The Utchat, or Sacred Eye.  To me it symbolizes the ever-watching eye
of conscience -- not in a moralistic sense, but in the sense that there is always
a part of ourSelf that knows the truth of all we say, and it is that Self we must
acknowledge with total honesty.

self (self) n., pl. selves (selvz).  1. The total, essential, or particular being of a person; the individual.
2. The essential qualities distinguishing one individual from another; individuality.
3. An individual's consciousness of their own being or identity; ego.
4. One's own interests, welfare, or advantage.

"Lift up the self by the Self
and don't let the self droop down
for the Self is the self's only friend
and the self is the Self's only foe."
        -- Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, Verse 5

        These are the beliefs of the Church of Self.  These beliefs can and will and must change if proven wrong.  These beliefs are not held to be unalterable dogma that everyone in the Church believes blindly; they are meant to be organic guidelines and direction for the brothers and sisters of the Church.  The primary belief that resonates through the entirety of the Church of Self  is this: that denial of self, and insistence on some distant and transcendent salvation through transformation, is counter to the spiritual and mental nature of humanity.  Humanity's destiny, and its chance for actualization, is not as a whole but as a mass of individuals, not through self-repression and yearning for some unattainable future, but in knowing and manifesting the Self  today, wholly and purely.  And so, read on, and blessed be.


di-vin-i-ty:(di-vin-i-te) n., pl. -ties. 1. The state or quality of
being divine.  2. a. the Divinity.  God, the  godhead. b. A god
or goddess; a deity.  3. Godlike character.  4. Theology.
5. A soft white candy, usually containing nuts.

        That said, don't take yourself, or anything else, too seriously.
        The word Divine means "relating to, emanating from, or having the nature of, a deity."  A Deity is defined as "A god or goddess."  And finally, a God is called "a being of supernatural power or attributes, believed in and worshipped by a people; something that is worshipped and idealized."   Deities have been percieved in many ways since the concept originated (which probably would have been around at least five or six thousand years ago in the Mesopotamian valley, by my layman's estimate), from the capricious super-humans of Greek myth, to the all-encompassing patriarchal god of Judeo-Christian myth -- which is the predominant image of Deity today, and has gone through many changes in and of itself, from a wrathful and jealous Old Testament god, to the loving and beneficient Sacrificed God of the New Testament.  But today's dominant concept of Deity -- aside from being mostly masculine and thus supporting and even enforcing the unhealthy and unbalanced patriarchy (read His Story by Nicholas Mann) -- is not only limited, but somewhat warped.
        God is seen as an inconceivable and incomprehensible being beyond all known laws, and therefore, it would seem, He is best not even thought about rationally.  He is the lawgiver and the punisher to whom all must answer, not here and now, but on some distant and vaguely-conceived Judgement Day, or at soonest a post-mortem afterlife.  We are given laws and restrictions, and we are not to question them, for we are not meant to understand the divine regulations on human behavior.  We are only to obey...blindly, and without question, and this passive and mindless servitude is called "faith," and is highly regarded as a most desirable quality in a person.  No wonder these congregations are so often referred to as "flocks" of Sheep who are tended by a Shepherd.
        We in the Church of Self are (in the previously mentioned allegory) the Wolves, or at least we strive to be as Wolflike as we can.  To us, Deity is not found in some discarnate and separate Shepherd whom we follow blindly and rely on for guidance.  Deity is found within us, in the hunger that drives us and the wisdom we have found in the past, in the joy of running and mating, in the pride we feel as powerful and competent creatures.  Like wolves, we humans are indeed social creatures, but that does not mean that it should be necessary for us to meld our identities into a greater mass-self, and adore that jumbled abstraction as the supreme Deity.  It means only that it is in our nature to work and live with others, that we naturally adhere to some form of social structure, and that many of our feats result from the cooperation of individuals.
        The Deity is not in some distant Heaven, awaiting mindless or emotion-driven servitude and shame.  The Deity is within the Self, and though the location of the Self cannot be pinpointed physically (if it even exists as such -- as discussed in The Mind's I by Douglas R. Hofstadter), we all know "where" that is in a non-physical sense.


"In the beginning, the gods created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness
was upon the face of the deep.  And the spirits
of the gods moved upon the face of the waters."
-- The Holy Bible, Genesis 1:1-2

        This interpretation of the Holy Bible's opening words is, from what I have studied of the translations and languages, more accurate than the commonly accepted version.  The word Elohim is not, as is thought by most, the Hebrew word for "God" (singular), but is actually plural -- "the Gods".  Or more accurately, "the Shining Lords".  The early nomadic and pastoral Hebrews were not monotheistic, believing that there was only one Deity in existance; instead they were henotheistic, meaning they believed that many Deities existed, but only worshipped one of the many -- the god of their land, Yahweh of the solar desert.  They believed in many other Deities; such as the fire-god Baal, the nightlord Moloch, and the fertility-goddess Astarte of of the agricultural goddess-worshippers in Canaan, and also the bull-god El of the agricultural peoples Lebanon (near Mt.Hermon).
        The Church of Self supports conceptual  polytheism, in the sense that it is often helpful or preferable for a worshipper to conceive of the Divine Self as having many aspects, such as the five deities of Celtic neo-paganism.  But to call this viewpoint "polytheism" is misleading, since technically the belief in multiple and separate Deities would contradict the fundamental theory of the Divine Self; the Church of Self does not support the belief that, in addition or exclusion of the Divine Self, there are Deities that are completely unconnected to the Divine Self.  This may seem like a contradiction, due to the fact that the Church of Self acknowledges that every person has a Divine Self -- and thus is, in a sense, a Deity -- and it may seem therefore that the only way the Church of Self has to avoid inconsistancy is to claim that all Divine Selves are indeed the same Divine Self, thus supporting the very mass-self, individuality-obliterating mindset that it claims to oppose so vehemently.  But -- and you knew there would be a "but", didn't you? -- the saving grace in this matter is that, since there is no evidence that any entity but the self exists, from the perspective of any given self, all concepts of Deity which might be claimed to co-exist with the Divine Self can only be regarded as theoretical, at best (see Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy, for his sceptical view of perception).
        Therefore, "pantheism" is a better term -- the belief that, in its way, everything is divine.


evil(e-vel) --n. 1. Something that causes harm, misfortune, or destruction.
2. Something morally bad or wrong; wickedness.  3. An evil force or power.
4. Something that is a cause or source of suffering, injury, or destruction.

        The concept of evil has been much changed over the past one or two thousand years, and for the worse.  In Persian Zoroastrianism, Ahriman was not a malicious and fearful dark deity, but simply the darker face of God, the part of reality that held misfortune and disaster.  Much of the structure of Judaism, and therefore Christianity, was borrowed from Zoroastrianism; but even in early Judaism, satan was only a title, a position among the servants of God -- with ha-satan meaning literally "the adversary", an angel who tests the faith of mortals.  There were many angels who held the title of satan, and it was not seen as a remotely bad thing, though these angelic questioners could certainly put a hapless mortal through the ringer with their soul-searching questions and intense investigations.  It was not until much later that transcendental patriarchy of Christianity decided that it needed to create a dichotomy, a great "evil" for the servants of "good" to fight against.  Thus was created, for the New Testament and the new spirituality, the myth of the Angelic Rebellion and the subsequent Fall.  The decadence, greed, and malicious oppression of Imperial Rome was much-used as a symbol this new Evil, to the extent that Sammael, a satan and the Angelic Prince of Rome, was declared to have become one of the Lords of Hell after The Fall.  It is interesting to note that the same intolerance and hypocrisy, of which the rebellious early Christians accused Rome, is a stereotype now commonly applied to Christianity itself, especially after the hysteria of the Inquisitions only a few centuries ago.  And, at the risk of encouraging the reactionary anti-Catholics, I would remind the reader that the current center of the orthodox non-reformed Christian Church is in Rome.
        In any case, it was only to serve the interests of an eager new dogma of  utopia-seeking and self-denial that the concet of Evil as a separate and embodied personal force, was created.  The Church of Self does not acknowledge the existence of Evil in the third sense, with the capital E -- that of "an evil force or power."   Certainly, there is evil in the world, if by evil one means misfortune, destruction, suffering, injury.  This is in fact something that must be acknowledged in order to overcome the transcendental midset of the current paradigm; transcendentalism (in Christianity, for example) teaches one to focus on some perfect Afterlife that will come some time later, if one has managed to become worthy.  This focus on Heaven necessitates a certain ignorance of the more negative aspects of cold, hard reality.  Recognizing suffering as a natural and unavoidable aspect of reality frees one from the delusion that somewhere, sometime, everything will be Perfect; it also frees one from the need to create a (non-existant) Satanic scapegoat and thus dualize reality into a false dichotomy of opposition, as well as externalize their negative reactions to these natural occurances.  In less complex, layman's terms, we have developed an addiction to funneling all the unpleasant things in reality into a mythical Devil, a personal being whom we can hate and "fight against".  This makes it easier for us to deal with misfortune.
        My point with all this apparent errata is that, through acknowledging the natural place of misfortune in the cycle of existance, one finds that there is no need for the baggage and delusion of this ancient dichotomy.  There is no Evil, no Archfiend ruling in hell...the only dark god we need fear is the cthonic shadow-side of the Divine Self, and we only need fear that if we are denying it, or making it into something unhealthy.


magic (majik) n. 1. The art that purports to control or forecast
natural events, effects, or forces by invoking the supernatural.
  . . .
"Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will."
        -- Aliester Crowley, "Magick in Theory and Practice"

        There is magick in the world.  Are you tired of hearing that?  On thousands of cartoons and sentimental movies, inside too too many New Age paperbacks, on the bumpers of neo-pagan's everywhere.  A sort of vague, nearly desperate reassurance that this world is more than bills and schedules and politics as usual.  If you look hard enough, you can find "magickal societies", and practitioners of "the Art" just about everywhere.  I once spoke with a waiter at Denny's who noticed some books I was carrying and began to tell me about how he was a Druid, and how his daughter was being taught by a renowned High Priestess up by the reservoir.  And perhaps they are doing valid, meaningful work.  But there is the chance, however slim, that they are filling their minds and their time with things no more substantial or effective than lighting some candles and waving a dagger around.
        There is magick in the world.  But for you to accept that, we must first more clearly define what magick is, in this context...or, perhaps first, what it is not.

        Ritual is only useful in some forms, when practiced knowledgeably and practically.  Otherwise, it is a meaningless clutter of gestures, words, and other actions, a delusion to convince oneself that change is being created.

        "Style" is really just a matter of aesthetic and personal choice.  I personally have chosen the Celtic style, for its sense of beauty, mystery, and mythology ... (quote from His Story, p.??)

        Membership in the Church of Self is open to all who have Selves.  If, after reading the basic beliefs, you decide you want to be a member, then you are.  If you want me to know you are a member, e-mail me.  If you want other people aside from me to know, mention in said e-mail that you want your name displayed here.  The reason for the delineation between KNOWN DEITIES and POSSIBLE DEITIES is that I am simply going to trust that if you told me to put your name on the list, you generally agree with the tenets of the Church of Self -- but I am also aware that there will be some hypocrites out there, signing up for a lark or to mess with me.  So, the names listed under KNOWN DEITIES are people I can vouch for in their honoring of the Divine Self... the names listed under POSSIBLE DEITIES are just people who have sent me their names.

        If that was all too complex and poorly-communicated, e-mail me and I will explain it.

        Nathan James Graham (Peregrine)
        Shannon Leigh Miller (Meriadoc)
        Brenda Michelle Blight (Silwen)
          Sarah Michelle David (Ramina)

          Julia Wilder (Kyrie)


        Things that members of the Church of Self have probably done most of their lives...




OF NATURAL BEING: Sex, Death, Pain...



        Right now the Church of Self has chosen to structure its primary celebrations along the annual solar parade of the Equinoxes and Solstices.  I will also be coordinating gatherings for the White Sabbats, which include Samhuine, Imbolg, Bealtane, and Lughnasadh.  Descriptions of these festivals can be found on my Wheel of the Year page, once I post my writings there, and my Sabbat Pages.  Most of these gatherings basically consist of drum-circles, feasting, and whatever merry-making seems appropriate, and any use of cycles or myths for progressing and manifesting oneSelf during these times can be done alone or with the support of others.  Any member of the Church of Self is welcome after contacting me to announce their intent to attend, and after a brief series of screening conversations, for personal security.  The White Sabbats are primarily personal gatherings of friends and members of my Clan, while the "Green" Sabbats -- the Equinoxes and Solstices -- are smaller but more symbolic and more strongly related to the Church of Self.  This is partially because these holidays are common to nearly every cultural paradigm and do not give the impression of favoritism for one culture over  another.

        I am attempting to gather a drum-circle for one night of every week in which the Lady Moon grows full...if anyone out there in web-crawler land wants to join us at a circle somewhere in Colorado (or perhaps nearby in a neighboring state), please contact me.  A good drum-circle should consist of trance-inducing rhythm, mellow but solid people, a bit of food and drink, maybe some dancing, and only moderate amounts of mild drugs for those who wish them.  It is a celebration of sound, of sensuality -- the reality of the sweat of our bodies and the resonance of the air around us, the support of the earth beneath us that is our one world and a massive home to each and every one of us who are children of dust.  From the rhythm rises the the child of the soul, and into the rhythm dies the ancestor of the heart.
        Drums of good quality can be made if one has the skill, but if not, they can be purchased for anywhere from $100 to $300.  Good places to look include Renaissance Festivals, Earth Day celebrations, cultural specialty stores (Nepal-Tibet, for example), music shops in college towns, and some "Head Shops"...some coffeeshops are hosting drumcircles occasionally, but problems often arise due to health regulations and the fact that drum-circles don't really attract consumers, instead drawing bohemian and often Not Rich folk.  If you know of any drum-circles in your area, attend one or two -- it'll blow your mind, there's way more to most of them than you might think.  And if you can provide them with a place to kick off their shoes and beat out rhythms into the night, then please do so.



Back to the WORLD EGG

Back to the PAGAN DEITIES Page