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Gryffindor_Bookworm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 04:13 PM
Original message
Question from a Seeker.
I am not sure how to phrase my question, so I'll probably ramble a bit in the hope that you can all figure out what I mean.

I don't have a religion, but I want one. I do not fit in to the religion I was raised with (Christianity). It doesn't work for me in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons.

But I miss the community. I miss the rituals. I miss the disciplines of spiritual practice.

I feel an aching emptiness for a -- shit, what to call it -- a framework? A context? A way of expressing my beliefs?

I especially miss rituals and ceremonies. My baptism as a child stands out in my mind as a moment of transcendence. I was connected to Something.

Forgive me for rambling; I am not sure how to say what I'm trying to say.

Any suggestions will be gratefully accepted.

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drfemoe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:00 PM
Response to Original message
1. Maybe this site can help >

I left the Jesus religion completely four years ago.
I refer to myself as a "Pagan", which literally means "no religion".
Personally, I don't miss the rituals, etc. My spiritual perspective is dynamic. I do not want a static belief system.

Best wishes to you to find what you need.

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Eloriel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:35 PM
Response to Original message
2. You may not actually want "religion" as much as you want
spirituality -- and they can sometimes go together, but more often than not don't, IMHO.

I was raised Catholic and probably the one thing I value about that experience is that it did give me ample opportunities as a child to experience spiritual power (for want of a better term). Heartfelt prayer and the rituals, etc., can be very meaningful and powerful. It was the dogma I couldn't -- wouldn't -- take. ;-)

But this same access to spiritual feeligns is available in many, many other places -- meditation and other spiritual practices -- mantra, mindfulness, walking labyrinths, even some of the physical practices such as yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong.

It's really available right there where you are, right now, in your heart. That's the seat of it, and all you really have to do is access it with some intention.

Then there are spiritual traditions that help as well -- Wicca, Native American traditional ways, Buddhism, Sufism, on and on. Even esoteric Christianity holds a lot of promise for those who may feel drawn to that.

Or, you can just go eclectic, like me. I take a little here, a little there, like a honeybee collecting pollen.

If ritual is important to you, Wicca would be a wonderful place to look at least for inspiration. There are so many books which could help you develop your own rituals. And there's a related area referred to as Women's Spirituality (worth looking into even if you're not a woman -- some powerful stuff in some of those books).

The most important thing, other than looking within, is just start looking. Go into a metaphysical bookstore and see what "falls off the shelf into your hands."

You'll do fine.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:35 PM
Response to Original message
3. I'll ramble back at ya!

I can't point you to a particular path; mine has been heading the *other* direction; I have spent a lifetime spiritually hungry, but turned off by most ritual and ceremony. My path has followed that described by Eloriel, and I know many others who have done the same. I've dropped in, participated, and learned, then moved on when it felt "right," over and over, because I didn't want a particular religion; I just wanted to be connected.

You might try the beliefnet site, and do some research on the top 5 or so you get; if any call to you, try them on for size. Eventually, you'll find a good fit.

My mom, raised Baptist, drifted around for years, feeling the same sort of thing you are describing; a need for a framework or structure to shape her spiritual experience. She attended UU services for some years, and was comforted by their open inclusiveness; but it still wasn't just "right." She eventually became a buddhist, and has blossomed in her spiritual practice.

I wasn't raised anything, and beginning as a teen, experienced Christianity and left it behind; then a decade or so of being an agnostic, and then exploring pagan paths. (And learning about Buddhism from my mom). I was most attracted to Native American spirituality, and have integrated relatively more of their beliefs. If I had to label my path, I would call myself an "eclectic solitary."

It sounds like, when you find the right "fit," yours will not be solitary!

This would be a good place to ask questions about any religions you feel drawn to; it's inclusive enough for all.

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drfemoe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:39 PM
Response to Original message
4. Here are a couple of my favorites ...
I feel a kinship with my female Native American ancestor....

Native Americans regards Power as sacred--sacredness itself. In addition, Native Americans have all seemed to regard Power as being a constant and always being in motion when it is active. Power is said by some to be bound up in a constant dualitycosmos and chaos, active and potential, or balance and imbalance. .
Remember, Power is, itself, non-judgmental and impersonal. Power neither rewards nor punishes. Power does not purposefully change human condition. Some may say Power is non-directive or non-specific. It is the human misdirection or misuses of Power's partnership that wroughts destruction and harm. Power does not will it. Any Concept of Power explained through Anglo-European philosophies using inductive and deductive logic will suffer a great injustice.
Humans, as beings with choice and defining memory, use or misuse Power. Humans have "Ascribed Power," such as life from birth and certain innate abilities. From that, we make ourselves into what we are through "Using Power," that is, "Achieved Power." In the Muskogee World, the ceremonial life around the Sacred Fire focuses this partnership and enlightens the symbols.

Fasting, dancing, and touching "Medicine" is followed by being ceremonially "scratched." This returns to Mother Earth a portion of own's body which She has nourished. The people hold that their blood is the only valuable thing they own; they freely give it. Scratching, held to be beneficial, purifies the body and strengthens the people. It promotes endurance and general health--it is always considered a "preventive" measure rather than a "curative" act. Most of all, it is communion with Mother Earth, One Above and the community, a recognition of all they share. Many Women note drops of blood always precede or accompany the inflow of Sacred Power. For men, could this ceremonial scratching with gar teeth or other needle-like implements be a form of communal male menses? Does shed blood signal purification? Are men now able to receive an infilling of Sacred Power--such life-giving or sustaining Power as Women possess? Some think so. (When ceremonial leaders or a group of men step inside the circular shell midden ring marking the boundaries of the Square Grounds, their female nature surfaces, a transformationalism of sorts.) Before and after scratching, "White Drink" (called Black Drink by anthropologists) is taken which cleanses both actually and symbolically. Through these actions all are purified, cleansed, and brought together in unity and oneness, that is, wholeness with Creator, the Source. With all now capable with Power, all may now safely peer through the "portal." In culmination, the community feasts, a great feast of Earth fruits. In thanksgiving for all that is and will be, the feast is first shared in portion with the Sacred Fire, center of all these activities and visible heart of the community.

Prior to breaking the fast, there is a strict separation between the sexes. As One Above is to Earth, so Women are to the Square, a model of earth; males represent creation. Women are Co-Creators with One Above, Source of nourishment. Through their ceremonial camp-keeping and cooking activities, Women do for men and children as One Above does for all things. Square Ground activities mirror Sacred Cosmic Order. Women also protect men by their separation. Uncleanliness is not implied but only a danger for men incapable of a brush with Creative Power as it flows through Women.
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GoddessOfGuinness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-17-04 02:49 PM
Response to Original message
5. Do you have a Unitarian Universalist church nearby?
When I need a sense of community, that's where I often head; because UU respects the individual's unique spiritual path. It's about accepting and celebrating our diversity, instead of passing judgement on it.

Google Unitarian Universalism, or check out

Peace! :)
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Nancy Waterman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-17-04 10:50 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. You might look up metaphysical chapels in your area
They are usually nondenominational, have weekly services and some meditation type activites or study groups.
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Cadence Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 05:23 PM
Response to Original message
7. Try reading the
Conversations with God books. See what you think and feel after that.
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jokerman93 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-23-04 03:43 PM
Response to Original message
8. Hi Gryffindor
Edited on Tue Nov-23-04 03:47 PM by jokerman93
All I can say is open your mind and your heart, but don't let your brains spill out!

If you're inclined to the mystical or occult and enjoy ritual, you might check any number of groups that are currently reviving and attempting to emulate ancient mystery schools. They're out there. All over the net.

Myself, I've been interested in Aliester Crowely and his writings. There's plenty of groups for studying "Scientific Illuminism" or "Magick" such as O.T.O. and the Gnostic Catholic Church.

It just depends on what you're drawn to.

If metaphysics is your thing, but not ritual, Astara is an interesting group. Pretty non-intrusive, and solid on their teachings.

cautionary notes:
You'd do well to avoid any groups headed by a "master" or guide claiming to have a special connection to God or "secret knowledge". Inevitably such organizations don't offer what they advertise, and are self-perpetuating (cultlike and insular).

Just stay away from anything that promises spiritual "attainment" in order to hook you in. Nobody can give you enlightenment. Just you - living your life to the fullest.

Good Journeying Friend!
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