01 April 2014

lady bird, lady bird, fly away home

We're moving! Again! Ugh!

Luckily, we won't be moving far.  We're sticking to COMO, but we're moving to a bigger and better place.  Our current rental is.. well, it's abysmal.  We've had no end to the troubles here, so we are happily moving out, even if moving is a major pain in the neck!

We have two places to choose from.  The first one we found was your standard duplex rental-- no personality, tiny boring yard, and, worst of all, tiny kitchen.  We loved it when we saw it, because it seemed like it would work... But then a friend said she had a friend looking to rent out her house.  I was pretty ambivalent, because we had found a place already. It was perfect! Or so I thought.

We decided to look at the house, which was admittedly closer to where we want to be. We talked to the owner, who is wanting to give up living in a house and live in an RV for a while.  This house... It's amazing.  The downstairs/basement has a living area, a bedroom, and a bath, which our new roommate would claim for his.  The upstairs/main level has the shared space of kitchen and dining room, along with a living area, bathroom, and three bedrooms, which would become our space.  The back yard is wooded and slopes down to a little creek.  We'd be a five minute walk from a slightly larger creek for swimming and rock collecting. We'd be within walking distance of the UU Church AND some tennis courts.  This house makes me drool.  A lot.  I can clearly see in my mind's eye Camden having so much fun in the back yard.  Hell, I can see ME having so much fun in the back yard.  It would be so nice to live near a natural area again.

So, I don't know if I have many readers left.  It's been a while, and I'm slow coming back, I know.  But those of you who are still reading, please, please, please keep your fingers crossed that we can get this house.

30 March 2014

pagan group

For the first time in my life, I'm part of a group.  Of Pagans.  I have gone... 14 years, now, as a solitary traveler, and now my path is converging with others.  Or, if it is not converging, it is at least running roughly parallel within shouting distance of others' paths.  The UU Church Pagans got together last Sunday, and decided to meet at Sabbats to hold ritual, celebration, and just to get together.  We'll also be meeting monthly at the First Sunday potluck, which will be nice.  Ten of us met at that first meeting to decide why we were interested in a group and what we wanted to get out of it.  Our ideas were pretty similar: do ritual, converse with like-minded peoples, learn, and accountability for our own practice (I need this so much!).

Since we aren't forming a coven, just a group of differently traditioned people, we decided to take turns leading the Sabbat rituals.  The first one we have coming up is Beltane, and I volunteered to lead it with my friend Erin (who has also always been solitary) and a woman I've met through the UU Church, who has experience working with groups.  I'm looking forward to planning and doing the ritual!  Hopefully I will be able to get some pictures (maybe I'll make my husband come just for that, hah!).

06 March 2014

pantheist? non-theist? atheist?

"But as I continue developing my spiritual practice, the feelings it evokes reminds me that I am engaging in this ritual, in this reverence, for the very reason that I am not entirely an atheist. For me, I feel the Cosmos to be divine. I feel a divinity in its mystery, its vastness, its connectedness, in the very fact of its being. But I have yet to define for myself what this concept of the divine really means for me – and if the reverence and connectedness I feel can be called theism of any kind." Áine W., The Spinning of the Wheel

For such a long time I've identified with the term pantheism.  If you don't know, pantheism is the idea that the Divine is in everything, everything is Divine.  God or Deity or Whomever can be found in rocks, trees, stars, plastics, buildings, shoes.  Everything.  So I always said I was a pantheist.  Or I thought it, at the very least.  God, for me, was never personal, which is a large part of why I didn't continue with Christopaganism, or whatever I may have been calling it at the start of this blog.  The Christian god is supposed to be personal. And even in Paganism, with polytheism abound, choosing pantheons or choosing fitting gods from one culture or another always seemed like a large part of celebrating the Divine.  Gods have personalities; it makes them personable.  

But I never felt that.  Praying to Gaia felt no different than praying to Cernunnos. So when I stumbled across this term, pantheism, I ran with it.  It was awesome.  I felt... comfortable with the Divine, although I think the word comfortable is wrong here.  It felt sensible to me, at any rate.

As the years went by and I stepped away from the Pagan path (not to any other particular path except maybe secularism), I began losing pantheism.  It became muddied in my mind.  I would laughingly joke that I was an atheist pagan because god, for me, was all and nothing at the same time.  Could I really claim to be a pagan if my view of god was so broad that I lost any sense of the divine?  

I always hated trying to define my beliefs, because it always came down to, "Well, I'm a Pagan... kinda.  Maybe I'm an atheist... but not really.  It's complicated."  And it is complicated. Like Áine, in the quote above, I am still hammering out my definition of what god is and means to me.  It's something I'll probably still be hammering away at when I am on my deathbed, if I am still lucid.  But I like what Áine says, that the divinity of existence is in its vastness and (inter)connectedness.  

So. Pantheist? Non-theist? Atheist?

I'm a Pagan, and I view god through pantheist eyes.  God is the energy that moves the universe and moves through the universe.  God is impersonal, despite the fact that I sometimes give it a face and a name for my own comfort.  I feel the Divine whether I am lighting incense and saying a prayer, cleaning a stream, or hugging a tree, because the Divine is in all there is.  The Wiccan Goddess saying "all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals" describes my view of god, because the energy moving through the universe is love and acts of love bring us closer to experiencing the Divine.

12 January 2014

back for more?

I cannot believe that it's been over a year since I posted here.  I kept meaning to come back and give updates, but I just never found the time.  When I last posted, I was finishing up my last semester of classes in Grad school, then spent a semester student teaching/writing a research paper/trying to find a job.  Last summer, we moved to Columbia, Missouri, I got married to my wonderful (and, at times, wonderfully annoying) man (his name is Matt), and I started working as a substitute teacher. We've made some awesome friends and had some awesome experiences so far.

One of my favorite things about COMO is  the Unitarian Universalist church.  When I was 12 or 13, a friend invited me to a Winter Solstice celebration at a UU church in SWMO, and I absolutely loved it.  I decided then that if I ever moved to a town with a UU, I would definitely be attending.  So our first weekend in town, I dragged my atheist then-fiance for a summer lay-led service.  And it was AWESOME!  So we've been going, and on December 6, 2013, we became full members. Go us!

Through the UU church, I've met some Pagans, and we're meeting on Imbolc (it just so happens to be pot-luck Sunday at the UU, so we're meeting over lunch) to discuss if it would be worth our while to create a group of sorts, and what that would mean/look like for us.  So, I'm really excited!  I started this blog when I was going through what I like to call my Christian phase.  I was trying to blend Christianity and Paganity, because I wanted to be part of something greater than myself; I wanted community.  I never found it in a Christian church.  And while I can see Christopaganism working for someone else, it never did mesh well for me.  Now, through the UU, I can have a Pagan community along with the larger UU community, all the while being true to myself and my beliefs without having to compromise.

I don't know where I'm going with this blog, if I'm going anywhere.  I haven't been active in my faith for the last year, which is probably part of the reason I haven't been posting, along with my busy life outside of the Internet.  But I am hoping to start exploring it more and practicing more, both on my own, as part of the (possible) Pagan group at church, and with my best friend here in COMO, who is also Pagan(ish).  So this blog will hopefully be going places, telling the next chapters in this witch's story.
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