Apologies in advance if this is inappropriate. Not sure where else to share and ask. Please forgive me if it is confusing, but I am trying to put down things I haven't been able to think about in so many ways.This weekend, I have been quietly alone at home and introspective in many ways. Not raised a theist and fundamentally confused yet drawn to many traditions while remaining fundamentally ignorant on all of it.Came here an hour or so ago to start reading because I wanted to burn some white candles to grieve for two persons long gone that I never formally grieved for, but also to try and move on in some ways. And maybe to burn a candle for those who are still here and that I fret about more than I want to admit to fretting for. (Sorry, ending with prepositions.) This came to mind because a facebook update from an associate mentioned that she has returned earlier from visiting the cemetery to remember "two little angels who are in heaven," but she is a lapsed Christian but sort of follows this stuff in a selective way. And I wondered that this holiday is apparently for remembering the deceased but loved. I only knew about this aspect about 20 years ago, when my then-boyfriend asked me to come with him to visit his deceased parents on this "E' holiday.The only time I burned a candle on my own was more than a year ago. I had a small candle burning an incense burning ceremony because I heard a woman I met briefly - but made a significant impact on my life then - had passed on abruptly. Part of her traditions allowed for or included candle burning and burning of incense.The odd thing that started me thinking is I was out walking a dog when I got a text message from a friend with a brief update about their weekend. It was suppose to reassure me, but it only made me worry a bit and start fretting. And I started to think of the mainstream focus on the "E" holiday (I live in a neighborhood that has a lot of public Christians) and that I really don't feel or follow it at all, only going through the shallow well wishes to neighbors as the occasion arises. In my head and as a joke to the friend, I made a vague reference to the "E" story. And a sense of it came to me, but not the way Christians would likely accept it. For many years, I've groped for some sort of thing in my life. I don't think I am an atheist (though much of what is said and shared in that realm makes much sense); I think I believe too much that things are not coincidences and I have had many people in my life who I care about that follow various beliefs (either recognized religions, or many that I believe might be referred to as pantheistic, or pagan).I've had a lot of thoughts today and now as I write this, but more on to today. Earlier I googled "pagan Easter." The only article I read thus far is this one which also heartened me:http://www.nobeliefs.com/easter.htmVery brief summary of the differences between the pagan holiday and the Christian. A line from the site:"The pagan Easter celebrates happiness and life. The Christian Easter consecrates suffering and death." Though I've just read this above - which makes so much more sense - emotionally and mentally, I am still stuck at wanting to do a tiny ritual of some sort to remember and let go.I want to do "something" but don't follow anything of the holidays, largely because I have no real clue, but nothing works yet. And for the last two hours, I've had in mind the people in my life that have passed often in the back of my mind, but also the people I care and fret about.Simply put, I *long* to memorialize two from the past in a way I've never, ever done yet. Maybe in a way like that wonderful woman for whom I performed a small ceremony, but there was no tradition known for those two.It doesn't have to be done today, but today's "E' holiday brought it to mind.And this longing is here, to do something. Something respectful and perhaps pivotal in a tiny way.Just uncertain what I could or should be doing.Thank you.STSlowlyThere
I usually do something around Halloween/Samhain rather than Easter, but I understand, I think, the longing to do something.There are a couple of simple things.. . .A couple of small candles, one for each person. Choose a color that seems appropriate for each person. Carve a name on the candle with a knife or just strongly bring the person to mind while holding the candle.Light the candles.Write some things you remember about each person on separate pieces of paper. Focus on the candle and bring the person to mind strongly again. Tell the person you're thinking of him/her. Tell them what you remember and that you'll hold them in your heart. If you believe in some kind of reincarnation, then tell them you hope you recognize them when they return or something along those lines.Burn the papers. Let the candles burn until they are gone. Bury the ashes or throw them into a moving body of water, releasing any attachments to them as you do.Since we're not very far from Beltaine, it might be good to do it then (April 30/May 1) as it's exactly opposite on the wheel of the year from Samhain, and the veil between the worlds is also rather thin on that night.If you do this then, though, you should also do something to celebrate new life - as that's what Beltaine is more about.Ishtar
I just wanted to chime in here to address the following:The Christian Easter consecrates suffering and death.I was raised Catholic and stayed in that religious tradition for over 40 years. I left for a variety of anguished reasons, but it was the right decision for me. I don't consider myself a Christian at this point.What I wanted to say is that I believe the focus - for a brief period of time during Lent (not Easter, as that celebrates the Resurrection) - is actually beneficial and what I believe is lacking in modern "prosperity gospel" Christianity. It is necessary and healthy to ponder our own mortality and the suffering of others and ourselves. Religion and philosophical traditions that do not address suffering and death are superficial at best. It's my understanding that the Samhain celebration addresses this spiritual need as well.Thanks for listening and sorry for barging into the discussion - I'm interested in comparative religion and have lurked here for a while, and admire your pagan tradition a great deal.
Very well put Kitty. I was also raised Catholic, and now consider myself a pagan of sorts, or rather a pagan left to my own devices, but I rather like it that way. I think you are bang on though in reminding all there are still valuable lessons to be learned from not only Christianity, but all religions and philosophies.Slowly, for me, I want to believe in something, and Christianity, or Catholicism in my case, just didn't really appeal to me, yet when one digs deeper into virtually all of the holidays celebrated in the Catholic Church, virtually everyone has a link to the original corresponding holiday, for example All Saints Day and Samhain, Christmas and Yule, etc. What happened in my case, is I thought, well how the hell can the Catholic Church demand a rigid following of their Dogma, when they have virtually borrowed every aspect of their dogma from previous religions--why can't I choose what works for me??? Well, I have been on a journey since, to learn, study, practise, etc. and have come to the conclusion the real belief should be a respect for one's self and the nature which surrounds them and being able to find balance between those; however, respect doesn't end with what is immediately around you, it is a path you must try to follow, much like Prince Buddah taught, and then you are on a path to your very own enlightenment. Ceremonies, rituals, holidays (or should I say Holy Days), etc. are great reasons to allow us to come together as a communtiy and celebrate the wheel of life, which indeed includes death and suffering as well as birth and joy, to honour our individual paths through ritual, and to help our fellow person through a ceremony or by casting a spell. The bottom line is, for me, to live your life with respect, love, and honour, then regardless of what awaits on the otherside we should be covered... I hope! :-)Sorry to blurt such a long string of thoughts, but thank you for the opportunity to do so!AntuWho has long lurked on this board too, but may have posted a time or two over the years! :-)
Ishtar, thank you for your guidance. I'm thinking about how to do things and it all seems to fit in with what I need. I don't know anything about Beltaine, but I will start reading up about it and things. Glad that I have a couple of weeks to prepare.Reincarnation: a really good question, I'm not sure if I really believe in this, or not. I think it may be an important point for me to understand or consider particularly since I wonder a lot about the point or outcome of suffering. Some of the people I know seem to have some grasp of this, but I've not understood so far.Kittykitty6 and antu,Thank you for your thoughts. Though I've never been raised in any sort of spiritual tradition, I do feel that addressing suffering and death is probably fundamental to all traditions, in some form. Perhaps not unusual to each of you two, most of the pagans (or sort of pagans? not really sure of appropriate terms) that I know about had originally been brought up in Catholic traditions. I am also glad of this board. I've come here before to read and wonder, but never really knew what to ask, or say.Thank you all!ST
As you can see, we haven't been particularly talkative of late, but we do respond when someone posts.Ishtar(not raised in a Catholic tradition, FWIW)
Perhaps not unusual to each of you two, most of the pagans (or sort of pagans? not really sure of appropriate terms) that I know about had originally been brought up in Catholic traditions.That is because if we are wrong, we just have to go to confession and all is forgiven after a coupla Hail Marys and Our Fathers... HeheheheActually, the Catholic church does encourage mystical beliefs as Catholics are taught about miracles (or magic???) performed by Saints or soon to be Saints, Catholics are taught to pray to ghosts and if there are holy ghosts there is also an implication of less or un-holy ghosts, Catholics believe in posession by spirits and demons, and even the name of the worship service, mass, is drawn from the old pagan rituals which were also a mas, etc. Who knows, maybe us former Catholics are just more fed up with organised church than those who follow other Christian paths. For me, it was more about a journey which truly began when I became intersted in the history of my people and culture (Irish), I began to develop a deeper curiosity of the religion of my forefathers, leading me to begin questioning my faith I already struggled with and ultimately choosing to walk a different path, which, by the way, I see no end in sight! :-DAntu
I became intersted in the history of my people and culture (Irish),This is a really interesting path you've chosen!For me, I started working in an astronomy library and suddenly realized how truly VAST the universe is, and how amazing and mysterious it is, and I realized that God/the Universe probably wasn't concerned with whether or not I have children, or about gay marriage, or if priests can get married. The RC Church just felt too SMALL for me.
You know Kitty, that is the brilliant thing about the age we live in, at least in the Western Hemisphere, we are truly free to choose the path we walk, and if the path doesn't feel right, we can either turn around and go back, forge ahead, or cut across the great unknown until we either discover a different path or realise we are creating our own.In more recent years, I have really felt more validated in my choice(s) when learning about the mathmatical probablility of ripples, layers, sub-quantum mechanics, etc., and now, with the possiblity of the cosmic speed limit--the speed of light--potentially being broken, who's to say what is right or wrong? There is a potential for the christian notion of Heaven and Hell to exist right along side the notions of reincarnation, alternate universes, or even the realm of faeries, etc. I guess the bottom line is to keep an open mind, and that is one thing organised religion is not keen on promoting, unless it suits their means, of course!I just love the fluidity of the 'pagan' paths, and I use 'pagan' as a general term which can include many beliefs such as wicca, etc., not to mention the more accepting nature of others who follow 'pagan' paths.AntuWho is completely capable of confusing himself at a moments notice!:-)
the bottom line is to keep an open mind, and that is one thing organised religion is not keen on promotingAntu,That says it all! I pledged that after my degree I would "never stop learning". That has had me on fits and starts along differing paths. I've found that an open mind does allow for piecing together all of what has been learned over the decades. My work in energy healing has dovetailed with wiccan studies, various religious paths and understanding of human nature. You are correct that being fortunate to be born in the west has allowed more exploration of all manner of intellectual pursuits.WF
The RC Church just felt too SMALL for me. Religion is man's attempt to put God in a box. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, so choose one or build your own.AC *Neo-Pagan Buddhist Quaker*
AC *Neo-Pagan Buddhist Quaker*So does that mean the oatmeal box now has a picture of a buddah, with a long beard and druids staff, and a saffron robe, all while wearing a funny hat??? :-DAntuWho does find himself slightly amusing at times! :-)
WF,You sound like you are quilting your spiritual path! I love it! And I have to say, I am very envious of your energy healing, that is something with which I have dabbled and have a keen interest in, but just don't seem to have the aptitude for--I'm more of the medium persuasion, which can be a bit trying at times.Either way, I'm happy to meet you, and the others on this board, and maybe we can get some more of this discussion going on this board again! It can be difficult to find a friendly place to discuss topics of a spiritual nature without worry about reprisal from those who just want to force their way of thought on you. I really love to hear others thoughts on these matters so I might be able to borrow the things I like! :-)Antu