Lamp & Labyrinth: Polytheistic Mysticism

If you’re interested in the mechanics, basics, and caveats of polythestic mysticism, Ian does a great job of laying everything out here, here, here, and here . What he doesn’t cover is the wisdom I really wanted to know all these years: what’s the experience of it like, articulated by a skeptic experimenter. I am not afraid to be profaned in public. As a Druí of a local sliocht and a Feartuaithe, I consider myself a taboo maker and breaker, my fate is my own and I’ll face the fairies and gods, who usually do not like it when you talk about these things, as Morgan Daimler will tell you.

When you enter the mystic, gnostic, or entheogenic state, or go to Fairy, one of the first things you’ll notice is either a very solid unity or a battle of all the dichotomies in your mind. Which one you experience tells you a lot about yourself, and in that state, you know exactly what you should do to remedy any part of that, or if you should at all. Enlightenment isn’t a goal, it’s just a tool, it’s turning the damn light on so you can see the work. Needless to say the former is the state of the superior mystic, one who has been experienced for more than a year in reaching the Wisdom of Illumination.

Unfortunately, for most people which consume content on mysticism, they’re being sold a river of shit, and have been for a long time. Enlightenment isn’t the gate to nirvana, yes infinite bliss is there, sometimes, but there are still aeons of work to be done for those we care about to reach for their lamps and start helping with the Tribes work. I hate the term soul group so I use Tribe, which includes any kind of blood-kin, heart-kin, or animal-kin.

Further exploration into this state yields a unity that bridges what is inside your mind to what is outside of your mind.

The Core of Mysticism

The core of mysticism is to attain states of consciousness that circumvent the psychological filters and algorithms which match patterns and filter our senses and subconscious world away from our hunting, surviving mind. Now here is where things go wrong in articulating each of our perceived real reality, outside of our psychological filters.

Folks like Alan Watts, Lao Tzu, Late Vedic Prophets, et al., decide it is something different than what they’ve already lead themselves to perceive, simply on account of the increased sense of unity and connectedness with the things around them.

The problem, is, these philosophers, visionaries, and mystics come from a starting position of what am I, their pursuit is about their self, it starts with them. Lao Tzu was a hermit, he wrote about what was good and worked for him, didn’t write at all about the chinese folk religion or ancestor veneration. Not saying these mystics didn’t bring back wisdom, I just think it, like bronze age scripture, was filtered through the programming of the times.

I think they need to evaluate that the individual Self isn’t a single person, but rather the family and extended family. I believe this is evinced by the need of one individual of many skills of other individual specialists. The biggest individual human is the village, the smallest individual human is the family. You’re just a part of an individual, complete with the magic of being an interchangeable part who can go out and start an entirely new individual human with other ‘parts’.

 Cliché, Woo-Woo, Mystical Bullshit

In the 2006 BBC documentary which reveals Castenda mostly a fraud, a real anthropologist, Dr. Jay Courtney Fikes, visited the Mexican Shamans in Don Juan’s region, for lack of a better word, and even spoke with Don Juan’s wife. They, the Mexican mystics, held practices which had less to do with self-realization and enlightenment, and more to do with tribal facilitation and maintenance– polytheistic or animistic view.

At about the time of Paramahansa Yogananda, Alan Watts, Carlos Castaneda, and others, our western culture of orthodoxy and frigidity stifled folks who are naturally avant-garde to the point where these revolutionary ideas almost filled a negative vacuum. This was so fast, swift and profitable that anyone could simply create anything, co-opt anything, remove all the nuances out of it, and simplify it so they could explain it to an American crowd. And now people take it for cliché, woo-woo, mystical bullshit.

Are we all one?

To think that you are one with this entirety of the Universe in these states, is just one perspective, and I’m glad to say that when I am in this state, I don’t get the sense that we are all one. I understand when folks come from a monist or monotheist over-culture how this would be the first path in the labyrinth they’d go down, and they might certainly find a seat of power in that, but they wouldn’t be headed toward the Sovereignty Seat of Indo-European (IE) Polytheism Mysticism.

If we were all one, then when our psychological filters dropped we’d be able to perceive the 5 senses of every sentient being in the universe, and because that doesn’t happen, we’re going to look toward a polytheist mysticism, one which explains what we feel when we perceive these same states through our IE worldview. One which explains the feelings of intense unity but from one perspective.

So the funny thing about polytheist mysticism, these sensations also occur to a us in the same way, yet we arrive at an entirely different view of reality. These are a few beliefs I’ve garnered from a state I call the “Wisdom of Illumination”.

Tenets of IE Polytheistic Mysticism:

We are not all one, but we are all.

Maybe we were in the beginning, and that may be what mythical persons like Ymir are about.  But, while we are certainly all variations on the same fractal system of cells and organ though to a solar system, we are provably not of the same mind; I don’t care how much mescaline you took, Alan, all minds are not of the same personalities.

What essentially is happening here is the notion of a god, a word which first finds its origin in Indo-European polytheism, is taken by monotheists who apply it to their gods who previously conformed to the standards of polytheism. They then further inflated that from supreme sentience or personality to infinite being, then onto immanent in every particle in nature. So, if you go this crooked method of defining the non-personal with words that are meant for personal beings, you get silly notions like you are god when you experience said unity and mystic bliss.

All gods are not one.

Simply stated, all gods are not one; hard polytheism is not monotheism, nor is it monism.

You are a god; every sentience is.

Being accused of having a god complex in western civilization when you say you are god or are a god, is the result of language and meaning attachment, bias, but most of all, is an expression of what Alan Watt’s calls the taboo of of our society: knowing who you really are. In India calling yourself a god is a regular occurrence. As monists or polytheists, doing so doesn’t come with any implied ranking. Such is the same as saying, I am a spirit.

We don’t come into the world, we come out of it.

Alan Watt’s was right about this: our bodies come from the material from the dismemberment of the cosmic giant, Bith, Ymir, Purusha, and any other surviving or reconstructed IE cognates. This material makes up the universe, this world, and our bodies, the spirit houses for our observing spirit.

Ego deaths do not invalidate the individual, they reveal what the individual truly is.

The sense of self is not gone, it just doesn’t refer to the same thing as it does when you are reading this text. The sense of self being associated as part with the world around you is neither literal nor figurative, it is both equally and not the other. What is really happening in the mind of the polytheist is that you are identifying with the web of causality that is around you, it’s the same web of causality the ancestors did to make your body (which is a spirit house for the god that is you, the spirit).

During such an experience, your deeds, honor, sense of self is ripped from you, but not from your reach entirely, rather they are part of the world and you are just the observer who wears them as clothes. This observing spirit is what you are, you as a soul, a spirit, or a low ranking god. It really is a multi-dimensional tesseract-like form of you throughout eternity, but let’s not go there just yet, that’s scary talk.


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About Chris Godwin

Chris Godwin is Senior Druid of HearthStone Grove, ADF in Austin Tx. He was a student of several paths and traditions before finding his spiritual home in Indo-European reconstructionism in 1999. Chris is a local volunteer in the area as well as host and cohost of over 60 events per year in the local Austin Pagan community. Chris is also the local coordinator for Austin Pagan Pride Day. His award winning service to the community has been recognized on the national level by the Archdruid of ADF for interfaith work and for excellence in liturgy. Chris co-founded the now defunct Houston grove, Live Oaks ADF, in 2003, and served as head organizer of that grove from 2008 to 2010. Though undergoing clergy courses, he currently is working on developing new Indo-European specific magic and mysticism practices. Chris focuses on increasing practical solutions in realising a mainstream public paganism.