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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!

Who has long lurked on this board too, but may have posted a time or two over the years! :-)
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