Starsight’s Weblog

August 31, 2015

The Numenous Way

Filed under: Uncategorized — by The Numenous Way @ 7:47 pm
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Amid all this talk of wars on religions, usually contrived by the religion claiming to be warred upon, I thought it would be pleasant to speak of a religion that isn’t aggressively forcing itself on others, bearing false witness, engaging in acts of violence, or otherwise acting in a manner that isn’t charitable or kind.

Numenism is a small religion. Some call it a way of life – but I feel that’s an oxymoron.  All religions are ways of living.

Others call it a “wiki” religion, or an “open source” religion, and that is truth. Our adherents help to update it and to keep it as close to true as is possible when faith and belief are involved. Through constant questioning and research, experimentation and peer review, Numenism stays current and in touch with its adherents.

It is not a religion for those who only show up on the Big Holy Days, although we have made some accommodation for those who are young, new, or are less able to be actively involved.

It is a religion for people who like control over their beliefs, like to question and explore, like to be actively involved.

This is perhaps why we have so few adherents.  The other is that we’ve kept a very low profile while the foundation was being built. Our Founders weren’t prosyletizers, didn’t belief in advertising, and were internet averse. They believed in small recruiting of one person at a time, and their family. Which is a truly stable and – as time has shown – stagnant way to grow a belief/lifestyle.

Progress within Numenism has also been slow and steady. Again, excellent for stability, not so good for growth, especially as the Founders have aged out of life itself.

This cautious approach has given us a solid foundation to stand on. This is good news for a religion that was intentionally built as this one has been.

A little brief history.  Numenism was formed in 1946 in Texas, USA. Specifically, in the DFW area, from Carswell Air Force Base. Several soldiers and their families got together because their beliefs at the time weren’t adequate to their experiences and they wanted something that could provide comfort, answers, and personal growth. At first, they were just a small study group, but when their children went off to college at UTAustin, it expanded and the focus changed from finding a religion that worked to creating one that worked.

These teens were the ones who made that difference. They were filled with the enthusiasm of the 50’s, and embraced the hippies, some of whom in turn embraced this fledgling religion. Some were lured off by Wicca and Witchcraft and Buddhism, but a few stayed and contributed to the bones of this new religion.

The mission of the religion, even before it had a name, was to become a religion of Americans for Americans by Americans, and indigenous belief system that accommodated modern ways from multiple peoples, a melting pot religion just as America was a melting pot country. That’s what we called it before the internet gave us more accurate terms like “wiki” and “open source”.

That’s what Numenism has tried to do – to be a religion created by Americans for Americans with Americans.

The few who stayed with Numenism have, as said earlier, aged out of life and our numbers have shrunk not just with the loss of those older adherents, many of the younger ones have also left for easier religions.

The number of adherents have fallen so far that I fear only a small handful of us are left.

And that’s the thing – Numenism was not an easy religion to adhere to in the firmative years.  There was a lot of discussion, a lot of probing, a lot of soul-searching and research and testing.  The foundation is there now, well-built, strong, and capable of bearing up under the changes and differences the future will inevitably bring.  Life is full of changes, and a living religion should be as adaptable as life. Just as a baby is still a human even when it’s a teen or a young adult or a mature adult or a senior and regardless of the way the body and mind change, it remains human from birth to grave. So should a religion remain true to its core foundations even as it changes through various maturation stages.

Personally, as an adherent of Numenism since 1956 (one of the Austinites who joined with the children of the original Founders), I feel Numenism has developed a strong foundation and is adaptable.

Now, it’s time for us to ask if others would like to also join the Numenous Way, to become Celebrants. I’d like to see Celebrants who want to explore and continue to expand the boundaries of Numenism, to add to the lore and contribute to the celebrations of Numenism, to invigorate and make Numenism more vibrant and accessible.

It starts with you – a Celebrant. You learn about the history and roots of Numenism, and explore the foundation and the celebrations, integrate into the community, and make Numenism your own.

Being a Celebrant is the most basic form of being a Numenist. It can be very satisfying, providing all an average person needs or wants in a religion:  community, comfort, support, traditions, joy, purpose.

Some people want more. And Numenism, being flexible like that, has more to offer.

There are two paths a person can take beyond Celebrant. One is the minister’s path and the other is the scholar’s path. Both paths eventually lead to becoming an Elder, if the person desires to progress that far.

Those on the ministerial path administer to the Celebrants, officiating over celebrations (such as births, namings, coming-of-age ceremonies, weddings, funerals, and such), advising people in Numenist spiritual matters, caring for the community as a whole and the individuals within it, arranging for assistance for adherents who need it, reminding people of helping one another out, officiating at the assemblies.

Those on the scholarly path do research and teach and explore in depth spiritual and religious and social matters. They can officiate at need in celebrations. They advise those on the ministerial path regarding information and methods of spiritual counseling but don’t usually engage in the counseling itself.

All three paths – celebrant, ministerial, scholarly – can offer suggestions and reasons for making changes in the procedures and beliefs of Numenism.

The fourth path in Numenism, the Elders, are the ones who make any final decisions on changes in orthodoxy regarding Numenism.  They studied it for a minimum of 40 years and have been quizzed and had to prove capable of making such decisions soundly – and it may take a few years before the change is made and disseminated among the known Numenists. The Elders will consult with the scholars and ministers before making changes, and there may be a few Moosemasses where the decision is presented to everyone who attends.

At all levels of Numenism, everyone is a Celebrant.  Some just give more service to Numenism than others, and work to know more. It’s how society works, and Numenism strives to emulate the best in society.

We do have some immutable ground rules upon which we are building the rest of the framework, and we’re pretty sure at this point that the foundation we’ve chosen is sparse but stable.

That foundation consists of these statements:

1. There is a generative, creative force that brought us and all we perceive into existence.
2. Immersing ourselves in this existence and questioning it is our purpose
3. Community, connections, family, and friends are important and to be cherished.

To elaborate a bit more:

1. That creative, generative force is not necessarily a god, a single entity, or even an entity. We call it, because we’re human and need labels and names and such and “creative, generative force” is long and unwieldy to say all the time, “Dea Nutrix” or the Good Nourisher” or the “Nourisher” or the “Great Good” or sometimes just “GG”. A few people enjoy calling it “the Force”, but it’s not really like the Force in Star Wars. There are no images, no anthropomorphization, of this, and we discourage anthropomorphizing until we know more about it. It would be kind of embarrassing, don’t you think, to assume this force looks one way (say, a bearded white guy) only to discover it’s really more like a Horta?

We do use symbols. Our favorite ones are Cookies, Moebius strips, Infinity loops, and cornucopias.

2. This universe exists. It’s full of wonders and marvels and mysteries. Denying it, transcending it, ignoring it – these all seem blasphemous to us. No, we study it, immerse ourselves in it, take joy in it, learn about it, play with it, and experiment with it. It’s amazing.

3. We aren’t in this alone. Our friends, family, neighbors, like-minded people, not-like-minded people, all of us are here. We are part of this and all of this is part of us. So immersing ourselves in other people – helping them, being helped by them, caring for them, being cared for by them, arguing, debating, testing – we do this together.

This is why we say Numenism is an open source religion – everyone who is Numenist contributes by sharing their observations, experiments, thoughts, ponderings, ideas, etc. With these three statements, we can build, rebuild, add on to and take away from, and alter, and grow Numenism to be what it needs to be. It’s a wiki religion with an editor (the elders). It’s a open source that works when things are balanced and honest. It’s a fusion of experiments, theories, and data.

If you want answers, Numenism doesn’t have them; but if you want to ask questions and explore possibilities, then Numenism might be a way to go.

December 25, 2007

Child-Free

Filed under: Uncategorized — by The Numenous Way @ 4:32 pm
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I am child-free by inclination. Ignore the fact that I raised 8 children. Most of them entered the world through other women’s wombs – selfish women who wanted to be pregnant but weren’t willing to cope with the consequences of that pregnancy. They were all about how holy and sacred it was to be pregnant, to bring new life into the world. It was a spiritual act. It was a “selfless” act and a “sacrifice”. But once the newness of having that baby wore off and the reality of raising a child struck them, it wasn’t so holy and sacred any more, and it had become a true sacrifice – one they weren’t willing to give. So, the children they birthed were left to raise themselves.

Sure, the children were showered with things – mostly clothes and shiny toys, but they were denied the things they needed most – guidance, teaching, role-models, love, care. They gathered in packs – and children with no manners are vicious things. They are frightened, lonely, and they pass along all kinds of wild rumours among them that, with caring adult presence, would have been calmed and corrected. But without adult presence, without adult involvement, the rumours grew and the cruelty spreads. Aggressive behaviour, selfish behaviour, becomes hte norm – and the bewildered parents who left those children alone have no clue what to do with the children they bred and abandoned.

Oh, they’ll say they didn’t abandon the children. They provided them with a roof, and food, and clothes, and gave them every toy they ever wanted – gave them TV and Nintendos and Wii, GameBoys and iPods and computers with internet connection. But, they left the children alone with these powerful toys – no oversight, no controls, no comfort. The children drown in this morass. Some find their way, but so many others flounder and withdraw into a world of impulses and fantasy.

Then we get the parents who think every anti-social behaviour exhibited by their darling toddler is adorable, but that same behaviour is frighteneing when the mannerless child is much larger.

Those children – the ones abandoned to electronic babysitters and the ones encouraged in their anti-social behaviours – those are the children born of selfish parents. We seem to live in a society of such selfish parents.

It is the ones who worry about the consequences of bringing children into this world, the ones who know the child retains its holiness and sanctity long after birth, the ones who see what happens when others mindlessly breed, when women are forced into mandatory motherhood that choose to be child-free. These are the adults who set standards, who set limits the children must reach before the limits are extended – the aunties and uncles, the teachers, the child-free who take over the rearing of the wild children who are birthed into the world and left to raise themselves.

Have you ever read <u>Lord of the Flies</u>? That’s a good description of what happens when children are left alone to raise themselves. Many of the adults who are child-free by choice were abandoned as children to raise themselves. Their parents were too busy pursuing theri own goals to pay attention to their children. Those parents thought all they had to do was get pregnant and give birth, and God would take care of the rest, that children naturally knew how to behave, how to deal with conflict, how to deal with the strong emotions pounding through them. They were amazed at the smart-mouthed, rude child they had and they retreated further away from the child they birthed.

I think people who have children are extremely selfish. The reason they claim the child-free are selfish is because they are envious of our choice. They see how well we deal with their unruly offspring, and wish they could exact the same obedience and love from their children that we, the child-free, elicit.

I am child-free because I never wanted to be like those aloof, uninvolved parents. It’s not children most of us who choose to be child-free dislike; it’s the parents. We loathe the parents with an intensity they can’t even imagine because we see the damage they do to their children, their saintly little angels on earth children who can do no wrong until that child shoots up their school, massacres their playmates, or murders the parents in their beds.

Getting pregnant, impregnating someone else with no thought, no plans on how to raise the child that will come from the pregnancy is a terribly selfish act, a far more selfish act than those who have considered the consequences of having a child and choosing not to.

Children are not commodities. They are not toys. They are not status symbols. They are not ornaments. They are not “angels on earth”. They are not born fully formed and fully informed. They are not blank slates.

Children are unfinished human beings, with needs, wants, desires. It is the obligation and responsibility of the parents to provide the finishing touches that will allow the child to mature into a self-sufficient, mature, confident, and capable adult. It’s not an easy process. There are plenty of frustrating times during it, and it seems endless. Part of the obligation means parents give up part of their lives to the raising of their children – that means maybe they have to forgo attending that concert if they can’t pay a babysitter and buy tickets. It means eating at a restaurant more suited to a child than for adults. Here’s a hint – if beer and wine are on the menu, parents should eat elsewhere with their children or leave the children with a reliable babysitter. It means overseeing the TV programs the children watch – watching with them. It means knowing what the children are doing on line, what games are in their GameBoy or Wii. It means knowing what music they listen to. It means teaching the children manners and behaviours that are appropriate to the social situations in which they will find themselves. It means teaching the children the joys of being productive and integral to the family.

Each child is a commitment of at least 18 years. The term starts when the first child is conceived and continues until 18 years after the last one is born. It is a job full of ups and downs, and filled with awe-inspiring moments of utter pleasure and utter dread.

There are adult things parents cannot do because they have children to consider. It is wrong of the parents to insist that the children enter adult venues or that other adults alter their lives to accommodate those children. We need a society that keeps adult things separated from child things simply because many children are not ready to deal with all that happens in an adult world – movies not-withstanding. Those children have script writers and producers and on-set tutors to help them, unlike the real world where the children are thrown into these situations unprepared and often left in the care of other children or adults who are reluctant to care for someone else’s child.

We need a world where it is the <i>child</i> that is wanted, not the pregnancy, not the birth. Those are nice enough, but it is the child that results that is the most important thing.

Each child deserves to be raised as well as to grow up.

And those people who choose to be child-free are brave souls who recognize the work involved. They’ve considered the consequences, they know the work involved and the resources needed to raise a child properly, and they don’t feel up to the challenge. They aren’t selfish, they are realistic.

I am child-free by choice. That doesn’t mean I am free of raising children. I have raised other people’s unwanted and abandon children. I couldn’t have done that if I hadn’t chosen to be child-free, hadn’t researched and understood what it meant to have children.

December 24, 2007

Weather

Filed under: Uncategorized — by The Numenous Way @ 9:05 pm
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The day has warmed up considerably since Saturday, when we were blanketed in snow. Now, the only snow left has turned to ice and lurks in the deep shadows.

The sun is shining brightly and it’s warm enough that I’ve left the door open so the critters can enjoy the sunbeams.

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