Sharing Circle is a monthly symposium on the anthropological, sociological, psychological, and philosophical study of specific topics in various tribal/indigenous, classical polythiestic, neopagan, and intrapersonal spiritualities. Originally, Sharing Circle covered specific topics in specific religions with a presenter, akin to a workshop. Today, Sharing Circle is much more discussion based. Participants focus on one question per gathering and share their experiences and perspectives with others. The experience is both challenging and informational. Many participants state that they are asked to evaluate their beliefs logically and to entertain ideas you may not have considered before.
When & Where?
Southside Public Library
Conference Room 1
6101 Johnston Street
Every Second Wednesday of Each Month
7:00pm until 8:45pm
Questions currently being addressed during Sharing Circle:
- Is your path an ancient tradition, a reconstruction of an ancient tradition, a new path altogether, or an unverified personal gnosis? Is your path has a name, what is it?
- Are you a solitary practitioner, practice with a small coven, practice with a large congregation, or are you part of a large church?
- Does your path have a creation myth? If so, explain how everything was created. What role does it play in your religion?
- Is your path pantheistic (all-is-one), polytheistic (multiple deities), dualistic (duality of deities), henotheistic (many deities, but worship only one), monotheistic (single deity), or agnostic (none acknowledge or recognized)?
- What is the nature of your deity or deities (transcendent deities or immanent deities)? A transcendent deity exists outside of or beyond creation; the deity is involved in the act of creation and is seen as a creature of a different and higher order than humans or any other part of the created universe. An immanent deity is seen as completely within and constrained by creation; an immanent deity would be thought of as being part of creation in a literal sense, that is to say that every part of creation is part of the deity and that the deity is found in everything that has been created. Often an immanent deity is seen as coming into being as part of the creation process.
- What powers or influence does your deity or deities have over the physical realm?
- What kind of interest, if any, do you feel the gods take in humanity? None? Pay attention to a select few? Love all? Doesn’t matter? We are a part of them? Are they a part of us?
- Does your path have a spiritual hierarchy? Is there a supreme god or gods followed by lesser gods? Does your path include other “mythical” creatures such as fairies, elves, angels, guardian angels, ghosts, demons, or other?
- Does your path believe in ascended masters? Ascended masters are individuals who have passed on beyond this plane and play a significant role in a higher level of existence. Ascended masters include demi-gods, saints, bodhisattvas, or any other being that has once lived on earth and ascended to a higher plane of existence either by his own will or through assumption of a higher power.
- Do you give respect or reverence to your deity or deities?
- Do you give respect or reverence to your ancestors?
- Do you believe in magick? If so, which types of magick do you believe in: natural magick, talismanic magick, ceremonial magick, invocative magick, sympathetic magick, illusionary magick, and/or divinatory magick? Magick is defined as “the Science of understanding oneself and one’s conditions. It is the Art of applying that understanding in action.” Natural magick is using the secrets of nature and using the powers of nature. Talismanic magick is taking an object, charging, and loading it for magical purposes. Ceremonial magick is any form of ceremony, ritual or rite performed to initiate a spiritual response. Invocative Magick deals with importing and controlling entities, spirits, beings and intelligences that are higher than you. Sympathetic magick is when one thing is used in lieu of another to provoke a spiritual response. Illusionary magick is using one’s own imagination to make one object become another (like transubstantiation). Divinatory magick involves gaining knowledge from another plane of existence, whether about the future, the past, about the nature of an object, or other.
- What is your form of communication with the deities? Do you pray? Do you meditate?
- Does your path believe in possession of the physical body by a spiritual being? If so, explain.
- What is your path’s connection to the natural world?
- Do you believe in Qi (a universal, free-flowing energy that connects all living things)?
- Does your path believe in other planes of existence? Does your path have a hierarchy of the planes of existence? What is the connection between the physical plane and the other planes of existence? (April 2013)
- Does your path believe in the afterlife? If so, describe your version of the afterlife.
- Do you believe in reincarnation?Is your path concerned with here and now and/or with the afterlife? Do choices you make now affect your stance in the afterlife? Is there redemption?
- Does your path have a moral code? What is their range (just actions or thoughts and feelings as well)? Precisely defined? Applicable in the modern-era?
- Do you believe in karma? Why do bad things happen to good people?What function does your faith serve in your personal life? Do you practice for personal growth, joy, wish fulfillment, and/or the social aspects?
- How do you decide what you do and do not believe?What is your process/reasoning for incorporating something into your practice/path?
- Does your path have a religious text? Dogma? What sort of books are in your “essential library”?
- What is your path’s view on altered states of consciousness? Can altered states be induced chemically (drugs) and/or naturally (trance/meditation)?
- Does your path have objects or places that are considered “sacred”? How are things made sacred in your path? The seven main characteristics of the sacred are objects or ideas that people have assigned special meaning or reverence. First, there has to be some sort of acknowledgment of the belief, character, or force. Second, there is an idea that power is indefinite and could be physical, positive, and so on. Third, the sacred does not have to have some useful purpose other than to be sacred. Forth, it is not a symbol of state power. Fifth, the defining character of it as sacred is not based on defining it by taste, texture, appearance, sound, or smell or containing some knowledge thereof. Sixth, the sacred has to support the society as a whole. Seventh, the sacred has to have a moral ideal and lead a moral obligation.
- Do you believe certain objects (crystals, gold, amulets, etc.) have special powers?
- Does your path have religious ceremonies? What function does the ceremony serve in terms of spirituality? What function does the ceremony serve in terms of the society or group?
- Does your religious path have a hierarchical ministry? Do you believe that higher-ranking ministers or priests have some special connection with the spiritual world? Does the act of ordainment consecrate a person as sacred?
- Do you practice divination (tarot, astrology, psychic intuition, déjà vu, etc) to tell the future? Do you think it works? How and why do you think it works?
- Do you believe there are centers of the body where energy collects (chakras)?
- Do you feel the need to reconcile science and religion? Why or why not?