my own spirituality, I see four unique elements that I can discern.  Each of the four aspects are equally important, yet there seems to be a natural ebb and flow as to where my focus is at any given time.  Sometimes the focus is on one or two elements. Sometimes it is on others. All four of the elements are always present, but they may not always be at the forefront.

The four aspects of my spiritual path are:

Gnostic – I am a modern Gnostic and the Gnostic worldview provides my essential philosophy and ideology.  Father Jordan Stratford’s Gnosticism 101 post on his blog is still my favorite place to send people when they ask me, “What is Gnosticism?” (This is right after they say, “Oh, you’re a Gnostic?  I’m agnostic too.”)  Some of his definition:

Gnosis means “knowledge”; a specific kind of intimate knowledge, the way lovers know one another…  At the core of Gnosticism is gnosis, and the idea that enlightenment is a necessary and natural step of human experience. Early Gnostic texts are identified by [these] principal characteristics:

  • that it is gnosis, not faith, that saves us from deception…
  • that the universe “flows out of” God, the way ripples emanate from a stone dropped in water…
  • that the “Spark” of Divinity is immediately present in the world and constantly available to us, even if it is obscured by illusion and ignorance…

Contemporary Gnostics would add a further point; that the system or daily world of our experience – one of deadlines, “spun” media, spilled coffee, parking tickets, and traffic jams – is an artificial construct, and we have a responsibility to wake up from this illusion into a real, spiritual world outside of “the powers that be”.

I still have a great fondness for liberal, progressive Christianity, especially the United Church of Christ, but even when moving in Christian circles, I tend to experience Christianity through a Gnostic lens.

Witch – I am an initiated member of  Coven Thalia Kyraphia, an Alexandrian Wiccan coven in Portland Oregon.   Alexandrian Witchcraft is a Wiccan tradition that is part of British Traditional Witchcraft (BTW).  There are probably as many definitions of Wicca as there are people who claim to follow it, but I actually think the standard dictionary definition provided by Merriam-Webster provides a decent, generalized definition:  “A religion influenced by pre-Christian beliefs and practices of western Europe that affirms the existence of supernatural power (as magic) and of both male and female deities who inhere in nature and that emphasizes ritual observance of seasonal and life cycles.”  BTW is the high church, Episcopagan version of that definition focusing on the Craft as an initiatory, mystery tradition that preserves core orthopraxy.  Alexandrian Wicca also tends to include more ceremonial magic and Qabalistic practices.

Gnosticism and Wicca together form the core of my basic personal theology and philosophy, but the Craft tends to be the primary way I experience spiritual community and ritual practice.   Solitary Wicca is big in the United States, but for me, my coven family  is my congregation.  It’s where I experience group ceremonies and rituals, and where we come together to nurture and support each other in our individual growth.  Alexandrian practice also gives me my “in ye usual way”,  or my basic outline of how I normally structure and do devotional and magic ritual.

Devotee of Antinous – I am a Mystes Antínoou, and was initiated into the Antinoan Mysteries this past Spring.   I experience interaction with the Divine primarily through my devotion to the god Antinous. There are other gods and godforms I also interact with and have an important relationship with (Aphrodite, Jesus, Sophia, the Wiccan Goddess and God), but my relationship with Antinous is the main way that I personally interaction with Deity.

Antinous is a god of love, beauty, harmony, gentleness.  He’s a god of hunting and artistry, and scholarship.  He’s a god of profound mysteries who helps the soul in its transition from this world to the next He’s a god of ecstacy and freedom.

Antinous was a member of the entourage of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, to whom he was beloved. In October 130 he drowned in the Nile. It is not known for certain whether his death was the result of accident, suicide, murder, or (voluntary) religious sacrifice. After Antinous’s death the emperor decreed his deification, and he was proclaimed a god. Temples were built for his worship in Bithynia, Mantineia in Arcadia, and Athens, festivals celebrated in his honour and oracles delivered in his name. The city of Antinopolis was founded on the site near where he died. After deification, Antinous was syncretized with and depicted as the Ancient Egyptian god Osiris, the Greek Dionysos, as well as others.

The Ekklesia Antinoou (“Citizenry of Antinous”) is a queer, Graeco-Roman-Egyptian syncretist reconstructionist polytheist form of mystical religion.  The community is mostly online right now, but there is a Yahoo Group for anyone interested in Antinous to gather and discuss, and P. Sufenas Virius Lupus is providing some great commentary and resources over on his blog, Aedicula Antinoi.  Antinoan practices have also become part of my regular routine: personal devotions done to the the god, using the Obelisk of Antinous to set sacred space, and saying the Antinoan Prayer Against Persecution.  In addition, devotion to Antinous provides an avenue for me to experience queer spirituality.

Sister of Perpetual Indulgence – Yep, that’s me.  I’m Sister Krissy Fiction, the nun that got nailed, a Fully Professed Sister of Perpetual Indulgence.  Being a Sister is not technically a spiritual path. It certainly has no religious component. The Sisters have no religious affiliation, and for some Sisters being a part of the organization is a way to serve the queer community, but it’s not spiritual for them.  Other Sisters have a strong background in Christianity, with the Radical Faeries,  some other form of Paganism, or just consider themselves spiritual in general.  The description on the page for the San Francisco Sisters states:

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence® is a leading-edge Order of queer nuns. Since our first appearance in San Francisco on Easter Sunday, 1979, the Sisters have devoted ourselves tocommunity service, ministry and outreach to those on the edges, and to promoting human rights, respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment. We believe all people have a right to express their unique joy and beauty and we usehumor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit.

When they elevate to the status of Fully Professed Sister, almost every Sister takes a vow to “promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt.”  Those are big words that I boil down to: You are not defined by the labels (stigma) that others place on you.  Rather, you are loved and worth loving just the way you are, no exceptions.  Period.  Exclamation point.  And throw another exclamation point in there just for good measure.  I list being a Sister as part of my personal spiritual path because I believe the vows I just shared are spiritual principles and for me, being a Sister provides the most direct way to put my personal theology into action in the wider community. It’s how I put my faith into action, for lack of a better expression.

As I review this, there really does seem to be a flow from one aspect of my spiritual path to another. My theology and philosophy is primarily (but not exclusively) found in Gnosticism and Wicca. My ritual and ceremonial practices are mostly (but not exclusively) found in Wicca and in my devotion to Antinous and other gods. My focus on queer spirituality is found mostly (but not exclusively) in my devotion to Antinous and my work as a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence.   And it all flows out into the community through my work as a Sister, which also connects back up to Gnosticism and Wicca to frame some of my core ideology.

I guess my path is a big square:
Gnosticism ### theology  ####    Wicca
#                                                                                #
#                                                                                #
#                                                                                #
ideology                                                        practice
#                                                                                #
#                                                                                #
#                                                                                #
Sisters ### queer spirituality ### Antinous

A square, huh? I know… kind of boring. Who wants to be a square?  I need to flip up on an angle and at least turn it into a diamond.  At least diamonds sparkle.  Squares just kind of sit there.  I suppose I could also say I follow a fourfold spiritual path, but I think the Buddhists have cornered the market on that terminology.  Whatever I choose to call it, my point is that my spirituality is multifaceted.   It may appear to be all over the place to some, but for me it represents a very natural and comfortable ebb and flow.

What shape is your spiritual path?

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Who in the Hades… ?

Everyone has something to say.  FacebookTwitterBlogs.  In this information age personal  opinions are everywhere.    And you know what they say… opinions are like a certain part of the anatomy – everyone has one.  Well, add my name to that list.

But who in the hades is this guy?  Why should I care what he has to say?

I am a former conservative Christian minister and participant for over a decade in the “Ex-gay” Movement.  Currently, I wear several labels: queer, Gnostic, witch, devotee, drag nun, bear.  I believe that my varied history and experience gives me a unique perspective on life as a spiritual gay man.  Ultimately, others will be the judge of whether I have anything worthwhile to say or not.  For now, I simply offer my own perspective, nothing more or less.

My Story in Three Paragraphs or Less (Or Maybe Five)

I’ve spent years as a spiritual seeker.  I came out of the closet as a gay man when I was 18.  At the same time I started attending a conservative Lutheran church.  There was immediate conflict between my desire to be a part of the LGBT community and to follow a conservative Christian path that told me that God created the world in six literal days, Adam and Eve were real people in hisotry, men had spiritual authority over women, and homosexuality was a sin.  The conservative Christians won that early ideological battle.  For over a decade I was a conservative Christian and part of the Ex-gay Movement.  When I was 25 I went back to school and trained for ministry in the same conservative Lutheran denomination I had been a member of.  Upon graduation I was assigned as a Youth and Family Minister at a congregation in San Antonio, TX, and then as world missionary in Dourados, Brazil.  It was during this time that I was married… to a woman.

10 years ago I had a crisis over who I was as a sexual being disguised as a crisis of faith.  I left my wife, my church, and every social contact I had and moved to Oregon to start my life over.  The thing about being a part of a type of Christianity that says every single word of the Bible is infallible and without error, and that there is only one correct way to interpret it, means you have to either take all of their interpretation of the Bible or none of it.  I chose none of it and tossed my Bible out the window.

While I may have tossed my religion out the window, my desire to be a spiritual person remained.  Into the void created by my form of conservative Christianity stepped the Craft.  Hey, I never do things halfway.  It’s always all or nothing.  Since I no longer had the limitations my Christianity had placed on me, I was free to explore outside the box.  And witchcraft might have been something of a rebellion for me at the start, but I ultimately found something in the Craft that resonated with me.  Following the natural cycle of the year, seeing the Divine as both Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine, taking full responsibility for your own spiritual path as a priest and a witch, and oh, the fabulous robes and accessories – high drag!

The Christ still has a place in my heart, though.  As I started graduate work on a Masters of Applied Theology in a true interfaith program I became more comfortable with my broader spirituality.  I still followed a NeoPagan path, but I also opened up to seeing Christianity from a different perspective.  I was able to see Jesus as the radical, left wing nut job that he is, and to see his story as a story of the dying and resurrecting god/man.  It’s not about his literal death and resurrection that might or might not have happened at a specific place and time in history.  Rather, his death and resurrection is the story of my death and resurrection.  It’s not a story that happened.  It’s a story that happens.  I moved back into a form of liberal, progressive Christianity, even serving for 2 years as an openly gay Youth and Family Minister at a United Church of Christ congregation here in Portland.  After leaving that position I continued to explore the more esoteric side of Christianity, finally finding a home in Gnosticism.  I was baptized and confirmed at the local parish of the Ecclesia Gnostica, of which I am still very fond, but ultimately moved on to participation in the Apostolic Johannite Church.

In addition to this strange mix of Gnosticism and the Craft, I’ve added a few more vegetables to the salad that is my spiritual path.  One of the primary ways I interact on a personal level with the Divine is through my devotion to the god Antinous, and participation in the queer, Graeco-Roman-Egyptian syncretist reconstructionist polytheist group Ekklesia Antinoou.  Ain’t that a mouthful?  (No pun intended! Okay, maybe just a little.)  I’m also a fully professed Sister of Perpetual Indulgence as Sister Krissy Fiction.  While the Sisters are not affiliated with any religion, and for some Sisters their calling is based around community service and not any type of spirituality at all, for me personally, I find the vow to “promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt” to be a spiritual precept and being a Sister has become important in my overall spirituality.

So Who Cares?

What does any of this matter?  It might not, really.  I don’t claim to be the final word on Gnosticism, Wicca, queer spirituality, or any other topic.  As I stated at the beginning of this post:  opinions are like… well, everyone has one.  What you will find on this blog will be my own personal musings and observations.  I’m just throwing it out to the aether and seeing what comes back to me.

I’ve been focusing on discipline this year.  Not the “you’re bad!” *whack* kind of discipline, but the doing something as a regular practice kind of discipline.  My spirituality has always been thoughtful, reflective, informed, and scholarly.  This year, I’ve been trying to move from the thinking to doing.  This blog is going to be an attempt to find some disciple in writing about spirituality.  My intent is to post updates 2-3 times a week.  I’ll initially be posting about the different elements of my own spiritual path, but will hopefully be tackling other topics including but not limited to queer spirituality, my devotion to the god Antinous, Occultism,  thoughts on politics and humor, observations on modern Neopaganism and the Craft, Gnosticism and Esoteric Christianity, and whatever else tickles my fancy (I  am quite ticklish).

If any of this also tickles your fancy, then I invite you sit down, buckle up, hold on, and find out whereto we speed! (You know I had to get that in somewhere.)

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