Some of you who have been around for a while might be wondering why, all of a sudden, this blog has taken a much more… preachy isn’t the right word, but it’s the closest… a much more preachy tone of late.
Well, I have been strong in my faith for a while, but it wasn’t until all this CoVid-19 stuff started happening that I had an opportunity to really look at how active a roll my spirituality was taking in my life.
An event happened at the beginning of this whole lockdown/quarantine situation that really gave me some perspective.
And no, the actual quarantine isn’t the event I’m talking about, though it has given me the time to absorb, reflect, and respond in a way that led to this blog reboot.
In my last post, I explained about my Oracle cards and how they have images of the Divine Feminine from multiple faiths/cultures/myths/etc. I also explained that I post them on Instagram, which is key to the story, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
Let’s bounce back probably eight years, to right around the time (or slightly before, or slightly after) that I started this blog. I was still a relatively new teacher, and I was teaching at a tiny school in the middle of nowhere. My students loved me and I got along with my neighbors (for the most part), but I was lonely.
For companionship, I had only my two dogs, Pepper and Coco. I wasn’t seeing anyone because not only did I live out in the middle of nowhere, but I have a hard time dating, presumably because of my Asperger’s. There was a time when I would discuss that in more detail here, but it’s not what this post is about… though it does have a small bit of importance to this particular story.
See, there was this boy…
He and I had gone to school together, although the age difference was quite extreme. He was in 8th grade when I was a senior, so I never even considered dating him while in school. But, at the time of our reintroduction, we’d both finished college and the age difference didn’t seem that big of a deal.
So, he contacted me and took me out on a date.
He was one of the first in a longish line of boys from my past who suddenly felt the need to unburden themselves by admitting that they had had a crush on me in school, but had never acted upon it.
At the time of our date, he was a fairly high mucky-muck in a company that did a bit of international travel. He even held several patents (probably has more now). The combination of which, I guess, gave him the confidence to tell me about how he had felt.
Nothing came of it. I didn’t sleep with him that night, and as so many boys before him, that was enough for him to lose my number.
Fast forward to right before the self-quarantine began, this same boy, now firmly a man, contacted me to tell me that one of my Oracle readings on Instagram was wrong.
Not that I had interpreted the meanings incorrectly, but that doing them was wrong. He then proceeded to explain to me how religion worked and to tell me what I should and shouldn’t believe.
Though it wasn’t all about religion; he did take a moment to tell me he’d love to catch up with me… “since we hadn’t seen each other since high school…”
Yeah, he forgot about taking me out and completely ignoring me after I didn’t sleep with him.
Never mind that I understand how faith and religion work; I have been particularly strong in my particular spiritual views for a very long time, since even before he took me out those many years ago.
So what do I believe?
I believe that there is one God, but that to say definitively what He or She is would simply illustrate the hubris of our species. There are many places where faiths overlap, but then there are aspects of those same religions that don’t quite mesh. You can tell me that one religion is better than another, but what I have seen of organized religions is that they tend to skew the message in whichever way best fits their needs at the moment.
As such, I believe there is one Godhead, but the face that you choose to worship defines you, not God. I just happen to be more comfortable worshiping in (depending on your point of view) the Old Ways or the New Ways. That is to say, I am comfortable in almost all religious gatherings, but I am most comfortable in those that call the four corners and cast a circle.
I told this to the boy (now a Man) in question, and of course, he proceeded to lecture me about how that was false, which I probably should have expected, but I did not. His current attitude did not match the boy I had known when we were both younger.
He told me how he had followed a similar path and if he had believed the teachings of my Oracle cards (which are up for personal interpretation and not in any way an exact science), then he would have committed suicide.
What on Earth did those cards say?!
The reading in question comprised of Parvati and Ishtar. In that deck, Parvati represents devotion. The message that day was to contemplate the best ways to show devotion so as to be in-line with the will of Spirit (Spirit here representing God/the Divine/the Universe/whatever you believe in). Ishtar in this deck represents communion with Spirit. In the position that she was drawn, the message was to listen to your intuition because if you act with Spirit instead of against it, then what you envision can come to pass, but beware of warning signs.
Basically, so long as there are no warning signs, keep moving forward because you are on the right track.
It could be read from a Christian perspective in spite of the fact that these were cards using the images of Divine Feminine archetypes. From a Christian point of view the message was pretty clear to me: Keep your thoughts and actions in line with God’s plan for you and you will be successful.
From a non-Christian perspective: Really make sure that you are acting in the best interest of not just yourself, but all those around you because we are all connected.
Neither seemed like a particularly negative message, but this man-boy had decided he was going to educate me on the wrongness of how I communicate with God.
How do you communicate with God?
Some pray, some meditate, and as for me, I seek advice that helps me to be a better person through Oracle cards. There are other ways, too, but this is the way he was questioning.
I was fine until he told me that he had tried similar tactics, and that if he had simply done what the cards said (keep moving forward so long as there are no warning signs), he might very well have committed suicide.
The biggest problem with this statement (there are many) is that the desire to commit suicide should have been a big warning sign that he was not in connection with Spirit. The fact that he believed that any God would request that level of sacrifice was proof that he was not actually following any of the faiths he had told me he tried.
When I told him this, he went back to preaching at me about the wrongness of my ways. After three failed attempts to reason with him or explain that I didn’t need him to save my soul, I blocked him.
It’s taken me years to learn not to “feed the trolls,” and even if he hadn’t intended to troll me, talking down to me and persisting after I asked him (politely) to quit was enough to qualify him as such.
Later, when I was questioning if I had acted irrationally (that lesson about feeding the trolls is a tricky one), I found that he had written a book about his travels and his study of all these different faiths, and how they inevitably led him to the capital T “Truth.” Basically, he was becoming an evangelist, but one of those who uses his faith for profit.
I became furious! Faith is many things, but a means to make your millions isn’t one of them. Especially for a Christian, as he was claiming to be.
And before anyone decides I’m being a hypocrite, no, I do not make profit from this blog, and I’m not trying to sell my faith or convert anyone. I think everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, so long as they aren’t harming anyone or forcing those beliefs on someone else.
More importantly, this experience showed me that my calling to teach was deeply connected to my calling to heal. When he tried to shame me into following his view of God, I tried to educate him about how my views were basically the same as his and therefor there was no need to have a pissing contest about whose faith was more right.
Like him, I also went on a meandering spiritual journey. What I found was that capital “T” Truth lies in the places where the different faiths match up, and so long as we can agree on those points, I have no quarrel with anyone or their faith.
For that matter, there are a lot of really interesting practices throughout the various religions that can help people (even those who aren’t religious at all) to be successful.
Meditation, for example.
Even if you are a devout atheist, meditation can help to calm the mind, relieve anxiety, and make decision making easier by creating a sense of focus. Similarly, prayer and a Wiccan spell are both at their hearts simply intention setting, which a non-religious person might do through list-making or by creating SMART goals.
See? We have no reason to fight over these things.
This epiphany led to the reboot of this blog in order to incorporate my teaching, my spiritual healing, and my writing because I realized that I cannot have a blog solely about one of them. Those three are intrinsically linked in the core of my being. To separate them would be to deny who I am as a person.
And now I’m curious! What do you think defines you as a person?