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tripping along the cobblestone

August 5, 2010

It seems a little strange to me that all of this was going on inside me and yet outside my life continued moving on.  I worked, I played, I made friends, I spent time with my family.  It was almost as if I had two different lives.

I discovered quickly that neither Judaism nor Islam held any appeal to me.  They fascinated me, because they both sprouted from the same basics and grew rapidly and radically apart, but they were not for me.

I gave Buddhism a go early on, but I was not very good at the sitting still and the passivity of it.  I liked the concepts, but the application seemed elusive.

Clearly my search needed to go off the beaten path.

My lists of things I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt was small, but it was taking shape.  I talked to Max about them and he offered me ideas on what faith paths he had studied that might speak to those beliefs.  He suggested I look to my own heritage, to the faiths of my ancestors.

I didn’t know a whole lot about my heritage.  I knew I had some Native American in my background, some Irish, some German…but those were three places to start.  I began with the Irish, digging past the Catholic/Protestant debate and into the religions that came before.

My first look at druidry set off a bunch of panic and sermon flashbacks about hell and the devil and I had to back off.  Then I found an author who used terminology that didn’t freak me out by calling the various faiths “folk religions”, which has the effect of making it sound quaint.

I was reading voraciously, devouring books on religion and philosophy, all the while analyzing what I was reading and deciding what worked for me and what didn’t.  More things got added to the pieces of paper that held what I did not believe and what I wasn’t sure about, but for quite a while the page that held what I believed stayed the same.

Somewhere in here I found Wicca.  I had made a friend in the complex who was Wiccan. Perusing her bookshelf had me intrigued.  She offered me a few books, notably Cunningham’s “Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner”.  I read it with a healthy dose of skepticism, but by the time I was done, I had to admit that a lot of the theory resonated with some of what I believed.

She and I spoke about it and about the major reservations I had.  I wasn’t ready to jump in with both feet, but when she invited me to attend a ritual with her, I thought it a fair idea.  Afterall, in my pursuit of Christian sects, I had made a point to attend services at each denomination as I studied it, I had visited a Jewish synagogue and a Buddhist center.

It was midsummer, and I was about to discover that while the devil may be in the details, the feeling that I knew as the touch of God, was not contained within the boundaries of man-made rules.

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