A few years ago I was asked, despite the fact that I make it very clear on my website that I am not a medium, to become a medium. For money. Now if I was willing to compromise my honesty, I might actually do a believable job at that. I have a decent amount of insight into the psychology of people and often say things that people take to heart.
This year I was asked to contribute articles to an alternative Christian magazine here in The Netherlands. I was excited by the prospect. Their audience is small but influential in the world of Dutch alternative spirituality. This week I got two of their magazines and I started thinking about what I could write for them.
The first thing that popped into my head was the theme of Christian meditation. I am reading a book about that and of course meditation is quite ‘cool’. Everybody who is anybody in this field meditates. Except I don’t. I haven’t done any training in meditation. Visualization seems like a waste of time to me. I do, every once in a while, sit still to ponder. This is meditation in the wider sense of ‘contemplation’. Nothing wrong with it and on Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (Indian) scale of meditation it is not the lowest kind, but it is not what people want to hear and it does not fit into any Christian meditation tradition I know of – certainly not the one in that book I was reading.
But I could envision the article I could write if I forgot all that. If I could just pretend – I could fictionalize an article so easily… Except of course I can’t. I’m too honest a person and loosing that honesty means more to me than the network and influence I might gain if I did write that article. So I will have to think of something else. Or pass up the opportunity.
In the world of alternative spirituality the line between fantasy and reality gets crossed more often. The famous clairvoyant C.W. Leadbeater for instance is usually credited with real clairvoyance in his works on the chakras and in his discovery of Jiddu Krishnamurti. But his work on the past lives of Jiddu Krishnamurti is at best trivial and at worst gossipy fiction.
More famously the founder of Scientology, John Hubbard, was a science fiction author before he started his own religion. He once said that founding a religion was a great way to become rich.
What is perhaps not so well known is that in the world of wicca things become even stranger. Marion Zimmer Bradley wrote some books about the world of King Arthur from the perspective of the pagan women whose tradition got trampled under Christianity. The most famous of these books is ‘Mists of Avalon’. This is fantasy literature. It was written as fiction. But in the world of wicca there are people who take one of three approaches:
- They take her fiction as literal truth.
- They use the things she wrote about in their rituals and don’t care about whether it was true or not
- They take her fiction, know full well it’s not historically accurate in a number of ways, yet use it in their wicca rituals.
- [added later] Ignore her altogether. There are all kinds of wiccans and not all of them (or even a majority) relate to Marion Zimmer Bradley at all. Whether they have read her work or not.[/added later]
That sort of thing doesn’t work for me. I’m not an artist. I’m not going to complicate my life with added images that I know aren’t true. I want to live the kind of spirituality that is based on what I know – though it leaves what I don’t know open. I am quite willing to write about stuff I believe in, even if I am not completely sure.