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Okay So Imagine I Am A Total Newbie... - Seeking a fresh start


Guest Moonrising
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So imagine I am a total newbie... with a ton of baggage and a thing for Jesus but can't stand Christianity and adore Paganism with all my heart and soul (if there is such a thing as a soul) but am currently an atheist in that I don't believe in any gods or even anything supernatural. I also don't trust experiences, having looked into the cognitive science and also having had experiences of my own that are contradictory such as meeting jesus at a Christian event and meeting a goddess at a goddess encounter event, and also just because all over the world people have experiences they are just as convinced are real, but they can't all be real and who would presume to say some are and others not ( likeI used to when I was a Christian), I can only assume they aare either all false or that there is something out there that our minds interpret in different ways, in which case we can never know anything about it so might as well not bother.... I don't actually believe in Jesus but I think if something there resonates with me then it's worth listening though it could just be because of my history.

 

Well, if you read all that congratulations, and I am leaving it as one huge paragraph so you can get a taster of what my head feels like :lol: .

 

I am miserable without Paganism. It just felt so right to me and so perfectly me and made me happy every day. One day this week without thinking I put on my purple and black skirt and my pentacle and turned on a Damh the Bard CD and then I remembered it was lost and I cried and cried. I realised how much I missed it when I found myself planning to give Christianity a go because I hate my dull, dead, unmagical world. Then there's the fear of hell I can't quite shed....

 

I want to start over and not get bogged down in thinking (god I never stop thinking) or in following a pre-ordained path unless one finds me (the OBOD course was fab, some of the exercises were profound but the ritual and the stuff about the elements and 4 directions and all that just didn't ring true for me). Or trying to hard to find a god or goddess or something to believe in.

 

Advice please- simple and practical would be brill.

 

Thankyou, and I really missed this place.

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Oh sweetheart :lol:

 

Simple, practical advice?

 

Relax hon, you're overthinking things.

 

Could it be that the connection you feel to Jesus is what are attributed to be his ethics and teachings, rather than the whole Christianity baggage?

 

What is it about Paganism that makes you happy? Maybe you could start with that?

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... I want to start over and not get bogged down in thinking (god I never stop thinking) or in following a pre-ordained path unless one finds me

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then do it. Ignore what the Zen Buddhists call the 'chattering monkey' of all those thoughts, and do it. :)

 

As to the fear of hell - as you say, not everything can be true. This is an irrational fear. or, if rational (along the lines of Pascal's wager - look it up), then you have to forget anything other than Christianity, all your life, no matter how miserable that makes you feel. It's one or the other: submit your life to the fear, or forget it. And 'forgetting' is an act of will: if it surfaces, put it aside. Silence the chattering monkey.

 

You choose, hun. :)

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My advice would be stop. Just stop. Stop trying to find something, stop trying to find a lable, stop trying to make religion give you the thing that is missing in your life. Religion of any shape or form. You can't just give Christianity a "go" what the hell is that? Seriously? You've been pagan for what? Four years and in that time you've been through goddesses, jesus, atheism and who knows what else. You need to stop. Whatever path, choices or faith you choose takes time. It takes more than a few months to work it out. Do you know how long it took me to become an atheist? It took years. I spent about ten years as an agnostic trying to work out how the world and people worked and finally, after a very long time, a lot of soul searching and a lot of reading, asking more questions and seeking more answers than I care to remember I came to the realisation that gods made no sense. None of them. But I came to that conclusion. Me. And I am pretty sure that all the believers on here reached their faith in exactly the same way. Over time, with more questions and more times of not really know what the hell was what until they didn't have a choice but to accept what was right there in front of them.

 

If you don't mind me saying, and please MR don't think I'm being agressive I'm just being honest. You seem to want an "off the shelf" faith. You want to buy it, open it, insert the disk and hey presto faith (or lack of) and answers to the issues and or void you need filled. It doesn't work like that.

 

So, I do have a suggestion for you. Ask yourself why you want this so badly. Ask yourself what you think a faith or a scientific understanding of the universe will bring you. What are you looking for. A crutch? Something to make your life easier? Or true understanding of your place in time and space? Or a relationship with a god that others have because you see it and it looks cool and it seems to help their lives and you need that. What is causing you to look?

 

No faith can be chosen. Even though I don't believe in gods I don't need to, to be able to tell you that at the very least a faith, its concepts, view on the world and the universe has to speak to you (even if the gods don't), something about it has to say "this is how I want to live my life" before you can live it.

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So, I do have a suggestion for you. Ask yourself why you want this so badly. Ask yourself what you think a faith or a scientific understanding of the universe will bring you. What are you looking for. A crutch? Something to make your life easier? Or true understanding of your place in time and space? Or a relationship with a god that others have because you see it and it looks cool and it seems to help their lives and you need that. What is causing you to look?

 

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I haven't really been that many place. Just a steady loss of Christian faith over about 15 years, followed by discovering I was a Pagan at heart and two years of that until I started to feel I was playacting and then a another year to think that really it all point to there probably being no god or it not being relevant if there is. Seems like a steady and natural progression to me. A lot of ex-Christian atheists I have met journeyed through Paganism or Buddhism and so on for a while after losing their Christian faith, before concluding they were actually atheists, it is a pretty common experience.

 

I just was so happy when I was a Pagan. I felt so me, it was like coming home and fidning myself again, the me I was when I was growing up and loved being me. Butmainly just because it made me feel happy. My heart sang every day, when I listed to my Damh the Bard Cds, when I picked out a pendant from my jewellery box, when I walked on the moors. I can't explain that really. I have lots of other things in my life, but yes there is a gap, it's a gap where I want my spirituality to be. I am not happy to feel I have no spirituality, when there is nothing but the material world. All my life I thought there was more to life than that.

 

I don't want a god to help me or be a crutch, I've learned since I left Christianity that I am much better of doing that myself, and I have done it.

 

And yes, I do like to know and understand things, I guess there's a reason why I became a scientist. Being content to not know is something I find really challenging.

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... I want to start over and not get bogged down in thinking (god I never stop thinking) or in following a pre-ordained path unless one finds me

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then do it. Ignore what the Zen Buddhists call the 'chattering monkey' of all those thoughts, and do it. :)

 

As to the fear of hell - as you say, not everything can be true. This is an irrational fear. or, if rational (along the lines of Pascal's wager - look it up), then you have to forget anything other than Christianity, all your life, no matter how miserable that makes you feel. It's one or the other: submit your life to the fear, or forget it. And 'forgetting' is an act of will: if it surfaces, put it aside. Silence the chattering monkey.

 

You choose, hun. :)

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Thanks, and yes you're right.

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Oh sweetheart :)

 

Simple, practical advice?

 

Relax hon, you're overthinking things. 

 

Could it be that the connection you feel to Jesus is what are attributed to be his ethics and teachings, rather than the whole Christianity baggage?

 

What is it about Paganism that makes you happy?  Maybe you could start with that?

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It is true that I am attracted to Christian ethics although that could just be baggage/ guilt. But there is also the good parts of who I thought he was.

 

Paganism makes me happy because it just feels so perfectly right for me. It's like I was born to be a Pagan. I can't really explain any better than that. It feels like being me and the world feels full of joy and magic. I don't need gods or anything like that for that, just any old vague sense of something would do!

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Not everything has to be about something. Not everything has to mean something to anyone else but you.An artist doesn't need a 'suitable subject' to work with or on. I am an atheist but I'm still a pagan because that comes closest to some of the things I am interested in. It doesn't mean I believe all things neo-pagan - far from it. If something makes you feel good or has some kind of symbolism you relate to, then wear it or use it. Even though I have 'power suits' for work, I also have my jeans and T-Shirts for goofing off. I love my Italian shoes, but I love my hiking boots as well. I have 'symbolic' jewelry, but the symbolism is just personal to things I like or am interested in.

 

What YOU think and what the world's interpretation of it is are two very different things. Go by what moves or doesn't move you.

 

I get the feeling from reading your post that you may be looking for something , some path with a name. But most of the universe is still an unknown to us and for myself , I find 'labels' both misleading and confining.

 

Read your signature. It says it all right there. There is no symbolism for it, there is no path for it - you are you. Somethings mean something to you or evoke certain feelings in you and some do not. Wear a pentacle and purple robes if you feel like it. Quote the bible or Rilke , quote yourself :) . Being open to all things does not mean binding yourself to the mast of only a few or some of those things if they should chime with some feelings you have- take what works for you at the time and place you need it. I have 'experiences' a lot ( I get day passes :) ) . I also believe and really feel things which have nothing but surface definitions: magic, genius loci, random pasing...things...for which I have no name or can name no cause. So I don't. I just enjoy that feeling.

 

I spent my childhood in a small place near the deep forests here and one never loses that feeling of things and places unknown, of powers and principalities of which humans are the intruders. That doesn't mean I became a druid, it just means I felt and experienced some strange things. Yet, I am a scientist. The two complement each other . It just means I learn and feel a lot in more areas, not less.

 

There are many things I used to believe that I no longer do but that doesn't take away the joy I felt at the time I believed them. I'm pretty sure some if not all of the stuff I believe now I may change my mind about, but I live in the 'now',not in the future.

 

 

You don't have to miss this place or any place - that is self-imposed. I hang about with this scruffy lot because they are interesting, surprising, amusing and they put up with my bullshit.*snerk*. As far as I have seen, there are is no 'group think' here. Very freeing, that. But I feel just as free to go to other places but I don't have to wear their colours (which is a good thing because one of the places I go to is full of totally serious Abrahamic philosophers and scholars. I learn a lot there because they are deep readers and thinkers but they also have a very large rod up their....)

 

Define yourself, don't let others define you or be bound by their definitions.

 

Marto - a no-name brand

Edited by Marto
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Not everything has to be about something.  Not everything has to  mean something to anyone else but you.An artist doesn't need a 'suitable subject' to work with or on. I am an atheist but I'm still a pagan because that comes closest to some of the things I am interested in. It doesn't mean I believe all things neo-pagan - far from it. If something makes you feel good or has some kind of symbolism you relate to, then wear it or use it. Even though I have 'power suits' for work, I also have my jeans and T-Shirts for goofing off. I love my Italian shoes, but I love my hiking boots as well. I have 'symbolic' jewelry, but the symbolism is just personal to things I like or am interested in.

 

What YOU think and what the world's interpretation of it is are two very different things. Go by what moves or doesn't move you.

 

I get the feeling from reading your post that you may be looking for something , some path with a name. But most of the universe is still an unknown to us and for myself , I find 'labels' both misleading and confining.

 

Read your signature. It says it all right there. There is no symbolism for it, there is no path for it - you are you. Somethings mean something to you or evoke certain feelings in you and some do not.  Wear a pentacle and purple robes if you feel like it. Quote the bible or Rilke , quote yourself :P . Being open to all things does not mean binding yourself to the mast of only a few or some of those things if they should chime with some feelings you have- take what works for you at the time and place you need it. I have 'experiences' a lot ( I get day passes :) ) . I also believe and really feel things which have nothing but surface definitions: magic, genius loci, random pasing...things...for which I have no name or can name no cause. So I don't. I just enjoy that feeling.

 

I spent my childhood in a small place near the deep forests here and one never loses that feeling of things and places unknown, of powers and principalities of which humans are the intruders. That doesn't mean I became a druid, it just means I felt and experienced some strange things. Yet, I am a scientist. The two complement each other . It just means I learn and feel a lot in more areas, not less.

 

There are many things I used to believe that I no longer do but that doesn't take away the joy I felt at the time I believed them. I'm pretty sure some if not all of the stuff I believe now I may change my mind about, but I live in the 'now',not in the future.

 

 

You don't have to miss this place or any place - that is self-imposed. I hang about with this scruffy lot because they are interesting, surprising, amusing and they put up with my bullshit.*snerk*. As far as I have seen, there are is no 'group think' here. Very freeing, that.  But I feel just as free to go to other places but I don't have to wear their colours (which is a good thing because one of the places I go to is full of totally serious Abrahamic philosophers and scholars. I learn a lot there because they are deep readers and thinkers but they also have a very large rod up their....)

 

Define yourself, don't let others define you or be bound by their definitions.

 

Marto - a no-name brand

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I love this Marto, thanks :)

 

I think the other part of it, besides loving Paganism somehow, is that I am wanting to resolve my Christianity. Knowing what I believe and it being something different, or having an alternative label would mean I had proof for myself that I have moved on. As long as I feel it's just a gap, an un-knowing, there is the feeling that Christianity might suck me back in. Maybe I am not totally able to let go, I don't know how to fix that. I do feel drawn to it sometimes but I don't know if it is something genuine or just because of the good bits of the past/ conditioning from gorwing up with it/ fear of hell or whatever.

 

Hey and I did stop, I took a 5 month break and let it be.

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I have to admit, I did feel a little jumped on last night. I have been away for 5 months and just let things sit and now I just want to take a few simple, practical steps to start reintegrating spirituality, whatever form that ends up taking for me, into my life. Is that so bad? I'm not looking for an off the peg spirituality, I am only interested in what is authentic and works for me. Yes I feel a little impatient but so what, is that a crime? It's just a feeling.

 

I don't really want to go back to chewing over what I may or may not have got wrong in my approach in the past. You say I'm overthinking but thinking is exactly that I'm not planning to do (which I stated in the OP). I want to make some space to allow spirituality a chance to re-emerge, if it is the case that can happen for me considering where I am now. I came here because I thought people might have some ideas for simple and practical things I can do that would help that to happen. I don't want a crutch and never have, what would I need one for? I can walk perfectly fine by myself.

 

Yes, I have played around with various ideas and wondered about various things that might or might not be happening, and yes I tend to talk quite openly about my thought processes, and maybe that's not so wise since people seem to think I have been throwing myself into all the ideas I've talked about and dashing madly from one to the other when in actually fact I have just been dipping my toe in here and there and investigating different ideas and ways of doing things. So what if I had a dream about a goddess and wondered if it was someone contacting me? So what if I still feel a pull from Christianity and wondered how my previous commitment to the Christian God fitted into things? Yes I have been confused at times but so what? I'm totally new to Paganism, hadn't even heard of it before 2 years ago, and had 20 years of very committed Christianity to sort out in my head. Some things take time.

 

Yes, I'm not happy with my current beliefs, they do not sit comfortably with me. But so what? I can't be the first person to ever feel that way, and discomfort with the status quo is what stimulates growth and positive change, it doesn't have to be seen as a negative thing or to mean that I am somehow doing things wrong. This is my journey and if this is the route I need to take then I say bring it on. And if I find that I never rediscover a belief in anything spiritual or supernatural, then I have no doubt that in time I will find a way to live well anyway.

 

I'm sorry if my posts have been misleading, I know I do tend to post in the moment and so not necessarily give a clear idea of where I am really at overall.

 

Thanks for listening to my posts and some things that were said have tipped me off with ideas and I know where my next few steps on the road need to head towards.

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There is not one person here , I believe, who has not stood in your shoes or thought the things you have trusted others enough to share. That sharing in itself takes courage. Please don't be angry, I think that's misplaced. What I have read are people who have been there and feel your pain and confusion.

 

Yes, I am an atheist. I was raised that way but it isn't easy in the world we live in where others are constantly questioning one's beliefs or our right to share the oxygen. What I have read here is people saying " you don't have to hide your doubts or buy into some idea that others don't share them or have shared them".

 

When someone is in existential crises ( which to call a spade a spade is what you are experiencing) , you have no one here but those willing to help or just support and cheer you on your journey : whichever way it leads. In other words, your personhood and ideas are respected. Seriously.

 

There is this odd part of us all. I don't know where it comes from, perhaps from childhood where even if we were in a dysfunctional home, it was a base, a 'home'. When we leave that protective or structured environment it is so, so hard to make a place for ourselves - a frame to put our picture in, a narrative to write ourselves into. It is a yearning, a kind of soul sadness or wonder if you will. This will always be with us I believe until the end.

 

We are constrained by our bodies and minds. Our minds often wish to reach out into the infinite of which we are a part yet this translucent tissue separates us from the rest of the universe. Sometimes...I believe experiences happen that seem to penetrate that fine web or tissue and we seem to catch a glimpse of wonders . But mainly we are left with questions for which we cannot find an answer. I do not believe there IS one answer. We are limited.

 

What you are doing now is called walking the tightrope without a safety net. When you reach the other side without falling (and I believe you will), then you can set aside your fear if not your longing.

 

At least, that is my very personal feelings about these things for what it may be worth. Don't be angry, please don't feel afraid or lost - you are not. The tightrope is not real and you don't actually need a safety net. But sometimes in life we need to construct one and to really believe in it. There is nothing wrong with that. Please, use others, ask others and as always, ask yourself.

 

I'd be more worried about you if you didn't question and wonder. You have at least given the nod to the recognition that you ARE.

 

Love,

Marto

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Sorry, I didn't realise Id been dismissive or preachy - I thought l WAS giving some practical advice. :huh:

 

Which, by the way, I still stand by - consider what it is that draws you to Paganism and go from there. The mythology, the nature, the simply sitting out and experiencing? You already know yourself you will want to take things slowly to figure it all out, so start small and simple. Go deeper with the bits that really resonate with you and feel your way along - I can't recommend anything more practical or simplistic than that.

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I can't be the first person to ever feel that way, and discomfort with the status quo is what stimulates growth and positive change, it doesn't have to be seen as a negative thing or to mean that I am somehow doing things wrong. This is my journey and if this is the route I need to take then I say bring it on. And if I find that I never rediscover a belief in anything spiritual or supernatural, then I have no doubt that in time I will find a way to live well anyway.

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You are not and never will be alone in that. IMO rigidity of belief, particularly in matters spiritual, is a decidedly unhealthy state of affairs... I mean what I say in my sig when I say that I believe that apostasy is a profound spiritual obligation. There can be such a liberation in unknowing, and discovering that the maps that everyone else have drawn are inadequate for you, and that you may have to draw your own... and fear that that one may not be up to the task

 

You cannot do things wrong... you can only do things... and some of these things will take you deeper into what it is that forms your deepest intuitions about the nature of your identity and it's relationship with all that is... and some won't... and that's OK, IMO... I don't do well formed outcomes, I do exploration and if something comes along that opens up a more interesting looking route than the one I'm currently following, I say follow it if your intuition tells you to.

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I apologise too if you felt I jumped on you. I can be a bit blunt at times and I apologise if that was how I came across. Marto is completely right when she says that everyone here has been through this.

 

Here's the thing, it feels like you are trying to force things. It feels like you need something to call yourself or a guise of some sort. You describe putting on your pent and playing some "pagan" music and feeling like you had found something that spoke to you and when you couldn't it upset you. It's as if you need to be able to point at something solid and say "thats me... thats who I am" and all I was trying to say was it just doesn't work that way and best of all.. it doesn't have to be that way.

 

Like Marto. I'm an atheist. It doesn't stop me being a witch or being pagan. My science doesn't stop me looking at a sun set and feeling overwhelmed. It doesn't stop me from walking into the Sistine Chaple and being in awe of what faith can inspire. It also doesn't stop me from wanting the whole Granny Weatherwax witching. If I could get away with a cottage in the country and voluminious skirts and a pointy hat I would! I'm human and like most humans I want an identity. I wear a triskel bracelet and an Owl necklace on occasion. They have spiritual/religious roots and I accept and embrace that both are things that talk to me for whatever reason.

 

I look at the moon in the sky and despite me knowing that its a big empty dead rock, something about it speaks to me. Something about it make me look at that big shiney disk and think "mmmmmmmm.... moonlight" Now maybe its because its hardwired in there. Generations of humans have used the moon and the night to achieve certain things, maybe thats what I'm experiencing.. a kick back, but whatever it is, I accept it. And I think thats what I was trying to say in my first post. Stop looking. Stop trying to find something specific. Just accept the things your heart and mind tell that you need. If you want to wear purple and a pent and listen to pagan music DO that. If that speaks to you, thats fine. It doesn't make it "pretend" because you're an atheist. But you need to stop looking for a lable because its making you miserable.

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Thankyou :) . I just wrote a whole load of stuff in my journal and then came here and you all affirmed parts of what I wrote so closely that I have shivers. I laughed just now as I looked at my journal and realised yesterday I illustrated it with a picture of a maze and today I put on a picture of a labyrinth. The difference being there are no wrong turnings in a labyrinth, you just keep getting nearer to the centre as you keep walking.

 

And Xalle, you are right that I have been trying to label myself, not so much because I need to but just because that's what I am used to and I am still learning to operate outside of that. I've been feeling like I had to choose between different aspects of myself which seem contradictory, like my atheist views, my feelings about Jesus and my love of Paganism. But I realise now that I need to integrate all these things into my own spiritual path. And hey I don't have to choose between my attraction to Jesus and my love of Pagan jewellery LOL.

 

So no more endless debate in my head about whether to "be a Pagan" or "be a Christian", whatever those things are supposed to mean, or I can't wear a pent if I like Jesus and I can't listen to Dragonfly Moon cos I'm an atheist LOL. I know, I know it sounds daft put like that, I think I am just so used to people being classified and classifying themselves that I thought I should be able to do that for myself. And of course some people do fit a label better than others, and that's fine, but I have always been someone with an eclectic range of interests, ideas and pleasures. So what if I am the only pent wearing, yoga loving, Jesus fan in the world (and I'm probably not), I always liked being one of a kind. And we're all one of a kind really anyway, and are kidding ourselves if we think we fit perfectly in any group or box.

 

And I'll try to step worrying about hell, anyway if there is a God and he can't accept me being honest with him and myself, well, what can I do about that?!

 

And sorry, I'm not very good with blunt, I'm a big softy :lol:

Edited by Moonrising
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And we're all one of a kind really anyway, and are kidding ourselves if we think we fit perfectly in any group or box.

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:lol: :) :o_claps: :o_claps: :o_claps: :o_claps: :o_claps:

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Moonrising I know that you have been debating this as long as I have and I remember some of your first posts when I first started looking into Paganism. I do feel similar to you, Christianity is not where I want to be, but it is hard to shake. Paganism feels like coming home, but I feel like I am play acting.

 

I have decided to just be who I am and if it makes me happy then I do it. I still ponder on things from time to time, but like you have decided not to catagorise myself. I am what I am. I applaud your sentiments about being one of a kind. If you ever want someone to mull things over with then by all means give me a shout. Sometimes I swear I tie my brain in knots with all the whys and wherefores.

 

At the end of the day I chose to live life and be me as the song goes Que sera sera. Labels ain't my bag baby.

 

HTH

MissCheeva

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I fully understand what you're talking about, Moonrising, I've been there, too... and I can honestly say, that it was only when I stopped looking, that I found what I was looking for.

 

I used to look at so many things, and in the end the only thing that I was was totally confused! My indecision still makes me look for things that are not meant to be mine, and I have to tell myself everyday that I have what I have, and if anything more is meant to be, then it will make itself known to me. With me, the more I look, the less I find.

 

I do hope that makes sense ;)

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I fully understand what you're talking about, Moonrising, I've been there, too... and I can honestly say, that it was only when I stopped looking, that I found what I was looking for.

 

I used to look at so many things, and in the end the only thing that I was was totally confused! My indecision still makes me look for things that are not meant to be mine, and I have to tell myself everyday that I have what I have, and if anything more is meant to be, then it will make itself known to me. With me, the more I look, the less I find.

 

I do hope that makes sense ;)

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That makes most excellent sense, thankyou ;) . And I know just what you mean.

 

I went for a walk today, and the river and the trees were beautiful. And I didn't spend time wondering whether Verbeia is real and whether I should do something to honour her, and I didn't spend time wondering whether trees really have spirits and whether they are sentient and how I could connect with them. I just walked, and enjoyed the scenery :D .

 

Though I confess, I did google some stuff about alternative opinions of Jesus. But hey, I don't have to turn my natural curiosity off either do I! As long as I'm not in "search mode" then I'm okay.

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  • 3 months later...

Just wanted to say thanks for the support here and let you know that I finally cracked it- I learned to stop intellectualising my spirituality and just let it come. It took a serious revist to my Christian past before I could work it through and come to a place of knowing it was time to stop thinking and just run with what feels right.

 

The funny thing is that once I got to the place, the next step became clear very quickly, and it was something that had interested me before but I had rejected as not making intellectual sense. I now have a new, less literal understanding and am excited to see where this next part of my journey will take me.

 

So thanks again peeps :lol:

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I ... am excited to see where this next part of my journey will take me.

 

So thanks again peeps  :lol:

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So am I! :D good luck!

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And I'll try to step worrying about hell, anyway if there is a God and he can't accept me being honest with him and myself, well, what can I do about that?!

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And if he doesn't then I'm sure there'll be another God that will! :lol:

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Marto, Your posts were so insighful. I think you have managed to put into words what many, including myself are feeling and thinking.

 

Moonrising, I know what you are going through. I wish you luck on your path, where ever it may lead you.

 

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Moonrising, I know what you are going through. I wish you luck on your path, where ever it may lead you.

 

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Thankyou :D

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    • Nettle
      I have only ever been a Christian on paper lol. When visiting hospitals I would give the CofE answer when asked about my beliefs. I didn‚Äôt really even know what it meant. As a child I often prayed to God. But could probably count on two hands the amount of times I have attended church. Obviously at school I sang hymns¬†and recited the Lord‚Äôs Prayer. But I never went deep into it. My family is not religious. I have never been deeply influenced by Christianity. I have always been spiritual though. The weirdest thing is when I started on this journey it actually allowed me to gain deeper understanding of the Christ spirit. For many years I sought a shamanic technique¬†called the ‚Äúfierce eye‚Ä̬†technique. This technique as I believed at the time would allow me to command any spirit. I could banish them or destroy them at a glance. My long search for this technique allowed me to find and connect with many interesting things but never allowed me to unravel¬†the mysteries of the fierce eye technique. One day I had vision. In the vision - between the two doors - I saw a man standing at the corner of a street near to where I live. It was daytime but there was nothing else around. Nothing moved. It was as if every living thing was¬†asleep. I approached the man who as I was drawing closer turned to regard my approach. What I saw blew my mind away. The love I felt emanating from this strangers eyes was so powerful, so all consuming, utterly accepting¬†that I fell to my knees and started weeping with happiness. The love was so unconditional, so total and all encompassing. It took my breath away. I eventually awakened from this vision thinking what the hell was that all about? I did not realise until later that I had been shown the ‚Äúfierce eye‚ÄĚ technique. I had been mistaken in my assumptions as to what the ‚Äúfierce eye‚Ä̬†technique was all about. It was not about destroying something,¬†Commanding something¬†or even banishing something. It‚Äôs power lies in acceptance. I later realised that the being I had seen in my vision was the Christ spirit. The Christ spirit is also a Great Fool.¬† Who would have believed it,¬†that I would find¬†Christ following a pagan path lol. The irony was fitting. And made me realise just how limited I had allowed myself to be. The few times I have gone to church recently since this experience¬†(my son used to attend a CofE school) I feel very happy. Overjoyed even. A little mischievous.¬†I know I am welcome there even though I do not take up the mantle of Christian. I feel at home, accepted, even though I am a pagan. I feel very¬†welcome within the church.
    • Nettle
      I have several. Stone rabbit is one of my guides. He is a stone around the size of a medium sized hand, that is in the shape of a rabbits head (in profile) that I found many years ago and kept. On one side he has a mark that looks like an open eye, on the other side it looks as if he has lost that eye. Stone rabbit is master at navigating mazes/webways. When I want him to see something within the mundane I turn his head so his eye can observe. If I am going on a journey I have his lost eye side observing. He comes on my walks with me and I carry him in a bag around my neck.
    • Roundtuit
      Thank you.  Yes, I'm starting to think it's the journey that matters.   What a gorgeous image!  I'd love to get back to the fells, there's something new around very corner there.    
    • Stonehugger
      I've had varying degrees and natures of commitment to Christianity since I was at school but I've also always had pagan leanings and for quite a long time now my path has been entirely pagan. It's unproblematic in that my family and friends think it's harmless eccentricity, but I imagine it would be different if I took a strongly pagan stance on something. For me personally it's important to listen to what's going on around me and work out my path accordingly, so I celebrate the presence of many paths up the same mountain and have no concerns about reaching the top. I imagine that, like almost any walk in the fells, what currently looks like the top is just another place to see the next top from. Definitely!! ūüėĀ
    • Ellinas
      Well, I've been called many things in my time... I'm also a former Christian, with a chequered history (Anglican, in the guise of the Church in Wales, then Plymouth Brethren with the odd foray into the Baptists along the way).  I fell out with Christianity in the early 2000's, when I was late 30's, early 40's. Since then, the general nature of my meanderings has remained fairly constant, but the details and contents have changed over time.  That's fine.  The journey is the issue, not the destination.  Ithaca calls, but Phoenician markets and Egyptian cities have the greater import (poetic reference - just means follow your path and hope to arrive late, if at all).  What I believe tomorrow may be very different to what I believe today.  What I believed yesterday is just a stepping stone. In short, don't worry about what you have been, as it is merely the pathway that got you to what you are, and don't worry about where you are going, there are any number of bye-ways for you to explore. As to others - I have struggled with family pressures and the tyranny of monotheistic faith.  I understand your position and have no issue with a softly-softly approach such as you describe.  In fact, it is the best way unless you are prepared to create and weather a family rift. Dangerous statement.  Talk about tempting fate...!
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