Like so many things in western culture, the western religions have become much too abstract and intellectual. Much of modern religious practice is wrapped up in dogma and the mental struggle with doctrinal beliefs -- that is to say, "head knowledge." Very little time in these practices is spent on the more experiential and subjective practices.

While some may argue that this is mainly a problem with monotheistic religions, I would have to disagree. I have met many different Pagans who have fallen into the same trap -- and have fallen into it myself at times. One only has to look at the many of us who spend more time reading books than actually meditating or performing rites to realize the truth of the matter.

Don't get me wrong. Knowledge and intellectual understanding are important. However, it is only a foundation for the greater work ahead. It is upon the foundation of my mythological studies that I was able to meet Freyja. It was this basis from which I was able to experience the exhilarating freedom of flying over the countryside with her as twin falcons. it was the same foundation that enabled me to call upon her to bring Mike into my life.

In ritual, the experiential components of practice become equally important. while well planned words and carefully crafted verse can provide some aid, it is the lull of vocal tones, the flicker of flame, the smell of incense, the beauty of gesture, and the flow of energy that helps bring us into contact with the Otherworldly beings. It is through this web of experience -- guided by knowledge -- that true transformation occurs.