Before the word “Christian” was used, followers of Jesus were known as The Way (Acts 9:2, among others). The Greek word used here can also be rendered as “the road,” or “the journey.” Early Christians understood they were on a path with lots of twists and turns, ups and downs. The journey never had an endpoint when believers were finished with their spiritual development. The goal was to keep evolving and growing in love, compassion, service, etc.
Somewhere along the line, The Way became a million denominations with endless rules and doctrines. Many of these denominations also claim to be the only “way” or path. If we don’t believe everything they believe exactly as they believe it, we’re on a slippery slope to hell! Needless to say, this is an unhealthy way to do spirituality.
All human beings, whether they know it or not, are on a spiritual path where we see and experience many different things along the way. The ones that “work” for us should be put in our spiritual backpacks. The rest should be left at the side of the road. It’s a much more individualistic quest than many people think it is. Furthermore, there is no getting it “right.” We are on a journey of learning and growth that’s supposed to continue throughout our lifetimes.
Thankfully, Wiccans have a healthier approach to “the way.” For the most part, they are not dogmatic at all, at least the ones I know. (I’m sure there are some out there who are vey dogmatic. People are people!) They encourage each other to experiment and discover what “works” for them. Some lead lives of deep meditation and centering. Others have vast knowledge of herbs and their medicinal purposes. Some have gifts of discernment, while others are gifted healers. Many, of course, are a combination of the above…and so much more!
Scott Cunningham in his classic book Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner states this beautifully: “There is not, and can never be, one ‘pure’ or ‘true’ or ‘genuine’ form of Wicca. There are no central governing agencies, no physical leaders, no universally recognized prophet or messengers. Although specific, structured forms of Wiccan certainly exist, they aren’t in agreement regarding ritual, symbolism, and theology. Because of this healthy individualism, no one rite or philosophical system has emerged to consume the others. Wicca is varied and multi-faceted. As in every religion, the Wiccan spiritual experience is one shared with the deity alone.”
Perhaps this is a reminder that we are all on “the way.” There is no single, perfect way to walk it. If we humans can learn to listen to one another more and judge less, we just evolve as a species.I believe we have a lot to teach each other if we’re willing to walk hand in hand down the road. Let’s share our wisdom and gifts. The world needs all the light and love both traditions can bring to it!
Copyright 2016 by David Taliesin, http://www.sabbatsandsabaths.com