Thoughts on My Spiritual Practice (or Happy Easter, or Good Passover, If You Observe Either - Get Ready for Beltane, Fellow Pagans! - Happy Earth Day EVERYONE)
|Logo from Edinburgh's Beltane Fire Festival|
Reflections on My Spiritual Practice During the Spring Holidays
It is my goal some day to make it ot Edinburgh, Scotland--home town of one of my great-grandparents--for the Beltane Fire Festival. It's tricky because it's a busy time of work for me, so that'd be hard to manage for the forseeable future. Still, Beltane is a great holiday, because it means warmer weather and randier humans. Hahaha.
Anyway, it being a holy weekend for Jews and Christians, I was thinking about my spiritual practice.
Once a Catholic (sorta), Now a Pagan
I only observe Easter now in a secular sense. I am not Christian. I like the family get togethers, the pretty pastel outfits, the tasty dinners and the Easter egg hunts.
When it comes to the religious part of things, I like the prominence that the Magdalene gets for a change when it comes to Easter services. She's one of my favorite archetypes in Christian literature. I'm still bullshit, will always be, about so many things regarding her treatment in subsequent doctrine.
First, I used to be indignant that she was erroneously named as the penitent whore. But now that I'm pro-sex-worker rights, and believ ein advocating for the dignity of sex workers, I think it's ridiculous that a whore should feel a need to be penitent for her job. Honest days work deserves more respect.
But what do you expect from a religion built on the patriarchy? And how could I not but leave and find a better spiritual practice, under such circumstances?
In Some Cases, the Differences Are the Same
Which isn't to say there is no value in the history of the Abrahamic religions. That would be an extremely dumb take.
Some of the Saints and the Gods are so similar. My namesake for starts. That's how I came to realize I was a pagan, in fact, and not "a very liberal Christian." When I started reading up on St Bridget's Day, and discovered it's the feast of the Goddess Brigid, Imbolc, and why it's a holiday and what it is in observance of, for the Celtic pagan celebration, that's when I started realizing that THAT is what spoke to me about observing ALL the Christian holidays. So, now my "holly" holidays are the ones of the Wheel of the Year.
And a lot of the beliefs I held, which were in contradiction to Catholicism and Christianity in general, were tenets of paganism. And once all that came together in my head, I started reading up on things and eventually came to fully and publicly identify as Pantheist Neo-Pagan when it comes to my spiritual beliefs and practice.
I also appreciate and love the teachings of St Francis of Assissi. How can you not?
Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O divine master grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled as to console
to be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it's in dying that we are born to eternal life
I love the beginning of this prayer. And I do not take the second part in absolute terms. (That would be too self-sacrificingly Catholic.) To me I take it as good advice for remaining strong in the face of adversity. For being compassionate to what we don't understand. And to leaving a good lasting impression on this earth, once we leave it in our current form. And I say anyone who emphasizes the last bits as a means of exploitation is probably a narcissist and should be avoided.
The Most Important Part - Happy Earth Day
The most important part during this time of year of various holidays, is the bit where you get together with your loved ones and reflect on love, gratitude and the gifts of this planet, whether you think of the miracles of deities, or the miracle of science and the seasons changing. And that is the part that I will choose to focus on when someone wishes me a Happy Easter!
Earth Day is tomorrow. It's the one thing that links us all: the planet, and how ephemeral, beautiful and singular it is for us all.
A Poem I Wrote about People Wishing a Pagan Happy Easter
My whole life
Something was missing
All this love
Towards a place
I can’t remember
Or never truly recognized
We prayed each week
Ate lemon-filled filled powdered donuts
For the violation of
Then more stridently
All that smothered
My brain, my spirit
One February First
My very special day
I was told
What else it
Held, besides just me
The birth of my
Began to trickle
Through my veins
Finally one cold crisp
December 22, I told my
Mother, after putting up my tree
The truth of who I am
No, Jesus is not my Christ
I have none
The spirit I honor
Is in animal, mineral & plant
No sin, do devil rules anyone
For they do not exist
And the Earth supplies
By her constant living
To the co-workers who wish me
A Happy Easter, I say
“You, too,” & finally begin
To understand otherness
Like never before
The flowers in pastels poke
Through melting ice piles
And mud cakes the ridges
Of my heels
Born again are the
Daffodil, hyacinth & crocus
Happy Ostara to You.