making it up as I go
What I discovered in my research, as I tried on various expressions of what my heart believed, was that I didn’t fit into a neat little package. None of the religions I read about worked for me.
There was a lot in Wicca that spoke to me, but the ritual felt overdone and not completely real for me and the nameless/faceless god and goddess idea simply felt cold and wrong. I had had faceless and nameless and it was not what I wanted. I gave druidry another look, and that felt a whole lot more comfortable, but still had overdone ritual and a clinging to old tradition that made little sense in the modern world, at least as I was reading about it. At the time I knew no druids.
I was fascinated by Asatru, but knew at a glance that it was not for me. I’m still fascinated by it and try to attend at least one class/ritual every year at Pantheacon. It is not my path, but it is one worthy of learning.
I first read about shamanism along in here somewhere. The simplicity of it struck me. It resonated within me. It wasn’t a perfect fit either, but as I found more books on the subject a thought occurred to me. Shamans, whether called that or not, have been a part of many, many cultures.
I got to talking to Max about it and we talked about how the gods and goddesses of the Celtic pantheon resonated with me, but the practices of Native American shamans seemed to feel right. He asked me why I couldn’t have both.
I had no answer. It had never occurred to me that religion could be a thing you made up yourself. Max invited me to a sweat lodge. It was designed for people new to the idea. I agreed to go.
It was an amazing experience with a wonderful group of people from many walks of life and many different religious persuasions. We talked afterward, long into the night at the local IHOP over waffles and pancakes, and when I finally went home I was much more comfortable with the idea of combining practices and ideas and expressions of faith to suit what my heart said was true and real.
I studied Celtic myth and shamanism. I made notes on where druidry and shamanism crossed. I came to understand that the ritual and implements are tools we use to focus on our intent. They do not matter to the Divine, they matter to us. All the candles and herbs and stones and fancy, expensive robes or daggers or chalices do not matter in the end. They, like the ritual we use them in, are merely window dressing.
They frame our view of the Divine, but in the end they do nothing to alter what we see.