Spiritual vs. Religious

Sometime I struggle with spirituality.  First let me put this out there for who those who may not know.  I was raised Southern Freewill Baptist.  I was forced to go to church by my parents.  Let's say they did not practice what they made me go hear bring preached. I had very little if any actual believe in Jesus or the Christian God by the time I was about 15 years old.  I spent the next 10 years without any real religious direction.  I then met someone who called herself a druid and I began a journey into Paganism.  Today some 30 years later, I am a Torchbearer for the Covenant of Hekate and consider myself a Devotee to the Goddess.  It wasn't a decision nor commitment I made lightly.  There was much discussion, research and contemplation.  I believe that deities were given specific traits to help a person feel protected or even championed in order to move forward in life.  Each deity had traits assigned such as the Goddess of the Hunt or the God of War to help humans fight daily battles both of the spiritual and the physical nature.

I wanted to put that primer in place so you know where I'm coming from when I say sometimes people, confuse me and herein lies the struggle. I am a moderator for several groups. I also participate in groups related to magic, witchcraft and sorcery. Recently I was taking part in a group where the discussion turned to questions around what happened when someone died, or the afterlife.  If you ask twenty people, (including Pagans) what is the afterlife, you'll get twenty different responses.  I was surprised however by the number of people who said they would spend all eternity with Hecate.  At first I was puzzled.  I am by no means a religious scholar.  I have read a great deal on Hecate (Hekate) from an assortment of sources.  At no point did I recall a story like the one being told in this group.  My understanding of Hecate as it relates to souls was a night-wandering goddess of the dead who led souls on their journey to their next space.

More and more in my chats with people online, I'm seeing mixing of what exactly the relationships are with gods and how we relate to them.  I'm seeing more people put a Christian spin on the afterlife. I'm seeing self-proclaimed Heathens hoping to die in a glorious battle so they can get access to Valhalla. I am seeing Christo-Pagans adding Jesus to their altars next to Bast and Shiva to be included in their monthly rites. It is pretty amazing to watch the doors in Pagansim swing in a wider path, yet in our public world Christianity seems to be taking a swing backwards to the point of denying rights to LGBT people in restaurants, bakeries and places that are clearly not religious institutions.

People who take stories that were intended to teach us something literally scare me.  We cannot look at these stories for anything other than what they really are.  I do not believe that a triple bodied deity walked the crossroads at night waiting for followers to leave food.  I do not believe the flood waters covered the earth killing every living thing because a deity got pissed off.

We are a people of imagination and inspiration.  We tell stories to teach lessons and to remind ourselves that we are not the only thing in the world that deserves respect.  We should honor out families when they deserve it.  We should honor our earth, because live here.  We should take care of our water because need it to survive.  We should help someone who is down on their luck because it is the right thing to do.  Right being human, not godly.

To be a spiritual person is so much more important than a religious person.  Dogma permeates our culture and our world from top to bottom. Where ever on this planet people gather, there are spirits and deities.  They are the wind that brings the seeds and the force that brings the thunder.  We know, with the modernization of studies and the advancement of science that it isn't a god that delivers our rain. But still, you've have someone blaming a hurricane or a tornado on god being pissed off because gay people can get married.

Learning that we do not need to do the right thing because some sky god may get made, but instead because it makes us feel good to help others seems to be extremely challenging for some people to accept.  I've been writing and rewriting this post for a while.  Each time I try to make a point and it seems it always comes back to one thing.   We can be wonderful spiritual beings who go out of our way to help each other or we can be religious hatemongers who use a book of stories written in antiquity to take the rights away from others.

I believe that for the most part we can be good to each other, but only if we lay down our religious dogma and pick up some true spirituality. Christians need to stop fighting with non-Christians, Muslim with non-Muslim, Jew with non-Jew.  We need to start taking care of the inhabitants of this planet while we still have Earthlings left.


Source - Sosanna's Closet Facebook Page
Photography by - Renee Sosanna Olson

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