Sunday, November 14, 2010

Continuing the Journey

For many years, now, I have been a "seeker." Indeed, maybe I have been so all of my life. There is a hunger inside me for connection to things of the Spirit. An impatience with a life lived amongst and dedicated to material things alone. And an instinctive understanding that mankind doesn't always know what we "know;" that there is so much more to The Almighty—to the author of the Universe—than we even allow ourselves to consider.

That spiritual hunger and intolerance for pretense led me away from the Catholic Church—the church of my birth and the first third of my life; into the web of fundamentalist Christianity (and out again) as a young adult; and finally to face the Big Questions in my own mind and on my own terms. Which, incidentally, has turned into my personal credo: that one's understanding of and connection to the things of the Spirit are fundamentally individual and personal. And should be respected as such.

Human religions have evolved to be as much—maybe more—about community than they are about spirituality. Humans seem to have an instinctive need to gather with others of our own kind. That's all well and good. But when you combine that need with another instinctive need—the need to connect to the Powers that control and direct the Universe, the Earth, and thus, our very selves—things get out of kilter very quickly. A group of like-minded humans assembled to seek, commune with or worship the Power all too quickly becomes a club…a clique…a gathering of the elite. Something that you either embrace or you don't. And if you don't, then you are not with us. If you are not with us, you must be against us. And so it descends into…all the evil that we human beings have the power to inflict upon one another.

I'm willing to concede that there are religious folks out there who do not strap bombs to themselves, or gallop off on Crusades, or believe that they have been charged by the Universe to conscript every person they meet into the ranks of whatever particular brand of "Almighty Worship" they follow. Not every Christian, Muslim, Jew or Hindu is a wild-eyed zealot. And to those folks I tip my hat, bow, and say, "Whatever gets you through the night…who am I to take that away from you?" And request that they do me the same courtesy.

In practice, what this makes me is one of the few people I know who is not afraid that a lightning bolt with my name on it is balanced in the hand of the Almighty, ready to be hurled if I color outside traditional religious lines.

As someone who is drawn to nature and the earth, I've begun to explore Native American spirituality, along with an odd mixture of eastern and vaguely Wiccan rituals. I wish that I had the time to thoroughly research and weigh every belief system. But right now, for me, it's a matter of choosing things, from whatever corner of the world, that speak to my own spirit. So I've acquired an abalone shell, a feather and some dried white sage; and two stone hearts—one carved from amethyst, the other from rose quartz. The amethyst for power, the quartz for love. I light the sage and purify myself and my places with the sacred smoke. I carry the hearts as reminders of my connection to the Power, and of my intention to bless my relationships with others.

I have turned to these sacred objects and these simple rituals to guide me through yet another major life change. And I have found power and comfort in these things. So I have to believe that the Universe honors my desire to connect to and revere the things of the Spirit.

And now I have laid the foundation for the story of my amazing time on the dike this morning. Which I will share in my next post….


  1. We were born in the wrong place and time. I can see you on one of the headlands of the Scottish highlands or the gravel beaches of the Orkneys. One with the sea mists and the soaring sea birds.

    If we can't go there in our bodies, we'll have to travel in our hearts. Sounds like there was a "leak" out on that dike.

  2. I'm a big believer in personal rituals as a part of a spiritual life, and I'm really looking forward to part 2.

  3. I am finally having the time to give these posts the attention they deserve. On to the next one . . .