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Switch to Forum Live View Wicca, responsibility and end of life issues
6 years ago  ::  Jun 29, 2008 - 10:01AM #1
itty
Posts: 2,949
I originally posted this on the Wicca boards. I think it might be more appropriate here.

I I hope to start a discussion about end of life issues and how we as Wiccans deal those issues.   This is inspired,, in part on the SST thread in the Wicca community area- The Nitty Gritty.

I found the name to be most apt for me at this point in my life. I am facing a terminal illness. Please, please don’t feel sorry for me. I don’t need or want that here. I state it as a fact only.  As I face the end of my life faith becomes, for me necessarily, even more central and important. Responsibility for my faith and my practice of it has become one of the central issues of my life. My horizons are expanded as I ponder and practice my religion. I have had to make a very big decision.

Do I continue to be Wiccan?  Over the years my understanding and practice of Wicca has grown. It has given me hard choices to make. In so making those choices I have realized that my freedoms are necessarily based in the core of my religion  and are bounded, for me, in the ethical decisions that I must make in order to truly live.  I have understood that I am the one who is the captian of this ship.

Do I run back to the safe arms of Christianity and its promise of a safe existence that would be,  using some of Kea‘s words- “…simple, scriptural, stamped and approved by the powers that be…”?  What if I’m wrong? What if I’m right about what I surmise about an afterlife? It would be terribly easy to let someone else take over the controls and let me concentrate on the mundane matters I need to pay attention to. Yep, it would be easy. My time is short. I will freely admit that I have no idea what will happen to me when I die. I also freely admit to be scared of whats happening to me. I am not afraid of death or dying as in ceasing to exist in this set of dimensions. I am afraid of the process. By that I mean the physical process of dying.  I think that is a simple fear of what it is going to feel to die. This is a Mystery and I know it.

The nitty gritty for me is about the importance of living a responsible, ethical life within the bounds of my Wiccan  faith and practice of that faith. I made the right choice for me.  I have to live the rest of my life living and practicing the faith that has guided, sustained and push me for these last ten years. This is the faith that has forced me to grow up, get responsible, be accountable and understand what freedom really is.

How many of you here have had to look long and hard about whether your religious choice was indeed the right one. This has certainly made me question myself with respect to mine. If  any one here has made this particular soul search what brought you to continue as Wiccan? If you would share I’d like to know why you did and what decided you. 

Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings,

Itty
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 30, 2008 - 2:57PM #2
kraventhearcher
Posts: 170
Itty,
I've had to do this. It's a pretty tough situation.

My only advice is to weigh what you want against what you think you should do. See which one matters more to you.

It's likely you already know what you should do.

Emotionally, you really do need a support network as you get closer to the end. If you can't get that from the wiccan or pagan community, then I see no shame in reaching out to others.

I frequently crash Baptist and Lutheran potlucks just to have good people to play guitar and talk with on Sunday afternoons. :-)

But, as for the part of you maybe feeling like a sell out, I don't think anyone but you can or should answer that. You have the wonderful clarity of knowing the end is near for you.
It's a really nice tool when wrestling with the issues that have plagued man for so long.

My first bout with non-hodgkins lymphoma made me a staunch christian. My second bout 10 years later made me reject it entirely and start turning over rocks I'd only trod upon before then.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 30, 2008 - 8:14PM #3
itty
Posts: 2,949
Thanks for the response Kraventhearcher.  I am going digest it and come back to let you know what I think.

Clarity does help. I am a realist. I can't stick my head under the sand. Too many decisions to make and not all of them spiritual. I had to get my family farm into a trust. I have three underage nephews and nieces and one who is of age to consider. That's just one on my list.

Again, thank you so miuch for your perspective.

itty/Jo
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 30, 2008 - 8:14PM #4
itty
Posts: 2,949
Thanks for the response Kraventhearcher.  I am going digest it and come back to let you know what I think.

Clarity does help. I am a realist. I can't stick my head under the sand. Too many decisions to make and not all of them spiritual. I had to get my family farm into a trust. I have three underage nephews and nieces and one who is of age to consider. That's just one on my list.

Again, thank you so miuch for your perspective.

itty/Jo
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 30, 2008 - 9:20PM #5
mainecaptain
Posts: 21,783
Wish I was closer I could give you moral support, well I hope I am doing that anyway my friend. :)
A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side. Aristotle
Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. Plato..
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives" Jackie Robinson
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 31, 2008 - 10:26AM #6
KeaErisdottir
Posts: 222
[QUOTE=itty;594315]Do I continue to be Wiccan?  Over the years my understanding and practice of Wicca has grown. It has given me hard choices to make. In so making those choices I have realized that my freedoms are necessarily based in the core of my religion  and are bounded, for me, in the ethical decisions that I must make in order to truly live.  I have understood that I am the one who is the captian of this ship.
[/QUOTE]

I don't see why you would not want to continue in Wicca, if it satisfies your spiritual needs.  Progression through the Mysteries certainly gives perspectives on Life and Death that are of value and comfort.  When you own your life, you have done a lot of The Work, and being able to put end of life issues into perspective is part of that ownership process.  When you put your life on the altar and tell the Gods that it is theirs to do with as they please, it adds yet another dimension.

[QUOTE]Do I run back to the safe arms of Christianity and its promise of a safe existence that would be,  using some of Kea‘s words- “…simple, scriptural, stamped and approved by the powers that be…”?  What if I’m wrong? What if I’m right about what I surmise about an afterlife?[/QUOTE]

My daughter is wrestling with an issue of having to deal with someone that she believes to be unethical and arrogant.  Yet, she recognizes that there is something she is supposed to be doing there, or she would not continue.  As we explore that many reasons why this situation has crossed her path, she asked me why there's never one, simple reason for having to do something.  I asked her what she'd be learning, and learning about herself, if it were one simple thing? 

We learn nothing without some kind of conflict or adversity.  People who want it spelled out, spoon fed, scriptural, handed down by someone from a pulpit, or wearing a crown or some other symbol of authority are either woefully unsuitable for the Wiccan religion, or have a long difficult road ahead of them in taking control of and owning their lives.

[QUOTE]My time is short. I will freely admit that I have no idea what will happen to me when I die. I also freely admit to be scared of whats happening to me. I am not afraid of death or dying as in ceasing to exist in this set of dimensions. I am afraid of the process. By that I mean the physical process of dying.  I think that is a simple fear of what it is going to feel to die. This is a Mystery and I know it.[/QUOTE]

When my eldest was born, and I really experienced those first weeks of being so totally subsumed by the incredible bond we share, I also realized that she was going to drift away from me, little by little, as she grew up and found out what her path was going to be.  They say that a child cannot truly live until their parents die.  I've noted for myself that while you're born with your mother, ultimately, you die alone. 

The last bit of the legacy we leave behind us is in how we face death.  When my mother was doing breast cancer, I got to see just how filled with regret, and how afraid she really was, and how she reacted to and treated the people around her.  Suffice to say, she wasn't as well prepared to deal with it as she needed to be, and does not have appeared to accept the wake up call that I think the cancer event offered.  She's still alive, but she has alienated her kids, grandkids, and a lot of friends in the process.  It really is true that the measure of a man is in how they face adversity, or the unexpected.

Can't say what is beyond the door, but I do know what it looks like from this side.  If you can find that little bit of Grace that it takes to face Death, I suspect that you've beaten it.  I imagine that passage to the next incarnation is quite a bit easier for those who find it.

[QUOTE]The nitty gritty for me is about the importance of living a responsible, ethical life within the bounds of my Wiccan  faith and practice of that faith. I made the right choice for me.  I have to live the rest of my life living and practicing the faith that has guided, sustained and push me for these last ten years. This is the faith that has forced me to grow up, get responsible, be accountable and understand what freedom really is.
[/QUOTE]

Wicca is also the faith that says that if it is time to move on to your next life lesson, and it is not found within the bounds of this religion, then go there and do what you need to do with the time you have left.  I know a HPS who recently took a long sabbatical in order to find out why Jesus was calling her after al these years.  After she got her answer, she came back, and i believe that she was magnified by that encounter, and that she can serve the Gods with greater vigor--all of them.  It's like I told my daughter--you don't learn anything when it is simple and easy.

The only obligation you have to Wicca is to keep the oaths you've sworn, and the identities of members of the Craft secret.  Destroy your BoS yourself before you die(if for no other reason, to prevent some well-meaning relative selling it to llewellyn as a tribute to you. ;) ).

[QUOTE]How many of you here have had to look long and hard about whether your religious choice was indeed the right one. This has certainly made me question myself with respect to mine. If  any one here has made this particular soul search what brought you to continue as Wiccan? If you would share I’d like to know why you did and what decided you.  [/QUOTE]

I am a servant of the Gods.  It is a role that I took on willingly and without reservation.  I know that to be a witch is to be alone and having to reap what I sow, both good, bad, or unfulfilling.  I also trust that everything in my life has a reason and purpose, and I know that my Gods love me. 

Wicca is a set of practices that bind me to my Brothers and Sisters.  It makes sure that no one gets stabbed with the coven sword because we all know which way to turn in a 9 foot circle.  It provides a gateway to the Mysteries.  It does not make me -like- anyone else, or even assure that I will work with people in ritual who even believe what I believe about the Divine.  My walk is my own, and I know that I die alone, and that I only get out of the experience of living what I put into it, and I have to accept full responsibility for those choices.
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6 years ago  ::  Sep 25, 2008 - 2:02AM #7
Gwyddion9
Posts: 320

KeaErisdottir wrote:

I don't see why you would not want to continue in Wicca, if it satisfies your spiritual needs.  Progression through the Mysteries certainly gives perspectives on Life and Death that are of value and comfort.  When you own your life, you have done a lot of The Work, and being able to put end of life issues into perspective is part of that ownership process.  When you put your life on the altar and tell the Gods that it is theirs to do with as they please, it adds yet another dimension.



My daughter is wrestling with an issue of having to deal with someone that she believes to be unethical and arrogant.  Yet, she recognizes that there is something she is supposed to be doing there, or she would not continue.  As we explore that many reasons why this situation has crossed her path, she asked me why there's never one, simple reason for having to do something.  I asked her what she'd be learning, and learning about herself, if it were one simple thing? 

We learn nothing without some kind of conflict or adversity.  People who want it spelled out, spoon fed, scriptural, handed down by someone from a pulpit, or wearing a crown or some other symbol of authority are either woefully unsuitable for the Wiccan religion, or have a long difficult road ahead of them in taking control of and owning their lives.



When my eldest was born, and I really experienced those first weeks of being so totally subsumed by the incredible bond we share, I also realized that she was going to drift away from me, little by little, as she grew up and found out what her path was going to be.  They say that a child cannot truly live until their parents die.  I've noted for myself that while you're born with your mother, ultimately, you die alone. 

The last bit of the legacy we leave behind us is in how we face death.  When my mother was doing breast cancer, I got to see just how filled with regret, and how afraid she really was, and how she reacted to and treated the people around her.  Suffice to say, she wasn't as well prepared to deal with it as she needed to be, and does not have appeared to accept the wake up call that I think the cancer event offered.  She's still alive, but she has alienated her kids, grandkids, and a lot of friends in the process.  It really is true that the measure of a man is in how they face adversity, or the unexpected.

Can't say what is beyond the door, but I do know what it looks like from this side.  If you can find that little bit of Grace that it takes to face Death, I suspect that you've beaten it.  I imagine that passage to the next incarnation is quite a bit easier for those who find it.



Wicca is also the faith that says that if it is time to move on to your next life lesson, and it is not found within the bounds of this religion, then go there and do what you need to do with the time you have left.  I know a HPS who recently took a long sabbatical in order to find out why Jesus was calling her after al these years.  After she got her answer, she came back, and i believe that she was magnified by that encounter, and that she can serve the Gods with greater vigor--all of them.  It's like I told my daughter--you don't learn anything when it is simple and easy.

The only obligation you have to Wicca is to keep the oaths you've sworn, and the identities of members of the Craft secret.  Destroy your BoS yourself before you die(if for no other reason, to prevent some well-meaning relative selling it to llewellyn as a tribute to you. ;) ).



I am a servant of the Gods.  It is a role that I took on willingly and without reservation.  I know that to be a witch is to be alone and having to reap what I sow, both good, bad, or unfulfilling.  I also trust that everything in my life has a reason and purpose, and I know that my Gods love me. 

Wicca is a set of practices that bind me to my Brothers and Sisters.  It makes sure that no one gets stabbed with the coven sword because we all know which way to turn in a 9 foot circle.  It provides a gateway to the Mysteries.  It does not make me -like- anyone else, or even assure that I will work with people in ritual who even believe what I believe about the Divine.  My walk is my own, and I know that I die alone, and that I only get out of the experience of living what I put into it, and I have to accept full responsibility for those choices.



Kea,
you never cease to amaze me!
your wisdom, knowledge, humility, etc.
i am humbled by you and appreciate the teaching you give.
thanks,
Ron

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. Dr. Seuss


Let My Worship be within the heart that rejoiceth, for behold: all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you. Charge of the Goddess
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6 years ago  ::  Sep 25, 2008 - 2:02AM #8
Gwyddion9
Posts: 320

KeaErisdottir wrote:

I don't see why you would not want to continue in Wicca, if it satisfies your spiritual needs.  Progression through the Mysteries certainly gives perspectives on Life and Death that are of value and comfort.  When you own your life, you have done a lot of The Work, and being able to put end of life issues into perspective is part of that ownership process.  When you put your life on the altar and tell the Gods that it is theirs to do with as they please, it adds yet another dimension.



My daughter is wrestling with an issue of having to deal with someone that she believes to be unethical and arrogant.  Yet, she recognizes that there is something she is supposed to be doing there, or she would not continue.  As we explore that many reasons why this situation has crossed her path, she asked me why there's never one, simple reason for having to do something.  I asked her what she'd be learning, and learning about herself, if it were one simple thing? 

We learn nothing without some kind of conflict or adversity.  People who want it spelled out, spoon fed, scriptural, handed down by someone from a pulpit, or wearing a crown or some other symbol of authority are either woefully unsuitable for the Wiccan religion, or have a long difficult road ahead of them in taking control of and owning their lives.



When my eldest was born, and I really experienced those first weeks of being so totally subsumed by the incredible bond we share, I also realized that she was going to drift away from me, little by little, as she grew up and found out what her path was going to be.  They say that a child cannot truly live until their parents die.  I've noted for myself that while you're born with your mother, ultimately, you die alone. 

The last bit of the legacy we leave behind us is in how we face death.  When my mother was doing breast cancer, I got to see just how filled with regret, and how afraid she really was, and how she reacted to and treated the people around her.  Suffice to say, she wasn't as well prepared to deal with it as she needed to be, and does not have appeared to accept the wake up call that I think the cancer event offered.  She's still alive, but she has alienated her kids, grandkids, and a lot of friends in the process.  It really is true that the measure of a man is in how they face adversity, or the unexpected.

Can't say what is beyond the door, but I do know what it looks like from this side.  If you can find that little bit of Grace that it takes to face Death, I suspect that you've beaten it.  I imagine that passage to the next incarnation is quite a bit easier for those who find it.



Wicca is also the faith that says that if it is time to move on to your next life lesson, and it is not found within the bounds of this religion, then go there and do what you need to do with the time you have left.  I know a HPS who recently took a long sabbatical in order to find out why Jesus was calling her after al these years.  After she got her answer, she came back, and i believe that she was magnified by that encounter, and that she can serve the Gods with greater vigor--all of them.  It's like I told my daughter--you don't learn anything when it is simple and easy.

The only obligation you have to Wicca is to keep the oaths you've sworn, and the identities of members of the Craft secret.  Destroy your BoS yourself before you die(if for no other reason, to prevent some well-meaning relative selling it to llewellyn as a tribute to you. ;) ).



I am a servant of the Gods.  It is a role that I took on willingly and without reservation.  I know that to be a witch is to be alone and having to reap what I sow, both good, bad, or unfulfilling.  I also trust that everything in my life has a reason and purpose, and I know that my Gods love me. 

Wicca is a set of practices that bind me to my Brothers and Sisters.  It makes sure that no one gets stabbed with the coven sword because we all know which way to turn in a 9 foot circle.  It provides a gateway to the Mysteries.  It does not make me -like- anyone else, or even assure that I will work with people in ritual who even believe what I believe about the Divine.  My walk is my own, and I know that I die alone, and that I only get out of the experience of living what I put into it, and I have to accept full responsibility for those choices.



Kea,
you never cease to amaze me!
your wisdom, knowledge, humility, etc.
i am humbled by you and appreciate the teaching you give.
thanks,
Ron

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. Dr. Seuss


Let My Worship be within the heart that rejoiceth, for behold: all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you. Charge of the Goddess
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