Wednesday, 17 October 2018
Finding my path...
Apart from some culturally Christian acts of prayer as a child, I didn't have a very religious upbringing, and didn't take it very seriously. Then, in high school, with this ouija board shit at age 14, I got a bit into Wicca, and like many teenagers, I had a bit of a coven going on with three other girls. Yeah, this is mondo embarrassing, but we had watched the movie 'The Craft', which had recently come out, and wanted to be witches so fucking badly. I played around with that for a while, before deciding to move on with things, and went into a more atheistic phase, as high school ended and the strangeness that was my early 20s began.
Then I became more spiritually curious again (this was before the assault from the spirit in 2006) and was less atheistic, more agnostic. I pondered what it could all mean, without delving too much into any concrete ideas. As the future loomed, I began to desire enlightenment, or to find God, or something, so strongly, and the sense that an evil presence was coming back into my life was upon me. I guess I prayed to God to reach out at one point for help, but I didn't think much of it at the time.
The first religion I considered to be the right choice for me was Buddhism, which of course is very popular among white seekers these days (I actually personally know more white Buddhists than of any other race, including a lovely Buddhist nun whom I unfortunately lost contact with). Buddhist ideas actually helped me stay strong throughout my struggles, but the problem with most Buddhist ideas is that they do not place enough emphasis on a higher power, or "god", for what I required, so being on that path made me less prone to prayer, although Buddhists do in fact pray. Meanwhile, despite the idea that I'd make a fine Buddhist, I was still dicking around with pseudo-Wiccan spellcraft in an attempt to stave off the evil one, which I couldn't figure out - was it real? Imagined? If it was real, who or what was it? The spells made things worse, so I had to learn to stop, and later clean up any remaining backlash.
I also was taking an interest in Kabbalah, but as anyone who has actually tried studying it knows, Kabbalah is an extremely complicated system of thought. To truly understand Kabbalah, one must be fluent in Hebrew in order to comprehend the hidden language within the Zohar, I believe it is. I went to a Kabbalah Centre meeting one time, but it seemed superficial and like a giant money grab, so that didn't last, and, not being from a Jewish background and not a male, I was unlikely to study it under a rabbi to learn more. I still study books on it (Toledano Kabbalah would probably be the best school of thought for me, or perhaps Golden Dawn, based on the way I think) but it's not my path.
There was a time when I got really into First Nations spirituality, and in a way, I still borrow from it, using smudge and prayer tobacco in some ritual. But, apart from a tiny bit of Cree ancestry on my mother's side of the family, I am a honkey, and would forever present as a sad white person trying to make sense of a culture I wasn't brought up in. I still attend the native circle in my community sometimes, and I like speaking to Elders, but without the cultural standpoint of having been raised in this tradition, I probably would only ever come across as a "plastic shaman" if I tried to get into this as a religious path.
When I thought the root of my problem was a bad kundalini rising, after psychiatry had convinced me there was no angry spirit thanks to a year of institutionalized brainwashing, I turned to studying the kundalini and taking up kundalini yoga, as a practise. I wondered if I should become a Sikh - all the Sikhs I met were lovely people, and they seemed to sure know how to party with their bhangra music and festivals. The yoga itself was often enjoyable, it felt good, but it got me nowhere spiritually, and ultimately I decided I was too much of a Taurus to do that much rigorous exercise, plus Breath of Fire made me feel like I was going to hyperventilate sometimes.
Then, in 2015, I was able to invoke Jesus through St Jude... and, I have to admit, a small part of me thought "Oh no", because Christianity wasn't the path that I wanted to turn to, what with all the crimes against humanity caused by Christians throughout history, and because of just how insipid so many of them come across as. But here Christ was, in my life, I could feel him in my heart centre, and changes were finally happening, and I wanted to honour that. Through Jesus I was able to invoke quite a bit of aid, and now my life is like night and day, but I was struggling to understand what kind of Christian I should become. The United Church seemed like the obvious choice based on my politics, and I am involved at least in the community sense with a local United Church cathedral, the minister there being a friend of mine now, but there's something lacking... not enough sacraments, or something. Anglicanism, despite being the church of my upbringing, was a religious path I didn't know enough about, and I still attend service once in a while. It's ok, Anglicanism is, despite having a sordid history in some ways, and has made great strides in LGBTQ+ rights, women's rights, and social justice issues (depending on the congregation), but I'm just not feeling it. It's Catholicism, or something of Catholicism, that ultimately feels right, even though I have to hold my nose a bit after doing the sign of the cross, because of how I feel about the corruption affiliated with this religion.
And then there's the Hinduism connection, which is something else I am exploring, except perhaps a bit blindly. I just have a strong sense that several Hindu gods are in my life, or have at least answered some prayers, so I wish to honour that as well. Bhakti, being the yoga of devotion, is how I describe my practise. I get the sense that Krishna is becoming as strong a presence in my life as Jesus, Krishna being a more recent addition, and I'm still learning of how to work with him. I don't feel like I can trust the path of the Hare Krishnas to form a personal relationship with Krishna very well, so I just study The Bhagavad Gita on my own (Eknath Easwaran edition) and go from there. Since trying to find religion, Indian ideas have been some of my favourites, so it's possible I am more Hindu at heart than anything else, but I can't ignore the Christian overtones to my spirituality either.
So that's where I'm at right now. Kind of an interesting hodgepodge there. Maybe one day I will have a better way to define myself spiritually, but for now, I guess I just have to keep updating my Facebook religious description every once in a while, as progress is made.