This is how I think of religion and spirituality.
Ritual is one of the deepest kinds of fun I know. It’s fun for my whole self, aligning all the aspects of me, and aligning with the cycles of nature also.
I heard someone’s definition of religion as powerful people control less powerful people through fear, using the concept of an imaginary sky creature. Yeah, I’ve seen some of that in Christianity, and sexuality is part of it. Tying guilt into sexual desire, controling reproductive health, hate of queer people.
But I reject that, fully. Religion as I like to do it is about truth, celebration, being part of nature, and anti-oppression. Sexuality is welcome. I honor my body and my entire self in a healing way that helps me access my personal power. Then I can do whatever I want with that power, including justice work.
I heard another person define religion as involving costly sacrifice and paying of respect with serious consequences to a higher authotity. Also they said it has to be communal.
The way I like to do religion, costly isn’t required, and governing is not involved. I guess we’re all subject to the laws of physics! But that’s the only control I can think of. There’s no need to have a forced fuedal thing.
The gratitude I feel in a ritual is a bodily graitude I’d feel toward a caring mother, aunt, or friend. I thank Mother Earth for giving me all I need. It’s not a stiff performance for someone who has power over me.
And I do it mostly alone, but in an invisible way, it’s communal. The world has many, many humans who are honoring Mother Earth. So I’m sometimes with Ming, or all on my own, but I’m always part of the family of humanity and never alone.
choosing my own values
I was raised by an atheist dad and very Christian mom. I did Christianity in my own way as a child, going into ecstatic states on my own that were not part of service. My experiences of God were intense and personal.
Religion was not taught to me as a free thing, or a happy thing. I saw that Christianity vilified queer people and abortion, so I got out when I was 12 or 13 years old. Respect of my body and freedom are vitally important to my well-being.
Worshiping the moon and Mother Earth felt natural to me. I was doing paganism on my own before I knew the word.
It was just Beltane, and I had a wild dream. Let me tell you a little about it.
There was a big event like the Sacred Peace Walk with a lot of people. I was lying on this dirt road by myself. No one else was around, and I was supposed to meet my mom at 5pm.
There was a priestess walking around, keeping an eye on things. She seemed really stable / solid, and I wanted her to like me and be my friend. But she seemed not interested in me.
Then I woke up–I’d fallen asleep in the road unintentionally. Oh crap! I was late to see my mom. So I got up and walked toward where the people were. It was evening.
Then it was dark, and I saw people milling around before ritual. Some were friends. They seemed excited and ready for Beltane. There were flowers, candles, brightness in the dark, and lusty animal energy.
I was carrying a lit candle in my left hand, and it looked like a rock. It was shaped and maybe pained to look like a rock. I enjoyed the glow of its flame.
“Jeeze, do I wanna go to ritual?” I asked myself. “I wonder how long it is.” I really didn’t want to go to ritual, but these were my people and I belonged with them. Seeing my mom was going to be my excuse to miss ritual, and now I didn’t have an excuse. “Maybe ritual is just an hour. Maybe it would be ok,” I thought.
But I kept walking. There was a whole other part of the dream with a movie that was being projected onto a mirror, and someone pesky who kept advocating for the needs of the people in a wonderful way.
thoughts on the dream
This dream is funny because it was a Beltane dream I was having on Beltane. Usually my dreams are not so well-timed! How weirdly accurate.
I’d wanted to do a ritual that night but went to bed. So it’s sweet, in my dream I had a second chance. But I missed ritual in my dream too.
The flowers-candles-lusty animal vibe was clear and very nice to experience in a group, if only for a dream moment, in the dark.
Thank you for hearing how I feel about religion now as a fully grown 45 year old queer person. I need the right to abortion and other sacred freedoms in all aspects of my life.
Reproductive justice sticker by @holistic.abortions