For a few years on my blog, I would write a post to close down the year, reflecting on what had passed over the year now ending and looking forward to the year above. Over time, I moved that entry to the more generic calendar year… but I originally started it on Samhain, where it honestly belongs for me. It’s time for me to bring it back, as the next turn of the year will be a pretty important one personally regarding faith. It seems right to end this year off as I’ve been meaning to for a while. After all, this is my religious new year’s celebration. The seasonal wheel once again starts a new turn. The God of this year dies today, to be reborn on the darkest night of the year on Yule to the Goddess.
I’ve been on a bit of a religious walkabout for a few years, trying to figure out where my personal beliefs fall on the Pagan spectrum. Honestly, I think I’ve been trying too hard to fit myself to an identifier. After all, the world doesn’t see a faith as valid unless it has some sort of a label – and only a societally approved label at that. My beliefs just don’t work that way. They’re very personal, they’re pretty hodge podge, and I know deep down that they’re only meant to work for one person in the world… me. It’s also the first year that all of my ritual supplies are packed away – put into storage as I transitioned my office to a nursery for Max. So any ritual tonight will be solo – no tools, no Book of Shadows. Just me, myself, and I. I’m honestly looking forward to it.
This Turn will mark my 20th since my initiation into my Pagan path. How things have changed – both for me and for Paganism in general – since that warm August night when I pledged myself to a new spiritual journey. Like anyone new to a spiritual path, I was a bit out of control back then. Not a one-true-way zealot, but very protective of my own beliefs and my own right to have them. My need to correct others has waned dramatically since then. I no longer honestly care whether people get the real nature of Paganism or witchcraft. It has so many variants and interpretations that it’s pointless to try to play the political control speech to change others’ minds. The events of September 11th made me much more insular with my faith (it got quite ugly for a while, and I’m still a bit paranoid about it).
And honestly… my faith is for me, and me alone. Does it really matter whether someone else agrees with me, or if they even understand? I don’t need it validated by others – I’m comfortable in the weird, winding ways that my faith takes me. Some things are defined, some are not. Some things seem so certain to me one year, and the next they’re obscure and confusing. Such is the way with belief, I think. Faith and religion are created by human beings, after all, to explain that which cannot be explained. It gives us a foundation on which to build our lives where no concrete foundation exists.
My concept of God, Goddess, “the Divine” (and any other names one might have) is for my personal life alone. It’s my own personal relationship with my own morality that defines how I will interact with the world. Fact doesn’t disprove truth. Truth is something that comes from within. It’s not something to be proven or disproven – but lived and accomplished.
Unlike many people, I don’t see religion and science as enemies. I see them as partners. Religion inspires us to ask the question and to explore. Science answers the question and opens up more of them. Both work hand in hand to deepen the meaning of what life is. The more we learn, the more we want to learn. Faith comforts us through the unknown. Science illuminates the known and makes those unknowns more tantalizing.
I’m hoping it will be a great year of discovery for me – for reflection, for growth, for understanding.
And I’m sure at Samhain next year, I’ll be as confused as I am now.
Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. :)
Blessed Samhain everyone – may the next Turn bring you and your loved ones good health and happiness.
And safe and Happy Halloween, too. Save yourself some candy!