Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Guilt, nostalgia, familiarity...the fun things that keep you from moving forward

I had a lovely lunch with Zach yesterday.  I didn't eat much, which is partly why it was lovely.  But also because we talked a lot about spiritual matters.  He worries about me, knowing how anguished I was when I was in church...feeling divided, not knowing what to do and why I couldn't be happy there.  So he expressed concern about why I was returning to Christianity when I didn't believe anymore.  Plus he's seen how happy I've been with the Goddess and was worried I would feel obligated to give her up.

He reminded me of Sue Monk Kidd's book, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter,and I realized nothing would be gained by me returning to Christianity.  I can't make know, plug God A into Saint A's slot.  Substitute Lugh for Jesus.  Give up Loki altogether because there are no mischievous saints. 

And I couldn't find a slot for the Goddess.  In the "trinity" the Holy Spirit is the least of the three (and let no one tell you there is no hierarchy...there is) the one least prayed to, least acknowledged except as God's errand boy...or girl.  Not a good place for the Goddess as she is more ancient than Yahweh.  Mary also isn't a good fit as I don't believe in the virgin birth so how does Mary even fit in.  Mythologically  she's a 13-16 year old girl who is somehow able to give consent to become a mother by supernatural means.  Although in this day and age if we found out a child that age had become a mother we wouldn't be thinking this was a good thing.  We would say that a child can't consent and call it statutory rape at the very least.

I digress.  See how I'm not ready to return to Christianity?  I just don't believe it anymore.

Okay...digressing again.

At any rate, there is no substitution for the Goddess in Christianity unless we delegate her to a subservient role to the head deity.  And she wouldn't even rate above her own son.  This is one of the reasons Christianity is so full of misogynist theology.  And don't get me started on why there are more reasons than that.

So...I find my beliefs tend to fall firmly in the Pagan category.  To try to ignore them or water them down wouldn't work for me at all.

Plus, Zach said he really liked the full moon ceremony I did and the sacrifice and cleansing and consecration better than anything we ever did at church.  It felt awkward for me but Zach thinks that's because it's just new and new things take time to feel familiar.

And guilt...let's not forget that. I was immersed in the belief for over 50 years that without Christ I would be consigned to hell so it's not an easy thing to throw away.  It still comes back to haunt me at times.  But I did have some good times at the Episcopal church we were members of.  And familiarity is safe and comfortable.

But as Zach pointed out, I will feel familiar with Paganism soon enough.  I am finding some aspects of it seem very natural to me already.  Like when Professor killed the baby rabbits in their nest yesterday I immediately offered up a prayer to the Goddess for not only their peace but also for the mother's peace.  I couldn't stop thinking of her coming back to the nest to find them gone, with traces of blood and fur left behind.  She's the rabbit I saw on Hare Moon.  Perhaps it was an omen rather than a sign.  Or maybe it's both.  But I felt that connection to Paganism and not to Christianity when I was feeling a bit grieved.

I also found that contemplating that was more spiritual for me than reading the Bible or crossing myself or genuflecting.  Odd how those things are being replaced already.  Maybe the reason I can't let church go is because I haven't cleansed it out of my spirit yet.  Maybe I need to make a break once and for all and get it out of my system, as I would a virus or a parasite.

Maybe I'm just scared to move forward because the past feels safer.  I never was good at doing new things.

I thought about what Tana said in the comments about needing an anchor and for her the church is that anchor.  And maybe that's why I'm drifting so much...I don't have an anchor.  I need to commit.  Me, the commitment-phobic person, needs to commit.  Scary.  You don't know how scary that is to me.  I can't go into details about why I can't seem to commit anymore but suffice to say that I was burned very badly about 8 years ago and ever since then I can't seem to make any decision that burns bridges.  I always feel like I need an escape route.  Especially since I have been in a life position without one.  Feeling trapped is one of the worst experiences there is.  No prison could have stronger bars for me than this one.

So...I'm going to meditate and seek the Goddess on this one and consider a ceremony where I renounce Christianity and leave it behind so I can move forward.

Nothing like having your foolish decisions out there for everyone to see.  Not that there are droves reading this blog but the dear readers that are, I so appreciate and wish you didn't have to read about my indecision all the time. 


  1. Well, if I didn't want to read about your indecision, I just wouldn't come back! Trust me, the reason readers do come back is because we're all struggling right along with you. Maybe not about Christianity or Paganism specifically, but spiritually in general.

    I'm going to use the church as my anchor, but that doesn't mean I'll believe in the virgin birth, the only-maleness of diety, or any other other beliefs I've outgrown. But I believe that if I want Christianity to change I have to be there to influence it. But I also still believe in Jesus (though, differently than I did before that too), so it's my job to be available to influence change. If you don't believe in Jesus (and maybe we should flesh out what "believe in Jesus" even means), then it's not your responsibility to affect change within Christianity or the church.

    I'm going to be an armchair psychologist for a minute here and say that I think your journey will be easier for you if you stop judging it and yourself. Just breathe. And let it be. It is neither good nor bad, smart nor foolish. It is what it is. Be easy on yourself friend.

  2. You're right, of course. I need to be easier on myself. I can't shake the feeling that so much is at stake if I'm wrong. All that old fundamentalist baggage. I will try to breathe more and just let it happen.

    As for Jesus and what I believe about him, I think I'll formulate a post on that as it would take too much room in the comments section.

    Thanks so much for your input. I always value it.

  3. My anchor is the past and the ancestors, the present is the wind that steers me to the future. Let go of the labels and I think you will find yourself drifting less. Perhaps you already have, I'm still working through the past after all.

  4. That's lovely, ladyimbrium. :)