dancing naked under the moon
Okay, there was no naked anyone, and the moon was hidden behind clouds, but it was a beautiful summer night in someone’s back yard. Most of the ritual was just so much flash and posturing to me, not all that different really than a Catholic mass in that department, but religion is not about the pretty accoutrement or blustery words…and despite a healthy dose of skepticism going in, I was there to see if there was any substance behind the bling.
I was there as a spectator really, and little to do with the ritual itself aside from hold a candle for part of the time. I observed as they set up sacred space, as they called to the god and goddess. There was a guided meditation that I participated in and it was then that I felt it.
Let me backtrack a little. Even at the little store front church there were moments where I felt this…this connection, almost as though you’ve stepped outside of the world and are somewhere between here and whatever else is out there. I always knew that moment as grace, as the touch of God’s finger on my soul. It was not a constant thing, but in times of extended worship or prayer, it would happen…and it always affected me.
Standing there, in that circle, it happened again.
It started with a sense of separation. Despite the fact that I was standing with seven other people in a rather small space, I felt as though I were alone. I felt safe though, as if I were in a place designed to let me open myself. My desire for that connection, for understanding cracked open the door and I felt it. Just as sure as I had kneeling at the altar or with my hands raised and eyes closed singing praise.
Needless to say, that experience gave me a whole lot to think about.
I didn’t sleep that night. I sat up thinking and researching.
If what I knew was the touch of God wasn’t actually the touch of God, what was it? And what did that mean? How did it change what I believed? Or was it still the touch of God, reaching through the trappings of man-made religion to find me? Was it a warning to come back to Him or a sign that god could not be defined by man’s rules?
It touched off a new, slightly frantic phase of my spiritual pursuit. I devoured books at the rate of one a day. I started a journal to ramble about what I was feeling and learning and where it was leading.
My lists started to change again. And I started to search out opportunities to experience other services, to meet people and learn how they connected with the Divine. Somewhere in there I stumbled across an overgrown, unremarkable path…and decided to see where it went.