I rejoice in the faith of others. I know how much my spirituality is apart of my daily life and I celebrate the spirituality of others, as long as it is not a requirement that I believe as they believe. Consequently, I am a frustration to everyone. I don't mean to be, but it must be my lot in life to march out of step just enough to understand but not wholly accept anyone else's version of who I must be, to be accepted. They get frustrated if they think I have "ears to hear" the truth of their way and expect me to follow. I do not have faith to “give it up to god” and expect the divine to know my needs as they expect me to sit on my ass and wait for their blessings. It's not their fault if I fail in this. I’m sure that I am equal frustration to the gods, as well.
I am a frustration to my atheist friends who do not understand how someone of my reason, clarity, balance, education, and wisdom can "believe in all that junk." (of which, they know little because they have a cookie cutter definition of "all that junk" and apply it to me.) I am as much a frustration to New Age believers who think I am kindred when they discover that I am a Stone Witch and use none of them to texture my auras, or balance my chakras or cure my illnesses.
Pagans get frustrated when I do not identify with a Tolkien kind of witch or a D&D kind of witch or even the PR definition of a witch found on every pagan FAQ web page. I am neither Wiccan nor Druid nor Fluffy Bunny. I don't do divinations of any kind (not that I can't, just that I don't). And my magick is neither and both white and black.
One of my mother's teachings was that of racial memory. Her study of philosophy and Carl Jung made my grandmother's teachings more sensible with a scientific basis. But I was not taught to deny the possibility of reincarnation. Or deny the possibility that one day we may cease the mortal journey to reside somewhere pleasant. Or that the atheist beliefs might be true, that this is our one great shot at life, and we’d better make it good one. Racial memory is my first choice (appealing to my scientific nature) to explain the recognition I feel when I meet kindred, understand someone as if I had known them my whole life. It explains love at first sight, deja vous, understanding a foreign language without education and so many other things that I have personally experienced.
Belief in the transmigration of the soul is not critical to my belief system, but from it, I take the lesson that like going to school, I might be left back if I do not seriously commit to learning and growing and maturing in as many ways as I can, toward wisdom. When I refer to reincarnation, I do so as a metaphor, rather than truth. In fact, most of my references are used as a metaphor, like when I refer to the gods when I am blessed or ask if Mercury is in retrograde when I'm having a bad day. (That is except on days when I know I have lived before, that the gods are sleeping giants and Mercury screws up my life every freaking retrograde!)
Still, you will hear me say repeatedly, I have no truth, no surety in my correctness. And I'm fine with that. <--That's what really drives people crazy.) I call myself Pagan but if you put 20 pagans in a room, there will be things they can agree on, which I cannot. I used to call myself a Catholic even as I disagreed with most of the teachings. I honor my mother’s traditions and yet, I lean away from them too. Many atheistic proverbs are wise to me. So are some communist and socialist proverbs. Madmen have imparted wisdom to me. Children are some of the wisest and we can’t start early enough to knock that crap out of them by homogenization in the home, the schools, the churches. People, so love sameness.
With deep spiritual awareness, one wants to run to the highest mountain and shout to all below, “See this new wisdom I have discovered.” In time, they discover that it isn’t all that new, accept to them. And that many people have traveled the wisdom path before them. Still, I can smile and waive and applaud the spiritual accomplishments of others, even though I can’t participate in them all.
Kahlil Gibran said it best. “It is indeed misery if I stretch an empty hand to men and receive nothing; but it is hopelessness if I stretch a full hand and find none to receive.”
I try to receive something from everyone.
© 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 Ardriana Cahill
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