Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dark Paganism As A Spiritual Path

Dark Paganism As A Spiritual Path Cover Facing the Shadow

"Enlightenment doesn't occur from sitting around visualizing images of light, but from integrating the darker aspects of the Self into the conscious personality." ~ Carl Jung

Is dark paganism just Paganism dressed up in Goth clothing or devil worshippers calling themselves Pagan? In a word - no. These stereotypes may exist on some level. But beyond them lies the truth of this fulfilling and often times challenging path.

Common Threads

Dark Paganism is not one tradition but encompasses many beliefs. It attracts members from different traditions including Wiccans, magicians, and witches among others. This of course leads to numerous interpretations of what it means to be a dark Pagan. There is no dogma that is absolutely true for everyone.

One common thread is the belief that a religion which focuses on light only is not a balanced one. If the old adage is true - that which we resist, persists - then the darkness within ourselves and the world which we try to drown by light will only show itself in another form.

Darkness as Part of the Whole

The mythology of many cultures depicts darkness or chaos as the primordial force that light sprang forth from. Before light, there was darkness. While some may argue that the light was an escape from that darkness, the dark pagan tends to see it as a companion inextricably linked with the light.

The Eastern yin yang symbol, while not specifically representing dark Paganism, portrays the polarity principle behind much of dark Pagan thought. Rather good vs. evil, dark Paganism embraces a positive/negative paradigm in the sense of passive and receptive energy dancing in unison to create the whole.

Darksiders and Lightsiders

So, what's the difference between dark Paganism and every other Paganism? Don't we all try to reach some balance in our spirituality? Many dark Pagans don't think so. New Age ideas such as positive thinking to the point of denial are seen as detrimental to our spiritual health.

There are concepts embraced by darker paths that may be considered morbid or frightening to those who practice a white-light only spiritual approach. These include not only the aesthetics such as Goth and vampire lifestyles, dark surroundings, cemeteries, etc., but also themes of death, challenging of social, sexual and relationship mores, and working magically with the shadow self.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Kathryn Paulsen - Witches Potions And Spells
Aryeh Kaplan - Sefer Ha Yetzirah
Vladimir Antonov - Classics Of Spiritual Philosophy And The Present