Pagan at Heart

At peace with myself and the world… or at least headed that way

Archive for the tag “spirituality”

Life Keeps Pulling Up My Roots

It’s that time again. I’ve once again reached the end of my rope, remembered my hunger for spiritual things, and am trying to find my pagan roots to re-ground myself. Maybe someday I’ll reach a point where I stay so in tune with my spiritual side that I don’t need to rediscover it to save my sanity. I certainly try… but life gets in the way. 😦 The three year old demands constant attention and energy. The house demands constant attention and energy. My health  repeatedly hits snags and I get laid up so that I have no energy or attention to give to anyone or anything. I don’t feel like I get any time to myself – time to just be and feel and breath – but I know that’s largely my fault. Yes, I’m a disabled stay-at-home-step-mom to a toddler, and it’s Winter and freezing cold outside, and we’re dirt poor… but I could make opportunities to get out by myself if I tried. Honestly, the thing I wish for most is time for Honey and I to be alone together, without a toddler. Truth be told… this ready-made family thing has taken a toll on my in recent days. My patience is worn so thin, and I feel horribly guilty about it. This brings me to an important bit of news: Honey and I are expecting!

The tarot cards I got for my birthday told me I was pregnant with a Leo baby long before a pregnancy test confirmed the news. We did the test on Solstice, which seemed fitting to me. 🙂 I’m nearing the 9 week mark and am due on August 20th. Hopefully everything will work out for this pregnancy… we’ve already had several scares and some trouble. First I thought I might have an ectopic pregnancy (which was ruled out), then I started having trouble with lots of bleeding (seems to have resolved now?), and then I got a stomach bug and was violently ill (went to the ER for fluids). Also, I was recently diagnosed with Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos (HEDS)… the day after I would have gotten pregnant, actually. I have a fairly mild case, thankfully. My heart is fine, my skin is fine, and I’ve never had any trouble with slow healing or my blood not clotting. My knees are probably the worst, though. Early this morning I woke up and wanted a drink of water, so I stood up and my left knee rolled out of joint. Gods that hurt! A bit worried about how having HEDS is going to impact my pregnancy, especially if my knees are gonna start giving out on me. Don’t want to fall while I’m pregnant. 😦 So yeah… I’m having trouble with hormones, morning sickness, HEDS, getting sick, and just generally struggling with life.

Despite becoming a step-mother over a year and a half ago, I think the transition from Maiden to Mother is hitting me right now. I want this baby, planned for its existence… but I’m scared to death about what could happen and how my own demons will impact my ability to be a good mother. I need to get myself together before this baby comes. God and Goddess please help me as I move forward. I know the strength lies somewhere within me, I just need to find it.

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A Realization

A thought struck me earlier today and I haven’t been able to shake it, so I will write about it.

My spirituality has never been allowed to be about me.

The strict Baptist upbringing of my first two decades did not allow for anything that even hinted at selfishness. We weren’t Puritans by any stretch of the imagination, but we were taught that our lives weren’t about us because they belonged to God. We were born because God had a purpose for us. This purpose might include many things (pain, ridicule, sacrifices as huge as dying), but it ultimately culminated in bringing glory to himself. All that we said or did was supposed to please him and bring glory to his name and cause. How we worshipped, what we wore, and even the secret things we pondered late at night belonged to him. To do things because you wanted to was selfish and sinful. Rebellion was “as the sin of witchcraft,” (1 Samuel 15:23) after all. Most of the Christians I have known toss around the phrase, “it’s God’s will” or “the Holy Spirit is leading me to do this” or something similar to that to justify the decisions they make. I’ve seen those phrases used to justify some pretty terrible things, but that’s a topic for another time.

Fundamentalism removes the individual’s self. An individual (in the sense I’m speaking about) is comfortable in their own skin and is quite happy to find his/her own way in life. An individual is empowered and free. Individuals don’t last in fundamentalism (unless they become cult leaders or the like). Fundamentalism must break down people’s sense of self, tell them it’s evil (play on past guilt, etc.), and then insert a controlling measure (strict adherence to particular teachings, lifestyle, dress, etc.). The Bible often uses the imagery of sheep needing a shepherd to illustrate humanities’ need for the Christian God. Sheep are very stupid animals, or so I’ve been told, and will get themselves into all kinds of trouble without the guidance of a shepherd. People often act like sheep; sometimes we like being told what to do rather than having to make our own decisions and then being responsible for them (and sometimes it’s necessary, to a degree). Individuals don’t fit well in flocks of sheep, though.

I’m an individual. I’ve always struggled with fitting in with the flock or going off on my own. I have many vivid memories associated with this struggle. In childhood I tried to blindly implement the rules I was taught, but kept finding them to be silly and impractical. I fought violently against the herd as I grew older, but kept being pulled back and shepherded into conformity. I earnestly believed but struggled with who I was as an individual. I worked at packing away my individuality, thinking it to be sinful, and tried to be a good little sheep. Keeping one’s self under control was prized, so I worked and worked at that. All this packing away and control did great damage to me on so many levels.

  1. My ability to love and accept my body was trashed. Fleshly bodies are evil, after all, and only of this sinful world. To this day I still have a hard time separating what I look like (my weight, what I’m wearing, how sexy or frumpy I am) from who I actually am and what my worth as a human being is. I should be confident enough about my worth to not care how I appear in other people’s eyes, but I’m not. What other people think about me (must constantly worry about my testimony!) still runs me ragged at times.
  2. My growth into a mature, emotionally-healthy human being was stunted. Keeping control of yourself, never letting loose was supposed to be a good thing. Instead, emotions and experiences I should have worked through as a young person (when the repercussions would have been smaller) have caused extreme pain and heartbreak now. I didn’t allow myself to be “crazy” as a young person. I thought I was really “out there” the first time I wore my Converse high tops in public, when I started listening to Josh Groban, and if I wore anything that was sleeveless. I didn’t allow myself to go through any of the phases most Americans deem normal because I wanted to be mature and Christ-like. I didn’t allow myself to process emotional pain or trauma correctly, because to do so would have involved expressing pain and needs to others, which was selfish and showed my relationship with God wasn’t strong enough.
  3. My understanding of what spirituality meant was monopolized, causing my spirituality to be shallow.
    A.  My former spirituality was starving me. It was about making an invisible being happy by doing and saying the right thing. Everything was about him. I didn’t matter, and I told myself that was good and should make me happy. That sort of relationship between humans isn’t healthy and doesn’t work in the long run (I know from personal experience), but it’s exactly what many Christians teach and promote. Complete denial of self is a form of starvation, like anorexia. A strong, healthy personality doesn’t stem from an anorexic sense of self. I starved my self for many years and my personality and life suffered the side effects. Now, I’m trying to feed it and make it healthy, but it’s insanely hard. It’s easier to nibble on guilt and feelings of worthlessness than to stomach empowerment and self-worth.
    B.  My understanding of spirituality was so deeply tied to exclusively Christian things that I couldn’t separate spirituality from my religious beliefs. The spirituality of others was confusing to me, because they too claimed happiness and satisfaction, even if they didn’t associate with a particular religion. I was taught to discount the happiness of others and to call it blind ignorance instead. Because of that, I learned to judge others and discount the truth of what they said about themselves if it didn’t line up with what was “right.” I’ve come a long way here, but I still struggle with being judgmental and dismissive about other people’s thoughts and lives.
    C.  My spirituality was so bound up in Christianity, with its rules and scrutiny, that I wouldn’t let myself seriously consider other belief systems until very recently. Having the belief that everything outside of the KJV Bible is evil and a lie pounded into your head 6 days a week is incredibly effective. My Baptist upbringing also taught me that religions and spirituality were an all or nothing deal – everything was to be taken seriously and literally. Now, my spirituality allows me to explore, question, and piece together my own set of beliefs from whatever sources I chose. I don’t need rules or parameters.

Now that I’m free to be me, the possibilities are endless! My body is mine. My sexuality is mine. My intelligence is mine. My thoughts are mine. My life is mine. My spirituality is mine. My own! Where should I go with myself? The realization that I am my own person is deliciously freeing.

Thoughts on My Spirituality & Love of Green Things

I’ve not written here in awhile; haven’t had spirituality on my mind very much lately. That may sound odd, and even alarming to some… but it’s the truth. After finally reaching a point of contentment with my spirituality and what I think about the world… I stopped needing to obsess about it. By obsess about, I mean spend many hours reading, researching, and writing about something. That’s how I tackle a new thing. Spirituality got put on the back burner while I focused on diet and health for awhile. Now my mind has begun to turn back towards thinking about spirituality again.

I’m still not sure where to start or how to go about things. I seek the connection of a spiritual community and the connection with the universe that comes with spiritual experiences. But I’m not brave and bold about paganism yet. I’m not brave and bold period. But I’m trying. My focus on diet and health has brought me closer to living naturally and in harmony with the world. The more I live this way, the more it becomes important to me – even feels like a huge part of who I am. I’m currently living in an apartment and don’t have access to a garden, backyard, or any bit of land to call my own. Once Spring arrives and clears away the snow I’ll be able to go back to local parks and enjoy Nature again. I can’t wait. I’ve missed green things and earth so much this winter. I need sunshine, dirt, and green stuff to thrive. I’ve always been a person of the Earth. As a child I made beds out of moss, climbed trees, swam in the ocean and lakes, dug in the dirt, and ran barefoot on the grass. 

I love the Earth. 

That phrase is overused and “hip”… but I sincerely mean it. The more I understand what humanity has done to the Earth, the more angry and sad I become. Caring for our environment should come naturally to us. Instead, “Environmentalism” is something the crazy liberals obsess about (I am one of those crazy liberals). It’s crazy. Not destroying our home world isn’t something we should be fighting over. Ugh. But that’s another post for another time.

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