Friday, February 12, 2016

My Spiritual Journey

I grew up Catholic. Went to Church on Sundays, went to CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, the Catholic version of Sunday School), counted my rosary, went to confession, and received all the sacraments through Confirmation. When I go to a church for things like weddings and baptisms I still make the sign of the cross with holy water and genuflect, and I still know and say all the responses. Not because it's what I believe, but as a sign of respect. If I were to go to a Japanese person's house I would take off my shoes. I am not Japanese, but it is their tradition.

You have probably figured out by now that I am no longer Catholic. I could go on and on about the things certain "Christians" spout or how the bible is full or contradictions, but really what it came down to was that I just didn't believe what they believed. I didn't believe in their god, the concept of the holy trinity, baptism, etc. When I was about 18 I started learning about Paganism and Wicca. I had friends who were Wiccan and based on what they told me and what I read it seemed that was best fit my beliefs. However, something was still off. Even though I was more comfortable worshipping a Goddess  or a polytheistic religion, some never felt quite right. My belief deities changed (God and Goddess, God in a horned and hooded form, Goddess as the triple Goddess, just the Goddess), but it always felt forced. I never challenged the thought. After all, this is what I was supposed to believe. Right?

One of the traits of BPD is identity issues. This is a subject that has come up recently for me during my month of a balance and centering. People with BPD have trouble knowing who they they are, what they want, and what their beliefs truly are. I reflected back and realized that my identity issues played a role in my beliefs. I kept believing in a God/Goddess because it's what I read, what friends did, and because it made things black and white for me. Maybe I wasn't Wiccan? Wait, though, I still believed everything else. Reincarnation, karma, connection with nature and the stars. I even felt a connection with the Sabbaths as long as the concept of "Goddess gives birth to the God" was removed. None of that felt forced, none of that felt  academic; all of that came naturally and was what I truly believed in my heart. So now I was confused. How could I be Pagan and not believe in the God and Goddess? Wasn't that the point? Maybe I was Agnostic? No, that doesn't fit. Definitely not Atheist. The problem was I was having trouble putting the words together to describe what I believed. I also didn't know if such a belief system existed, and I don't do well without labels. I know labels anger a lot of people, but for someone with BPD they can be very important as they help with our identity and help us feel grounded. So I kept researching, but this time I was researching something that fit what I truly believed; something that made me say, "oh! someone put my thoughts into words." I was not looking to turn someone's words into my thoughts. This is what I am, this is what feels right and what I connect with.

Pandeist Pagan

  • "Pandeism is a theological doctrine which combines aspects of pantheism and deism. It holds that the creator of the universe actually became the universe, and so ceased to exist as a separate and conscious entity."
  • I do not subscribe to the idea of a personalized, transcending, or anthropomorphic deity. However, I do believe the universe has a strong feminine energy. I feel most spiritual in nature, like a child in the arms of her mother. Because I believe nature and the universe *is* the divine.
  • I am a Dualist Attribute Pandeist. "Dualist Attribute, which can also be called “Neutral Monism” or “Dialectical Monism” says that there is only one substance but it has two attributes (or maybe more?) – Matter/ Energy and Mind/ Consciousness. In other words, rather than the fundamental building block of the universe being Matter or it being Mind, there is a third substance below both of these which then gives rise to either one as an attribute. It is this underlying fundamental substance that unites the universe and is therefore 'god.'" (note: I try not to use god in my language, but it was part of the quote).
  • "People who identify as pagans don’t all believe the same things. Some believe literally that gods or spirits exists, that elaborate ritual is critically important, or that magick can achieve real effects outside of the user’s natural reach. Most books on pagan beliefs and practices belong in this “supernatural pagan” category. This approach is accompanied by a whole panoply of products and paraphernalia, from crystals and cauldrons to chalices, daggers and tarot cards. But there are others – let’s call them naturalistic pagans, pantheist pagans or atheist pagans - who don’t believe in any supernatural beings, forces or realms. For naturalistic paganism, the pagan gods and rituals are not taken literally but as symbolic expressions of a reverential attitude to Nature, while magick is a kind of therapy or "soul-work" rather than a supernatural way of controlling natural events." 
  • I believe in reincarnation. I believe when we die there is a "waiting period" before our next life. This is when we are able to see our loved ones, how ghosts can visit us, or anything like that. This waiting period could take 2 years or 200 years. I do not believe our souls transcend, but rather exist within the universe.
  • I believe in a type of Intelligent Design. "the Pseudoscientific view that certain features of the Universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an indirect process such as natural selection." Many people who believe in ID, including myself, do not assign a personality to the designer. "In fact, the idea of pantheistic evolution is not even limited to that of Earth and its systems. Modern New Agers embrace the whole universe in some form of conscious cosmic evolution." Does ID reject Darwinian Evolution completely? No, "there are two fundamentally different possible causes for how humans have come to exist: blind natural processes (chance-law) or purposeful intelligent design. The two mechanisms are not wholly mutually exclusive." Basically I do believe in macroevolution, but I believe something helped it along.
All of this makes sense to me, and has helped a lot of my fears regarding death. None of it feels forced or like I am having identity issues. I feel calm, at peace, and no longer conflicted. I also realized that my beliefs don't need to make sense to other people, only me. One thing I like about Paganism is that it doesn't follow a strict adherence of rules. I rejected the confinement of Catholicism; pray to this specific god, do it in this building, worship this one book. My beliefs never felt cookie cutter, and Paganism allows for that mishmash of beliefs. I believe that's why it also felt forced when I used a book of shadows or made an altar. I always felt most connected and spiritual in nature, while meditating. Not while using inanimate objects. Perhaps that's why I like gemstones so much? While they are objects, they are objects from nature.

All I can say, is that I set out on a journey of self exploration; to find answers, and I got what I was searching for. No, rather, I found the words that matched my thoughts.

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