11 October 2013

The Heretics Heart

I come at my spirituality from the not entirely unique position of being someone raised marginally Catholic until my teens and then thrown into the church (always a bad plan - take one headstrong teen, add patriarchy and a huge helping of snark, and see what happens), considered becoming a nun in the 11th grade (oh so briefly but enough to startle myself), and then a few years after graduating found myself wandering the woods with some strangers and realized I was "home".

For all my wanderings and writings, I have never lost sight of the church. I was baptised and went through the adult religious orientation to be confirmed and receive the sacraments of communion and so I am - in so far as the church is concerned - an apostate and a heretic.

Even though the decision to become catholic was made as a teenager (and one can safely say that teenagers really have no idea what they're doing), I think it does a huge disservice to the idea of oath making so prevalent within heathen circles to say a vow made as a teenager has no weight. It does a disservice to my heathen spirituality to not own up to that oath, that promise, whatever has happened in the meantime.

At the same time heathens have rightly - if not indelicately - pointed out that coming from the monotheistic background is something that should be expunged from our beliefs and practices now. We carry a lot of baggage regardless of what side of the monotheistic branch we come. While I disagree that some of those applications are purely from my Catholic background (see the part where I mentioned having a personal relationship with deity), I can see the problem with its overall acceptance in heathen circles. Specifically looking at that example, a personal relationship with deity has been regularly abused to mean that someone knows more and has more authority than others because God/Gods told them so.

... because we haven't seen THAT abused historically, have we?

So what to do then? How does someone who believes very much in the legitimacy of all the Gods, and to a degree all the faiths, practice when her spiritual home is literally two factions who on the surface think the other faction is evil?

I have found that differentiating between ignorance and hate. Research helps. And in the end, there is a level of accepting that I am never going to fully be in one world or the other. It isn't an easy path and there is a lot of room for doubt, but there is also a better understanding of what makes me tick.

Anyway, this is something I would like to revisit and dig into more. In the meantime I am off to western Massachusetts for a long weekend spiritual retreat. I hope you are all enjoying this gorgeous fall!

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