I was recently asked what my beliefs are, and I found to my chagrin that I had a hard time communicating them. I am writing now in an effort to sort out the truths and ideals in my head from the rest of the bologna.
There are always certain "hot spots" of religion that people want to have addressed when they ask you this question. First and foremost is "one or many?" I definitely believe there are many gods/goddesses. They may all be part of one larger whole that I, in my tiny human mind, am unable to comprehend. As a being, it is impossible to understand any being of a higher order than yourself. Therefore, the only way that my puny human mind could possibly understand something as complex as a deity is for me to compartmentalize it into pieces I do understand, i.e. human beings with extraordinary "powers." That being said, I know all the Christians and Pagans our there went "oh goodness, let me explain blah, blah, blah...." but save it. This is what I believe, not you.
Secondly is the matter of reincarnation. Having lived the life I have lived and experienced life the way I have, I can only answer yes to this question. I can tell you with 100% certainty that there are people I have "known" before that have found me so we could live together in this life as well. If it has never happened to you, you will not understand....nor do I expect you to. This is just what I believe, right?
Now comes the part where we all begin splitting hairs. Do you believe in fate? predestination? magical powers? karma? Mother Goddess or Father Sky? If you believe in a Mother Goddess, they label you a Wiccan. If you believe in Karma, then you must be a Buddhist. If you believe in predestination, then you must be Hindi or Christian or Islamic. If, if, if....why do we need to categorize ourselves like this? Does God have a great big filing cabinet in the sky where he keeps us organized by religious affiliation?
Well, I believe in karma. I believe in the movement of energy known as magic. I believe in the sanctity of knowledge as essential to growth. I do not find it necessary to have an intermediary for confession of wrongdoing. When you believe in karma, any negative acts that you carry out will come back to you whether you repent of them or not. If you want to "equal out" a negative, you must perform at least three positive acts as retribution for your transgression. (and it also helps to leave extra offerings for your personal deities.) I believe in balance.
I believe in reflection on past events as a means of growth. Even though hind sight is 20/20, you always miss something. Every couple of years it is important to review the things you have been through with your new eyes and greater volumes of experience to gain further understanding and, if nothing else, to solidify the lessons learned from the experience.
I believe in the preservation of the Earth as well as of the body. If either one fails you, it's all pretty much over. And believing in reincarnation, you must do your part to help the Earth be healthy and strong, lest you have nothing to which to come back.
I have been working with several gods and goddesses over the past decade. Brigid and the Horned God, for ceremonial worship. Jesus and Mary Magdalene for personal relationship (that's a long story; I'll tell you one day, if you are interested). Gaea, the Earth Mother, for guidance and inner strength. Odin, The All-Father, for sharpness of mind. Persephone, Goddess of the Underworld, for lessons in dealing with hardship and loss--and the celebration of rebirth. Arachne, because she chose me. And my patron Goddess, Athena, for so many things.
I call upon Athena, Great Goddess of Strength and Wisdom, to grant me the mental skills necessary to flourish in my life. I seek her for skill in the artistic and industrious areas of my life. I offer worship, libations and awe to her, for she is the Goddess through whom I have found peace and prosperity. Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and War, I learn from you when it is wise to go to war, and when it is wise to allow your enemies enough rope with which to hang themselves. I have gained ears for listening, and I have gained a tongue that speaks only what is necessary when I am sought for advice. Athena, Goddess of Great Measure, I am learning still....
This is what I believe.