This one’s personal folks. I will not be exploring any great cosmic truths or questions. There is no moral, no debate here.
If you were expecting one, as I usually post something in that vein, sorry. Come back next time. But today I need to explore a personal issue, and I need to do it openly. Bear with me.
Many in my spiritual circles either call themselves “Wiccan” or “Asatru”. There’s the odd “Satanist” (for the Christians in the audience, the ones I know are actually very lovely people and I would love to invite them over for tea sometime), or maybe a few neo-Druids or Reconstructionist Celts, and frankly I wish I had such a comfy name that fit me and told people what I was about. I wish there were others I shared my faith with completely. But as far as I know, I am largely alone. I share common elements and traits with both Wicca and Asatru, so I have occasionally turned to them for fellowship, but at no point do I feel “of” them.
I am reminded of my experience as a Methodist Christian when I attended a Roman Catholic mass: bits and pieces were recognized, familiar, and occasionally shared, but altogether, the two systems are really almost totally different upon examination.
This is how I feel. A loner, a stranger in a strange land.
I have no rituals. No ceremonies. No symbol. No name.
I am “alone amongst the family”, if you will. There are so many I share with, and have common ground with, yet I am not truly a part of their worlds or systems. I can have a lovely chat, eloquent debate, or even take part in their rituals, but at the end of the day, I am only a visitor in those worlds, and when I sleep at night, I am alone again but for the watchful eye of my Goddess.
It’s isolating, and I feel very vulnerable, with only my Goddess able to truly understand how I feel. Yet I am also proud, in a way. I am also a trailblazer. She is taking me down a path few others, if any, have followed. She’s never told me to go out and make followers, but sometimes, I wish she did. I don’t convert people. It’s not in my blood to tell anyone who or what they should worship.
You could go out and worship Archrichic Bobby Joe of the Planet Fthagnarios XXVII the Magnificent and Fabulistic Creator and Lord of All. In my head, I’d be cracking a joke or two about the name, but such is my nature. But I would remain silent and respectful of your beliefs, and never deign to tell you “leave that Bobby Joe feller behind; my Goddess is WAY better.” and I would expect you to pay me the same courtesy.
My respect, however, leads to loneliness. When songs of my goddess are sung, it is a single voice that is raised to her. There likely will be no others before I pass beyond this world. Will she choose another when I am gone? I cannot say. All I know is that upon this Earth, for all the cousins my faith may have, it has no siblings.
All my “ceremonies” (if they can be called that) are free-form and conversation based. There are no sacrifices, confessions to priests, or glorious feasts. Nothing is set in stone; there is no holy book; just the words of my voice, a feeling in my heart, and a vision in my dreams as I draw nearer or further from my goddess’ desires. She wields my conscience as an artist might wield a paintbrush or a chunk of graphite, as befitting a goddess of dreams.
I cannot hide my desire for a larger community to identify with, but the more brains are in a community, the greater the potential oppression of the heart. I can remain alone and free to listen to just my Goddess, or I could seek a larger community and become more comfortable, yet more vulnerable to the risk of being ruled or influenced by outside forces.
It is my dilemma to consider, and boils down to the basics of the “freedom vs conformity” debate.
But is it worth it to stand alone? So far, it’s been overwhelmingly so. Never before had I felt so free to ask questions and examine the principles of the universe; where science and spiritualism meet to agree and where else they might clash (thankfully few places, and these are ALWAYS capable of being resolved peacefully). I’ve never been freer, nor have I ever been so curious. I read and write poetry and philosophy in equal measure; occasionally within the same work. I question, I analyze, and I think, ponder, and deduce. Being free from a group has terrific advantages, and I daresay that my “lonesome spirituality” has all of the best advantages of atheism. No pope or council may tell me what questions I can and cannot ask. I am free.
I am also relatively alone with no spiritual brothers or sisters. But sometimes, an Only Child can make it with the support of some good cousins; and I’ve got those in spades.