I recently went to see The Shack. I knew it was going to be a Christian movie. What pleasantly surprised me were the Christo-Pagan elements of it. Most have heard of The Holy Trinity. However, how often do we see God represented as a trio in a movie? This is probably the only time I have ever seen God represented as The Trinity in a movie. When I was growing up God was simply presented as God The Father. Christ was presented as the son of God. I don’t recall the Holy Spirit being discussed as one of three Divine personalities. If the Holy Spirit was mentioned, it seemed to be in a manner representing The Father. The name the Holy Spirit goes by in The Shack is Sarayu. The actor portraying Christ in the movie says “Sarayu is creativity, action, the breath of life. She is my spirit and even if you can’t see it, you are in the center of our love and purpose.” The name is said to mean “wind.” It is apparently derived from Sanskrit. The air element is often associated with creativity in pagan belief. On a personal note, I have stated that I feel The Goddess’ presence in breezes.
An interesting note about the representation of The Father is that an actress played the roll for most of the movie. She was referred to as Papa, but presented as a woman who was kind to the main character when he was a child. The reason given for this in the movie is that God knew he didn’t need a father at that time. Thus God the Father in the movie played more of an aunt-like roll until later in the movie when the main character did need a father. (His earthly father was not available, but I won’t get into that in this post.) The message there is that God presents to each of us in the way that best appeals to us at the time. Also, different representations of Deity come from the same Source. This is also a familiar belief under the pagan umbrella.
Wisdom is character in the movie as well. She is not presented as Deity, but does seem to represent the wisdom of our Higher Selves or Divine Sparks. The soul is represented as a garden that Divine enjoys. This “tickles me” (as many little old ladies would say) because the name of my blog is The Spirit Garden. As the main character is in a garden with Sarayu, he comments on the wildness/messiness of the garden. She responds by agreeing that the garden is wild and saying “It’s wild and wonderful and perfectly in process. This mess is you.”
Here are some lessons this movie taught:
- God is not wrathful. God is good. People tend to pay a price for bad deeds without God smiting them.
- God should not be blamed for “allowing” evil deeds to occur. God does not want slaves. We are loved. Free will exists so that we have the choice to have a relationship with God. The consequence of free will is that people can decide to do horrible things. This is how evil leaks into the world and causes pain.
- You shouldn’t expect God to condemn anybody to Hell for all eternity because we are all His children. Good parents love their children even when they are upset by them. Asking God to condemn anybody in such a way is comparable to a person being told to choose which of their children goes to Heaven and which spends the rest of eternity in anguish. It is unfair.
- We can recognize evil deeds without becoming the judge of others’ souls. Wisdom states that the burden of judging God’s other children is too heavy for us to bare. Judging other souls weighs down on us and reduces our heart’s ability to love.
- Know that life circumstances can warp a person and cause them to act outside of their soul’s true nature. Hence bad deeds do not necessarily mean a soul is bad.
- The past is a place to learn from, not dwell in. Keeping our eyes on Divine prevents us from sinking in regrets and anger.
- We can still be angry after deciding to forgive somebody. You may have to forgive somebody a thousand times for the same hurtful action before you are ably to fully let go of that anger. We need to let go of anger so that we can move forward instead of being ruled by thoughts of what was done to us (or to our loved ones). Forgiveness is to heal the self. Forgiving does not make what the offender did “okay.”
- Tears are “healing waters”.
- People were not meant to war over disagreements. We were meant to have friendly conversations with each other and treat each other as family. It isn’t right to declare our goodness and place ourselves higher than our neighbors because of their “badness.”
- Sometimes we must intentionally make room in our gardens (our souls) for the purpose of planting something that is needed. The Divine is ready to help us create space and plant what is needed.
- The representation of Christ in the movie tells the main character that we can each have a relationship with God without being obedient to a religion. He reminds the main character that He himself is not Christian.
- As well as forgiving others, we need to forgive ourselves and stop allowing ourselves to be burdened by blame. (Especially when something was not our fault. Ie. “If only I had been there maybe I could have….”)
- Tis good to imagine ourselves and each other through the loving eyes of God, in which we are each seen as radiant beings. We are not our flaws or mistakes. Sometimes we get covered in muck and that dims our glow. God sees our light even when we are unaware of our radiance.
To summarize, I greatly enjoyed watching this movie. I was leaned forward in my seat as though the movie was physically pulling me in. I may not be able to speak for every Christo-Pagan, but I think this movie is a delight for pagans influenced by Christianity. It may even be a delight for some people who have no ties to Christianity. I enthusiastically recommend it. Blessed be, y’all.