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Author Topic: Your religion and/or beliefs  (Read 488 times)

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Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Your religion and/or beliefs
« on: June 16, 2018, 10:11:42 PM »
I'm genuinely curious. As long as you aren't hating on anyone or being, you know, extreme and radical, tell me a little about your religion and your beliefs - or your lack thereof. Where they came from, when you started following/believing them. Write me a novel if you're that sorta person. There's a lot of different people here, and hearing from all of them is real interesting.  ;D
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Offline MahluaandMilk

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Re: Your religion and/or beliefs
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2018, 10:53:56 PM »
Whew boy where do I even begin?

Well, my mother tried to raise me as a good Southern Christian but I went through a Wicca phase in high school, and then promptly got scared half out of my wits when I realized that spirits actually exist and that I was becoming more sensitive to them, so I then had a hardcore Baptist Christian phase (which was weird to uphold considering I was still with a girl romantically and very physically at the time and uhhh most churches here in the capital S South do in fact teach homophobia as their religion). Finally I got to college and settled into my own little place in Paganism.

Now, this story does need a little setting up.

Growing up, and I mean I was a very small child, my grandfather would read to me from this Life Nature Library series, and he had one book on the great civilizations of man for Ancient Egypt. I loved that one the most. When he passed away, he left the entire collection to me in the will. I'm looking at it on my bookshelf right now. The information is a little outdated since they're from the late 70s, but I love them nonetheless. The pages are browned, and the photographs are all absolutely phenomenal.

But then something weird happened about freshman year of high school, I think. I was walking around the shops downtown with a girlfriend at the time before my Wicca phase even started and I got a smell of a stick of frankincense incense. It really messed with my head. I kept getting a very specific mental image, like, aggressively, and it followed me around for a while. It was nothing amazing: just a torch on the outside of a building at night. Something about it just stuck, though. Eventually I compulsively read and devoured all the information I could on Ancient Egypt from my media center and studied some Celtic and Norse mythology. The feeling just would not go away, and as I read about Ancient Egypt in particular, it got worse. I could never place it. It just lingered with me for days after reading. I grew to appreciate every scrap of information I could find, from the pharaohs and their lineage to simple daily artifacts.

Then it finally dawned on me. Smacked me in the chest like a semi-truck more like, really. I was tearing through this huge textbook about the daily life of the people of Ancient Egypt, from workers to priests to royalty to merchants and everything you could imagine, pieced together with anthropological research, and a thought struck me.

"I want to go home."

I had never experienced homesickness before, and that's why I couldn't place the odd feeling.

Later, towards the tail-end of my Christian phase, I slipped into a half-dream meditative state and I saw it all. I was on a daybed in the middle of a room, with a balcony off to my left. I looked out of it and saw the streets sprawling beneath me. Some had more Greek architecture, and others were simple mudbrick. I looked across the harbor and saw a beautiful tower, like a light house, and I knew immediately that this was Alexandria, Egypt. When I came to, my girlfriend at the time was asking me why I was crying.

Not long after that, I was explaining the "vision" to a friend of mine (and later girlfriend) who happens to be a historian. It was so vivid that I began explaining the positions of the buildings to her, and it shocked her. She found a map of the old capitol city without telling me and everything I said was matching up. What shocked both of us even more was, if I was labeling everything correctly, based on where the buildings were in proximity to me and the direction I saw the tower in, there is really only one building I could have been standing on a balcony from. I refuse to believe that I have even a drop of royal blood in my veins, but it was the palace.

Now how the actual F*CK does all that just pop into someone's head? I had never seen a map of the city before.

First semester of college rolls around and I meet a woman (who became the witch who has effectively stolen my heart harder than anyone else I've ever met) who practiced Kemeticism (Ancient Egyptian reconstruction polytheism--or simply Egyptian Paganism for short) and she taught me what she knew and introduced me to the Kemetic Orthodoxy, which is the largest legally recognized group of its kind in the United States. Say what you will about how weird it is that we have an effective "pharaoh" who leads the church, but the lessons and community have served me well.

These days I predominantly work with Het-Hert, who you may recognize by her Greek name Hathor. I also work with Sekhmet, Khepera/Khepri, Aset (aka Isis), and whoever else may step forward. I also accidentally kind of wound up working with the Norse flame-haired trickster Loki.

I had a bit of a run-in with the Celtic crone of war and lady of sovereignty, the Morrigan, but I...had to politely decline on account of Her presence being so strong that I felt physically burnt on my back whenever She was around.

That's about the long and short of it. I could go on for ages about what is Ma'at and the power of Heka and why I view the concept of truth the way that I do and why words and the very act of creating art is so sacred to me, but we'd be here for hours, and nobody wants to hear anybody drone on for that long.

Offline Coryn

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Re: Your religion and/or beliefs
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2018, 10:57:33 PM »
Well, I don't want to get too deep into my personal beliefs (and sure, that's kinda part of my thing with it and all) but the short story is thus: My parents were both raised religious. My mother in a VERY Roman Catholic family, my father in a family that was Catholic, until my grandmother got into a pissing fight with someone else in the congregation, and they henceforth became Methodist (which shows you something about here character). This sorta disillusioned my father (in addition to being a rebellious sort anyway) and my mother basically watched her whole family openly defy what would seem to be some basic teachings I their own dealings with each other (things got much better eventually, but the 70's were hard for us all. Time heals most wounds I guess)

Anyway, that's basically the set up for why they decided to keep religion out of the home growing up, and to let their children follow their own paths. To this day, my mom's faith only emerges in times of crisis, and dad...well dad is like a locked leather bound book with no writing on the cover. Who knows what he thinks. But ultimately, we still lived in the same small town as both grandparents, so I got plenty of exposure to both. To absolutely no one's surprise, I never got on well with the grandmother who cut her faith away over a spat, and instead got on much better with the regular old Roman Catholic one.

As a young child, Roman Catholic grandma (RCG) was my defacto babysitter. She lived just on the other side of town, and revelled in spending time with her grandchildren. Anytime we happened to be there on a Sunday, we went to services with her. It was sporadic, but ultimately it meant my only direct participation with organized religion was through the Catholic Church.

Now, this fact I didn't know until much later, but my brother and I were never baptized (twins). I took it for granted that I had been for years. But at the time, I considered myself as such. Still, I found myself in the awkward position of being dragged very occasionally to Sunday school, without knowing a damn thing about the Bible besides the very basic stuff. So it wasn't long before I realized that I wasn't quite "in".

I never questioned if I had "faith" or not. But in middle school sometime, my brother proclaimed he was an atheist, and it broke my grandmother's heart. This made me angry on the one hand for the sake of my grandmother (who is like a second mother to me) and on my own account, as I was for the first time questioning everything I knew about how the world was set up. I'm sure a lot of people do this at this age as they were introduced to harder science and puberty, but this feels like the kickoff in my case.

By the end of high school, I was an atheist too, although you couldn't get me to admit that to anyone. I was also an idiot about a lot of things, but that's something of an unrelated note. Related in this case, was being oblivious to the fact that proclaiming religious types were blind morons did not make me cool to talk to at parties.

In 13, my grandfather died, and for the first time in years, I stood in an old Catholic church I had been in dozens of times before. There, saying my hail Marys and repeating the Lord's prayer, I started to get the sense that religion was more than a glowing man in the sky. That it was about a sense of real community and family, and a way to process the world. And while it was not perfect, neither was it imperfect. It was helping my grandmother mourn, and that was enough for me. It probably wasn't divinely inspired. It was a human solution to a human problem, but it was doing good all the same.

In the years since, I've reevaluated my own sense of faith. I still do not subscribe to any organized religion or specific viewpoint ,but while I do not necessarily believe that there is anyone on the other end, I do pray. It's not a nightly routine, it's not something I feel compelled to do out of fear for my immortal soul or whatever. It's just that on occasion, I feel like praying (usually when I'm stressed), and it helps me feel at ease. Maybe it's more ritual than substance, but I find it helps.


But I guess that's more a run down of my religious history than anything. There's probably some insight I there, but I'm no psychologist. Certainly there are some other things in the that I didn't talk about (some more recently developing things). But, if I had to boil it down, my religious philosophy comes down to this.

"I won't say I do or don't have faith in an all seeing, all knowing god. The only faith I know I have is in human beings. I have faith in humanity." - A paraphrase of a quote from Coryn after he had been awake for 48 hours.

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Offline Manimal

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Re: Your religion and/or beliefs
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2018, 10:58:30 PM »
I'm baptized Lutheran, and I find this important as it's part of my Finnish heritage, but it ends there. 

I'm indifferent, I don't think about it too much to even care. My immediate family is not religious, it was never put on me. Even going to a Catholic middle & high school, I did that just because it was the superior school system. I'm not opposed to these things, I just don't find a need for it in my life whatsoever. I'm interested in Lutheranism purely on the basis of relevance.   

I'd love to visit this Lutheran church in Ladoga Karelia, once Finland now Russia, where my Grandma was born (not in the church tho). It has a powerful image to me and it's the only landmark of the village. I wouldn't reject this part of my heritage and want to know more about it, but I don't find use in religion.


On the other side of my family my Great Great Aunt lived to be 100 and she was very religious. A classic wop. I think it was nice that she had Catholicism to comfort her in her last days, and something to believe in. My other Grandma has lots of religious stuff in her house, and I like it. I don't think she's too hardcore about it, but it's once more, part of Italian heritage. My heritage is very important to me, my Grandparents instilled that in me.

So I look at religion as how it works into my overall family story. Because for me, meh whatever. I don't need spirituality or anything, I just believe in myself and my world. Whatever happens happens, how we got here is how we got here. I don't need to think anymore. I shut off my brain if I think about death, no reason to focus on it for me. Live now.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2018, 10:51:28 AM by Manimal »

Offline Coryn

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Re: Your religion and/or beliefs
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2018, 11:08:27 PM »
Oh, and I should probably mention (and this falls into that category of "other *censored* besides my basic history" pot), but I got some weird *censored*ing *censored* going on with my ideas about dreams and such. I'm not here to suggest I'm the first or only person with these ideas, but they are truly weird, that is undeniable. Long story short, I don't always know where I am or who I'm with. It's kinda personal sometimes, so I don't really like to talk about it (that includes here). If you want a full on stoner sounding tangent, I'll keep it on the PM's.

(Wow this topic is already going all sorts of places isn't it?)

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Offline MahluaandMilk

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Re: Your religion and/or beliefs
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2018, 11:24:32 PM »
Speaking of dreams, I left something out.

About the time I met the Kemetic sea witch I spoke of, I had a dream that directed me into more specific deity research.

I was walking up a staircase to a mountain peak, and on that peak, there was a little flattened clearing leading into a cave. A beautiful woman wearing the finest gold and Egyptian jewelry emerged from the cave, and her presence made me go lucid and was so strong that I dropped to my knees almost immediately. She held my wrist and turned my veins skyward. Different tattoos illuminated, but the strongest one was one of the sky. She proceeded to smile gently and tell me that I was a child of the sky.

I believe now that the woman was either the goddess Aset or Het-Hert, because, as I said, this launched me into looking into what deities of the sky I might be a child of. My previous studies had mostly focused on the history and culture of Kemet (Ancient Egypt's name for itself, hence "Kemeticism" as the name for its religious revival).

There is also a concept in Kemeticism known as the Duat--the Horizon. It's kind of the edge of this world leading into another plane or dimension or whatever you would call it. Often times it is believed that we visit it in dream state.

Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Re: Your religion and/or beliefs
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2018, 11:58:26 PM »
Wow. I don't know what I was expecting, but I'm pleasantly surprised. It sounds like you guys have found a good spiritual place, which is great, really. I also learned more from a handful of paragraphs than I have in a long time, haha.

@Mahlua I really don't have any sort of experience with or surrounding this, but it sounds kind of great, especially to find something you connect with so much. I can't say much else but that, but like, kudos to you and all for finding that and for the stars aligning like that to lead you to it and all. Sounds like one hell of a journey to where you stand today, especially considering most people would consider it not your typical standpoint on beliefs.

@Coryn Ah, I'm kinda the same here. That's one hell of a story too, really, and I feel like the ones like yours more often than not don't end up as well as yours did, with people learning to take faith upon themselves, I guess for a lack of better words.  Honestly, it's a really interesting story, and it I guess it made me a little more hopeful for growing up, if that makes sense? I didn't mean to get deep or anything, but I guess it's just nice to see something like this come out how it did. And I mean, I don't really ask or push people to talk about themselves, but if you ever want to let a stoner-esque tangent loose, I'm your gal. I love hearing people's points of view and personal experiences and all that jazz, haha.

@Manimal That ain't a bad mindset whatsoever. It's nice to see it as heritage, though, even if you aren't really invested in it. I'm not gonna like, I didn't even know what Lutheran was (I'm not too well-versed in religion anyway), but I'm glad I was exposed to it. I  love to learn about as much as I can.

Keep your stories coming, even if they aren't novels (or if they are)! I'm interested :D
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Offline Coryn

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Re: Your religion and/or beliefs
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2018, 12:03:58 AM »
Haha, well I'll keep that in mind Effie.

It's important to keep in mind that you are always a work in progress, right up until the day you die, and then even after, depending how you feel about it. So don't stress if you aren't entirely happy with where you are now. Your just kind of have to let it happen, and it will. I'm sure I'm not done myself. Ask me again in 10 years, and I'll certainly give a different answer. Humans are never truly stagnant.

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Offline MahluaandMilk

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Re: Your religion and/or beliefs
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2018, 12:07:59 AM »
Yup. Worth noting also that, to put it in the simplest and most boiled down terms possible, one of the biggest sins as far as being Kemetic goes is regret. If your heart is too heavy at the weighing of the heart ceremony of the dead, you will not be permitted to the afterlife. Sure, bad deeds can kind of weigh on your heart regardless, but it's more "don't break the 42 negative confessions of Ma'at and let yourself grow from mistakes rather than hate yourself for them."

Which brings me to the point that the 42 negative confessions of Ma'at include things like "I do not hate myself" and "I have never [had sex with] a child." There are also rules like "I have not stolen from the offerings of a god" and etc. Comparatively, I like our "version" of the ten commandments, lol. They're very to the point and...practical.

Offline midsummer_feast

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Re: Your religion and/or beliefs
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2018, 05:21:25 AM »
This can be interesting... =^,^=
It ain't anything i have thought so hard about before, so here i go...  :biggrin:

I would like to call myself a Pagan with some influences by Anton Lavey.

Were born into the Christianity in Sweden.
And believed in it until around the time when i got Confirmation (in then end i just did it since i had my friends there)

My mother have always believed in spirits and most of us in the family have been in contact with spirits...
Guess that is what lead my into the occult, which i explored for a couple of years... made some friends with other that was interested in the occult which of one was a satanist.
That lead my own path a little off the pure occult path, and i soon found out about Wicca... which i felt was more of a place for me since i had love the nature for many, MANY years... The only problem i found was the gods. Didn't quite felt that it fitted in, but still tried to hold on to it...

Since then i have hold on tighter the wheel of year then the gods, so with the time i lost my believes in all the gods...
don't say that it doesn't exists any gods, they might be real as long someone believes in them. But i won't pay them any attention...
During that time my satanic friend told me a little about Lavey's satanism.. which off i researched a little more and got influenced by the thought that it was okey to be egocentric. Of course some of the rules to (which of some i found painful obvious.)

All that was what have made me believe in what i believe in today. There can also be other points that i have missed, but that can be my headache for another day ~  :heart:
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Offline Coryn

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Re: Your religion and/or beliefs
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2018, 10:35:22 AM »
That does remind me of some of the writings of Herodotus, and how he describes the relationship between the religion of the Greeks, and that of the Egyptians. Basically, he says a lot of stuff about how "the Egyptians introduced us to Zeus, who they call..." And "The Ethiopians worship this good, who is yet unknown in Egyptian society." He's basically coming at it from a view point of 'all gods are real. Sometimes two cultures share gods, but worship them differently and call them different names. (I'm pretty sure he calls out Osiris and Dionysus in this way). Point being, it's a very egalitarian way of looking at things, which I think we could use more of in the world these days (and it certainly makes you look at history differently. It hasn't always been "my god is real and yours isn't", but "my god is real and so is yours and maybe they're the same?". Obviously it's not universal, but still)


I suppose I should also say (Because it didn't really come up the first time), is that my mother has always professed to have the future sight (in a very 'old world's sense). She tells me that other members of my maternal line have said the same, but she's really the only one I've heard it from personally (at least back to my great grandmother). Now I'm not saying I have the ability to sometimes know something is going to happen before it does.But I'm not saying I haven't had that exact same thing happen to me more than can reasonably be explained as pure chance either.

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Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Re: Your religion and/or beliefs
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2018, 09:19:36 PM »
I might do a post about my own beliefs and *censored*, but maybe after school and life stop kicking my ass. Mine aren't all that interesting anyway lol.

@Coryn The work in progress thing is definitely something everyone's gotta keep in mind. Maybe it's because I'm younger, but if I had a quarter for every time I've told someone 'everyone's gonna be a somewhat different person in a few years' and they shot me down immediately I'd be a millionare.

@Mahlua honestly what you've summed up speaks to me more than a handful of other religions, which says something. It sounds like a good place to be in beliefs-wise, tbh. A good, well-rounded kinda thinking, I guess.

@midsummer It sounds like you found your own path too. Maybe it's just because I'm something of a pessimist, but I was expecting less good self-discovery, so I'm pleased :D And I get to learn about interesting stuff and stories.
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Offline MahluaandMilk

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Re: Your religion and/or beliefs
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2018, 11:42:05 PM »
I personally believe that religion and self-discovery and self-growth are kinda supposed to go hand-in-hand by design. Sadly, it appears that many people use it as an excuse to shirk that responsibility instead.

Offline KohakuRiver

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Re: Your religion and/or beliefs
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2018, 09:09:07 PM »
I'm at this weird point in my life where I enjoy church, I like the people, but I hate THE Church if you know what I mean. My family came from overseas and they were very religious. My uncle is a pastor even. But I just don't trust most churches in general because from personal experience I have seen them steal money from people and never use it for the community. I've only seen two that actually give back.

A lot of people invite me to go but I can't anymore. I like God, but I don't trust like 60% of the Bible because I think a lot of stuff in it has been edited over the years... I also feel very guilty about going to church because of their dislike of LGBT people.

I miss volunteering at church and helping people, but for now, I am fine with just donating to local causes when I can, instead of donating to a church that I am unsure if they will really help the community at large.

Offline MahluaandMilk

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Re: Your religion and/or beliefs
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2018, 09:39:05 PM »
If I understand anything at all about the Christian God, I'm sure He's far more pleased that you would rather give back to the community with love and think critically for yourself about His teachings (as opposed to being spoonfed what someone else thinks they mean).

I think nothing ill about a good Christian, but institutionalized Christianity is almost toxically corporate, so I understand the difficulty of the situation you find yourself in. Church is supposed to be about family and community, and about building a personal relationship with God through His teachings. He is both apolitical and above human law, so to politicize His word is disgraceful, in a way, and yet, look at all the televangelists who refuse accountability for their actions on the basis of misconstrued ideas of forgiveness. That is not Christianity.

I hope that you do not lose faith. A good analogy to keep in mind is that sinners should not keep you away from a church any more than unhealthy people should keep you away from a gym. Like Coryn said, I believe everyone is a work in progress.