I’ve been wondering since I got here how to catch up to my rad co-posters, and somewhere between Denise and Lizzies’ double post on religion and Lauren’s breakdown of Mormonism I had the thought, “Hey, Em! Do a post on your faith!”
…which was immediately followed by the thought, “…what faith?”
Here’s the second date run-down on me and religion: my grandmother’s family is Italian and Pops was the prized firstborn, so I was destined to be raised – you guessed it – Catholic. I attended Mass as a good Catholic until I was around thirteen, then I threw J.Christ one last peace (be with you) sign and high-tailed it. The Church has lots to offer to lots of people, but it just wasn’t for me. Now, I flit about the spiritual smorgasbord and sample tasty bits of wisdom from various faiths that resonate with me, but never have I prioritized putting a label on that in which I believe. No religion’s God or gods really jive with me, calling myself an Atheist feels like a rejection of the something in which I believe, and settling on Agnostic doesn’t really do the complexities of individual faith justice. It seems logical that my label would be the old “Spiritual, but not Religious.” But let’s not kid ourselves, folks, my Spirituality – call it what you will – is definitely much…weirder.
What most call “praying” I refer to as “giving it up to the Universe.” The closest things I have to religious texts are journals full of gratitude, mantras, and desires. You’re more likely to hear me start a spiritual meditation with “Whudduuuuuup, Goddess!?” than you are to hear “Dear God…” I don’t really observe Easter or El Dia De Los Muertos, but ask me about the sweet Solstice ritual my mom and I do. Writing hopes in the sand on a beach at night and dancing under a full moon? Standard fare. For her Birthday, I bought my last roommate oracle cards, and I don’t shy from my own tarot deck when I need a little guidance. The closest thing I have to an altar is a hanging heart sculpture suspiciously reminiscent of female anatomy (uh hellooo, it’s not perverse if it’s the source of your own Feminine Divinity, duh.), and the little acts of synchronicity I seek out on a daily basis aren’t coincidences. They’re signs, man.
Basically, my core Spiritual tenants are as follows:
*There’s enough good stuff to go around; the practice is in deciding you live a life worthy of it, and in doin’ your part to spread it around.
*Fulfilling a sense of purpose (be it service, creativity, or just spreading joy) is a killer way of getting at some sweet spiritual enlightenment.
*Joy is right. Pleasure is good for you. Abundance is awesome. Having a surplus of either doesn’t make you selfish, it just gives you great big ole’ stores from which to give. Party on.
Most of what I’ve sampled from the buffet of believers and kept, I’ve gathered from people (mostly women) whose lives are grounded in these things I find most Holy: joy, pleasure, fun, acceptance, abundance, gratitude. All my little practices are just ways that make me feel closer to these key points. And all my key points are just ways that bring me closer to something bigger than I am: Nature, the Universe, Spirit, God/Goddess, the Divine Within, Collective Joy, whatever. And that lovely hodgepodge of ideas about Spirituality gets me closer to the things I feel good about feeling close to (wasn’t it the ever-wise Chris Rock who mentioned in Dogma that it’s all about ideas rather than beliefs anyway? I could always start praying to Chris Rock…).
So, inquiring minds, that’s the gospel according to Emily. I love that there’s enough variety of belief out there that everybody can snag a little sumptin’ sumptin’ that works for them, and I’m just groovin’ on the fact that I’ve found mine. So next time you see someone tending a small blaze fed by scraps of papers reading the fears she most wants to release, or offering up balloons with attached love notes written to the wise women who’ve gone before her? That’s, uh, that’s probably me, so just give me a holler and I’ll shoot some good ju-ju your way.