A forum that I run - not Under the Rose, but a Gnostic forum - was full of drama and animosity the past few days. I hope it's under control.
Hubby and I want to do a Beltaine ritual and have a bit of a potluck afterward. I had stepped back from the Craft stuff in the past while, due to my newfound path.
I find I often come full circle. Though I bring something new back to the starting line.
I was Roman Catholic. Decided I didn't like their general stance on marriage/
divorce, gay/lesbian, closed communion and a few other things. (I had been baptized at 16, right before I had my first son and then married the father. The church would not marry us because of my age, so he and I found a justice of the peace and therfore, even though he and I were both Catholic, we could not receive communion because we were 'living in sin' daily)
So, I wandered about a bit, checking out a few churches and finally gave up.
I started really getting into 'spirituality' after reading The Road Less Travelled and then The Celestine Prophecy. The latter book especially, led me to want to learn about auras, energy fields, ESP, and all that.
Dabbled a bit, found a teacher, and along with my boyfriend, and my best friend, we began to learn Gardnerian Witchcraft. The three of us have done this a few years. During that time, I was pretty 'Anti-Christian'. I made Jesus jokes, (saw a bumper sticker I wanted that said "I found Jesus! He was under the couch.", I had images like Buddy Jesus that said "Jesus loves you-everyone else thinks you're a c*nt" hehe.... I think I still have that pic somewhere. Now, all that is harmless, and I still find that sort of stuff funny, because I know it is aimed at a type of Christianity that I THOUGHT was THE Christianity, but it's not.
I became what I hated.
I thought all Christians were closed minded, stuck up, or back woods morons. Blindly swallowing a bunch of lies from a poorly constructed book that they took as The WORD.
I went to Wiccan coffee meet-ups, ran a small coven with my hubby. Thought I was spiritually enlightened, and even talked about 'the burning times' and our 'persecution'.
Sadly, this really wasn't that long ago, lol.
So anyhow, I read. I learned. I investigated. I discovered that I was totally missing the point. I realized that there is One Divine. And we reach that Divine via different routes.
I think the very first thing that got me thinking was A New Earth.
Pre-Oprah's Book Club.
Hubby and I had moved out of the City we had lived in all our lives and moved an hour away to a more affordable city. An hour away on the freeway.
I was pregnant and had fallen out of touch with my pagan friends, other than my husband and my best friend.
I had just had my son, kidlett #4, and was at the drug store getting some formula. My son cried alot and rarely slept. I gave him a dairy free, soy free infant formula once in awile, via my hubby. I was nursing, so it was nice to pass him off to papa once in awhile.
I had spent alot of money at the drug store and I got a ten dollar gift card for Chapters/Indigo books.
I went online to use the card when I got home. I looked for something cheap so that even with shipping and taxes, that it could be covered by this gift card.
There was a section with daily deals and one of the thumbnails showed a pic of a shiny looking book with a very attractively coloured cover. A tangerine/salmon/orangey looking book. A New Earth.
I searched for reviews on it, found very little about it. (like I said, this was BEFORE Oprah found it and the world went gaga over it)
BUT it was only 4.00!!!! So I bought it.
And that was it.
My life changed. I stopped seeing everything as an Us and Them, but more of a collective 'We'. For me, I realized that the Deities I was seeking in the Craft were actually manifestations of the Divine. And I realized that the Divine was a part of me. I was part of it. I realized I was NOT the little voice inside my head - I was the AWARENESS of that voice inside my head. On and on and on.
Even though maybe it wasn't intended as such, it gave me a much more universal look at spirituality, and religion, and inspiration.
If I had not moved away from my home, would I have found that book?
I was so wrapped up in the mundane dramas of everyone's lives around me previously.
Removing myself from what I knew, and embracing something new, allowed me to redefine and re-explore myself.
Since that time of discovery, I poked about here and there. Learned about Gnosticism, and am SO thrilled to be in the St.Raphael Seminary of the Apostolic Johannite Church. I discovered a new relationship with Word and Wisdom, the Christ and Sophia. I have this sensation of the Universe existing inside me, and what is outside of me is a slightly askewed reflection of the inner truth.
I have met people from a few different Churches that have similar relationships with Christ (though have not met anyone who recognizes Sophia, only slighlty perhaps with Mary as a form of Sophia. One of her many incarnations.) I have found that I could sit with a Rev of a United Church of Canada, as well as an Anglican Church... tell them my beleifs, and still be welcomed with open arms. Sincerely.
And I think.. WOW... who was the asshole? Me. All those years that I stereotyped and over-generalized anyone on a Christian path.
Of course, I at first totally tossed Witchcraft.
Then, recently I came to realize.... we never did Craft work for magic spells. We did it to honour and celebrate the Lord and Lady in their many forms. All aspects of the Divine. Christ and Sophia perhaps being right up there at the top of the emanation chain in perfection.... and the deities are lower down, not quite perfect, (much like ourselves) but with strengths that are mirrored of what we can also posess. And by honouring different aspects of the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine, we still send that energy to the Divine, and as the Divine is a part of us, it feeds us also.
Im sure hundreds of people disagree with this, and that's totally cool... it's just where my brain is at right now.
Now, one more thing that I will share, in case I forget again for many years like before.
I had a dream about 15 years ago.
A woman wearing a gold headpiece and with feathers in it, led me. She looked egyptian to me, but I had no idea really because I was never the scholarly sort and in my conscious memory couldnt recall if she was someone important. I was a bit upset because I had hoped in my dreams to see Mary one day. Even though I had already left the Catholic church many years previously, I still hoped I would have a 'vision' of some sort, to help prove that there was SOMETHING there.
So anyhow, this woman with a golden headress with a feather on each side of it (Sometimes her headress changed into the head of a bird), took me to this place. It was a building. A great domed building. There was a moat around it. A bridge lay before us and we walked into this building. Although the outside was large, it was not abnormally so, it was like a planetarium, one would expect to see a giant telescope poking through the roof. BUT, when I got inside, I saw that the inside was immense. It was... infinite. The universe was in that building. There was gold etchings, stained glass, shiny, beautiful, glowing things. It was beautiful. I dont remember what the woman said to me, it was many years ago and I didnt think much of it at the time.
Recently though, as I discovered Gnosticism, and the passage from the Gospel of Thomas that says:
Jesus said, "If those who lead you say to you, 'See, the kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you.
I suddenly remembered this dream. And I realized that I was being shown that the Kingdom of God resides within.
Also, recently I have been reading about Egyptian spirituality etc., and I came across Ma'at. Bells went off... ok, not really but once again, my dream came back to me.
I could swear that she was Ma'at. The concept of Truth, Balance and Order personified. Why Ma'at and not Sophia, or Mary.... I don't know. Maybe if I had seen Sophia, I would have confused her with Mary. I would have found the 'proof' that the Roman Catholic church was the only church.And then perhaps I would have just run back to the Catholic church without learning all the things I needed to learn these past years. I needed to see it presented neutrally. Not associated with a brick and mortar building.
Now, years later, that dream has found it's purpose. To unite and link together the different bits and peices of where I am right now.
The Kingdom is Within.