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A profession of faithlessness


“Do you believe in God?”

Iggy Pop at the 1970 Cincinnati Rock Festival

They walk among us

“Of course I do”, I would have said. “There’s Chrissy Amphlett and Iggy Pop and Lemmy Kilmister and Keith Moon. I know a force of fuckin’ nature when I hear one”.

But I probably wouldn’t have tried to talk about the real thing. That’s too hard. Calling it ‘God’ gives people the wrong idea. Calling it anything does. Throw a word at it and it’s gone.

So I called myself an atheist. Not as camouflage but as shorthand. It seemed the best fit. I knew I disbelieved in the God they taught in scripture classes and Sunday school so I couldn’t be agnostic.

As I got older I started reading more and experimenting with different practices. I sometimes went through spells of thinking I was kind of Buddhist or sort of Advaitist or a little Taoist. Some pseudo-Sufism and maybe a touch of Jainism and, hey, shamanism’s pretty cool too isn’t it? … Mostly I was just an atheist. I came across lots of attractive Gods and Goddesses in my reading and travels but none convinced me they actually existed. I was  beginning to feel uncomfortable about the fundamentalist cults among my fellow atheists though.  You know, Marxism and Scientism and Libertarianism and stuff.

Then one of the science writers I’d admired, Richard Dawkins, went completely feral and, gathering together a fanatical pack of atheist jihadis, declared holy war on all that’s holy. I don’t wanna be an atheist no more. They’re ignorant and bigoted and way too hubristic.

Agnosticism’s not so bad. I’ve learned enough to know I don’t know a thing and nowadays I’ve got a wide selection of deities to be uncertain about. There’s a whole universe out there for me to fail to comprehend.

Then suddenly there it was. That which had always been there. The thing that’s me and everything else besides. The thing that’s nothing at all. There’s just no words for it. So I still use ‘agnostic’.

A little later a Goddess shows up. How d’ya like that? There goes all my fuckin’ theories thank you very much.

I’m not sure who She is at first but I think I know where I found Her. India. So what’s She doing in a suburban Newcastle weatherboard? Oh. Everywhere. Even my body.

She’s a Dancing Goddess and I’ve never seen Her but She’s infinitely beautiful. She’s in everything and She is everything and She’s always creating and destroying everything, giving birth to the eternal now. She Dances it all, goddessdammit! Perceptual reality is Dance! And I’d been so sure disco was from Hell.

A bit after that there’s another Goddess! I recognise Her immediately, even though She’s like nothing I’d ever imagined. She’s Maya the Illusion. The spinner of the veil that is our sensoria and sense of self. But Maya Herself is (surprise!) an illusion. She too emanates from The Dancer. I’m engulfed in awe.

Do I sound like I know what I’m talking about? Of course not. I have no idea what experiences like these could possibly mean. I think I could find psychiatrists who’d explain them though.

I know there’s a Goddess with me. Not within me. I’m Her creation and manifestation but She is my Other. And now I know who She is. I studied a bit of Kashmir Shaivism, read a poem, then I knew.

But what does that make me? I never imagined ‘Goddess’ meant anything like that. What words could possibly mean Her? Love and Death and Time and Birth and Change and … fuck it. Trying to communicate is nonsensical of itself.

I just don’t know anything about how the universe works or what the fundamental nature of reality is. Do I sound like someone who’d know reality if it ran over him? Nothing I could believe or disbelieve would ever make  sense in the face of what is. If anything is.

So what am I supposed to call myself now? An ontological anti-realist? A solipsistic nihilist? A Devi worshiper? A lunatic?

Somehow I don’t think it matters.

  1. So many human cultural archetypes for ALL THAT IS.. so little time in a lifetime now to explore them all in depth.. but KALI or as Beyonce spells HER in ‘her’ latest video named 711.. KALE.. emulating HER in dance.. while she sticks her ‘New Year’s Tongue’ out for the year of Light.. 2015.. at the end of the video.. IS DEFINITELY ONE OF my all time favorites.. the Egyptian MIN morphing into PAN and Baphomet.. and even Peter Pan is cool too…

    Yeah.. it’s all over modern pop culture when Miley sticks her tongue out like Kali and Michael Jackson and others grab at their crotch with their left hand like MIN.. there’s power in human archetypes.. always has all the symbols for THAT.. always will be.. as long as human lives…

    But the bottom line for me is.. any time human attempts to chain GOD in three letter words and such as THAT.. the TRICKSTER GOD sticks A MIN or KALI tongue out.. and MIN is equipped with ‘that’ stiff ‘tongue’ below.. AT silly little humans.. who think he or her or in between knows IT ALL…

    Anyway.. when i dance like KALI.. all 230LBS of muscle me.. at the RAVE dance hall.. THAT is when I attract the most gorgeous females of them all…

    i ain’t afraid of KALI.. i let HER ravish my mind.. body.. heart.. and soul.. expressed as RAW FEMININE SPIRIT OF DANCE and do whatever the hell sHe wants to do with me.. everyday.. AND especially tonight in my 67th rave dance week celebratory night of LIFE!..:)

    Her message is LOVE FREE PASSIONATELY TOUGH AND WILD.. tHere ain’t no time like the PRESENT of NOW.. live it to the max.. F**.. YES.. FUN nothingness and control.. live every moment PASSIONATELY IN TOUGH FREE LOVE.. kinda like a BIG BANG that keeps going off like a Firework Cycle of Infinity.

    GOD is FREE

    KALI IS THE EMBODIMENT OF ALL OF THIS in the continuing FREE Dance of Moving Singing SOUND existence in all the shades of dark and light and colors of Passionate TOUGH FREE LOVE in life that DOES COME

    AND as you might remember.. Aleister Crowley’s description of this Force is kinda like KALI too.. only problem is Aleister Crowley tortured small animals as a child.. so his expression of ‘KALI’ then is a ‘GOD’ without compassion.. reflected in human being.. so yeah..

    IN this way.. Aleister is a little like a demon.. but that’s ‘his mama’s fault’ for not giving him all the touchy feely love in the first couple of years of life.. and then blaming him for it by calling him the beast.. when he is a naughty little boy.. who never gets a ‘proper’ nurturing mama..

    LIKELY related to ‘his’ issues
    with substance addiction
    as NOT SO
    WELL.. TOO..
    NOW AS science suggests too..
    overall now.. for children who do not
    get that touchy feely love in the first two years…

    Love is the greaTEST FORCE of humanity.. the real glue of social cooperation that makes human both a devil and an angel.. as an apex predator and prey unto itself in the balance of nature.. teetering in a balance of dark and light here on earth..

    Human.. the creator and destroyer.. certainly a reflection



    Reflecting ‘them’ both as a human
    being.. in just one day as i will
    do as i sacredly do on
    every Holy
    dance day
    and night.. for me..
    is beyond bliss
    and ecstasy..
    it is

    HA! BUT just let me try to
    explain this to a fundamentalist
    Christian or a militant Atheist
    who are both the lemon
    of a Dawkins
    or Hawking…

    They will laugh at me..
    call me insane.. a fool..
    a lunatic too..
    but i embrace all
    these labels
    AS human
    reflected as human being..:)

    Most people are afraid to live..
    MIN and Kali give me courage
    to live as human archetypes
    of reality.. as human freedom..

    Smiles AND thanks for
    the continued inspiration..
    old and
    new friend..:)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like lunatic. Or Divine Fool.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. For Fox Sake permalink

    So what am I supposed to call myself now? An ontological anti-realist? A solipsistic nihilist? A Devi worshiper? A lunatic?

    Didn’t your mummy give you a name?


  4. For Fox Sake permalink

    Regarding faith/faithlessness: on my memorial plaque, which HAS to be
    fingerwritten in wet concrete in a public street, I want it to say:

    Failed to forward chain letter to five friends.

    Thankyou, thankyou very much.


  5. PeterJ permalink

    What a fabulous post! Respect to someone who has met the Goddesses.

    You have confirmed my theory that Dawkins has done religion a huge favour by ranting as wildly he does. No sane person would want to be associated with such nonsense.

    What do you call yourself? I would say that you are a believer in the perennial philosophy. Whether you call yourself a Buddhist, Taoist, Sufi, advaitan or whatever would be a detail and more to do with which practice and conceptual/linguistic scheme you prefer. As your view is now in line with the nondualism of ‘A Course in Miracles’ you could even call yourself a Christian.


    • I would say that you are a believer in the perennial philosophy.

      Just so long as that doesn’t make me a Perennialist. I’d hate to go around reducing other people’s religions to what I designate to be their essential core (i.e. the bits I can twist until they agree with me).

      Yeah, there might be a common experience there, but I don’t see a common philosophy.

      As your view is now in line with the nondualism of ‘A Course in Miracles’ you could even call yourself a Christian.

      Ahh, now you’re just taking the piss, ain’t ya Peter?


      • PeterJ permalink

        I admire your caution. For myself I’m happy to reduce all religion to its essential core.

        Strangely, I’m not taking the pi… about ACIM. It presents the nondual doctrine, the same doctrine as Middle Way Buddhism, advaita Vedanta, philosophical Taoism, Sufism and, in many people’s opinion, the Christianity of the Desert Fathers and what the pseudo-Dionysius calls the ‘mystical theology’.

        Maybe you could just call yourself a mystic. . . .


        • Well, I think you know we disagree about ACIM – including whether it’s non-dual. There’s people who’d take exception to it being characterised as Christian too (e.g. the late Father Benedict Groeschel and the ACIMmers who insist you don’t need to believe in Jesus to follow ACIM), though I’m not a stakeholder in that debate.

          Yeah, I’m mystic. But that’s not what I believe. It’s what happens.


        • PeterJ permalink

          Oh yes, I forgot. My bad.


  6. Really loved this post. Your writing and your topic and your thought process. I could relate although I haven’t come into contact with any Goddesses at least not in the spiritual sense…I know plenty of Goddesses that I call friends, and then there’s me! : )


    Liked by 2 people

    • and then there’s me!

      Then you have come across a Goddess in the spiritual sense. Maybe it just takes someone like Kali to fully reveal you to yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve been calling on Kali more and more over the past year. Glad to have her on board to balance out my more natural Yin Goddess nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Richard Dawkins DID go feral. It was sort of embarrassing.
    May you dance in Her arms, whoever She is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, that may just be the greatest verbal blessing anyone’s wished upon me.

      I now know who She is. The big question is ‘what?’.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Scarlett permalink

    Yeah I have to admit Iggy is a god.

    I know these two women and there is something about them that you might call glamour in the old sense of the word, a near supernatural beauty that you can almost feel before you see them, I’d call them goddesses but I can’t say I feel anything – or ever have that I’d call spiritual. Not in the traditional sense. I do spend a lot of time staring into the sky and it makes me feel awe, that’s as close as I get.


    • I do spend a lot of time staring into the sky and it makes me feel awe, that’s as close as I get.

      Quite a few materialist rationalist say that and I sincerely wonder what’s behind it.

      I sometimes get a profound feeling from the near tangibility of infinity you can get from looking into the night sky, but there’s other things that do that to me as well. But science wonks seem to almost only talk about the sky.

      Do you get a feeling of dissolution? Loss of boundary between yourself and the sky?

      Do you ever experience ‘being in the zone’ when focused on something you’re doing? Does the feeling seem akin to it?

      Not tryna analyse you here. I’m just really curious about that feeling lots of folk talk about and whether its a match for any of mine. Of course I can never know. There’s limits to objectivity (and probably no empathy).


      • Scarlett permalink

        I’ve always wanted to be an astronomer, anything to do with space, but also anything in the natural world I find intriguing. Astronomy also adds another two loves, Physics and Maths. More loves include travel and the sea, I am as entranced by snorkelling as I am looking at the sky, I like the outdoors even though when I first moved out of the city I was petrified of things in the bush, snakes, spiders, ants – everything. I want to know how everything is made, what holds it together from the tiny to the gigantic.

        I get an immense sense of freedom in the sky, I want to swim in it like the sea, I find it invigorating and relaxing at the same time. If you watch nature everything has a place, the dirt, the grass the tree, the weevil and even the spiders. The more you look at things the less distinct they become which – maybe thats dissolution.

        Working is different it’s an excitement, a thrill of a different kind where nature I find soothing, even seductive in more a dreamy rather than physical way. I dare say we, and lots of others share that.


  10. More loves include travel and the sea, I am as entranced by snorkelling as I am looking at the sky

    Yeah. That’s somewhere I get it far more often than from the sky. The ocean.

    The dreamy weightlessness and eerie not-silence of snorkelling is something else – even if you’re not in a visual overload area as well (and those deep blues and greens wafting in from infinity …). But the rhythmic rises and falls and gently shifting horizons on the surface tend to wash my boundaries away too. And when you get really chundered in a big surf – when you become one with the violence to survive it – it shifts your perspectives even if you’re not in real danger.

    So why the sky fetish?
    It’s everywhere for you too isn’t it?
    All the places and spaces and etched into faces (you gotta excuse me. I’m new to poetry. the novelty …).
    Because no matter where you look there’s infinity and you just bleed away into it.
    You can tell me. I’m not a shrink.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Scarlett permalink

      Daddy issues maybe, my dad used to have a telescope and it fascinated me, but also I feel free in the open, forests, the ocean, the sky – even out at butt fuck no where in WA I felt super relaxed and peaceful in the outback. I used to think about – or imagine space to go to sleep. The night sky too is full of physics, maths and cool space stuff, I’ve always loved that. Maybe there’s a disembodiment element there too, not that I’m unhappy with my looks or body it’s more this world, gimmie a rocket and I’d be the first to go to Mars even if it was one way.


  11. Here. Read your post. Have to ask why you need anything at all to worship, or give fealty to. Why do you need anything greater than yourself? What is it you are afraid of?
    I can only speak for myself, not for you or anyone else, especially not for a Richard Dawkins cultist: I am responsible for how I live my life. For me there is no one else. There is no one in control of anything, but me. No one creates, or destroys. Life is spiritual, not physical nor materialistic. There is no heaven, nirvana, nor paradise (put in whatever word you want to use as a goal for an afterlife), nor hell or other place of eternal torment. No rewards, no punishments. There is just life. Always progressing, but without a given target. Searching for how to be a better living being. Searching for how to live while doing no harm.
    Please, what is it that you see in your future, here and now, and after your death? I do not have much of a future in life, my body is seriously deteriorating, stopping working like it did when I was younger. But the spirit in me is ageless. It will continue on after the “I” is gone. My spirit has lived many lives, it will live a lot more. Eventually it will transcend this plane, and move on to the next. This suggests there will always be a next–next life, next plane. If there is an “end” I cannot see it from here, so I won’t worry about it. I will just let it happen.
    This is what I have learned from evolution. There are more dead-ends than success stories. There will be a lot more dead-ends, probably including humanity, because we are a precocious lot. But for every dead-end, more new things will be tried. That is the process of evolution, trying to build a better vehicle for the rider. We cannot see this because evolution takes time, way more time than a human gets to spend on this earth. Life may change, but it cannot end. Life is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Have to ask why you need anything at all to worship, or give fealty to. Why do you need anything greater than yourself? What is it you are afraid of?

      I don’t know that I ‘need’ any such thing. Like I said, I was an atheist when I thought the only options were that or mainstream Christianity, but always a seeker, trying to scratch away at the surface of ‘reality’ to see what was underneath. From early childhood I had spontaneous mystical experiences, so I always knew there was more to it than consensus reality. Much I later discovered others on the Aboriginal side of my family had similar experiences, but hiding our heritage also meant not passing down family ‘lore’, so we all found different meanings in them independent of each other.

      By the time atheism had become unacceptable to me – I don’t know enough to know there are no gods – I’d acquired at least superficial knowledge of dozens of religious and philosophical traditions from many different sources, but probably mostly from my nine years in Asia – about half of which was in India. And yeah, an elitist philosophical vocabulary from my university courses. So I started calling myself agnostic.

      From 2003 onward I spent almost a decade crushed beneath constant despair and suicidality, A spiritual crisis or ‘dark night of the soul’ that destroyed my capacity to care for myself, experience most emotions or communicate and which blocked all my mystical experiences and spiritual practices.

      That finally ended big time in October 2012 when I found myself getting angry at a particularly dishonest piece of science journalism (I’m also a geek), I hadn’t felt anger for over nine years. Then I could meditate again. When I did I experienced an indescribable mystical epiphany that completely changed my perception of myself and my place in the universe.The clouds lifted immediately and I don’t think despair, suicidality or existential fear can touch me again.

      A few weeks later when I was meditating again there was a Goddess. I didn’t ask. I didn’t believe. I don’t think I needed. But there She was. Overwhelming and undeniable. She’s been with me in some manifestation or other ever since. I worship not because I want to or need to or even because I ‘believe’ in Her. I can’t get my head around Her at all. I worship Her because there’s simply no other possible response. It’s not like I can ignore Her or tell Her to go back to where She came from.

      And She’s everything. The entire universe, including me, is a manifestation of Her. It makes it a pretty nice place to live I can tell you.

      Oh, and She’s Time. So She’s the Death of all things. So death is good too.

      So I don’t need to live forever. Life can end for me. And I’m pretty sure it will. I’m fine with that. If it doesn’t I’m fine with that too. When everything is your Goddess, including yourself, radical acceptance is a piece of cake. Even if you don’t have a clue what any of it is about. Ignorance is also fine.

      I don’t need to live forever because I can live fully in every moment. They each hold eternity within them. And there’s really only one. Now.

      It really is all perfect you know.

      Liked by 1 person

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