Some Light Reading

I’m beginning to wonder if I’m ever going to sleep again!

But, busy is good and I’m okay with it. So I haven’t kept pace with my #Blaugust stuff, but to be fair it’s been a crazy week and I’m just happy I haven’t dropped the ball on a drawing a day stuff as of yet.

For right now, I’ve got 460 page book to devour – and I say devour because not even 6 pages into it and I’m finding it’s dangerously hard to put down. It was recommended to me, and I recommend it to you, whoever you are. Margot Adler’s Drawing Down The Moon is a very well-written, and easy to read, book. It covers a lot of stuff about Paganism, Neo-Paganism, and it’s place in this modern world.

Even if you’re not taking a Journey to find your own spirituality it’s still worth the buy in my opinion. It’s a practical look things – neither overtly praising or demeaning of any given religion. Be prepared though, it’s dense. I stand by the fact that it’s easy to read, but there’s a LOT there.

Two other books I’m planning on devouring once I’m done with the first are Bonewits’s Essential Guide to Druidism, and Taking Up The Runes. Mostly because I’m deeply interested in Druidism – and Adler’s book focuses more on Witchcraft than the other Neo-Pagan ideals (I don’t yet know why, but I imagine it had to do with access), and also because the concept of Runes has been a draw for me since I was very young.

There’s just something… connective about them.

Anyway, I’ll try to read them as quick as I can, and subsequently share my thoughts on them here. I’m rather excited, it’s been a long time since I’ve had the access and drive to dive into religion and spirituality, and if I’m really lucky I’ll find what I’ve been looking for finally.

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From Many, One.

A book was delivered to me today, titled Drawing Down the Moon – recommended by two very good friends. The basic idea of this book is a over-arcing view point of modern paganism.

But Quin, Pagans are ancient!

Well, yes, so’s Christianity in the strictest sense, but it’s certainly changed and become modern – albeit a little slower than I think it needs to catch up to the times – over the course of its history.

Paganism is the same way. What was valid thousands of years ago, just isn’t today. If a belief can’t keep up with the changes of society and technology it will fall by the wayside and be fully forgotten. Because details aside, all religions offer pretty much the same basic things.

They provide a meaning to living, hope of a peaceful end, and security of help beyond that of mortal people. They teach morality and other lessons of life through various stories, concepts, etc. How they go about it can vary wildly from one to the other, but those basics are found within every religion.

Some people don’t need these assurances to live a full life. Some don’t want them. Some can’t find peace without them to the point of fanaticism. Maybe they throw their life fully to devotion – a nun, monk, devotee, etc. Maybe they throw their life fully to some mis-interpreted version of their religion – often to the detriment of those around them.

I’ve studied quite a few “popular” religions, and Drawing Down the Moon gives me a chance to learn the paths of those less popular. Nothing before now has connected with me fully – some have come close, and some have offered a way of looking at things I had not considered before. Mostly I learned that it’s a bit silly to deem a religion/philosophy more or less correct than another. At their core, they are all alarmingly similar.

The failing, I think, in any faith, is in the believer, not the religion. It’s a disconnect between the words and the person hearing them. Such misunderstandings are also exacerbated by those who are not truly devout  – but who seek to twist a religion and its followers to some end. Usually in a way that lifts them to more power/money/fame, and in the process belittles some other group of people.

Faith is, to me, a personal experience. It’s not meant to decide fates of the masses, it’s not meant to reside over entire countries. It’s for the home, the hearth, the heart – the person, not the culture, and not the governing body (be they kings, queens, or elected officials).

Maybe this book will help me find that one path. Or at least help me better define the path which I mean to walk.

Validation

This is about to get pretty personal, and pretty gritty, and has almost nothing to do with searching for one’s faith. So, I apologize for diving into the dark, but you’re welcome to take this as a warning and stop reading here, or come into this walk with me – I promise, the ending is good.

 

 

My biological parents split when I was crazy young – for reasons between them and no one else, in my opinion. When I was almost 6 my father married Woman A. Woman A was a bit of a nightmare, though I will admit she did do some good things for me and her mother was probably the best I could’ve hoped for.

For ten years Woman A was unpleasant. She threw me down stairs on two occasions I can remember, beat me bloody with a spaghetti spoon at least three times, and informed me on several occasions that I was quite worthless and fat and stupid. When I was 12 she informed me that I’d grow up to be a worthless homosexual failure like my mom.

In her defense, I wasn’t an angelic child. Self-preservation has done its best to convince me that what I did wrong was mostly reactionary, but experience has taught me that I can be irritating. Though, I imagine you could argue that experience is based on being who I am now which was influenced by who I was.

Regardless of its source, it took a long time for me to start to realize that I didn’t deserve that treatment. I had my flaws, and I still do, but no one deserves to be made to feel as though the very act of breathing is an inconvenience.

Some years ago, Woman A apologized. Tears, sincerity, and pain as she spoke. Apologizing for what I endured, what I never deserved, what was a flaw of hers and not mine. I felt vindicated for the first time in decades. I thanked her, at the time, and left without saying much, but it was nearly a week before I stopped crying. Twice during the ten years I’d been living with her I had attempted to take my life, and this might be the first time I’ve admitted to that.

Last Saturday something similar happened. My grandfather – a man I admire and respect even if I’m fully aware of his flaws and shortcomings – told me he was proud of me. That I was doing “Excellent.”

I used to joke that most people set the bar _ here, and grandpa set the bar – here,  but if you were Family, grandpa set the bar somewhere in the Title Bar of this post. Not because he was mean, but because he wanted you to constantly be the absolute best you could be. It guaranteed that you’d succeed, and that’s what he wanted for his family.

Unfortunately for him, I spent most of my life feeling like a complete and utter failure, a total waste of space and life and a terrible inconvenience forced upon the rest of the world. So my grandfather’s hopes for me beat angrily against a darkness – made worse by how I didn’t talk to people about any of this because I didn’t want to be a pest.

But here I am.
Vindicated.
By a woman whose apology lifted the weight of the world from me,
And by a loving Grandfather who made sure I knew.

So, maybe not the way I meant to kick off Blaugust, but it is what it is.