My teacher and Pagan Clergyman Wade Mueller once told me, “Hope is the most dangerous word in the English language. By hoping something will happen in your mind, you’re not working to make it happen in the real world.” At the time, I had struggled with a huge fear of success and expressly seemed to embrace failure as if it had been my best friend. I had always been taught to use the word “HOPE” and because of that, I relied heavily on things happening by chance and not by my own efforts. I was a victim to my own toxic mindset. Wade Mueller of Deeply Rooted took away my hope and helped me discover for myself the kind of person I am capable of being. With that said, this article builds on his original work so please refer to him for more information on the topic.
And it was with that train of thought from my mentor that got me thinking about what other four letter words exist in much the same way as hope. What impact do they have on myself and Paganism in the larger scheme? Well, one of my huge struggles in becoming a Pagan was overcoming the pull of emotions that had me spread thin and usually exhausted from my efforts. Those emotions were expressed in three four letter words, “Love, Fear, Hate”. In much the same way that hope is dangerous, so are these words and the emotions they can illicit. Words are incredibly powerful things. By invoking certain emotions, we open ourselves up for successes and failures alike.
Before I sound a little too much like a Vulcan from Star Trek, let me explain. I don’t think emotions should be purged from humanity in an attempt to create a more peaceful world. That isn’t realistic nor feasible at this time in our development as a society. One of the ideas I’ve been embracing is that emotions are tools for certain situations. They are never meant to overrun us and destroy the accomplishments and achievements that also go along with the failures and downfalls. We have to be a whole person and accept the darkness in our personalities as well as the light.
If you’re a Pagan, you might associate with the common-held belief that water represents those emotions. A little bit of rain is helpful for a crop of plants, yet an entire dam bursting is chaotic and destructive. Love, Fear, and Hate all fall into the category of dangerous emotions that can turn that nurturing rain into a deluge of epic proportions. The question I had to dig deep to find within myself was just this, “Is this situation worth feeling love, fear or hate towards? Is this something I *hope* will get better or do I have the ability to make this happen on my own or with help from friends?”
Is every Pagan out there looking at humanity and saying to yourself, “What the hell is happening?”
Love, Fear, and Hate all have different definitions to us. There is no single definition of these words. To each of us, they have a very different meaning and on top of that, there is no scientific evidence that PROVES these emotions exist. Emotions do not exist in “nature.” You can not go out and find “love” you can only see the evidence that the thought exists by actions expressed by people. Then, on top of that, you need to determine if the intent of the individual’s actions was really lining up with the emotion that YOU assigned those actions.
Ask a person with mental illness to explain what love is and you’ll hear a myriad of different responses from the normal associations to things that will curl your toes. Fear? Fear of what? Once you accept death, being afraid of anything is actually kind of ridiculous. Death is going to occur, and you will most likely not know the time and manner of your death. You can not escape it. And hate? That’s probably the most laughable emotion of all. Hate can be expressed by a species called humanity that seems to have social amnesia in regards to the value it assigns historical accuracy and so bored of being lonely that it has to compete against it’s self in RACES. Race doesn’t exist. The only race is expressed by the genetics of people who have survived war, disease, famine and have bred healthy offspring. Genetics is scientifically proven, some abstract idea of people of varying skin pigments and other cosmetic features as being inferior is hilarious to me.
These words are the ones we’re taught to worship in our childhood. Why do you hate those neighbors? Why do love that boyfriend who hits you? Why are you afraid of that lesbian couple being married? So many people work like machines with predictable patterns because of the environment in which they were raised. It doesn’t have to be that way for Paganism. We can’t change the world over night yet we can change ourselves and thereby sending reverberations of that change to our community. We’re magickal folk and we can make this happen!
The first step for me overcoming these baneful thoughts was to diminish my ego. I had to completely redefine who I was and why I felt certain was before I could ever see the truth. When I asked my Gods to help me find that truth, they led me back to my past, to my future and how all of that culminated to create the present. Letting go of my love, fear, and hate helped me overcome years of pain and heartache. Sometimes I backslide and returned to old ways, yet it was only to remind me that I was just afraid of succeeding. I already had the tools buried deep within my personality, they were just turned inwards instead of projecting the person I really am to the world at large.
So watch out for those four letter words. They’re powerful, they have meaning to you that is hard-wired into your subconscious. You can overcome any subconscious programming if you work hard enough and accept what the truths lay at the root of your old ideas. If you work hard and discover you really do hate yourself and have valid reasons, write them down! Make a plan on how you can fix these toxic behaviors and why you have them in the first place. Maybe you aren’t a nice person yet you love yourself and no one seems to like you. If you are alright with accepting that you’ll never be more than a nasty soul, than be content in that personal expectation and turn that hate where it belongs. Yourself.
This world is much like the magickal world as expressed in “As Above, So Below, As Below, So Above.” Be careful what you invoke in your life by the words you choose to assign situations. You never know when you might have to redefine what something means to you because of the actions of others or something else life throws your way. Don’t let love, fear and hate define those situations. YOU can define what emotions you assign these situations. If you work hard enough, you will be in control of yourself as long as you are working on being in control. So mote it be!