I am starting a church – The Temple of the Infinite Divine – and part of that is clarifying theology and doctrines for the church. It’s an independent church, not part of any existing religion. Interspiritual. Contemplative. Activist.
One of those things to clarify is how the church will refer to what is generally called a “Higher Power”.
In Christian churches, this is God. In Judaism, it’s G-d or YHWH. In Islam, it’s Allah. Other religions have other Higher Powers – some singular, some plural. Monotheism versus polytheism, etc.
But to me, these have always felt like limits on divinity. Anthropomorphizations of a force beyond description. Consciousness beyond our limited human experience of consciousness.
“God” doesn’t really work. For years, I used, “The Universe,” but that didn’t really feel right either, so I switched to “The Divine.”
Personally, I work with four divinities on a devotional level – Juno, Holle, Circe, and Paradox.
But I don’t want this church I’m starting to be limited to my own personal experience of divinity. People who feel connected to all aspects of the divine will be welcome, provided they are willing to work towards the activist missions of the church – to feed the hungry, heal the sick, clothe the poor, house the unhoused, etc.
And then it came to me.
What it is that I am always seeking.
To connect with The Essence.
When I meet someone, I want to connect with their Essence – the core of who they are.
Soul doesn’t really work here, either, for Soul implies a dualist separation of body and spirit, and our Essence is inextricably linked to our experience as embodied beings.
And so, as part of the work on developing the doctrines of The Temple of the Infinite Divine (which might be getting a name change…) I will be referring to divinities, big and small, human and non-human, as Essences.
This has already sparked a deepening of the devotional relationships with those I mentioned above – timely, since my Word for this month is Deeper.
When I looked at the etymology of “essence” it clicked into place with a shiver up and down my spine.
Essence comes from the Proto-Indo-European “es-“.
Or in the present tense…
And so going forward, I am seeking The Essence. Of Everything.