I’m not dead and neither is this blog. I haven’t been writing much lately but it's temporary. My husband and I have been busy planning our convalidation of marriage. We’re basically making our civil union official by receiving the sacrament of matrimony. When we first met I told him we would get married three times. I wasn’t sure what that meant then, but I am keeping count with a big grin on my face.
There’s a topic I’ve been meaning to write about for a while, but it’s such a broad concept that I’m not sure how to tackle it effectively. It’s this idea that all of us are drawn to different spiritual paths because we’re looking for specific aspects of either God or God’s creation. St. Boniface once chopped down a magnificent ancient oak tree dedicated to Thor. He was trying to prove that we shouldn’t worship the creation above the Creator, and that we’re not free until we break from the enslavement of superstition. Early Christian missionaries in charge of converting the Germanic people were very busy with the axe. I wish they hadn't been. The earth needs all the love we can share if we’re to survive.
A quick internet search will show the conflict between the modern-day Pagan and Christian communities. It also opens another topic—the labeling or categorizing of merging belief systems. Ask a Santeria priest from Cuba if he or she is a Christo-pagan and brace yourself to be bombarded with questions. A belief that is so rooted in everyday life can’t be labeled if you ask me. Long before my catholic conversion, at a time when Wicca seemed like an attractive path to follow, it was the need to categorize and differentiate that got me thinking that modern earth-based religions were like a river that traveled through a beautiful landscape. The shimmering current being attractive enough, but was there any depth to it?
If given the opportunity I would travel back in time to experience first-hand how it was done long before Christianity. Village life, hunting and farming, raising kids in community, sticking together to survive, using Mother Earth’s gifts to heal and nurture ourselves and others, trying to understand the unknown by performing rituals and reading omens. I think most of us feel the longing for this primeval element we’ve lost. But as I watched instructional videos on how to become a Pagan or Witch I considered the effectiveness of bringing back a practice that has been overlooked for thousands of years and can only be learned by researching ancient texts or following the top academic writers in that field of study. Although I didn’t commit to any of these religions, I did practice Santeria well into adulthood, and I can honestly say that this nostalgia of returning to what we once were only leads to an insatiable spiritual craving.
My conversion to Catholicism didn’t blind me. I can describe my path before meeting Jesus as having been in a room where a few lamps offered enough light to move about comfortably. My encounter with Him was the moment when I stepped outside that room and realized there was a bright warm sun shining on all things. I realized then I no longer needed those lamps, but I’m grateful I had them at that time in my life. Without them I would have stumbled in complete darkness, and more importantly, I would have never found the door. And who’s to say these lamps can’t help someone else find answers? There’s some level of truth to every religion, and no, you don’t need a temple or a church to worship God. He’s in all things, including His creation. But regardless of the path we decide on, we should be very honest with ourselves. Are we attracted to the shimmering current or the depth of the river? When the time of drought comes along, will there be enough water to quench our thirst? Would weeks of digging the arid ground hoping to find a new stream be worth the effort?
We’re exposed to so much nowadays. Not just people and the world in general, but we’ve mastered traveling in time, haven’t we? The past, present, and predicted future are just one-click away. The rise of technology has prompted us to build stronger connections with the outside world, and that is a great thing, but . . . what about that plug that keeps us connected to who we truly are? I’m speaking from experience here and I mean no ill to anyone. I’ve been an unpaid actress my whole life. I’ve tried different roles to see what stuck. I was a care-free gypsy for a while, an American Indian from the “Wanna-be” tribe, a classical musician and teacher by profession, a writer, a wife, a student, a gardener, and now (whether I like to admit it or not I’m still labeling myself) a practicing Catholic. But the truth is none of these things is who I am. So my questions to you are: Who are you, truly? Do your spiritual beliefs reflect who you are or who you would like to be? How can you be certain?