Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I'm A Believer

Last week I felt inclined to post ( Seek and You Shall Find ) in regards to a show I had watched entitled "Letting Go of God."  A story about a devout Catholic who eventually through seeking for answers she became a devout atheist. Many of the comments made in regards to this post kept me thinking still about the question of what one believes.

What makes it right… what makes it wrong. Personally I do not believe that anything makes it wrong. If I wish for others to accept me and my beliefs, what right do I have to not accept them if their beliefs may be different than mine. In my opinion, I have no rights.

Floating around blog land is a so called movement entitled "Project Pagan Enough" The details can be found over at Inciting A Riot. It is one person’s pilgrimage to show other pagan’s the issue of accepting their own kind. I will be the first to admit that although I call myself Pagan, I have at many times not felt so. Why, you may ask? Well mainly because I do not do all the things that many other “Pagans” do. I choose the name of Pagan as I felt that my beliefs and the path that I felt my heart was taking me down was not necessarily in accordance with Christianity and the doctrine they follow.

I had come to a point in my journey where I could no longer claim one thing (or perhaps wear the mask) and yet feel so strongly contrary to it. I will admit that there are many of my beliefs that still intermingle with what many pagans would consider Christian. It is hard for me to completely take some of these traits from me as they have been with me over time and in many ways have proven themselves in my eyes to be truthful. The thin line that I feel I sometimes walk between the two is at times extremely narrow or so I thought.

Over the weekend my heart continued to ponder this issue. I came to the conclusion that I had misinterpreted the situation and what it truly is. Yes there are Christians who I am sure would have issues with my beliefs and the manner that I choose to practice. Yet there are also ones who understand that this is what works best for me. It is my road and my journey. They do not judge what I feel I have found in my quest and therefore there is no friction between us. Likewise there are Pagans who have issues with my deviance from what they may see as the true path and the intermingling of traits they see in my belief and practices. Yet also there are those who accept me freely as another who is striving like them to find the best answers they can in the questions that life seems to give us daily.

I have come to realize that the discord that I felt at times in the church is also apparent in the pagan society. Just like the church has those who sit and look down their noses at others whom they feel do not measure up to the qualities they see themselves with. There are also Pagans who feel that unless one speaks the perfect words and performs the rituals in a specific manner that they also do not deserve the right to call themselves as they do.

I worked once as a church secretary. For four years I sat in the office and watched, being the observer that I am, as members of the church came and went. I saw things that many of the regular members of the church never seen. In many ways I am so glad that they never will, as it would have only caused them to wavier in their walk. I was told things by elders and the elite that I would have never expected to come from one who supposedly held such a position. By the time I left the church these as well as other events made me greatly question myself and the intentions I may have before I performed any act in the name of whom I claimed to follow.

I think this is why I so cling to the role of solitary when one ask me what I consider myself. I have never felt comfortable in calling myself a witch. Yet in ways I feel many of us are just that even though we do not realize it. I believe in magic and many things that are unseen and unexplainable. I do so because I have seen it with my own eyes, I have witnessed it personally. Many things to the extent that to tell some of my experiences, I think would even make some pagans think me mad.

I believe that there are many out there who feel much like me. Who are only trying to search for what they feel fills that void that enters us all at some point in our lives. There are many who want to tell us what it is we should believe… what it is we should do… and exactly how we should do it. There are those that if we stray from such instructions, they consider us unworthy of the name they call themselves. For some time I have felt uncomfortable in calling myself Christian. I know in my heart that it is a title I will no longer use. Yet I also feel somewhat uncomfortable with the title of Pagan. I know that I do not do all the rites and rituals that many talk about. I know that I do not worship the gods and goddesses that many speak of. I had to ask myself then what am I?

In conclusion I can only say that I am a believer. I believe in what I what believe in. I trust its truth and know its validity. I do not try to explain that which I cannot explain. I leave that for the Gods who will in time show me if that be their will. I am content with that. I do not need to feel superior to the point that I define my walk as the only true way. The only true path there may be. There are many paths and there are many followers… how can we all walk on the same road at the same time. It is not possible. Our destination is the same, we just choose to follow different methods to eventually arrive.

I encourage you to stop by the Project Pagan Enough. I encourage Pagan and non-Pagan alike. As this is not an issue that pertains to Pagans alone. It is an issue of acceptance. Acceptance of one another for who and what they are. Of not needing to claim ourselves better than others simply because they do not believe or think as we. We are all made up of what comes and goes from our lives on a daily basis. Even for those in the same boat the experience will be viewed from differing perspectives. One will not see the experience the exact same way the other does. We all experience our spiritualism in much the same manner, or so we should be allowed to. Moments will come when we are all given an opportunity to aid others in their walk, just as others have aided us. Yet it is not our place to pass judgment if by chance they do not take the aid we offer or they choose to alter it to fit them. We truly all are Pagan Enough.


Not Hannah said...

How...validating. As a newish Pagan, I struggle with this all the time. I'm totally going over to check this out. Thanks!

Judy said...

Good Morning Mother Moon...Enjoyed your post this morning...so many feel this way...wondering who we are and what we believe..So many people have been raised christian because they don't realize that there is anything else...That is what happened with me...you were either christian or atheist...I always believed in something, therefore I must have been christian...however, when I realized there were ways of believing in something other than a christian god who I could not understand or follow, I found this other was for me...I am so much happier following the earth based beliefs...don't follow any of them very closely, but realize that the earth is all we have...the earth is god and god is the earth...Thanks again for your post this morning.

Ryan Sutton said...

This follows so closely to me on so many levels. I too walk that very thin line, with a third line of Buddhism overlapping Paganism and Christianity.

I hate classifying myself, and usually use the term, Mystic. Or just "Spiritual". I like "Believer" too.

Thank you for sharing!

mxtodis123 said...

Thanks for another wonderful post and for the link to the blog. Looks pretty interesting, and when I have time, I'll get more into it.

brandi said...

"There are many paths and there are many followers… how can we all walk on the same road at the same time. It is not possible. Our destination is the same, we just choose to follow different methods to eventually arrive.

what a BRILLIANT statement...i will be writing this down if you don't mind!!

i do not define myself with a title as i have many beliefs and feel i should not have to justify why i choose to intermix such...we are all individuals as are our beliefs...i honor you for taking a stand and writing about this and your journey with spirituality...never have quite understood why one feel they are who has the authority to tell us we are or are not practicing the RIGHT way...it is our way and that is was matter most...remaining true to thy self...much l♥ve and light...brightest blessings~

Unknown said...

"I'm a believer" - I love this statement. Simple yet profound. And who can doubt its validity? I too am a believer.

Marie S said...

I think I love you!! LOL!! this is so well stated and very eloquent, Thank you!
I always think that I make space in my heart for others to walk their own path and I would appreciate that others make space in their hearts for me to walk mine. I don't pretend to know what is best for them.
I do know what works for me most of the time and when I don't it changes. I am a growing human being with an ever changing mind.
It is so hard to put a label on me and I like it that way.
The diversity in the people I see and feel around me helps me grow and that is what I want to continue doing until I die.
I love what you bring in to my life and I am so grateful for you!!!
Thank you also for sharing it with me too!!!

Sydnii said...

This is something I struggled with almost all of last year. I was trying to please everyone else with my labels instead of simply believing. I think we are of the same path. ^_^ I also believe what I believe, knowing it as Truth and just as valid as any other Truth.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your post. I thoroughly agree with you. I believe that all religions have gotten this way. If you dont follow it specifically then your not doing it right. I find it sad that Pagans, who are one of the most tolerant of the religions or spirituality, still acts like you have to do things a certain way. I am the same. I do not do rituals and things very often, but I still consider myself pagan. I think we all just need to appreciate and be tolerant of one another, because that is the core of everything.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the link, great site. The actress/comedienne who did the documentary you mentioned is Julia Sweeney, she started out many years ago on Saturday Night Live. She's done a couple of movies about her conversion to atheism. The other one I believe is called "God Said Hah!" and it's about her brother dying of cancer and her bout with cancer, which are the incidents that ultimately brought her to her crisis with faith.
I actually feel atheists are another form of extremism. I consider myself an agnostic secular humanist but I have studied many forms of spiritual belief including paganism. I was even a high priestess performing ceremonies once upon a time many years ago, but then moved onto other things that became more relevant to me as I developed in my life.
That's what I think is most important, that one remain true to whatever they find at any given time is relevant to them. My motto is that I believe a certain way today based on my experience but if you ask me tomorrow, I may believe something else base on my experience.
Sorry for the long comment, this is a great topic.

Dessa said...

I completely understand where you are coming from and I think you have hit the nail right on the proverbial head. Each of us walk a completely personal path. There will be some similarities and some differences in what we believe and how we choose to practice those beliefs. Maybe someday we will all come from a place where we can celebrate our differences instead of feeling intimidated by them.

Bridgett said...

I, too, am going to check this out. Thanks, Janie.

In response to your entry, I'd adore you no matter what your spiritual path. :)