What Do I Believe?
A Student’s 1st Assignment
Before you can begin your spiritual journey; what ever that journey is, you have to know where you’re starting from. What do you believe and how does it relate to your spiritual path? Are you looking for a spiritual path, but don’t know which one fits your current beliefs? How are you going to assess where you are today with where you want to be, or where you’ve come from, if you don’t know what you believe today.
It’s easy to sit down and answer questions off the top of your head when talking with someone about what you believe. You jump from topic to topic and you may not even realize how the subjects are interconnected. You can give one description today and two weeks from now, you’ll have a slightly different description. And you won’t even realize you’ve altered your view or perception.
If you take on this assignment, you’ll see how much that ‘easy to answer’ scenario changes. When you’re writing those answers down, putting thought to paper you are forcing yourself to really think about what you believe. You’ll begin writing an answer to a question you were sure you knew, only to discover that you may not be so sure about it after all. It also forces you to connect the dots. You’ll find that as you’re writing an answer to one question, that might contradict your response to another previous question. And suddenly you have to re-think an entire subject.
It’s important to keep in mind that there isn’t a deadline or time frame for when these questions have to be answered. The point to these questions is to make people think about their beliefs and to provide a starting point. As you learn and research, you will come back to these pages and update, change or even totally re-write your first answers. The more you learn, the more your understanding of the world, and the Universe should evolve. Beliefs are not stagnant things. Let them grow and evolve as you grow and evolve through the experience of living.
It’s also important to remember that your spiritual journey is yours to walk. It’s specific to you, to your understanding and perspective of the world around you. You’re here to learn lessons, regardless of which spiritual path you walk. We all share that mission, though we may define it differently. So don’t go into this thinking there’s a right way or wrong way. In the beginning, there’s your way and what you feel connected to.
If there are topics you don’t know anything about, then those unanswered questions, provide you with a list of ‘to be researched’ topics. So don’t be afraid to write down “I don’t know”.
I know what I know. I believe what I believe.
But I do not fear opening the door wide, to discover what I don’t know.
I welcome the chance to expand my world with new ideas.
To empower my path for attaining wisdom and enlightenment.
~ Springwolf 🐾 © 2005
I’ve tried to make the list of questions some what generic. Regardless of your level of knowledge and development, this assignment can be beneficial. Keeping a record of your beliefs helps you see where you started, how much you’ve grown and expanded your awareness, and how far you’ve come.
Answering The Questions
You’re going to start a journal separate from everything else you have recorded on your journey. You can consider this part of your Spiritual Journal or Diary. The best thing to do is simply get a spiral notebook or if you’re like me and you type faster than you write, you might start a new document and set it up in a special folder.
There are also a lot of Journal apps available today that can help you keep track of your journal entries. If you chose to use one of these, just make sure there’s a way you can keep and maintain a backup on a local drive. And you’ll want to be able to keep revisions of documents too.
You can always print off those pages and put them in a binder later. If you don’t print them, make sure you have a back up of the document on CD or Thumb drive! The worst thing in the world is to make a back up on your PC and then have your PC crash and lose everything. Keep backups!
Whatever you chose, you’re journal is going to be organized as follows: (I suggest you read this entire posting before you begin writing).
- On the first page, write the date and your name. (whatever that “name” is to you). You get no other explanation than that.
- On the next page, give your notebook a Title. “What I know I know”, “My Spiritual Evolution”, whatever suits your fancy.
- On the next page write a list of topics and their definitions. Where you start is up to you. But you want to keep the definitions to about 4 sentences. You’re not writing a reference manual here, just basic ideas/concepts. These are the topics you’re sure you know. You’re confidant in your understanding of these things.
- In the next section,: What I think I know. Do the same thing, topics and definitions. This section is what you think these things are and what they mean to you.
- And finally: What I’d like to know. Here you’ll just list topics you don’t know anything about.
Now, there’s several reasons for doing this. First, it will show you how much you already know. You’re probably like most people and you just don’t realize how much knowledge you’ve already acquired about your spiritual path. Secondly, by writing all this down, you’ll see that what you think you know, can sometimes contradict what you know you know. So you’ll have to rethink some of what you know and some of what you think you know. And some of those things you don’t think you know, you’ll decide maybe you do know a little about those topics after all. Ya know? 😉
Now if you prefer to simply answer a list of questions, here’s a few things you’ll want to answer in your topic/definitions. Keep in mind that many of these questions assume you believe in reincarnation and basic metaphysical theories such as karma, energy and alike. If you don’t believe in these things, then simply skip those questions in your journal, or go ahead and say you don’t believe in that and why. You never know. Your thinking may change one day.
Never say never. For never is a very long time.
Things to ask yourself:
- What is the Divine?
- What is God/Goddess and is this different from the Divine?
- Where do we come from? Think creation vs. evolution. What do you think?
- What is the spirit?
- What is the soul?
- Are the spirit and soul the same thing?
- Do you believe in reincarnation? If so, define what it is to you.
- How does each new incarnation come to be? I’m talking spirit here, not the physical process of procreation.
- Do you have past life memories? If so, where are these memories kept?
- How do these past life memories affect this lifetime?
- How can you use these past life memories in this lifetime?
- What is the purpose of an incarnated life? What are you here to do?
- Is the soul related/connected to the physical body? If so how? Both spiritually and physically.
- Where does the soul go once the physical body dies?
- Do you believe in karma? If so, define it.
- What is kundilini?
- What are chakras? And how are they related to kundilini?
- Are the chakras related to the soul? If so, how are they related and/or connected to the soul?
- Do you believe in spirits? If so, what are they?
- Do you believe in ghosts? If so, what are they?
- How do ghosts differ from spirits? Or do they?
- What are spirit guides?
- Are there different kinds of guides? If so, list and define them.
- What is energy?
- What is an aura?
- What is setting protection? And why is it important?
- What are spiritual senses? Do you have one? Or more than one?
- What do you think about psychic abilities? Do they exist or are they helpful?
- What do you think about spiritual healing?
- What do you think about meditation? What are the benefits of meditation, on a spiritual level.
For Pagans, move your topics to more specifically address your chosen Witchcraft/Shamanistic religious/spiritual path.
- What is your definition of pagan? Now look up the word and it’s history and compare these two definitions.
- What is Witchcraft?
- What is a witch?
- What is a male witch?
- What is a tradition?
- What is a coven, clan etc?
- What is an initiation?
- What is a dedication?
- Is an initiation and dedication the same thing? If not, explain.
- What is Magik? What is the difference between Magic and Magik?
- What are spells?
- What are prayers and how do they differ from spells?
- What is a cone of power?
- What is a circle and how is it used?
- What is a spiritual sanctuary?
- What is an altar and what is it’s purpose?
- What is a ritual?
- What’s a ceremony?
- What are some of the tools utilized by a practitioner of the craft? And what are they used for?
- What is the goal or purpose of walking a spiritual path?
Lastly for any spiritual path; the ultimate question is why are you walking ‘this’ path.
- What do you want to achieve from your studies? I’m not talking about talents, I’m talking about spiritual knowledge and enlightenment.
- What do you want to achieve or do with your knowledge? This is more of the physical activities. And it could include talents (such as psychic abilities, healing, or teaching).
- How are you going to apply this knowledge to your daily life?
These questions are just suggestions. There are literally thousands of questions you can ask yourself. But don’t get bogged down with everything you can think of in this 1st assignment. Cover the basics and something written down.
Once you have completed the assignment, make a copy of it and store the original some where safe. Your new copy is going to become your working copy that you’ll use from here on out. You’ll update it, change it, and add to it. But never delete from it.
If you learn something that negates something you once believed, Make a note that you don’t believe this anymore and why. And make sure you date this change in the margins.
I teach my students that your Beliefs should be reviewed and updated constantly. But at the very least, once a year, you should review your Beliefs, make notes and updates, and save that version with an annual date.
Then make a new copy, that you will work with throughout the coming year. This way, you’ll have a version of your beliefs for each year you’ve walked your spiritual path. And you’ll always have a clean copy of your journal to work from for a fresh new start. The best time to do this task is on Samhain, the Celtic or Pagan New Year, on November 1st.
Samhain is the time of the year for Pagans where we let go of the past, review our progress and renew our commitment, or dedication to our path forward. So it’s a good time to conduct a ritual that closes out the old journal and begins the new journal. Now you may have added a lot to your journal over the years. And it may take longer than an hour or so to make a copy if you’re handing writing it in a special binder. In that case, I suggest to my students, to set the weekend before Samhain aside, to spend solely on your journals. Organize your thoughts, your notes and make the necessary updates to your Beliefs. Then set the journals aside until Sunset on November 1st where you can conduct your ritual privately or in a small group.
This isn’t something you want to do in a large gathering. Your journal is more personal to you and your path. But if you want to share the experience, make it a small circle. A coven gathering of 9 or less is fine.
Created: 01.04.2005 Updated: 02.23.2010, 10/29/2019
© 2012-2019 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.