Most popularly attributed to Albert Einstein, the phrase, 'Everything is Energy', though it sounds fairly simple & straight-forward, is really a complex statement. 'If everything is energetic in its makeup, does that by extension mean that everything has an individual spirit?' Of course, such a question is based on the presupposition that the two words convey the same meaning. 'If 'Energy' is what motivates everything, why doesn't everyone have the same amount, or even the same sort of Energy? For that matter, why do some people have a different 'spirit' than others? At the heart of the matter, whether one refers to their 'God' as Spirit, or universally applies the term 'Energy', it should go without saying that Whatever/Whoever is 'behind the curtain', so to speak, 'It' is what motivates every individual, indeed, everything that grows!
It almost goes without saying, though it may have become lost in the translation, that Paganism, at its roots anyway, predates Christianity & both the other major world religions ( Islam & Judaism ) by thousands of years. Often equated with the term 'heathen', the term 'Pagan' is derived from the Latin 'paganus' & simply means 'country-dweller'. Pagan, as a religious descriptor, simply means, in the understanding of this blogger, that the practitioner follows the Old Ways, that is to say, the rituals of the pre-Christian world. Of course, we should take into account as well, that even after the 'birth' of Christianity, there were many who still practiced, in secret mostly, the 'rituals' they had been accustomed to for 'ages'. One the other hand, there are those as well who have rightly noted how many of those 'Pagan' practices, including rituals & symbolism, were integrated into, even at the heart of what became known as 'Christianity'!
Christianity, of course, is typically based on the life & teaching of Jesus, who was 'the Christ', or 'The Anointed One'', the Messiah of the Jews. Though again, much has been lost in the translation, Christianity has become almost synonymous with religious dogma that, unless you fully subscribe to, you cannot enter 'the Kingdom of Heaven'. In fact of the matter, unless you believe, if only in word, everything taught by this religion, you will almost certainly end up on the wrong side of Eternity! On the other hand, most who call themselves 'Pagan' have no such dogma. For the most part, they believe, as it should be, in 'live & let live', in essence, 'an ye harm none, do what ye will'. Even Christian teaching, aside from dogma, says not much if anything different. Paganism, put simply, teaches that all life is sacred!
Unfortunately, Christianity, as a religion ( institutional or not ) has become more focused on believing this or that dogma ( this goes for the other major world religions as well ), while Paganism, in its 'umbrella' of religious purviews, is focused more on doing, whether it be as simple as picking up trash along the side of the road, or in living a life, as far as possible, in perfect union & communion with all of nature. This is not to say that belief is necessarily a bad thing ( 'we gotta start somewhere, right?' ), for, depending on what one truly believes; their beliefs will manifest in action. If, for instance, one truly believes 'an ye harm none...........................' , that one will live by those words, that belief. However, if one believes certain dogma & henceforth acts accordingly.....................
Paganism, as an 'umbrella' religion, is basically an earth-based ( rather than 'Heaven'-based ) way of Life. The notion that the earth, besides being sacred in & of Herself, holds all that is necessary for the continuation of Life is prevalent! The Wiccan Rede, as iterated earlier, 'an ye harm none, do what ye will' is a good representative statement for this religion! For the most part, if not in whole, Pagans are not taught to be judgemental of other religions! Sad to say, but of what other major world religion can we say this? Of course, whether because of conditioning or some other environmental factor, some people, no matter their chosen ( professed? ) religion, are just plain assholes. Only Perfect Love & Perfect Trust can change that. The Energy that we put into our religion, our daily practice, will return to us, sooner or later, in the same form that we 'sent' it!
Though we all, individually speaking anyway, are motivated by differing energies; at heart, there is but One Energy that moves us. The problem, if 'problem' you would call it, is that most people are so focused on these differing, individual energies, that they forget what motivates us all! Pure Love is what rests at the very center of our being! With the cares & worries of 'the everyday', though, many or most have forgotten this, forgotten who they really are. For the most part, with our forgetfulness, we have seemingly 'zeroed in', in our individuality, on what we THINK matters, totally bypassing what really matters, love for our neighbor. Then again, our 'neighbor' is not just the individual that lives in our 'world'; our 'neighbor' is really US!
'Energy'? 'Spirit'? As we've seen, both of these terms can be applied, in a fairly general way, both individually & Collectively. As a Collective, at the very core of our Being, Energy is in our DNA! 'Spirit', in some sense, can be closely related, although it should be noted that this is, in many ways, more of an individual term. Coming from a Christian background, of course, this blogger is very familiar with the term being applied biblically, as in 'the spirit will return to God who gave it' ( Ecclesiastes 12:7 ), or in reference to 'the Holy Spirit'. Individually speaking, then, we're all more or less familiar with the American Indian's reverence for 'the Great Spirit', with their fondness for 'spirit animals' & such. On the other hand though, 'the other side of the coin', so to speak, while some people obviously manifest different 'energies' than others, 'as above, so below', it is only because they have forgotten who they really are, for the same Energy is at the heart of all Creation!
In conclusion; 'it is, as always, a matter of Choice'! We are, in a biological sense, individuals with differing 'spirits', different 'energies'; there is no escaping that while we remain in this Biology. But this is where Choice comes into play. We can choose whether to manifest from the Universal 'Spirit', or 'Energy' that motivates all Life, or we can choose to manifest our own ( selfish? ) 'spirit', no matter the cost to our 'neighbor' & ultimately, to ourselves! The choice is yours, dear reader, so as always; 'Choose Wisely' & Namaste'!
Charles Haddon Shank