Discovering myself

Here’s part 3 of my spiritual journey. This is turning out to not be as easy as I thought it would be. I’m feeling kind of old as I look back and realize that the years I’m talking about feel like a life time ago! Still, it’s bringing me a reawakened sense of comfort.

I took a World History class in college as part of my core requirements. The class was taught by an adjunct who had a strong interest in religion. The class became more like a history of religion class. It was one of my favorites.

It was this class that introduced me to Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Native American Spirituality, and even Paganism as more than just ancient mythologies. She also taught at great length about Christianity in its infancy. The class sparked my interest in earth based religions and led me once again back to the “New Age” section of the book store.

It was there that I found Scott Cunningham’s Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. I had heard of Wicca before, but I knew very little, if anything real about it. I knew what I saw on TV, what I later realized was sensationalized garbage. Like Buddhism, Wicca was not something I dove completely into. It was about this time that I realized I was opposed to organized religion in pretty much any form. But I felt comfortable with a lot of the things I was learning. I branched out more and began considering myself a Pagan.

I still had that rooted belief in Christ and so did some research. As it turned out, I wasn’t alone. There were other Christian Pagans, those who saw the God and Goddess as facets of the same God. This worked for me. The earth centric quality was where I felt the most at home. Since childhood, I had always found something awesomely beautiful about nature. I could lie under the stars and feel at peace. God was all around me, not confined to some building. And not just around me, but within me. God was within all living things, all of nature’s creations.

With that belief, it made sense to me that all things held energies. I began spell casting and felt a certain calm with it. I kept much of it a secret for fear of backlash from those who saw such things as “evil”. Years later a friend referred to spell casting as “prayer with oomph”. I’ve never been able to put it better than that. It really is all spell casting ever was for me, speaking to my Higher Powers in the form of candles and herbs and poetry.

At this point in my life, I had experienced several faiths, and for those I didn’t, I had friends who had. I think that the most important thing I learned at this point was that the presence or lack of any particular religion did not make one person any better or worse than another. I found a peculiarity in faith. You could take 10 “devout” people of 10 different religions and each one would tell you that they “knew” their faith was the one and only true path. Obviously, at least 9 of them are wrong. I think they’re all wrong. I came to believe that there was no such thing as “one true path”. I also came to believe that I had no way of knowing, in this earthly form, what was true and what wasn’t. And these were the beliefs that first led me to call myself an agnostic.

So there was my “title”. Non-denominational Christian Pagan Agnostic. That’s a mouthful and a half! But the titles aren’t important, as I later came to understand. What was important? I was finally beginning to discover something that made sense to me. I started walking a path that I believed in because it felt right to me, not because somebody told me it was true.

Facts can be manipulated, but nobody can alter the way something makes me feel. And so if I sat in the middle of the woods on an autumn day listening to fur balls scurry and birds sing, I’d feel love and peace and fulfillment. That was real.

I came to question my beliefs in the afterlife. Heaven and hell. Reincarnation. The Summerlands. Nirvana. What did I think happened to my mom? My grandparents? My friends? My unborn brothers or sisters (from my step-mom’s multiple miscarriages)? My aunts and uncles? For someone who had a funeral dress by 17, these were important questions, and ones I would spend a lot of time thinking about over the next several years.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by poolman on March 14, 2011 at 11:08 am

    This has been an interesting topic that I am glad you are sharing. We each travel different paths and experience different things. Seeking truth and understanding takes many twists and turns. Spiritual growth takes us many places and those leave an impression that helps us look back and retrace our steps. Looking back is always clearer than looking ahead, but as we follow the light, the path becomes clear to us.

    Once we understand that we are created in the very image of God, it opens up limitless potential for gaining wisdom and shaping our interaction with the world we find ourselves dwelling in. God is both masculine and feminine, singular and plural.

    Organized religion tends to bind many of us to our mortality as it tries to define an undefinable Creator. The discipline is helpful in many ways, but can confine us in others. Take in truth from all sources, gleaning the good from the bad. I guess right now I would best categorize my beliefs as Christian mystic. But hey, what’s in a name? We humans tend to need to label all things. Of course, that was our first given task. Have a blessed day, I pray. 😀

    Reply

    • Thank you, once again, for you thoughts. I hope that you are well 🙂

      This has been an interesting process. It’s causing me to revisit old books and ideaologies . . . and it’s making want to take a trip through Valley Green 🙂

      Reply

  2. Posted by amber on March 14, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    I’ve been reading your entries about your spiritual journey, and I can’t find any words to tell you how beautiful it all is. Growing up, I was surrounded by many, many cultures, and beliefs. It’s a wonderful thing when you’re open-minded. You learn SO much about everything around you, and in turn, about yourself.

    “Organized religion tends to bind many of us to our mortality as it tries to define an undefinable Creator. The discipline is helpful in many ways, but can confine us in others. Take in truth from all sources, gleaning the good from the bad. I guess right now I would best categorize my beliefs as Christian mystic. But hey, what’s in a name? We humans tend to need to label all things. Of course, that was our first given task. ”

    HOW TRUE THIS IS.
    I love this.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

    • Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and for sharing your own! 🙂

      And yes, it is so wonderful when you are open-minded to all that is around you. I can’t imagine all the beauty I would have missed out on if I had closed myself off to other theologies and cultures!

      Reply

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