akatonbo: a red dragonfly on... concrete, maybe? (Default)
[personal profile] akatonbo posting in [community profile] spiritual_woo
I tend to just describe myself as Unitarian Universalist, as it is both accurate and umbrella, but the long version is sort of Pagan-Buddhist-UU, although since the 'practice' aspect of spiritual practice is an area where I have a lot of room to improve, I'm not sure how much I can count myself as a Buddhist. (Being UU I am way on the 'works' side of the old 'faith vs. works' debate already, but of all the various pieces of my spiritual pie, Buddhism is the one that is, in my book, the most solidly something that one does, not something that one believes.)

I'm in my early 30s and have been at "this" for 20-25 years depending on exactly how you count "this". (I was a teenage witch in the early 1990s, before Buffy and Sabrina, and a would-be magickian in the mid-1980s, which was exactly as successful as you would expect it to be based on the immediately preceding information. I usually count back to junior high, since the shift from childhood games that were half made up from whole cloth to actual spiritual inquiry started about 7th grade, with either Scott Cunningham's crystal book, or possibly a couple of other crystal books that I might have acquired earlier.)

The idea of a Pagan-leaning interfaith community for "spiritual woo-woo" in particular really appeals to me, since that's one aspect of my spiritual life that doesn't get so much attention at church (UUs tend to skew a little skeptical), though I do have other outlets for it.

I was born on the cusp of Aquarius and Pisces, and boy, does it ever show. I'm pretty eclectic as a Pagan -- heavily influenced by Wicca and similar practices, since that's usually what you get in books and public/semi-public groups, but I don't really consider myself Wiccan, it's just a little bit... off. (More on that below.) I don't use the word 'witch' to describe myself much, haven't since college; some of the other words I have used instead by preference are starting to have the same problem now, in that they can mean so many things that you simply cannot count on anyone to understand what you actually mean to say about yourself by them. That'd be another reason why I so often just say I'm UU. As you might guess from the Pagan-Buddhist-UU part, or even just the UU part, I am equally eclectic in the parts of my spiritual life that are not of Pagan/neo-Pagan origin. I'm interested in learning about what other people believe and do whether it's something that speaks to me or not.

(The biggest area of not-quite-right-for-me with Wicca is probably the fact that Wicca proper -- and some but not all of the various things that are often called Wicca but probably shouldn't be -- often has a strong focus on gender polarity (and with it sexuality and fertility), and while those things are obviously an important part of a spiritual path that celebrates the cycles of the seasons and the cycles of life, they're not as central to my happily celibate daily life with my same-gendered partner as they are to so much Wiccan practice.)

Particular areas of long-term interest and/or current investigation include crystal healing, Reiki, the goddess Athena, modern Pagan practice that is well-informed by historical scholarship but is not Reconstructionist (I'm just too darn eclectic), the intersection of mindfulness practice with acceptance and commitment therapy, modern gods in the vein of Roman household gods and other gods of mundane life (I swear I do not only mean 'the baseball gods' but I admit they're in there), progressive Christianity of several flavors, and, well, a lot of things.

(I'd like to think it's already obvious, but I mean no slight to either Wicca, or to any of the things that others might call Wicca that I don't, by making such a distinction. Wicca is just one of several strands of modern neo-Pagan practice that have a number of surface similarities to one another but have some notable differences in belief/practice or history, and which are done a disservice by lumping everything that looks a little bit like a duck under one name.)

Date: 2009-05-24 02:27 am (UTC)
white_aster: (scenic: candle and sea)
From: [personal profile] white_aster
Hi there. :)

I was interested to hear you say that Unitarians skew skeptical? As in, skeptical of magick? I've never really talked with any Unitarians, so I have no idea!

Also, I think that you just put into words something that made me kind of uncomfortable about Wicca, too. Gender polarity, yes, emphasis on sexuality, yes! To be honest, I never realized that that bothered me quite this much until you mentioned it.

All that emphasis is understandable for a fertility-based religion, but I did always feel like...I don't know...I was doin' it wrong. I found it hard to connect with the duality issues when I wasn't in a relationship and was practicing as a solitary. I found it hard to connect with the fertility cycles when I was celibate and kinda figuring on staying celibate and wasn't planning on having kids. I felt like I'd jumped straight through maiden and mother and gone straight to crone, do not pass go, do not collect $200. And though the crone's got her own passle of awesome, I felt like that stage was an imperfect fit for me as well. I was much happier after I turned to gods that weren't so based upon sexuality or fertility cycles.

Date: 2009-05-24 02:18 pm (UTC)
white_aster: (scenic: candle and sea)
From: [personal profile] white_aster
Neat! In my young college Wiccan days, I was invited to do a circle at a UU church, but I've never gone to see what one of their services is like. Now I'm very curious to see how the humanitarian-but-not-theist angle would work.

I can definitely relate to the hesitance about asexual deities. When I was edging away from the fertility aspects and towards the more asexual gods, I had almost this kind of guilt about it. I could see that the Wiccan viewpoint was a reaction to the sexless monotheistic traditions: sex can be sacred too, so celebrate it! To me, it was just an overreaction: suddenly it was TOO prominent to really click well with me. And part of me had this niggling worry that I was 'selling out' religiously, running back to something familiar just because I couldn't properly get in touch with myself.

I've since come to the conclusion that when it comes to what works best for me, I'm the expert. A pretty self-evident conclusion, but apparently beyond me back then. :P

Date: 2009-05-31 08:23 pm (UTC)
wickedwitch: (Live)
From: [personal profile] wickedwitch
I ran into the same issues with Wicca in that so many, and by no means all but it seems to be the trend, focus on a physical gender based duality of one man and one women deity, as well as the focus on fertility as relating to sex magic and the Great Rite.

It was a path I just couldn't get into step with based on my own life and views.

Thanks for the view points on UU though. I've never been to the local one but have been invited and may have to make time for such. Welcome.

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