Shaking other peoples’ boxes

Kristen is so awesome.  She finds the most interesting things for me to read then sends them to me.  Case in point:  Today she sent me a link to “These aren’t the gods you’re looking for” by John Halsted, who writes The Allergic Pagan over on Patheos.  This is a slightly older post, having been made in Feb 2014, but it cuts to the heart of an issue that I’ve been having.

In my close tribe, I am mostly an exception to the rule.  The rest of the Pagans that I am with on a daily basis are devotional polytheists of one stripe or another, where I am decidedly not.  I am, in common practice, a Buddhist Druid who is starting to work with Hekate/Hecate.  However, unlike the other three, I do not have direct interaction with Hekate.  I don’t encounter Her as a distinct and autonomous personality, and she doesn’t speak to or “pester” me (to use a term that Halstead used), for which I’m grateful.  I am not “godbothered.”

I don’t know about how our extended tribe perceives the divine, but I know we’ve got a pair of “Pagnostics” (Pagan agnostics), a Native American, a Fey, and some other various and sundry Pagan practices.  Like I said, the ones that I share daily life with are all devotional polytheists, and I have wondered if I’m doing things right, since my experience is so different from theirs.

This, in turn, leads me to no small amount of self-doubt and wondering if I’m following a legitimate path, since I have such a vastly different experience.  To borrow a phrase from Halstead again, I’ve been “shaking other peoples’ boxes” trying to figure out if their practice is better or more legitimate than mine. I fact, this comic panel pretty much sums it up:

Three forms of Pagan theology comic by Alexander Folmer
Original by Alexander Folmer

Anyway, this self-doubt makes things challenging, but Nimue Brown had something useful to say in her 2013 “Spirituality Without Structure.” In short (and I’m WAY simplifying my interpretation here), looking to other people to help define and explain personal spirituality is, in a sense, seeking safety and security without being (my words, not hers) brave enough to strike out and make your own path.  Again, my words here, looking to others for validation is somewhat intellectually lazy, but not necessarily in a negative way.  Some people just aren’t built in a way that allows them to go it alone, and that’s OK.

But here I am, shaking other peoples’ boxes, when I really should just be focusing on my own box, which is decidedly not like theirs.  And that’s perfectly acceptable.  I just have to accept it and work with what I have.

A little Karma is a good thing.

I just posted about my (yet to be delivered) Karma Go over on my regular blog, Changes of Man.

Ummmm… What is a Karma Go, you ask? It’s a mobile WiFi hot spot that anyone can connect to. Anybody that connects and makes a new Karma account gets 100 MB of free data to use… And I get a free 100 MB for sharing. It’s really a pretty cool concept, in my mind.

But, Karma has had some trouble getting this thing to market, but shipping has started. Now, the wait is making me antsy. I was fine, knowing that the device was still in somewhat of a limbo, but now that it’s shipping, I WANT MINE NAO! lol.

Instant Karma (go) is gonna get ya.

I’m all about that base… Err, book

I’ve noticed that, even though I’ve said I’m theoretically writing about Buddhism and Paganism, I haven’t posted much about the former.  I think that’s because, for now, I’m not confused about my Buddhist side, while I’m trying to figure out the Pagan aspect of my spirituality. 

In other words, I’m fairly certain about my Buddhism, but I’m confused about the Pagan stuff. Most of my current reading (outside of school work) is Druid and Celtic based, but I have a couple of Zen books in the hopper.  I’ve also been neglecting my Zen practice, in an effort (though off-balanced) to come back to a certain level of Druid practice.

Right now, though, I am reading “The Rebirth of Druidry” by Philip Carr-Gomm, “Spirituality Without Structure: The Power of Finding Your Own Path” by Nimue Brown and my material for the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids Bardic grade.  On my “next up” list, I have a full dozen books, including “Everyday Zen” and “Nothing Special: Living Zen” by the late Charlotte Joko Beck.

I’m also doing some reading on the Greek  goddess Hecate, whom (I have chosen/who has chosen me) (not sure which one is more accurate) to work with for now.  So, yeah.  I’m a busy little beaver.

Edit to add:  Yes, I know that the Meghan Trainor song is “All About that Bass” rather than base.  I was making a pun, whereby the books are a foundation for my knowledge and journey.  Just so you know. 😀

A Prayer to Hecate

Recently, I bought a really nice little set of (lava stone!) prayer beads from Hearthfire Handworks over on Etsy. They were marketed as for Hades, but I wanted them for Hecate, instead. Also, just days before I saw them (thanks to Kristen’s want for the Poseidon prayer beads), I had the strangest thought race through my mind while watching something on one of the Nature channels: “I WANT A PIECE OF LAVA!” No idea where that came from, and it was not normal for me. Apparently, something bigger was at work here. Continue reading “A Prayer to Hecate”

Thoughts on thoughts

TL;DR American society has lot touch with the Divine as a whole, not just the Pagan community. But I think it is making a come-back.

The other day, Galina Krasskova made a post entitled “a few thoughts” on her blog, where she commented on the difference between the level of devotion and piety between where she is currently (for some reason, I think she’s in Poland, but it’s definitely somewhere “Old World”) and that which she sees in the Pagan community in the United States. The comparison is not complimentary to Americans. Big surprise. Continue reading “Thoughts on thoughts”

Pluto Rising

“And I’ve never stopped looking for those amazing places where mythology and science converge.

They are not so rare as you might believe.”

One thing that I’ve realized lately is that, at least for me, too much science kills the mystery of life. I’ve decided that I need to bring that back for myself, even if I know what causes that noise and light in the sky , rather than Thor’s battles.

A wise man , in another context, gave me a task many years ago: Bring back the dragons.

Beloved of the Gods

I’ve been sitting with this sort of thing myself recently. I am a Buddhist Druid, married to a Hellenic devotional polytheist (DP) of Poseidon, we are living with a (Heathen? Hellen? Not sure at the moment) DP of Loki (and others), who is dating a Heathen DP of Freya, who is also good friends with my wife. I tell my wife that it can get a little lonely, not being part of “the club” that they all seem to be involved in.

I’m about 10-years further than Nimue is, but seemingly in the same place. I was spiritually devout in my 20s, lost it in my 30s (along with my mental health. Diagnosed major depression, anxiety, and OCD) , and in my 40s I’m trying to regain some sense of spirit in myself. I very much enjoyed “When a Pagan Prays” and am grateful that Nimue wrote it, and especially HOW she wrote it, with so much raw openness. I saw much of my own doubts there.

I’m not sure if I can call myself a polytheist, but Kristen calls me more than an animist. I’m certain that I’m not a Devotional, though. I feel no pull to dedicate myself to any gods even though I currently feel an affinity for Hecate and Hades, and choose to recognize them in my own way, along with my Buddhist faith.

But, like Nimue says, I feel no pull, hear no call, and some days wish I did, because it would be no small relief and validation. Instead, I muddle along and try to be OK with what is, as it is. “Non-attachment” the Buddhists say, is the way to remove dukkah. I’m still attached.

Ok, ok, yeah, I know…

I’ve currently unemployed, our bills are piling up, and I’m a grad student working on a dual Master’s in Homeland Security and Emergency Management, with about two and a half years to go. Kristen metaphorically smacked me upside the head and told me to worry about it after we get ourselves on an even keel.

But I still want it. Much more substantial than the ULC Seminary work that I had been playing at, with the added bonus of reputable credentials.

a few thoughts

Update: Fuller treatment of this topic over here: Thoughts on Thoughts

I think I might have some thoughts about this in the next couple of days. For example, in my case, I can’t rightly call myself devotional of ANYTHING, let alone a devotional polytheist. I mean, I was literally raised with no religion. As in “NO!” religion. Specifically disallowed in my childhood home, so I have even less foundation than what the author and her commenters mention.