Religious?

I have a bit of a religious problem.

I like being around my Fiance way too much. When we were long distance, and I spent so long with my heart yearning in another direction, it was so easy to find space in my mind and schedule to sit quietly in front of my altar and commune with the gods.

That’s gotten a lot harder to do ever since he moved in two years ago. Whenever I’m home, I’m spending every minute with him, and I never remember to step back and go visit my altar.

With Walpurgisnacht just having passed, I found myself pondering the Lady Freyja even without going to her altar, and I thought about losing myself in happiness (or sorrow, as it hasn’t all been joy and roses since then, what with his being unemployed for almost a year and my having a terrible job and losing my hair and all) and love.

I sort of accidentally found what I was looking for the whole time. I feel more present in my life than I ever have before, because while I’m at home, I am so happy to be there and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Other than wishing for my hair to hurry up and get past the incredibly awkward phase it’s in right now, I don’t have anything I really wish were different.

Sometimes I feel bad for feeling so happy and forgetting to go visit Freyja at her altar. But her altar is still in our bedroom, and I still give her a kiss or wave quite frequently even if I don’t go sit for an in depth visit.

I’m not sure that I’m going to make any deep realizations in this post, I just wanted to do a little musing on what it means to be religious, I guess. I used to put a lot of time and energy into being a Pagan. I would read message boards and blogs on the internet all the time, I would meditate and pray and dance ecstatically and take long walks in the woods all the time. I thought through my identity and it was constantly transformative.

But is that what it means to be religious? I still most definitely consider myself a pagan and a follower of Freyja, even if it doesn’t occupy my thoughts with as much regularity as it did before.

On the other hand, I’m living my life as fully as I can, experiencing the emotions I’m experiencing as deeply as I can, exploring my psychology and keeping aware of changes in my self-identity. I still listen for the plants and try to learn about local species– just today I found out that those crazy trees around with the tubular purple flowers that smell just like bubblegum and those crazy weeds that grow so fast are in fact the same plant–a Paulownia. And the reason they’re weeds is that they are an invasive species that can grow up to 20′ a year. But other people think that because of  that, they might be a solution for deforestation–a new forest of Paulownia could be reforested so much faster than other, slower growing trees, to help with the atmosphere and topsoil runoff.

So, what does it mean to be a religious? Does it just mean you consider yourself to? What amount of energy do you have to put into it before you are religious?

 

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5 thoughts on “Religious?

  1. I often have a difficult time getting away to spend quiet moments at my altar. My husband isn’t as spiritual as I am. We spend a lot of time together watching movies, playing games, eating dinner, etc. I sometimes feel guilty when I spend a lot of time doing these things when I know I want to spend more time working on my spiritual relationships. It helps to see the spirit in my husband and know that I’m connecting to something, even within a human being. 🙂

  2. You dance for Freyja and you’re worried about being too in love with your fiance?

    I wouldn’t feel too bad about it in all honesty. The fact is that very few people are capable of devoting teir entier lives to any deity. We have too much pressure on our time. I tend to view my devotionals as something of an As Needed basis. There are a few exceptions. When I’m doing housework or cooking a meal from scratch or something domestic I tend to meditate on Hestia.

    In all honest, I don’t consider myself religious. It implies that this is an obligation as oppose to something spiritual and open.

    • I wasn’t really so much worrying about it so much as pondering, really. I certainly don’t think Freyja is upset by my being super in love.

      I think that’s also something interesting to ponder–whether considering yourself religious implies a certain level of obligation. Once in a college class, I defined piety, which is a similar but not identical word to religious, as “purposefully leading a life of devotion.” I suppose that does imply obligation, because then it begs the question of how much devotion is necessary to maintain that. Does it mean you’re purposefully devotional every hour? Every day? Every year?

      I don’t know that there are really answers to these questions, as once you start to define words too much, they start to get really slippery. It’s just something I like to muse on.

      • Considering that she’s a goddess of love I’d say you are being well rewarded! ;P

        That is a really good question. i supposed it depends upon if you are defining religious in technical terms or colloquial. I always defined myself as a spiritual person as oppose to religious. I think ones needs to remain open to new experiences and religion implies a…well…a set standard as to how things are supposed to be done, experienced, and seen. I believe a lot of the experiences and ways people practice their faith is open to interpretation

        But as far as obligation goes…that’s a toughie. How obligated do you need to be to pagan gods? I mean in ancient times there was a LOT of shit you had to do, I believe it was one of the incarnations of Artemis worshiped in the Mediterranean that had the men who wished to serve her bathe in bulls blood and castrate themselves. Bacchus has bands of wild maenads who committed cannibalistic orgiastic drunken murder. Followers of Odin would hang people in the trees and let them rot till crows pecked at their bodies (a sign that the sacrifice was accepted).

        Honestly, kinda makes olive oil and mead seen like a crappy offering. Not that we need to switch back or anything, just keeping it in perspective.

  3. You present some good questions here and have given me something to muse on.

    Personally, I consider myself semi-religious. Meaning I strive my hardest to observe all the sabbats and esbats (including the Dark Moon), and try to get in something everyday–even if it’s just a small prayer or one card tarot reading. For me, that’s a comfortable level of “being religious”. I think it’s subjective as to what constitutes what one considers religious. People may not consider me religious, but because I have rituals that I do everyday and I show my devotion as often as I can, I consider myself to be. Someone else may think I need to do something devotional every hour though, or at least before every meal. *shrugs* Again, it’s all subjective.

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