Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Wiccan Valentine

Epiphany at the House of Consciousness

            NORFOLK, VA, USA—At The House of Consciousness on Valentine’s Eve I experienced an epiphany.
            I’m talking about the community center at the corner of 35th Street and Newport Avenue, a half-block down from The Venue. It’s been there “forever,” I’m told, but I’d never gone in until that night.
Untitled, by Jala Magik
            I could smell the incense, sweet and exotic, from the street. As I opened the front door, I felt as if I were stepping into a shop in the Fillmore District of San Francisco in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s. A library of African-American culture and history lines three walls, with unexpected titles like The Origin of Species catching my eye. Paintings and weavings of African-American design on display stand out in vivid colors. Parlor chairs are set about where patrons can read or have conversation. At a snack bar off to one side refreshments are sold.
            I’d been invited to perform a few poems for Poetic Consciousness, an open mic held bi-weekly at the back of the store. There, about fifteen or twenty people, including a few children, leisurely arrived to take their seats in three rows of folding chairs set up before a modest performance space in front of the book shelves.
            Proceedings got underway late, and my epiphany came on slowly, not fully registering on me until the next day.
            It began with a poet who proceeded me. He was an evangelist who dynamically recited three long poems bristling with fire and brimstone. In the course of this tsunami of abuse leveled at sin and sinners, including vivid descriptions of eternal torment, something occurred to me that I’d never thought of before.
            In the theology this preacher-poet presented, Satan’s no rebel against God. God and Satan are working together on the same side. God makes the rules, woe-man breaks them, God hands the sinner over to Satan, Satan gleefully punishes woe-man for eternity, thus carrying out God’s order. They’re like brothers running the same business. If Satan were really a rebel against God, wouldn’t he reward woe-man for defying the heavenly tyrant?
            It struck me as never before that basic, orthodox Christianity is a good-cop/bad-cop cosmology. Problem is, as in human society, they’re both cops.
            That was my epiphany. But an epiphany is only a starting thought. What does it mean to my understanding of Christian teaching to realize that God and Satan are two sides of the same coin? Does that coin still have currency?
            Religious dogma is confusing to me because it gets in the way of the original revelation common to all spiritual paths. That enlightened moment of self-realization, which is open to everybody, sooner or later begins to fade. To keep the revelation current, leaders create and enforce dogma. The God-Satan dichotomy is one of those dogmas. It must have been invented to control the behavior of believers within their social groups.
            If there is an afterlife—and I suspect there is—I don’t think there’s any reward/punishment system in place there. But I think there’s a simple rule to live by in this life which cuts through all the dogmas in the world and satisfies all the original revelations. I like it because it’s so easy to remember.
            It’s the simple Wiccan injunction: Do No Harm. 
          Meditating on the full meaning of that pithy mantra will...well, expand awareness, since no one can live in this world without doing harm to something or somebody—sometime, somewhere.
            What better content to take away from an evening spent at the House of Consciousness?


At 5:28 PM , Blogger Conrad Bishop said...

Very nice comic premise: God & Satan as two brothers running the same junkyard.

At 5:45 AM , Blogger Steve Finnell said...


Some believers in Christ honestly believe that that truth is so offensive that Christians should only proclaim that God is love. Example: Only preach and teach that God loves everyone. Simply repeat John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJV)

The problem is even John 3:16 offends many people.

Those who reject God's truth find part or all of it offensive.


1. Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.(NKJV)

Mark 16:16 offends those who believe that water baptism is not essential for salvation.

2. John 16:23 "And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.(NKJV)

John 16:23 offends those who want to pray to the Virgin Mary and other dead saints.

3. Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.(NKJV)

Titus 2:11 offends those who believe God's grace is only offered to a predetermined select few.

4. Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame. (NKJV)

Hebrews 6:4-6 offend those who believe in once in grace always in grace.


1. Faith: John 3:16
2. Confession: Romans 10:9
3. Repentance: Acts 3:19
4. Water Baptism: Acts 2:38

The terms for pardon offend those who reject the terms.



At 10:22 PM , Blogger Delaney said...

And your point is...?


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home