Author: Howard Winkleman
“We do not know what God is. God himself doesn’t know what He is because He is not anything. Literally God is not, because He transcends being.” ~ John Scotus Erigena 840 AD
What’s this then? Am I about to declare some sort of absolute truth? In the same mold as those I have been unable to commit to my entire life? No, I don’t think so. It’s just not that easy.
I have tried on numerous occasions to choke down dogma for a couple of different faiths; ultimately however it always comes right back up! Truly and sincerely, I had given Catholicism, Wicca and Asatru a real effort, as well as Catholicism for my lovely mother who I always trusted and wanted to please.
Wicca was my next spiritual interest (between the ages of 12 to 19 and after Catholicism) , seeing as how one is bombarded with the subject when perusing alternative faiths and I already being a lifelong occultist of sorts. To me, having been raised in a family of Catholics — who fascinated me with some of their superstitious practices that I did not recognize at the time as being candle magic (lighting prayer candles to petition the saints) and divination via playing cards — Wicca seemed like home. Then finally I gravitated toward Asatru for the sake of my ancestors and myself as I wanted to honor my blood, and folk soul through the revived religion of the Germanic people.
I however knew” there was, for me, something ‘not quite right’ about them… and all other established religions. I felt that I had to keep searching. And as it turns out, that’s what Gnosticism is all about: the search for “gnosis”, or knowledge.
What kind of knowledge you ask? Well, that is a very personal knowledge of god and the creation. The true Gnostic seeks to discover for himself, through mystical means, the true relationship between himself and the creating force.
Knowing that the gods are immeasurable, incomprehensible, and beyond all mortal grasp, arcane, and occult knowledge is used to pursue the loftiest of all purposes: light. Light is the only way to see in the darkness of this world. To seek this light is to seek the keys to the kingdoms beyond.
And what are we left with? Truth? We have hopefully by this point ascertained that truth is truly obfuscated in its subjectivity, so we pursue light in an attempt to see.
So what are all these religions people are on about? Well, considering what I have just said, I am certain of the existence of a grand architect of the universe — the all father, progenerator of that first spark, the one to start the first domino fall leading through the aeons to this day — as well as a whole host of lesser deities, arch beings, spirits etc.
The various pantheons known to men are composed of these forces, some by different and varied names, some ancestral and unique to a people. Do I feel that all the established religions are rubbish? Certainly not. Their elitist, pompous, only what they say is ‘right’ mentality is the rubbish.
Men have written ALL the books. Some have had divine inspiration, and or, intervention, so the authors say. I choose Odian paganism as my personal path, yet I am well aware that all religions simply put the truth into a cultural context, which resonates for them.
Gnosticism is a perspective that can be incorporated into any worldview as a philosophy, Thelema being the best example of this. Paganism is the lens through which I choose to view things.
While Gnosticism is at the heart of my beliefs, the model in which I choose to work and bend from are Heathen, British isles, and heretical Christian all at once. While Gnostic is at it’s core, that aspect should never even be considered except on rare moments of reflection. One should be able to be a good pagan and know the gods are real and active in one’s life.
While the gods are unique individuals, you will find many correspondences across the board from one system to the next, hinting to me, at the underlying, ultimate truth: the All-Father — creator, that ancient unknowable entity, beginning of mankind and all worlds seen, and unseen — the thread that runs through everything, connecting us all to truth, to him. He is the spark of life that unfolds into men and gods, who merely play at existence atop this slumbering giant. The ancestors know the secrets; you will only discover after you join them.
So embrace your particular version of the gods, be it a Celtic perspective, Asatru, Hindu, Cthulhu or what-have-you! If you find it difficult to stick to a pantheon, then don’t. It should not be a challenge; it should feel as natural as what I have just shared with you does for me. We just need to know in the old way.
To know you need light. If you cross a room in the dark, you may believe your keys are here or there, yet with the lights you see them and know. We should all seek light until we one day KNOW. Know where we stand, who we are, and why… thus granting us the ultimate relief, peace and wisdom. No religion required there.
I have a strong belief in the “other world” as it were. I believe that within this world reside spiritual beings who are hierarchical in the sense that some are more powerful than others, just as some men are more powerful than other men. The most powerful among them could be deemed gods. I am comfortable doing so. Knowing this, I also know that these forces are unknowable in the mundane sense of knowing.
All things considered, I believe gods to be representations of cosmic forces, timeless and nameless. If you were to invoke the archangel Michael for example, you would truly be invoking the protective force he represents. The same force may be invoked by another tongue in other words.
Know they are there and powerful. Just don’t try to pin them down. You will be run about in circles trying to catch them. I have tried to no avail.