Friday, November 25, 2005

What Colors Unverified Personal Gnosis?

A topic on an e-list got me to thinking over the last couple days. The discussion brought up the point that building a practice based totally on UPG can be sort of 'adrift' and that using some good references (say on Greek religion for Greek recons) helps ground what you do in a historical reality. And I absolutely see the purpose in that, even though I am not a reconstructionist by any strict sense of the word.

But then my mind started doing this snarly little chicken vs egg argument with itself. I got to thinking about my own dependence on UPG....both in my pagan life, and prior to that in that I had mystical experiences as a Christian. Since a Christian friend had asked me, as I was leaving that behind, how I could do that in light of those moments of grace, my answer plays into this question. I told her that when I went back over my experience, yes, it had an ineffable quality and a wonder and delight, awe and shock---what it did NOT have was a pronounced cut in stone Christian content. I had interpreted it that way because that was my expectation, you see.

Stripped to the essentials, my experiences back then were nonsectarian to say the least. So, thus my question here. Many of us read a lot, and I can't help but wonder if those sources we read do COLOR the UPG we have? Obviously, it would be hard to say those experiences are not shaped somewhat by our interpretation and how much of that interpretation is based upon what we read? I gave a JCI ident to my first experience because at that time...over 25 years ago, that was almost my only data available.

Of course, having that the identity issue is much more problematical for me. I scarcely take anything at 'face' value unless it is so inargueable as to knock me on my tail! This is so not making my life easier! Anyone else run into this, or am I the only one must missing some major point?

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