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Author Topic: What's the Downside of Your Religious Experience?  (Read 1708 times)

Altair

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What's the Downside of Your Religious Experience?
« on: August 09, 2017, 07:54:36 am »
The religions and spiritual approaches here at the Cauldron are varied and, by mainstream standards, unusual; presumably we each get something important from them, or we wouldn't be doing this.

But as important as these religious paths/spiritual experiences are to us, what's the downside? What's the part of the experience that presents the greatest difficulty in life, perhaps in comparison to more mainstream religions?

For me, it's feeling disconnected from others: having a lack of religious community. Which is ironic, because my nature-based paganism stems from and strengthens a deep and fulfilling connection to the natural world. But unlike, say, my Christian family members, there's no weekly gathering of like-minded folks to bond with...and while my finding my own gods and writing their myths remains perhaps my most personally important and fulfilling undertaking, it remains exactly that--personal--and only intensifies the gap I feel with others, who have no understanding of the gods as I do. How could they?

I think, along with my fondness for a good debate, it's the need to try to forge a connection on religious matters with others that keeps me coming back to the Cauldron.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Eastling

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Re: What's the Downside of Your Religious Experience?
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2017, 03:59:48 pm »
The religions and spiritual approaches here at the Cauldron are varied and, by mainstream standards, unusual; presumably we each get something important from them, or we wouldn't be doing this.

But as important as these religious paths/spiritual experiences are to us, what's the downside? What's the part of the experience that presents the greatest difficulty in life, perhaps in comparison to more mainstream religions?

For me, it's feeling disconnected from others: having a lack of religious community. Which is ironic, because my nature-based paganism stems from and strengthens a deep and fulfilling connection to the natural world. But unlike, say, my Christian family members, there's no weekly gathering of like-minded folks to bond with...and while my finding my own gods and writing their myths remains perhaps my most personally important and fulfilling undertaking, it remains exactly that--personal--and only intensifies the gap I feel with others, who have no understanding of the gods as I do. How could they?

I think, along with my fondness for a good debate, it's the need to try to forge a connection on religious matters with others that keeps me coming back to the Cauldron.

All of this is rather true for me as well. I was raised Jewish, and I have a great deal of fondness for my birth religion (and I still use some of its basic rituals to ground my wilder mysticism), but it's just not the only path that calls me. Unfortunately, I miss the great sense of community that the synagogue I spent my life attending had, that my mother still has as a very active member of that synagogue (among other aspects of Jewish community in her life).

My other problem is related to that--it's very hard to talk about my neopagan faith to most people. It touches on a lot of stuff that's somewhat scandalous, between the godspousing and the pop culture parts, and all of that is hard to explain. I have to struggle to strike a balance between privacy and actually connecting with people.
Utterly Pure, a virtual shrine in progress to Ariadne; Someday Comes Back, my general mysticism/pop culture blog.
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MadZealot

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Re: What's the Downside of Your Religious Experience?
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2017, 05:05:36 pm »
For me, it's feeling disconnected from others: having a lack of religious community.

Mostly this. Or rather, there is a community there, but their beliefs aren't necessarily my beliefs. They're more evangelical. My personal approach to faith is a little askew, so I keep it to myself.

Also, I miss ritual. I miss the sense of wonder. But I could fix that on my own, if it bothered me enough.
<neverending light>

Yei

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Re: What's the Downside of Your Religious Experience?
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2017, 06:08:47 pm »
The religions and spiritual approaches here at the Cauldron are varied and, by mainstream standards, unusual; presumably we each get something important from them, or we wouldn't be doing this.

But as important as these religious paths/spiritual experiences are to us, what's the downside? What's the part of the experience that presents the greatest difficulty in life, perhaps in comparison to more mainstream religions?

For me, it's feeling disconnected from others: having a lack of religious community. Which is ironic, because my nature-based paganism stems from and strengthens a deep and fulfilling connection to the natural world. But unlike, say, my Christian family members, there's no weekly gathering of like-minded folks to bond with...and while my finding my own gods and writing their myths remains perhaps my most personally important and fulfilling undertaking, it remains exactly that--personal--and only intensifies the gap I feel with others, who have no understanding of the gods as I do. How could they?

I think, along with my fondness for a good debate, it's the need to try to forge a connection on religious matters with others that keeps me coming back to the Cauldron.

Easy. The jabbing of sharp objects into my body. I'm sure its something that one gets used to, after a time. However, I don't exactly live in the best circumstances for rituals, and thus don't get much of an opportunity to practise. Though that is more the fault of the economy, than my religion.

Redfaery

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Re: What's the Downside of Your Religious Experience?
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2017, 06:26:11 pm »


The religions and spiritual approaches here at the Cauldron are varied and, by mainstream standards, unusual; presumably we each get something important from them, or we wouldn't be doing this.

But as important as these religious paths/spiritual experiences are to us, what's the downside? What's the part of the experience that presents the greatest difficulty in life, perhaps in comparison to more mainstream religions?

The downside to Buddhism is online. Sounds catchy! Until you run across these online Buddhists who seem to practice all their perfections offline....

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Sefiru

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Re: What's the Downside of Your Religious Experience?
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2017, 07:08:23 pm »
having a lack of religious community.

Me three (or however many we're up to). What I miss most is having festivals; doing celebrations on my own just isn't the same. Which is why I still do Christmas and Halloween, even though technically they're not part of my path.

Also, the lack of expert guidance can be difficult. Not only do I have to do all my own research, I have to do my own evaluation, too. Does this bit of lore fit in with the rest of what I've got? This idea sounds good, but is it actually? Am I a wingnut and nobody's told me? Self-skepticism is necessary, but it can easily lead to self-doubt.

Altair

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Re: What's the Downside of Your Religious Experience?
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2017, 08:22:41 am »

The downside to Buddhism is online. Sounds catchy! Until you run across these online Buddhists who seem to practice all their perfections offline....


"Perfections"? Can you explain a bit? I'm not grasping the connection between Buddhism and being online.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Redfaery

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Re: What's the Downside of Your Religious Experience?
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2017, 08:26:39 am »
"Perfections"? Can you explain a bit? I'm not grasping the connection between Buddhism and being online.
Ah, sorry.

The perfections are virtues that Buddhists are supposed to engage in. Y'know, things like charity, compassion, wisdom...

Unfortunately online Buddhist spaces tend to be...very imperfect? To a one, the Buddhist forums I've frequented have been filled with angry, hateful folk. Lots of so-called "Dharma Police", as well as more trolls than anywhere else I've seen.

I mean, I've been to in person Buddhist gatherings, and they're absolutely lovely. Kind, wonderful people! But online? Forget it!



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TheGreenWizard

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Re: What's the Downside of Your Religious Experience?
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2017, 11:32:54 pm »
But as important as these religious paths/spiritual experiences are to us, what's the downside? What's the part of the experience that presents the greatest difficulty in life, perhaps in comparison to more mainstream religions?

Well, considering my background and upbringing, I really didn't have a religious community - growing up as an Air Force brat makes it hard to forge enduring connections with others, and to find them easily at the new places I lived at (not to mention, I wasn't raised religious until my family came back to my parents' home town until I was in 5th grade). That being said, I think the main thing I miss about going to my grandparents' church (For those in Western NY: St. Anne's Cathedral & Shrine) is the antiquity of the place, and being in awe of the architecture and art in it. Going inside for Christmas, or Easter mass was just a great thing because of all the pageantry and beauty involved.

Unfortunately, being on a pagan path (still finding me way), while I understand that the outdoors and the Earth are my church, shrine, and chapel, I still do not feel that sense of wonder of the accomplishments our ancestors/predecessors did. Yes, hiking a mountain and seeing the view from the summit is very much a spiritual experience, however, going inside one of the oldest cathedrals in the area is also a spiritual experience that seems - in my sense - unrivaled. Note, however, that I never had this sense of wonder with newer churches/cathedrals - they were blah to me because they were commonplace. No one builds completely stone structures, mainly because we don't have as many stonemasons as we used to (which is why the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC is taking FOREVER to be finished).

Aside from the wonders of going to these old and mystical structures, what I miss is being able to talk with others. I feel like I'm part of an organization that meets in secret, or that we don't know each other except through forums. Sure, we can do Meet Ups and have annual Pagan Pride festivals, but like others have stated, I don't think I'll find someone who has a similar path to me in NYC in the pagan community (or maybe I will - who knows). This aggravates me to no end, because while being in NYC, I have met my share of pagans - Pagan Pride mostly - and to be perfectly honest, they seem crazy to me. I never quite seem to find the logical/rational person who thinks similar to me.

For example, I went to a local store in the village, and while I'm open to most ideas, I do not believe in using crystals as a way to heal the body, nor do I believe in reiki - both of which were touted numerous times while I was there. Sure, they had other products, but honestly, I was turned off by the place and didn't want to ask any questions about finding like-minded people. Another place, however, is a bookstore, and I feel they would know more, but again, I don't know if they do because I feel like there may be too many paths under the pagan umbrella for me to figure out which way I want to go.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go

Altair

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Re: What's the Downside of Your Religious Experience?
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2017, 07:41:25 am »
Easy. The jabbing of sharp objects into my body. I'm sure its something that one gets used to, after a time. However, I don't exactly live in the best circumstances for rituals, and thus don't get much of an opportunity to practise. Though that is more the fault of the economy, than my religion.

Ouch.

As I think you know, I tried this. Once. I was such a wimp about that one little pinprick that I could barely draw a drop of blood before I was DONE. And you do this repeatedly??

Ouch.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Darkhawk

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Re: What's the Downside of Your Religious Experience?
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2017, 09:41:38 am »
But as important as these religious paths/spiritual experiences are to us, what's the downside? What's the part of the experience that presents the greatest difficulty in life, perhaps in comparison to more mainstream religions?

The work part is almost entirely unrewarding.

Not the religious work, the architecture for doing the religious work.

I've been stalled on doing meaningful Kemetic research for something like two years now because who cares?  Basically.  It's almost entirely thankless, the stuff I think is interesting seems to disappear into the ether, and even if I want to put it together into a thing at some point, meh.

I'm actually getting back to what I have always wanted to be doing with my life, and maybe if I get that sorted out productively I will feel up to having the theology as a bloody side project.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Yei

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Re: What's the Downside of Your Religious Experience?
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2017, 06:21:19 pm »
Ouch.

As I think you know, I tried this. Once. I was such a wimp about that one little pinprick that I could barely draw a drop of blood before I was DONE. And you do this repeatedly??

Ouch.

That's nothing. Maya lords used to pass stingray spines through the johnson. You can't buy that kind of faith these days.

The furthest I got was passing a thin needle and thread underneath my skin. Didn't work though. So I'll stick to blades for the moment.

Altair

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Re: What's the Downside of Your Religious Experience?
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2017, 07:43:13 am »
what I miss is being able to talk with others. I feel like I'm part of an organization that meets in secret, or that we don't know each other except through forums. Sure, we can do Meet Ups and have annual Pagan Pride festivals, but like others have stated, I don't think I'll find someone who has a similar path to me

This, or something similar, seems to be the recurring refrain in this thread. I'm not sure there's any antidote; going your own way spiritually, as so many of us have, would seem to leave you on your own by definition.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Emma Eldritch

Re: What's the Downside of Your Religious Experience?
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2017, 07:14:13 pm »
That's nothing. Maya lords used to pass stingray spines through the johnson. You can't buy that kind of faith these days.

Holy shit, that is metal.

(Owwwwwwwwwwwwwch. )

MamaThistle

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Re: What's the Downside of Your Religious Experience?
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2017, 09:06:44 pm »
The religions and spiritual approaches here at the Cauldron are varied and, by mainstream standards, unusual; presumably we each get something important from them, or we wouldn't be doing this.

But as important as these religious paths/spiritual experiences are to us, what's the downside? What's the part of the experience that presents the greatest difficulty in life, perhaps in comparison to more mainstream religions?

For me, it's feeling disconnected from others: having a lack of religious community. Which is ironic, because my nature-based paganism stems from and strengthens a deep and fulfilling connection to the natural world. But unlike, say, my Christian family members, there's no weekly gathering of like-minded folks to bond with...and while my finding my own gods and writing their myths remains perhaps my most personally important and fulfilling undertaking, it remains exactly that--personal--and only intensifies the gap I feel with others, who have no understanding of the gods as I do. How could they?

I think, along with my fondness for a good debate, it's the need to try to forge a connection on religious matters with others that keeps me coming back to the Cauldron.

Yeah, mine is similar to yours. I get a little lonely at times. Also, sometimes I think it takes more effort on our part compared to more established religions, especially if your still searching. Which I guess is a good and bad thing. It can be expensive too, if you're into crystals, tarot, or even books. Although, I was into that stuff as a Christian too. ;)



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