In the world in which we live, there are many different beliefs about everything you can think of. Humans bounce around the world of beliefs swinging from one extreme to the next, wading around in the muck left over from the myriad of beliefs. We hear words like Truth being thrown around as if these varying beliefs are absolute facts. We see a lot of this on every level from what shampoo is the best to political views and religious views or just about every method to magick and basic principles of living.
Within the Occult alone there are many different factors that any individual will believe is “absolute truth” but if we sit back and listen to the wise old crones and sages of the occult, even they have different understandings of general occult practices, there is no absolute truth. The big difference between the average and the wise occult practitioners is the knowledge that it is merely a method, a belief, and most of all an Understanding of the concepts. it is merely an understanding of the facts or evidence or concepts.
Notice I said AN understanding and not THE understanding. In the Occult, there are some Understandings that offer more clarity to different circumstances that we commonly face on a daily basis. There are different levels of understanding that even the wise don’t always see. We are human and most absolutely fallible. We make mistakes even in our understanding.
No reason to argue your point
Even with this post, I may have a different understanding of truth and belief than someone else. That alone doesn’t affect my own understanding, however, if someone else who has a different understanding presents their own understanding to me with information I didn’t have before, then, this presentation of new information could definitely change my understanding. This doesn’t mean I will share the same understanding as this other person but my understanding may change, improve, grow, or become more clear.
What I believe is not in danger of being lost if I hear your beliefs on something that I believe in differently. This is why some people who spout about their belief being absolute truth, they may hear a reply that the belief they spout as absolute truth is merely their own truth and not the truth of others. There is no absolute truth in any belief. There is only an interpretation of information that leads to an understanding that creates a belief. It is great when you can find others who believe the same or similar to what you believe but even then, a majority of people that believe in a particular thing doesn’t make it true, it simply makes it a belief.
Nothing but the facts
There are things that we see as fact. These facts are provable beyond assumptions. Like we have proof that the earth is round and indeed not flat. Once upon a time, all the people of the world believed that the world was flat and if you went too far you fall off the edge or be eaten by dragons. Everyone, the Majority, believed this but this still didn’t make it a fact although the information presented to these ancients may have led them to believe it was fact.
At this point we see that the information that was used to come to the conclusion that the earth was flat was interpreted in a way that led the entire human race to believe that the earth was flat although later different information added that was contradictory information which left humanity divided for centuries in conflict about the earth and the sun and the planets and stars. When I was a child, I believed that the moon was made of cheese because that is what I was told by my parents, older siblings, and television. My belief that the moon was made of cheese didn’t make it true. It was my understanding of the moon, it was a belief. It is a common misunderstanding that belief is the same as fact. But the truth is that it is all subjective.
I don’t care if you believe something different than I believe because I know it is merely a subjective understanding of information that is being interpreted by me, you, and others. Here is another thing about the concept of belief. Just because you believe in something that is contradictory to what I believe doesn’t mean that one of us has to convert our belief to some else’s understanding.
I personally don’t have to argue about a belief I have on a particular subject. Most beliefs are subjective and depend on a particular understanding of the matter at hand. It can be whether or not God exists, or it could be how magick should be performed or maybe even what is acceptable and what is not. The difference of the Wiccan Rede as compared to an individual’s own morals and values applied to their craft. The difference in which philosophy works and which one doesn’t for the individual. It is all subjective. Liberal, Democrat, or Republican. They are all different political stands based on one’s belief and understanding.
What I believe is not dependent on what you believe, so being, I don’t have to convince anyone of what I believe. I know one of us can be wrong or we both might be wrong in our understanding and someone else’s understanding may add more clarity and change everyone’s understanding. Just like the different understandings of the universe between the Aristotelian Universe compared to the Heliocentric model by Galileo. Doesn’t mean we will all agree on one particular understanding because Life is what we perceive it to be. Our beliefs are different because we are different. We all have variances in our understandings. This is why we are all so different and have different beliefs.
The arguments happen when people try to force their own beliefs on others and are so rigid in their beliefs that they have to force others to accept their understanding and profess it to be absolute truth. Which makes my sarcastic side want to sarcastically bow down and say all hail the fool. For whatever reason, people seem to need that validation that whatever they understand and believe gets validated by others validating them instead of validating them by one’s self. Their understanding is not absolute truth.
Because it is my understanding that belief is merely an understanding and what I understand may be different than what you may understand doesn’t mean that either of us are wrong and that for each of us, our own beliefs are our own true understanding which makes it our own subjective truth and may not be the truth of someone else. It is ok to disagree. When I am interested in hearing someone’s point of view, belief or understanding, it is to gain a different perspective on a particular subject. Doesn’t mean I will adopt whatever belief someone has but I will take it and consider it for myself and see if it can be applied to what I already understand or if I will discard it.
If I have to constantly be on guard to protect that belief within my own mind then it is not a true belief. If I have to refuse to hear the perspective of others to keep my belief from changing which means my belief is threatened by the belief of someone else, then it is not truly my own belief. True belief and true absolute understanding don’t change. It is absolute. You can not change the mind of absolute truth.
Truth is Flexible
There is flexibility in truth because there is no absolute truth. There are only interpretations of information. Even with facts, the fact may be a fact that confirm certain understandings like light and dark are opposites. However, there is an understanding that light and dark are the same in nature just opposite ends of the spectrum. Think about it. What is your understanding of polarity?
That is why I write often in terms of what I think, feel, and believe. I believe that truth is subjective to individual interpretation of information and the interpretation of facts. They say a picture is worth more than a thousand words because you create a billion different stories, scenarios, and understandings that aren’t necessarily factual in the least. The image we may be looking at can be interpreted in as many different ways as there are people. Look at the countless memes on social media. It is just a piece of information. Without all of the information, we cannot establish anything more than an interpretation onto the image.
That is why when reading Tarot or some other type of divination, it is all about what the Reader sees through the Reader’s own interpretation of the images that are laid out for the Reader. Depending on how accurate the Reader is at interpreting the images will determine if the Reading is believable. If the Reader hits on some key pieces of information and interprets it with the same understanding of the key “facts” in the querant’s life as the querant’s understanding, the Reading will often be considered to be accurate and true.
Unfortunately, what the Reader or querant may understand as truth or fact, can be an incorrect understanding or for the sake of this post, a belief in the wrong interpretation of the information. We refer to this as a misunderstanding of the facts or information.
When I am confronted with a situation with an aggressive, confrontational individual or group who only wants to argue and bully me into accepting their belief and bully me into telling them they are absolutely right regardless of my own belief, I know that their understanding is not their own truth because if it was they wouldn’t feel the need to force it on me. I know that they are closed-minded and any conversation about this subject with this person or group is a waste of my time and energy. This is because a conversation requires listening but abuse and bullying come with a closed mind and generally a sure lack of understanding along with closed ears and a loud mouth.
If someone asks me what I believe and I start to tell them what I believe and they jump to making me feel like I have to defend my beliefs which I will never do, I don’t worry about my mind being changed. I have good reason to believe whatever I believe and I know that it isn’t absolute. I also know that the other person’s truth is not absolute either. I go back to the basic rule of taking everything I hear, read or see with a grain of salt. Truth is not absolute.
Live and Let Live
In the occult community, I see such useless bickering and hatefulness among different groups. One group hates another, the other disapproves of other paths that believe differently. People argue over semantics. No one can just live and let live. No one can just say, that is what you believe and that is ok for you and I believe differently and that is ok too. Being a Wiccan doesn’t mean that it is absolutely true or that I live by extreme fanatical rules and if I do believe in extreme fanatical rules it doesn’t mean that my rules apply to anyone other than myself.
Just being a Traditional Witch doesn’t make one any more of a Witch than a Wiccan Witch, or a Santerian or a hedge witch or a hereditary witch or whatever kind of occult practice one may be drawn to. Different yes, better than, more than, or even right or wrong, doesn’t apply. It just is what it is, a method, belief, or understanding. Truth is subjective.
A belief that I have that is not a commonly accepted belief is that one can be a valid, true, real, authentic Witch without being initiated into some group or tradition. A Real Witch is anyone who does what a Witch does. If you are initiated as a Wiccan but you don’t do anything on your own that a Wiccan does than you are not a real Wiccan. If you are a hereditary Witch who doesn’t really practice certain aspects of any type of Witchcraft than you are not a Witch. On the same hand, if you do everything a Witch does and you feel like one and you believe you are one and you identify as a Witch, then you are a Witch. Only YOU can determine if you are a Witch who practices Witchcraft or Not. No one else has a right to make that determination for you and it doesn’t matter if others believe it or not.
Don’t waste time arguing about what you believe. If you can’t discuss your beliefs with an equally open-minded person then don’t discuss it with them. Listening is part of discussions. If they or you can’t simply listen to what the other person has to say, then it is not a discussion but an attack. Smile politely, walk away or change the subject. If any of those aren’t possible, I would look for a way to excuse myself from the situation as opposed to just sitting there and knowing this closed-minded individual/s are simply looking for an argument and will only waste valuable time and energy.
For me, the way I try to keep balance and harmony in my life is to keep an open mind as I listen to others discuss their perspectives. Because it involves humans, I know it will help me to understand myself as I open-mindedly try to understand others.
The key to happiness is found in your understanding through the portal of an Open Mind. The mind is a powerful thing and Witchcraft is using the power of the mind.