9/27/2010

Religion=Confusion

As some of you guys know, I began my religious life as a Catholic. I found Wicca and liked what I saw, then I grew tired of how ritualistic Wicca was and moved on to Paganism. I was proud to call myself a Green Witch because that is what resonated with my soul. The path of the Green Witch (and I'm referring to the actual path, not to be confused with the book The Way of The Green Witch) is comfortable and perfect for me. However, after Gram died, I began questioning everything I had come to believe about religion.

Gram had been a firm believer in Christianity. Now, that's not saying that she shoved the bible down people's throats, but she was very close with God and had been known to see visions of Jesus. But she was also very gifted in the magickal realm as well. She had an uncanny way of healing people with her cooking and she absolutely loved herbs. During the two days I got to have with her before she died, I remember a book she kept beside her at all times and surprisingly it was not the bible. She had a book about herbs that she had always loved. That's what she kept with her during her last few days. She knew when any of us kids were upset, no matter how far away we were from her (distance wise that is). She knew when we would call, she knew when we would show up. Gram was a kitchen witch (and an extremely powerful one) in her own right.

One night, after Gram died, I'd moved back to the ranch, and Granddad and I started having a conversation about religion. There was one time, right after I had graduated from high school when I decided to take my books about Wicca to the ranch with me. My mom had bought them for me, she'd read them with me, and she's always supported me on my Pagan path, so I thought Gram and Granddad would be as accepting as Mom had been... I'd thought wrong. According to Granddad he had felt so much evil coming from those books that he wanted to burn them and Gram told him not to burn them just to get them out of the house. I actually don't remember ever taking them into the house. I remember leaving them in the front seat of my car and Gram telling me she didn't like them being there and that she was worried I would get hurt with books like that in my car.

Needless to say, after Gram telling me she thought I would get hurt with those books in my car, I hid them in the trunk of my car so she would stop worrying about it. However, about a year or so after that incident, Gram shattered her knee. She had been running through the house trying to answer the phone and tripped on an exercise machine and shattered her knee. Shortly after that, she was trying to go to the bathroom by herself, lost her balance and fell again. She tried to catch herself and instead broke her wrist on the bathtub. Now while all of that had been happening I was living with my mom and only saw Gram on holidays. At the time I had gone to school to be a nail tech so after the brace on Gram's wrist came off I was constantly giving her hand massages and manicures to keep her spirits up.  When it came time for Gram to do her physical therapy she was released to do it at home but she had to be pushed to do it. Granddad was busy and couldn't always be there for her to do push her to do her physical therapy so I moved back in to help. There were many times I pushed Gram through that physical therapy and there were many times she threatened to beat me stupid, but we got through it and her leg was fine again.

While Granddad and I discussed the things that had happened to Gram then, he told me that I had brought the devil into their house with those books about Wicca and that it was the devil attacking Gram that made her shatter her knee and break her wrist. You don't know how bad that tore me apart. I told Granddad that I never would have set something like that on Gram, and he said, "Well how were we supposed to know? You would never talk to us, you pulled away from us, and for all we knew it was something you had done directly to your grandmother." I'm shaking and crying just retyping those words. I would have died for my grandma, I would have killed for her. And when Granddad said for all they know I could have been doing that directly to my grandma I nearly fell apart.

Apparently he had the time Gram went through that mixed with a time in my life that was one of the rougher times of my life. What he was referring to when he said I wouldn't talk to them was a time when I was dating a drug dealer and doing drugs myself (which I mixed up in and got out of long before Gram shattered her knee). For obvious reasons there were things I couldn't tell them, that didn't mean that I didn't love them and the fact that Granddad would even mention that as a reason why he thought I would directly attack my grandmother with bad magick killed something inside of me. It almost made me wonder if maybe I had released the devil on Grandma and because I wouldn't give up magick and being close with the Goddess the devil had put the cancer in her which in turn would make it my fault that she died.

So after Gram died, I wanted to be better. I didn't ever want to cause any of my family pain like that EVER again. So I started reading the bible and trying to understand it the way Granddad told me Gram understood it. But going back to Christianity isn't right for me. It wasn't right for me in the beginning and it isn't right for me now. I still love Aphrodite. I still fell total comfort and total peace when she lays her hand on my shoulder, which she has done quite often here lately. However, I still believe in God and Jesus' teachings are great teachings. I've been doing some research, trying to figure out a way to blend the two religions together. Despite how much I say I don't care what other people think, I don't want to lose my friends. Mar knows the things I'm going through with this, but my relationship with my boyfriend is new enough that this isn't something I want to discuss too deeply with him yet, and Miss J just keeps telling me to read the book The Shack.

Why does it always have to be so confusing? And why do I feel like I have to put a label on my beliefs? I ask myself these questions and the only thing I can say to myself is that even though I've been taught to believe that labels are wrong, I still want to find a way to label my beliefs. I know I am a Witch, in my own right, with my own gifts, my own strengths and weaknesses, and I know I received new gifts from Gram when she passed on. But how can I be okay with my religious beliefs? I know I'm not evil. I know the things I do are not bad and I know believing in the Goddess is not wrong, but I feel like because I also believe that God is powerful and Jesus was a great teacher I don't necessarily fit in with the Pagan community as well as I used to, but because I believe in the Goddess I definitely don't belong in any of the churches around here.

I've studied up a little on Christo-Pagan beliefs, and the kinds of people that believe in them, and I have to say that area is very discouraging to me. I found one blog where a very bitter person was complaining saying they were outcasts from both Christianity and Paganism and while I read what that person had to say all I could think was, "The Pagans I know aren't that closed minded. We don't scream out YOUR A CHRISTIAN SO YOU CAN'T HANG OUT WITH US," but that was exactly how he said he was treated. Now I can understand the church saying "Because you're a Pagan, you can't be Christian," because the church has some very strict rules (that in all honesty are sort of hypocritical). I'm comfortable with you guys... Y'all are very accepting and understanding and that makes me even more confused lol...

I know, I know I have a problem with over thinking things but why in the hell does religion and the way people believe or how they choose to worship have to be such a big deal and so damn confusing? And why am I so confused by all this? While writing this I had moments of wonderful clarity where I said to myself, "Okay I've got this, I know who I am, my readers know who I am, and I know what I believe, shouldn't that be enough," but then that cloud of confusion descends again and I'm left going, "What the hell, I thought I had it figured out." I'm sorry this post is so damn long guys, I just had to put all that out there. As always your opinions are welcome (and they'll probably be much more helpful than me sitting here trying to figure things out by myself) so please leave your opinions in the comments. Thanks for listening (I mean reading) guys. Bright blessings.

9 comments:

Sarita Rucker said...

I haven't read your entire post and I need to dash off to class. I'll finish it later (I just need to read the last two paragraphs) but I will tell you this -- I am a Pagan, but Jesus is the first god I knew, and I still love him. Loving Jesus doesn't stop you from being Pagan.

WarriorPrincessDanu said...

"I don't care what you believe in, just believe in it." ~~Shepherd Book, Serenity

In my experience, it doesn't matter so much what we believe, but that we believe in something.

Sarita Rucker said...

After having read the last two paragraphs...

People more than twice your age are confused by religion. Don't be so worried. When you figure it out you'll figure it out. Worrying won't help. (Though I guess there's no point in telling you not to worry. I know what it's like.) Just pray to whoever you want to pray to. If some Christians reject you because you pray to a Pagan goddess, that's their loss. If some Pagans reject you because you like Jesus, that's their loss too.

Willow Silverhorse said...

Lol, thanks Sarita... I've missed you while I've been gone. It's nice to have someone that understands the ADD/ADHD and the over thinking issues again.

Diandra said...

There's absolutely nothing wrong with mixing the two paths. I mean, that's how Christianity spread in the beginning - people would put the "new god" next to their old beliefs, and they would mix them as they understood them. I don't think that makes anyone evil. And your Granddad - sorry to say that - must be a very frightened man to believe something like that about you.

Now, I spent many years, while I was already a witch, helping out at church. I would help organize services for children, and I would sing and play with them. I also went to gatherings for young people where we discussed political, social and religious topics. I never hid who I was, and most of the people were very accepting (including the priest - which actually surprised me). When I left that town to go to university, I decided I wouldn't mix with Christian communities anymore, but I have friends from back then who are strong-believing Christians, and there has never been a problem between us.

Try your path. Walk it. Change it whenever it needs changing. There's absolutely nothing wrong with you.

SpiritPhoenix said...

You're fine. Just remember, that your grandfather was grasping at straws. He was trying to figure out what was causing his wife's mishaps and latched on to one thing he didn't really understand.

Now, that out of the way. I'd stop worrying about being so confused. No one ever figures out the entire story. Besides, part of the fun is the journey. Sit back, relax, empty your head of this. Read a book, watch a movie, hang out with friends, something. Then with a fresh mind and not so much anxiety, you might make more headway. But don't rush it. You don't have to figure it out now. It's not a life and death situation. Just breathe. And you will find your way!

Lyn said...

I think whatever religion you believe there's always going to be someone who has no toleration and you see that in both Christian and Pagan circles.

My husband is an ordained Baptist Minister but he's also a Pagan. He sees the Christian faith as the pantheon he grew up with and is familiar with. He has no problem talking to Jesus one minute then having a conversation with Bast the next.

Religion should be about what is right for YOU. If you want to mix some Christianity into your path because it feels right (not because you feel you should) then do it. Don't give a hoot what anyone else thinks! I'm reading a book at the moment called Jesus and the Goddess - it shows you Christianity and Paganism have the same roots.

Just follow your heart and that will lead you to your right path.

Aisha said...

I have had the same feeling for years, I came into the path at an early age and was for a few years very solid in my beliefs but as you grow things get thrown at you to test you and how you react either strengthens you on your path or brings doubt. My parents think im the reason they have "bad" luck never mind that everyone around the globe is feeling the crunch, just know that the point of faith is never really knowing, you walk in your beliefs and stay strong as much as possible, bend and shift with the path, but try not to stray too far in any attempt to appease anyone but yourself. and the real path in paganism?? you never know because as you get to that "perfect" path it changes as your understanding change, your always growing so your always changing.
hope i was helpful
aisha
bythebroomstick.blogspot.com

TwistedTruth said...

I honestly know exactly what you mean. I have fallen off the path and am clinging desperately to the edge.
My ex boyfriend was a nut job, forcing Christian views on me to where I just stopped showing interest in a religion, "beating" the witch out of me, that I can't seem to embrace the fact that I see, I know things, I feel things. I want to just say I'm crazy. But I can't.
Paganism is me. It's hard. So hard to embrace yourself.