Let’s Talk Unverified personal gnosis

July 26, 2017 UPGs with Thor Halvorsen

http://tobtr.com/s/10166025 link to archive

When you deal with the Occult, the Paranormal, the Supernatural, the Metaphysical, and especially when you discover that your belief systems are closer to those of pagan ancestors than those of the modern world, you have two resources: what’s been written down, probably by Christians who disaprove of or scientists who disbelieve the subject matter, or your personal experiences. You wouldn’t take on the inconvieniences of calling yourself a Pagan, Heathen, or Witch, if you weren’t pretty sure that what you’re dealing with is real, and your life will be better if you maintain a positive relationship with these beings that most of the world seems to be telling you are imaginary.

There are enough of us now, (1-2 million estimated) pagans or polytheists in the USA, that you may have found others to hang around with. You may have found a Hellenistic (Greek), Khemetic (Egyptian), or Heathen (Norse) group that worship the same gods, and would like to do it together. Reconstructionist Pagans try to find as much material (often called Lore) from the pre-Christian writings on which to base practices. But we come to this situation through personal experiences, and keep having them.

At the same time, we are modern people and know that it’s possible to hallucinate, to see something briefly and have your brain turn it into something different, or even just remember things incorrectly. How do you know the experience, the vision, that you had was real? Joan of Arc wasn’t burned for cross dressing, she was burned for believing her visions over the Churches objections. But polytheists don’t have experts to tell them what’s Canon, we tend to come to a consensus. If your personal experienced differs from historical sources, or others experiences, they’ll be less likely to trust your description. It’s an “unverifiable personal gnosis” they might say. If several others have, for example seen the goddess Hecate with blonde hair, others may be willing to say “I guess that’s how she’s appearlng these days.”

Gnosis btw, is a knowledge of spiritual mysteries.

Wikipedia tells us:

“Unverified personal gnosis (often abbreviated UPG) is the phenomenological concept that an individual’s spiritual insights (or gnosis) may be valid for them without being generalizable to the experience of others. It is primarily a neologism used in polytheistic reconstructionism, to differentiate it from ancient sources of spiritual practices.

The term appears to have originally appeared in print in Kaatryn MacMorgan’s book Wicca 333: Advanced Topics in Wiccan Belief, published in March 2003, but seems to have originated in German–Scandinavian Reconstructionist groups in the 1970s or 1980s. The same phenomenon has also been referred to as “personal revelation”, or “unverifiable personal gnosis” (in a somewhat derogatory sense).

Ideally the term is used to label one’s own experience as a new and untested hypothesis, although further verification from the spiritual interactions of others may lead to a certain degree of verifiability[disambiguation needed]. At other times, the term is used in either a value-neutral or disparaging sense, about someone else’s experience.”

Tune in to http://www.Liveparanormal.com, to listen on your computer. If you’d like to join the conversation, we’d love to hear your perspective and experiences. call 619-639-4606 (live only). If you know you’re going to listen later but have a question, leave a question on the facebook event page . We’ll try to answer it during the show.

If you can’t tune in 8-9, Live Paranormal.com archives its shows by date, and I archive them by date, guest, and topic on my website: https://tchipakkan.wordpress.com/the-new-normal/directory-of-podcasts/

Hope you can join us on the New Normal, at LiveParanormal.com

Updating Metaphysics

I’ve just added a bit of a preface to my section on metaphysics, and the essay “All Holidays are Local Holidays“, and it occurs to me that the “blog” section might be a good place to let people know when I add pages or updates.   (BTW, the Yankee Charge of the Goddess is one of my favorite pieces)

☉ ☾ ☿ ♀ ♁ ♂ ♃ ♄  ♅ ♆  ✧  ♈ ♉ ♊ ♋ ♌ ♍ ♎ ♏ ♐ ♑ ♒ ♓

the update:

This section covers all sorts of metaphysical/ occult/ psychic subjects. I start from the premise that people are psychic. I believe there has been ample evidence of this, and it’s high time we stopped wasting energy trying to prove it to those who don’t want to believe it, and just get on with making it a useful part of our lives. Whether using it to get information not available through “normal” means, healing, finding things, or otherwise interacting with the world around us, this is a set of abilities humans have. A good way to describe them is “talents” because as with artistic or physical talents, people seem to start with different levels, and can, with practice, develop these talents into skills. I explore these phenomena both in the conference Changing Times-Changing Worlds, and in my podcast show The New Normal, and you can follow those links for a lot more information.

As I see the world as being imbued in spirit in every aspect, I describe my beliefs (depending upon the audience) as pagan, heathen, rustic, animist, polytheist…. I think religion is simply the way people describe how the world works. I find we can communicate with the spirit that is in everything, and have found that often these spirits have personalities that are best taken into account when dealing with them. Do you want to call them gods? ghosts? ancestors? divas? elementals? pixies? avatars? Throughout history and across the world there are hundreds of words to describe spirits. The words come to us from our culture, and help create the filters that effect the way we perceive them. Forensics have shown us that we see what we expect to see, so we can’t even really trust our own eyes and ears. The words our culture has taught us help shape the way we experience the “unseen” world. The Pagan world view, as it accepts the world as inhabited by other spirits with whom we can interact naturally respects the rights of those others to live, and by extension: Nature. I’m not sure I would call it “worship” as much as “appreciate” the other beings and their manifestations.

I did not so much decide to be pagan as realize that I was, that my beliefs or perceptions were much closer to those described in what I read about pagan cultures. There will, therefore, be articles in this section from my writings about these subjects. One lovely thing about modern “Neo-pagans” is that most, accepting that there are many ways to interact with the spiritual world, are not as concerned with convincing others that one way is the “right” way. (This is not to say that many don’t spend a lot of time sharing “better ways to” do this, that, or the other thing, including communicating with the Divine.) I find this means a large component of humor that I hadn’t often found in the mono-theistic sphere (but I’ll admit I may just have missed it). For example, there’s a Wiccan writing The Charge of the Goddess, that has been re-written dozens if not hundreds of times into humorous spin-offs. Mine, The Yankee Charge of the Goddess, is included. I also include more serious essays. None of this is meant to proselytize or convince, but only to share.