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Author Topic: The Virgin of Guadalupe (questions about what you keep and what you don't)  (Read 1491 times)

Redfaery

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So. My continued draw to work with the Virgin of Guadalupe has me thinking about...stuff.

I am not Christian. I don't think G-D ever accepted me as one of His. I would pray and get a black yawning nothing in response...and usually the fulfillment of my fears as well. G-D did not just tell me "sorry, can't help you." He would yell, "FUCK YOU FOR EVEN ASKING" in my face. I feel like the G-D of my childhood was very much the tribal deity of the Bible - capable of tenderness, love, and infinite mercy towards those whom he considered "his people," but angry and vengeful towards those who were not.

And that's where things get complicated. The Saints were always kind to me. I chose my patron saint (St. Maria Goretti) because she thwapped me, and seemed really intent on teaching me about compassion and forgiveness - even against those who had done horrible things to me. For that, I still am grateful to her. St. Francis also listened to my pleas, and was always there for my cats. And then there is the Virgin of Guadalupe.

She served as my tether to Catholicism, and then the guideline that allowed me to let go. And I still work with her, because she honestly seems intent on helping me when I try to help others. I put her out of my mind and don't think of her, but whenever someone else is in distress, she resurfaces and demands to lend a hand. She doesn't want me to be a Catholic. She's happy that I found my place. But I feel like she'll really leave me, as long as I have things she can help with.

So...I guess my question is about what you keep from your old paths, and why. Are there bits that you had no choice but to keep? Bits that you tried to cast off, but that wormed their way back in? Or just...are there gods/saints/angels/etc. who don't really care that you've moved on?
KARMA: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

NightQueen

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Quote from: Redfaery;161733
So. My continued draw to work with the Virgin of Guadalupe has me thinking about...stuff.

I am not Christian. I don't think G-D ever accepted me as one of His. I would pray and get a black yawning nothing in response...and usually the fulfillment of my fears as well. G-D did not just tell me "sorry, can't help you." He would yell, "FUCK YOU FOR EVEN ASKING" in my face. I feel like the G-D of my childhood was very much the tribal deity of the Bible - capable of tenderness, love, and infinite mercy towards those whom he considered "his people," but angry and vengeful towards those who were not.

And that's where things get complicated. The Saints were always kind to me. I chose my patron saint (St. Maria Goretti) because she thwapped me, and seemed really intent on teaching me about compassion and forgiveness - even against those who had done horrible things to me. For that, I still am grateful to her. St. Francis also listened to my pleas, and was always there for my cats. And then there is the Virgin of Guadalupe.

She served as my tether to Catholicism, and then the guideline that allowed me to let go. And I still work with her, because she honestly seems intent on helping me when I try to help others. I put her out of my mind and don't think of her, but whenever someone else is in distress, she resurfaces and demands to lend a hand. She doesn't want me to be a Catholic. She's happy that I found my place. But I feel like she'll really leave me, as long as I have things she can help with.

So...I guess my question is about what you keep from your old paths, and why. Are there bits that you had no choice but to keep? Bits that you tried to cast off, but that wormed their way back in? Or just...are there gods/saints/angels/etc. who don't really care that you've moved on?


I too was raised Catholic.  It's funny, it was never God the Father that I felt disconnected with but, rather Jesus.  I remember asking my mother when I was young why people focused on Jesus so much, when wasn't God more important?  I tried for a very long time to find some connection with Jesus, but I never felt it.  When I was young I remember feeling very much that God was watching over me though.  My mother told me when the clouds parted and a sunbeam came through that that was God looking down on me and at the time I really felt that was true.

The problem is, in hindsight I'm not entirely sure that what I felt as God when I was a child was truly the God of Abraham.  In fact now I'm beginning to think that it was spirit guide of some sort.

I was actually in twenties when I was Confirmed and I picked St. Brigid as my patron.  Also in hindsight I wonder if it was my pagan leanings betraying themselves.  I actually rarely prayed to the Saints when I was Catholic.  I never really felt a particularly strong connection with any of them, even St. Brigid.

I'm don't think there's much from my Catholic days that I've kept.  I actually feel a little uncomfortable using and Christian elements in my practice at the moment.  I'm not sure why that is.  I actually think in it's own way might be a hold over in itself from my Christian days.  It seems...disrespectful (I can't think of better term) to incorporate Christian elements into a decided non-Christian practice.  I always had that verse from the Bible in my head that it's better to be hot or cold than lukewarm.  Pulling Christian elements into my practice just seems to be being lukewarm to me-it's having my cake and eating it too.

I'm not saying that it is actually wrong to incorporate Christian elements into your practice.  If it works for you that's great.  I'm just saying that it feels "wrong" to me and my practice.  I figure if I can't manage to be hot as far as the God of Abraham is concerned I should be at least be cold.

Redfaery

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Quote from: NightQueen;161868
I'm don't think there's much from my Catholic days that I've kept.  I actually feel a little uncomfortable using and Christian elements in my practice at the moment.  I'm not sure why that is.  I actually think in it's own way might be a hold over in itself from my Christian days.  It seems...disrespectful (I can't think of better term) to incorporate Christian elements into a decided non-Christian practice.  I always had that verse from the Bible in my head that it's better to be hot or cold than lukewarm.  Pulling Christian elements into my practice just seems to be being lukewarm to me-it's having my cake and eating it too.

I'm not saying that it is actually wrong to incorporate Christian elements into your practice.  If it works for you that's great.  I'm just saying that it feels "wrong" to me and my practice.  I figure if I can't manage to be hot as far as the God of Abraham is concerned I should be at least be cold.

 
I get you. I never actually prayed to Jesus. I figured that if I prayed to "God" it would get to both of them.

Funny thing though, The Virgin of Guadalupe just seems to show up without asking. She's not there for me. She's there because of what I want to do. Whenever I want so desperately to help someone in deep distress, and prayer is all I can do...she pops up and is like "here I am!"
KARMA: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

beachglass

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Quote from: Redfaery;161891
Funny thing though, The Virgin of Guadalupe just seems to show up without asking. She's not there for me. She's there because of what I want to do. Whenever I want so desperately to help someone in deep distress, and prayer is all I can do...she pops up and is like "here I am!"


It sounds like the Virgin of Guadalupe is popping up here because she feels she would be the best choice to help the person in need, and she knows you're amenable to her presence?

That's interesting to me, because when I pray for my family members I usually use Catholic prayers—they are/were Catholic and I figure that's what they would appreciate. I don't usually experience direct deity communication, so I am happy to read of your experience... it makes me a little more confident in my own assumption, if that makes sense.
"The further we go, and older we grow, the more we know, the less we show."  ~ Robert Smith

Redfaery

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Quote from: beachglass;161905
It sounds like the Virgin of Guadalupe is popping up here because she feels she would be the best choice to help the person in need, and she knows you're amenable to her presence?

That's interesting to me, because when I pray for my family members I usually use Catholic prayers—they are/were Catholic and I figure that's what they would appreciate. I don't usually experience direct deity communication, so I am happy to read of your experience... it makes me a little more confident in my own assumption, if that makes sense.


I honestly somewhat suspect that Guadalupe keeps showing up because she knows that I still need her help for certain things. Like...devoutly Christian friends and family who need prayers. I'm sure as hell not going to pray to G-D (pun not intended, but enjoy it anyway), so the Virgin of Guadalupe is a compromise. On the other hand, I'm beginning to get nudges from both her and Sarasvati that I need to find ways of helping my Pagan and non-Christian friends.

Sarasvati's scope is limited; she can help with problems of the mind and academic/intellectual achievement. But she's not really one to call on for help in financial or physical matters.
KARMA: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Nyktelios

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Quote from: Redfaery;161733
So. My continued draw to work with the Virgin of Guadalupe has me thinking about...stuff.

[...]

So...I guess my question is about what you keep from your old paths, and why. Are there bits that you had no choice but to keep? Bits that you tried to cast off, but that wormed their way back in? Or just...are there gods/saints/angels/etc. who don't really care that you've moved on?


I can relate in that I have a strong interest in Our Lady of Walsingham, a title of the BVM in England around which an important medieval pilgrimage shrine developed. I think it mostly has to do with family connections, as the shrine was an interest of my great-grandfather's. He was a Church of England priest, and took his parish on pilgrimages there while my grandmother was growing up, so she has a lot of memories of the shrine as well. She gave me a photo album her father made of her childhood pictures and visits to the shrine, and she joked that there were more pictures of the shrine than of her lol. My great-grandfather was one of the priests who carried the new statue to the shrine in the procession when the Anglican shrine was reconstituted in the 1930s, so it was a big deal to him.

My grandmother has given me some of her father's letters and prayer books, which I'm interested in even as a person interested in religion in general. My great-grandfather was a follower of the Oxford Movement within the Church of England, the revival of Catholic practices within the Anglican church, which I find interesting also. I wouldn't call myself a genuine Christian, but I love the beauty of the ritual of the liturgies and practices. I sometimes pray Marian devotions with a rosary, and I keep a statue of Our Lady of Walsingham on a little home shrine. As a follower of Isis, I think of Mother Mary as a form of her, and the Christianized embodiment of the Great Mother in general, not to sound too much like Marion Zimmer Bradley. I was pretty stunned when I went to a Marian festival at an Anglo-Catholic/High Anglican church for the first time because of the procession and the incensing of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It felt a lot like an ancient pagan festival.

So, yeah. I keep up these practices mainly because of family sentimentality, but I find the practices pretty easy to reconcile with paganism, as long as I don't go too far into the doctrines of the church.

Carmen

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Quote from: NightQueen;161868
It's funny, it was never God the Father that I felt disconnected with but, rather Jesus.


This.^
I've never felt that connection either. Even as a kid going to an after school bible study I just couldn't relate to everyone else's fascination with Jesus. It wasn't for lack of trying, I just felt -nothing- when it came to him. I still don't. Which makes things a little awkward now. I am not now, nor have I ever been, Catholic. I have an affinity for the Saints however and it seems to be reciprocal so far. They don't seem to be very concerned with the fact that I'm not Catholic as long as my intentions are good. St. Michael, St. Francis, and St. Benedict are my main focus right now and they're who I tend to work with. I followed a Hoodoo path for a while and I studied the various practices and traditions. Every so often I find one or two of those practices creeping back in in the form of candle dressing, etc. Sometimes the Gods/Saints/Angels/practices just stay with us for reasons of their own I guess. I don't question it much anymore, I figure they know better than I what they're doing. ;)
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EclecticWheel

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Re: The Virgin of Guadalupe (questions about what you keep and what you don't)
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2014, 12:44:33 am »
Quote from: Redfaery;161733
So. My continued draw to work with the Virgin of Guadalupe has me thinking about...stuff.

I am not Christian. I don't think G-D ever accepted me as one of His. I would pray and get a black yawning nothing in response...and usually the fulfillment of my fears as well. G-D did not just tell me "sorry, can't help you." He would yell, "FUCK YOU FOR EVEN ASKING" in my face. I feel like the G-D of my childhood was very much the tribal deity of the Bible - capable of tenderness, love, and infinite mercy towards those whom he considered "his people," but angry and vengeful towards those who were not.

And that's where things get complicated. The Saints were always kind to me. I chose my patron saint (St. Maria Goretti) because she thwapped me, and seemed really intent on teaching me about compassion and forgiveness - even against those who had done horrible things to me. For that, I still am grateful to her. St. Francis also listened to my pleas, and was always there for my cats. And then there is the Virgin of Guadalupe.

She served as my tether to Catholicism, and then the guideline that allowed me to let go. And I still work with her, because she honestly seems intent on helping me when I try to help others. I put her out of my mind and don't think of her, but whenever someone else is in distress, she resurfaces and demands to lend a hand. She doesn't want me to be a Catholic. She's happy that I found my place. But I feel like she'll really leave me, as long as I have things she can help with.

So...I guess my question is about what you keep from your old paths, and why. Are there bits that you had no choice but to keep? Bits that you tried to cast off, but that wormed their way back in? Or just...are there gods/saints/angels/etc. who don't really care that you've moved on?

 
My background is a particular form of strict Pentecostalism.  Now I am nominally Anglo-Catholic but really eclectic and still working out my relationship to that practice and community -- ultimately it boils down to how I prioritize my needs as there is no difficulty on my part in being included in that community as I am.  I'm not the only eclectic Anglican I know, and the others are pretty open about it actually.  So my practices are pretty eclectic -- some traditional, some eclectic, and oftentimes somewhere in between.

That said, there isn't a lot from my original background that I really kept, but over the years some elements have resurfaced in very unexpected ways, particularly since my Pentecostal grandmother died.  I haven't really integrated much of it and may never do so.

I suppose it is a process of healing for me.  I originally rebelled against everything.  It was a huge deal that I ever regained a place for any Christian elements in my path.  But as time goes on and I've gained some perspective I see that not everything about my background was so horrible.

Most of what I've come to value are the perspectives my grandparents, particularly my grandmother, had on a lot of things.  They were more folksy.  There's something about that which has surfaced in my consciousness -- how the older types of Pentecostals were more earthy, more likely to practice herbal remedies, even folk magic, how their ecstatic practices could be very powerful and moving.  My grandmother originally came from a Holiness background and prayed a little differently from the people in our denomination....I remember how she seemed to enter deeply into herself and in a sense her trances were more introverted....Mine were more like that, too.

My prayers look different now, but occasionally when praying a mantra or reciting a really long memorized passage as a prayer I feel a burst of ecstasy and feel the beginnings of glossolalia come out even though I'm totally not interested in doing that.  Other times even in the absence of those glimmers of ecstatic practices I feel myself enter into a similar place that I used to go to through other means in the Pentecostal tradition.  If -- and that's a huge if -- I felt the need to re-integrate some aspect of that tradition I would probably do it with different techniques and with a different interpretation.  But I've come around to respecting beliefs, practices, and even values from my background that I wouldn't have even considered before.  Most of what I value though comes from those remnants of folk belief and practice that still survived in my grandparents and older members of the community.  The modernized version of Pentecostalism I still have antipathy toward.  Even in the Anglican tradition or other traditions I still like to gain the perspectives of older members of the community.  I'm a (post)modernist person and could never really be a traditional anything -- Christian, Buddhist, whatever.  But I've come to really appreciate what older people have to say and sometimes think modern people are too quick to write off the past or even older generations of people still living today as if they didn't have anything of value to offer.

Gaining this somewhat different perspective has been really healing for me.  I don't accept everything I was taught, but I'm not in reaction mode.  I've been able to re-integrate what was of value to me.  I pray to my grandmother now and read her old Bible, eventually I will create a shrine for her.  That's not exactly a Pentecostal thing to do, except reading the Bible, but it does show a newly found appreciation for my past.
My personal moral code:

Love wisely, and do what thou wilt.

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