Symbols, Holy Days, and Oracles
In the third dimension, humans encounter the challenge of perceiving and distinguishing between Spiritualism and Religion. This recognition becomes easier when humans learn to distinguish between appearance and form.
Esoterically, appearance has two meanings:
The shadow or reflection of a substance, also known as our impression of a form; or,
The presence or introduction of added Consciousness.
The illusion of religion is that form and appearance are the same, that "What you see is what you get." Sometimes that is true, but that hardly establishes a dependable paradigm. This illusion is extended to embrace the "reflective" conception of appearance, but excludes the Divine Presence. Thus, when there is "appearance of Divine Presence", those inured in Religion may fail to perceive it, as they have become too attached to the appearance of form.
As Religion is the lower astral expression of Spirit, that expression has taken the meaning of Appearance and consigned it to the lower astral. Thus, as religionists teach, "What you see is what you get," they encourage a handicap against seeing what they get, or getting what they see.
Those who attempt to raise their astral perception by rising above Religion, and are new or creative in their efforts to seek or define Spiritual foundations, are often stymied by projections of religious artifacts, which, since not apparently Christian tokens, "must" be authentically pagan, or at least non-denominational.
This is a fallacy.
Many people who declare themselves as "pagans" have not declared themselves free. Those who call themselves pagan are simply calling themselves an alternative label, but pagan is still a label, and in the context that it is used (as a rebelling against or questioning of Christianity) is a bogus label with no valid definition.
To be a pagan against Christianity implies that Christianity exists and is worth arguing with, or about. This lends credence to the energy of Religion that those who call themselves pagans wish to reject, and supports the very form that they often claim to despise.
The label pagan is no longer truly "non-denominational". This is unfortunate, and inconvenient, for those occasions when self-descriptive labels would be helpful, but it is time for humans to learn to use words that really mean something, and to quit allowing themselves to be thrown into the societal illusion that names or labels have importance or definition.
This is also true of so-called Holy Days. Observations of designated Holy Days are completely useless if they have no true meaning for the observant. Most "pagan" special days are designated in relation to weather and atmospheric conditions and expectations. A little-recognized principal is that the trends of weather and atmospheric conditions also mirror that of Humanity. The Adept who wishes to integrate his own consciousness in Harmony with Earth must incorporate awareness of Spirit, Humanity, and Matter, as the energy of this Trinity is invoked on this planet.
The matter of divination is also particularly abused. Tools of divination such as Tarot, Runes, or I Ching, and others, are instruments that serve as agents of facilitation between the third and fourth dimension, and between the various subplanes of consciousness already present within the third dimension.
Tools of divination, if misused, become infused with the power of oracles, and they become the machines of priests. In other words, as the role of intermediate vessel of communication becomes grounded in the material plane, and tools of divination gain a false sense of importance as Priests without independent function or personality. This is as false as human priests gifted with limited prophecy, who become manipulated into projecting the false desire of the group, in order to placate the group, and also to retain his own power as group oracle.
In their lower astral form of Religion, symbols, holy days, and oracles are false reflections of the manipulation of Man within Man's environment.
In their positive expression of Divine and Universal Spirituality, symbols, holy days, and oracles are perceived and used as tools with which to facilitate, transform, and implement the Harmony of Spirit as embodied by Humanity and Matter.
No one can truly master, or wield full Creative Power of symbols, holy days, or oracles, without first understanding the symbiotic relationship between Humanity, Spirit and Matter. To express correctly within so-called Earth Religions, one may master the instruments, bring recognition of their form into Harmony with their higher consciousness, and reflect the transmuted form into manifestation.
This would, indeed, be a Service, and would transcend Religion, to take its place as a Spiritual reflection, and might even be perceived as the Appearance of Magic and Love in the third dimension.
This is the true goal of the aspiring Mage.