Lupus Alae

Spiritflights, fledgling and ancient


Blessings to you and yours

Happy Winter Solstice! 

I promise to write more soon; the holidays (and illness) have me swamped at the moment.

November's fadings

I've been a bad blogger lately. Sorry about that! I do have my other blog fairly up-to-date with mundane things and music, but this "real" blog, this heart of me, I've let fade far too often and for too long. 

Part of the reason for that is that my Bardic work has stalled. Without revealing any coursework that's confidential, I will say that I arrived at a lesson I just wasn't ready for and didn't know how to handle. Part of what it called for seemed (to me) to require one to have a connection to one's local environment. 

To put it bluntly, I hate where I live. Hate it. It's hot and dry and dusty and ugly as hell. Now, two years ago -- 14 months ago, even -- I lived in a beautiful place with milder weather and regular precipitation. Beautiful trees grow all over the place. Here, the land is scrubby and sparsely dotted with "trees" that are more like poorly overgrown bushes in the reject aisle of some unfortunate nursery.

How could I embrace the course material that was walking me through connections I didn't have? Or so my thinking went. I've been stuck for almost two months, in a surly holding pattern. I suppose I could've left it behind and come back to it later, but that's not what I felt would work best for the course and for my style of learning. 

Over the past few days, this halt has been weighing heavily on me, and I spent some time in my grove mulling the concept, turning it over and trying to see if there was something I was missing. 

Now I think I know. I think it's especially important for me to complete this particular lesson, and to repeat as necessary, because I may just need it more than most other people do at the same point along the path. Maybe my progress isn't blocked because of my loathing for my current environment -- maybe instead, I was brought to this boulder in order to learn that I need to climb over it. The lesson could be the crowbar I need to pry my thinking out of the negative space it's been stuck in for so long about this place. 

Maybe the lesson is that my loathing is actually hindering my entire progress, and even though I will still be counting down the months, weeks, days until we can move back to where my heart naturally rejoices, I must make room for the here and now as well. 


Watch this space! :)

Considering the source: conflict and beliefs

The other night, whilst half-asleep, I was musing about a conversation I'd had with a friend about how often intellectual discussion devolves into heated debate, particularly online.

It dawned on me somewhere in my tired thoughts that there are generally two reasons, regardless of the subject at hand, behind someone's hackles rising regarding any given topic:

Insecurity and injustice (perceived or actual).

When we begin to feel that the position we support is on shaky ground, many times we become defensive, to the point at times of crossing the line between rational debate and emotionally-driven blows aimed at driving our fellow conversant-turned-opponent backward, away from the matter of our discomfiture. I've seen it happen over and over again. Nobody likes to be proven wrong or to be forced to acknowledge that something they're adamantly opposed to has logical merit.

There are also those times when we perceive an injustice or slight (not necessarily toward us, but toward something we care about) in the words of another, and we feel a need to undo it. We may wish to tear it apart and make the other party see reason/"take it back" since whatever has been said is somehow unjust or unfair regarding the topic at hand.

To some degree, it's natural to rail against injustice, to want to see it set right. The real problem is when, particularly in matters of faith/spiritual practice (or so it seems to me), the two causes of discord and irrationality get conflated with one another.

I have observed, in both myself and others, that a lot of the time when a person feels that his or her faith is being "attacked" in an intellectual discussion, the real root of that feeling of injustice is insecurity. I felt this often when discussing the faith I grew up in. People would point out fallacies or raise questions I had no answer for, in mild discussions and meaning me (and my faith) no harm whatsoever, and it just made my blood boil because I couldn't return an adequate response. I couldn't make them see how right I was, partly because on some level I didn't feel that I was right. I struggled with the faith I inherited, struggled mightily and for a long time, and anytime friends raised theological questions or discussed various paths and merits of other things, it was like poking an already sore and tender spot with hot coals.

Over time, I realized the problem was that I wasn't secure in my own faith because some part of me didn't accept it. It wasn't unjust for people to point out the inherent merits of other faiths or the logical inconsistencies of my own. Intelligent discourse is vital to living a rich and open life.

When I left my original path and found this one (after much soul-searching), I felt as if a great weight had been lifted off of my chest and my mind. Making the transition, embracing beliefs I actually can discuss mildly and openly with others, is like traveling in a completely different world. Yes, my friends and I discuss our various paths and the merits/detractors of each/of faith itself. Yes, there are still people out there who can and do attack my beliefs.

But I am secure. My heart and mind are open, I am comfortable in my knowledge base and my feet are firmly, gently placed on the path I truly desire to explore. That inherent defensiveness is gone, perhaps in part because my experiences and horizons are always broadening, and I'd rather make a friend through understanding and compassion than leave a discussion feeling slighted and small.

I may use these insights -- if indeed they are insightful; sometimes I second-guess myself -- in a book I'm interested in writing at some point. It's a book of spirituality, of exploration. Exciting stuff; stay tuned!

Also, a very happy October to all. :)

To live is to change

Been a while. Sorry about that! Here's a post I just wrote today on my other blog (a less philosophical one, generally - musically-focused; you can read it here if you like):

I hear that there are folks out there who are displeased with the "different" sound on Snow Patrol's latest EP.

There are always people displeased by any change. People tend to keep the familiar in a bloody, white-knuckled death grip and attempt to block out all that's new and different, either out of sheer inertia or because of a misguided sense that sameness is safe, that unyielding firmness in everything will allow the storms of life to pass them by.

I wonder if those people have ever surveyed the damage after a major storm. I grew up in eastern North Carolina, where hurricanes are an occasional fact of life. It's a place well-greened with trees, from the tall, solid pines shooting straight up toward the sky to gently swaying maples.

Most of the time, NC loses several trees to the high winds (and sometimes flooding) of a hurricane. But it's not the green, tender saplings that tend to suffer the greatest losses. I have seen young trees bent almost double to the ground in high winds, and yet they survive. The inflexible, unbending trunks of hundred-year-old trees, meanwhile, are snapped like twigs in the storm's fury.

They can't adapt; they can't bend in the storms of they die.

We die, too, when we become so rigid, so set in our ways, that we can't cope with changes (large or small) in life. When you refuse to embrace change or to ever change yourself, you enter a dangerous soul stagnation. You wilt, from the inside out, until there's nothing left but a bitter, brittle monument to everything you never were, never did, never allowed in.

Be dynamic. Live. Thank goodness Snow Patrol doesn't stagnate! Their older music is fabulous; I've no doubt the new music will be too, and I can't wait to see where the journey takes them as a band and me as a curious, adventurous listener. I'm grateful for ever-expanding horizons.

What are you truly afraid of?

I've been enjoying my OBOD coursework thus far; I find it both interesting and immensely beneficial in my personal life. I generally pace through at about a lesson per week/week and a half, on my own schedule as I feel ready to progress. Recently, however, I was held fast by a certain lesson for almost six weeks. I was arrested by the tough questions asked, because I was determined to give/find honest answers.

Scorpios don't do anything halfway, you know. ;-)

It's been quite a journey through my head and heart, and trying to follow the thread of truth to its source. I'm still not done (are we ever, with anything that truly matters?), but I thought I'd share what I'm learning about myself, in case it helps someone else out there. (Most of this next part is taken directly from my journal.)

One thing in my life that's been hurting me lately, and for a while now if I'm being honest, is the feeling of a sort of intellectual stagnation, a nagging sense that I'm not doing enough, on a practical level. It's hard to describe. I know I can be and do more than I am -- I'm working on that, regarding the spiritual side of things, with the course I'm taking and the time I spend meditating, praying, listening. But the practical and intellectual facets are still problematic. I reject that. So what can I do?

(and this is the part that took such a long time to piece together)

After much time with that question chewing holes in my sleep and shouldering aside most other thoughts in moments of solitude, it hit me. For a long time I have toyed with the notion of starting a business from home, but I didn't know what I could do that would be successful and still fit my current needs and limitations. For so long, it was as if the idea was on the tip of my mind's tongue but I couldn't ever get it to take solid enough form to taste it, name it, move forward with it.

One morning in the shower, I saw it in my head, clear as day. I knew what I could do! For once, even the nitty gritty practical details were working themselves out, unfolding naturally. I was on fire for this idea. I need this...and even so, I hesitate. I've frozen the plans in my head and have been sorely tempted to backpedal before anything truly happens there.


Again, this answer was slow in coming, but I felt as though I couldn't move on from the questions I'd asked myself without digging at this one (and I definitely wasn't moving forward with my business plan if I didn't push against this new resistance, even though it felt like I was fighting myself -- which is a very complex and painful position to be in!). When I finally figured out the name of the boulder in my way, it felt like I'd been struck by lightning.

Fear. It's fear that keeps me from striving toward my dreams. That's a tough realization; I have plowed through some potentially terrifying stuff in my life without being cowed under. (Spiders don't count!)

You might say, "Well, most people have that fear of failure to some degree; it's normal. We don't like failing." But it's not a fear of failure that keeps my best ideas chained inside my head. I fail. Everyone fails. There's always a lesson in there somewhere, and I appreciate learning, even if I don't like coming up short any more than anyone else does. I'm not paralyzed by the prospect of failure.

I am afraid of success.

Failure is a normal part of life and I know how to handle it. It removes all pressure, and expectations stay the same or become lower. There's a certain freedom in failing, because if you're already flat on your face in the dirt, you don't have to worry about the distance to the ground from where you are; there's no fear of falling down or letting people down once you've already done it. You're poised for anything you do or anywhere you go to be better/higher than where you currently are.

With success, expectations increase and pressure mounts. People keep demanding more from you. More. Better. Faster. Bigger. Failure can be endured; success requires a lot more than thick skin and enough grit to get by. I know a thing or two about success; in the past I had a lot of it. It's overwhelming when no matter what you do or what bar you meet, people immediately look to the next higher one. Nobody is ever satisfied, and the higher you climb, the harder you fall when you finally miss a step and find yourself plunging downward. At some point in my past, there was too much success, and I set about wrecking all of those shining expectations.

Let's look at my high school self as an example: I was virtually guaranteed valedictorian, so I made sure to take classes that would not get me enough Honors credits to win that top spot. Major universities courted me, the best in the country, so I attended a small university in my home state in a relatively secluded area. I chose challenging classes, so my grades wouldn't be quite so perfect and nobody would look at me; if I had to be a smart girl at least I could be just "one of those smart people" instead of top of the top, best of the best. I sacrificed as many of other people's (and my own) expectations and lowered the bar as far as I possibly could without compromising my soul.

Looking back, I can see this pattern through so much of my life; it's driven most of my major decisions and I regret that. I'm not even 30 yet though. I can still change the way it goes from here on out. I find myself struggling to reset those thoughts and feelings; it's a process. And I'm impatient. But I am learning, and I am striving. Fear can't win.

What are you afraid of? What holds you back?

You might be surprised by the answer.

What day is it?

I am American. I am not, however, jingoistic. I consider myself a citizen of the world as a whole, in addition to my nation of origin, and thus on this day of celebration, I find myself in a reflective mood.

I'm grateful to have been born into a country and situation that meant I would survive childhood. I haven't had to worry about whether my next meal was coming; I received an education my parents didn't have to go broke for, through a compulsory national system. I have had opportunities to better myself and my situation in life. I'm not rich; my life isn't perfect. But I have a roof over my head and beds and food for my children, so I am very thankful.

But we have problems, as a nation. Big problems. And my heart goes out to the people who slip through the cracks; people whose futures have been stolen or compromised through no fault of their own. The system is flawed...the environment much abused...sometimes I wonder what legacy we are building for our children. And these problems are not uniquely or solely American.

My prayers today are with those who are fighting for some semblance of the freedom we in these most fortunate countries enjoy to varying degrees. It's a long, bloody, frustrating battle in whatever form it takes, and at some points I'm sure the cost almost seems too high, the risk too great. For all the movements scrabbling and clawing for footholds, that they might bring their citizens greater freedom and eventually a lasting peace and prosperity (or so goes the dream), I add my support and my voice. I promise to see you in the news and pray, instead of flipping quickly to an article more sanitized and less troubling. Don't give up.

My thoughts are with those all over the world who today remember and mourn those they've lost in the struggle to attain or maintain the freedom they wish to pass down to their children's children. May your sacrifice and that of your loved ones always be remembered.

I dream of a world where the flowering of freedom isn't continually watered with blood and tears. And I fervently hope to see a world before my passing that relies less on nationalism and borders and more on a global system of support and friendship, to better the lives of all citizens of the earth.

Post-Summer Solstice: Turning toward the dark

The longest day of the year has just passed (belated Bright Solstice blessings!). The nights are now lengthening, darkness expanding slowly but surely, to balance and surpass daylight hours. Most people I know love the long days and short nights of summer, and there's a certain sadness tinging their reflections on this longest (if not hottest; the "dog days" of summer are yet to come) day passing beyond us.

But I, though loath to dwell on how much heat still stretches before the first cool, crisp mornings of autumn, am very glad to have reached the drawing-down half of the year, the point of turning toward the dark.

Am I a depressed soul, seeking literal darkness to mirror within? No, not at all. And I've nothing against sunshine itself and drawn-out sunsets with daylight so reluctant to yield the cosmic stage. It's all beautiful. But there is something innate, some core part of my very being, that yearns for the early-dark days of autumn and winter and all that comes with them.

Perhaps it's that I myself am of autumn, born wrapped in its cool leaf-glittered air. I do find comfort in the long darkness and the sharper clarity of evening's chill. It seems to me a better time for reflection and introspection, and a time for other excitements, far from the teeming, sweaty bustle of summer-scorched pastimes.

Maybe each of our souls resonates most strongly with a particular season that stirs us at an elemental level; maybe we each are spirit-forged with certain binding notes, and when we feel the earth moving into place to play our music, we cannot help but crave and yearn and come alive. We feel the beat and we must dance.

Summer is upon us. But the longest day has passed, and now I feel the turning, pulling at my soul, quickening the rhythm and my steps toward the long-dark nights of home.

At Beltane, glimpses of "Yes"

I am not generally a spring/summer person; I vastly prefer autumn and winter for reasons we may explore later on. But here, passing through the twin fires of Beltane (if only in my mind's eye), I can't help but appreciate the beauty of each time of year as it twirls into view like a gentle-wild dancer in its own full splendor.

The poet e.e. cummings once wrote,

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.

He also said, I imagine that yes is the only living thing.

In every season, as we perch on the cusp of change, now warming days and lengthening bright skies, months later the crisp cool promise of all that is comforting and holiday and home, I feel a gleeful opening of my spirit, a gladdening throughout my being. Every season is a welcome friend, flooding life with color and richness that only it brings. Even summer, my least favorite, brings a thousand reasons to rejoice in the sheer awe of being alive.

It is good, so good, to be alive, to be in the moment you find yourself in, in the place where you are. This you, this now, this place. I love the moments that burst with the sheer rightness of existence...everything that is, if we live with open hearts and lively spirits, resoundingly yes.

Strawberry morning

As I rinsed a few handfuls of strawberries for two of my children this morning (Oldest is at school at that time), my thoughts turned toward several things in rapid succession:

Whenever (and wherever) I settle long-term, I want to have an extensive garden. Ideally, I would love to have all of the in-season vegetables and fruits we could use, and not have to depend on markets for any of that. Then I would know for sure that what I had in my hands under the cool water was free of things I'd rather not put into little bodies -- or any body!

That thought turned to gratitude and humility as I reflected on how, despite all of the horrors we have inflicted (and currently do) upon her, Mother Earth still sustains her children...just as I try my utmost for mine every day, that they might not want for anything. The strawberries I held were proof that when we ask, she still gives, even when we've given far too little in return. I thanked the earth for the food I was preparing for my children and resolved to further reduce my family's negative impact upon her.

As I sliced the deep red berries (Littlest has an easier time with them that way and prefers it), I heard little bare feet pattering into the kitchen. She just couldn't wait any longer, and two small, strong arms circled my leg. Blue eyes as vast and enchanting as the ocean tried to peek up over the counter top. "Piece pwease, Mommy? Pweeeeeease? 'Rawbewwy fo' me?"

She opened her little mouth and stood there waiting, a gesture of such innocent trust that even though I've been a parent for going on six years this summer (longer, really, if you consider pre-birth), my eyes welled with tears. As I put a sweet red bit of fruit on her tongue, all I could think was May I always live up to the faith you have in me, little one.

My children, as they grow, are the three most prominent fruits of my life, the result of everything I am and have tried so hard to impart to them, share with them. May they ripen, sweet and strong, in the light of love.

Promise of the Road to Nowhere

There is a place in the mountains of the Carolinas, off the beaten path a bit, where the federal government broke a promise many years ago. You can read about it here if you want to know the details, but the gist of it is that there was a partial road built into the woods, ending and abandoned at a big tunnel that trails off into darkness. (The road will never be finished now; about a year ago the county was paid a hefty settlement instead, in the interest of closing the matter.)

This road has become known as the Road to Nowhere, and the tunnel is so wide and deep that it is pitch black inside even at noon. Horse-drawn carts have been brought through's wide enough for about six adults to walk through holding hands. And trust me, at night especially, most people would want to! Otherwise you could wander in the darkness for quite a while, getting turned around repeatedly and never managing to make it to either end.

I have had the opportunity to travel to the end of the Road to Nowhere on a few separate occasions, and I have to say that I believe the moniker to be erroneous.

The first time I went through the tunnel with a group of people I was loosely connected to, I was unprepared for the magnitude of the experience. The clear, silent mountain night wrapped around us, and a few people tucked flashlights into their belts or pockets in case of emergency or panic. There's a certain reverence for the tunnel and the history surrounding it that begs for lights off and for quiet as travelers pass through the dark expanse. We did so in groups of three. I was placed between a man several years my senior and the girl who had invited me. Each of them took one of my hands, and one by one our little groups were swallowed by the blacker darkness of the tunnel.

I'm not sure what I expected, but never having been in such extensive nothing-blackness, I was startled by how thick it seemed to me. The very absence of light and anything recognizable (you could not see your hand touching your nose!) seemed to be its own presence, and I could feel adrenaline rising as a primal defensive mechanism kicked on with the removal of even the dim light of the night sky.

The girl on my left tightened her grip on my hand to the point of pain, and we could hear occasional screams and cries ahead of and behind us as people freaked out in the cloying darkness. The tunnel felt like it took forever to walk through. It was so dark you couldn't tell if you had turned sideways and were about to hit one of the walls or not, and if you spun yourself around, you might not ever figure out 'til you exited, which way you were going.

The man holding my right hand broke down at one point. Tears, outright sobbing. He wasn't the only one in our larger group by far. I heard some of the smaller groups coaxing various members to keep going, to just keep going and they'd get through it. We girls put the sobbing guy between us, and I have to admit, the brief moment when I put his hand in hers and let go to re-orient myself on his other side was unnerving.

Somewhere in there, it hit me. We only experience total darkness when we remove ourselves from every source of light. Even on a new-moon-dark night outside, you have starlight (and many instances of man-made light, in the city)...there are these beacons, natural guides. We're not left to founder, blind. If we ever find ourselves in real, total darkness, it is our own doing.

When we emerged from the tunnel of the Road to Nowhere, I saw with gratitude that "Nowhere" was a starlit forest stretching comfortably all around us, trees like so many jubilant friends, shaking their leaves in the breeze as if to say "Well, finally!"

Not nowhere at all. They got the spacing wrong. I was now here. Out of that smothering deep-dark patch of nothing, into everything free and natural and yes. I'm glad the rest of the road was never built, and the rest of the forest remains as it has for centuries, perhaps longer, in its beautiful now-hereness.

If it takes a village...

I generally stay away from political discussions, and feel that they're not often productive in the sense of actually moving anything important forward. But there comes a time when aversion to getting muddy amounts to hiding one's head in the sand, and that I will not do.

It's taken me a while to gather my thoughts in the aftermath of the Saturday shooting in Arizona that claimed six lives and wounded over a dozen others, including the probable target, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. I don't want to spend too much space relating my feelings about this utterly senseless violence. I'm too sad to be angry and too deeply concerned about the causes and implications to just let it go and be content with sending up prayers and sending out positive healing energy to all who are hurting, grieving, questioning right now.

Why do these things happen? Who is responsible? The easy answers, the ones that allow us to sleep at all at night, come quickly:

It happens because so-and-so is a sick, psychopathic individual with no morality.

It's the shooter's fault and his alone; he made the decision to pull the trigger.

He was just waiting for an matter what anyone did, this dude was gonna find a way to kill someone. It couldn't have been foreseen.

Perhaps. But what brings an individual to that point in the first place? Is anyone born evil? Have you ever looked into the eyes of an infant and thought, This one's a bad apple; you can see it already. Better warn his parents! ?

I haven't.

I'm not going to play the blame game, per se. In fact, I think our haste in finding a scapegoat and mercilessly directing our negativity toward that person or thing is part of the underlying problem. To Jared Loughner, Rep. Giffords was his scapegoat, the person he'd decided was responsible for the problems he couldn't overlook.

Blame isn't productive. It sometimes costs lives.

However, I would like to encourage everyone to consider our own accountability -- to every other person out there. Society is what we make it, and our actions today shape the world we live in today, not just at some airy future point of fruition. The people who live in our society are affected by it, by our words and actions. And we get so desensitized to so many things over time that we aren't even consciously aware of the things we do that add nothing good.

Think about it: In a given day, how much of what you say to people, write online, text, etc. is positive? I'm willing to bet that it's significantly less than 50%, if we're honest with ourselves. If negativity rules our communications, it's no wonder then that society is bogged down with toxic news and spiteful interactions and the kinds of things that don't make anyone feel calmer, safer, happier, or more interested in truly listening to one another.

I don't have easy answers. Maybe I don't have any of them. But it seems to me that if we take care to add more of what is bright and positive and trim back our negative contributions, maybe we'd benefit in ways we can't even fathom right now.

I'm not suggesting that we stop saying what is honest and sometimes painfully necessary; open dialogue is a beautiful thing. What I am doing is questioning the necessity of saying some of what regularly makes its way into our conversations, Facebook posts, and headlines. Think about how often words like stupid, hate, fat, crazy, and others find voice, and how seldom complimentary things we think actually find their way to the party they reference. Negativity breeds negativity; likewise, the more positive energy and thought we put out, the more we're likely to encounter in our own direction (and the easier it becomes to focus on expressing the good that's in our hearts and minds instead of just passing by with it unspoken).

My grandmother has this on her refrigerator door:

When considering whether to say or repeat something, first consider:
Is it kind?
Is it true?
Is it necessary?
If not, let it remain unsaid!

I don't believe that everything we say has to be positive, but I do believe in weighing the merit of expression. If something is hurtful or inflammatory, then unless it's necessary for reasons other than hearing oneself speak (self-expression is a freedom that comes with enormous responsibility, or should!), it may better serve everyone involved to let it fall into the abyss between thought and action.

If the media would follow suit as well, who's to say how much nastiness could be quietly bled from society, from our daily exposure to up-to-the-minute stories about more than anyone could ever possibly need to know?

I'll do my part, because if it truly takes a village, then I want that village to be a beneficial place that fosters (to the fullest extent of its influence) the kind of mind and heart that would never conceive of doing anything as heinous as what happened in Arizona on Saturday.

5 Reasons why you should question your religion

(Note: I am not suggesting that any particular religion or spiritual path is inferior to any other. It is my conviction that everyone should at some point question what they believe.)

Why should you question your religion? Not every point here may apply to everyone, but here are five very good reasons -- and all you need is one.

1) Why not? If your current church/belief system discourages questions, what is being accomplished by such restrictions? How is anyone to gain a more thorough understanding of their own chosen spiritual path if they aren't free to ask questions? Ask them anyway. Keep asking until you get answers, even if the ultimate answer you receive is that you will not be given them -- and in that case, stop looking for answers in others and turn your inquiries within. What can you ever gain by stagnating in your faith, no matter what your particular path may be?

2) There is a difference between a parrot and a true follower of any given path. How many people I have known who were of X religion because their parents were or their community primarily was! If I had a dollar for each of them, I would never again have to worry about finances. I was one of them for the first 20 years or so of my life. I could repeat holy text verbatim, knew all of the words to every song and ritual...but when it came down to it, I could not have told you why I believed it all, other than "I've just always been part of this particular tradition/My parents are X so I am too." That is not an adequate position to hang one's spiritual well-being on!

3) You're not altogether comfortable with your faith/beliefs. Maybe you've felt it for a while, or maybe it's only been recently that your discomfort has been growing, nagging at the back of your mind and never quite being squelched despite your efforts to shake it off. Why try to force-fit yourself into any set of beliefs that doesn't honestly and naturally resonate with you? If we look at faith as adhering to a spiritual Truth, which is a tricky subject and a very slippery slope I don't wish to explore beyond touching on the idea here, then it seems to me that such a Truth should not require you to suspend your disbelief of important parts (or any part!) in order to feel at ease with believing the rest.

(One of the wonderful things, imho, about Druidry is that there is so little core 'doctrine' or dogma to follow; Druids are free to embrace the aspects that resonate with them, and it doesn't make us at odds with one another or lacking somehow in the richness and depth of this path as a spiritual journey.)

4) Chances are high that there's a lot about your religion you don't know. Doesn't it make sense, if you are set on following a particular path (and even moreso if you intend to advocate for it), that you would want to learn everything you can about it? Its past, its traditions, the different branches of it and how they came about...even relatively 'new' spiritual paths have rich, full histories with twists and turns and fascinating tales aplenty along the way. Who shaped your religion at different periods in history, and what may have been their motives in doing the particular things they did? How have various rituals evolved over time?

5) Questioning your beliefs can lead to greater security within them -- and with that, the ability to defend your faith if ever you should need/want to do so. If you question your beliefs to the core and find that they don't hold up, what a boon to be freed from something that wasn't truly nourishing your soul! There are a LOT of religions/spiritual traditions in this world, and if you seek you are sure to find something that does feed your spirit and feel like home. I did it. And if you question your beliefs and find that yes, you are right where you need to be and they come from within, not just from external sources pressed upon you, then you have the gift of knowing now why you believe as you do, and that's no small thing! Shine vibrantly from the spirit outward, confident in your faith and the knowledge that you are on a bright, resonant path.

Bright blessings, and as always, feedback/comments are welcome (all I ask is that you be respectful).

5 Reasons

I'm starting my blogging in the new year with a new series (yes, I know that Wolf Prints didn't work out all that well, but that will hopefully be revived later in the year as I know now why it fell flat) of posts titled "5 Reasons." The first will be up probably tomorrow.

I hope you will find them useful, or at least thought-provoking. We're not talking "5 Reasons to eat pizza on Wednesdays" (although I'd be interested in reading that post, out of sheer curiosity).

May 2011 be a year full of good things, for the blog and for you as well, dear readers.

Bright blessings,
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