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Author Topic: Trying to discover my religion  (Read 3452 times)
cgbear
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« Topic Start: April 17, 2011, 11:16:32 am »

Hi everyone,

This is my first post and I feel a bit silly doing/asking this, because well, I feel that I should know the answer but I don't.
I have recently been on a bit of a quest to discover what I can really consider to be my religion/beliefs. I know what I feel and beleive in, but I can't really find a specific religion to attach this to, if that makes sense.
This all came about recently when my husband and I were talking about how we would raise our (potential) children when we have them, if we do. His mother is baptist and he was raised really with a christian belief system as was I.
My parents never pushed anything on me but I was raised christian, and went to church occasionally when I was younger. I never considered myself to be too religious although I did use to pray sometimes as a child.
As I got older/late teens etc I started questioning religion and what I believed in, realized that I don't really beleive in a 'God' (as in a personified one), I started feeling more in touch with my spiritual side, and I did some research and found that Buddhism felt the closest to what I beleive in/feel. However it didn't really 'click' in and there are aspects of it that don't really fit with me, and the same goes for Taoism (i can't agree with the idea of 'not chasing your dreams' and just waiting for things to happen).
Over the last few years I hadn't thought about it all that much apart from basically calling myself agnostic, but I really have developed an interest in spirituality and especially energy, and an understanding that we are all 'one', that energy flows between us all, the plants, the earth and so on. I am trying to get more in touch with my spirituality through meditation etc although I do not do this regularly yet. I am feeling the need to develop some sort of a framework for my beliefs, it would be beneficial to feel a part of something bigger and know that there are others out there following the same path as me, if this makes sense.
I just need to figure out what it is that I am!!
I have been drawn to many of the ideas of paganism and much of it makes sense to me. However I know that 'paganism' is a blanket term and it is trying to figure out what it is specifically that works for me, that I can call myself.
So if I explain my beliefs I am hoping someone may be able to point me in the right direction??

(Hope I do not offend anyone)

- I beleive in the importance of spirituality and that we are all inter-connected and that energy flows between all living things on the planet.
- I beleive that when a human or animal, or plant or any living thing dies, it's energy flows back into the earth and goes into something else that is living (soul).
- I beleive that all living things have souls although I am not sure if I can define it beyond that
- I do not beleive there is a 'god' that judges us, looks down upon us and created the world and/or universe (as in personified)
- I beleive that there is a higher power/force but that it is WITHIN us all, every living thing on the planet
- I don't really beleive in multiple gods and goddesses, apart from mother nature as our god and that for metaphorical purposes we could refer to god and goddesses, I just don't think they really exist as 'actual'
- I think nature is very important and that we should all surround ourselves with nature as much as possible. If i was to worship anything, it would be nature, the earth.
- I DO beleive there are other life forms out there in the universe other than just us, we are not alone
- I of course believe in peace and love and harmony amongst all things, i think that all people have the potential to live in harmony if we can all just understand the simple truth of living as one
- I am not really am drawn to magick at all... not sure if i personally beleive in it/that i can grow or evolve from it
- the main thing that I am drawn to is energy flow, i think we all have the potential to harness energy, heal with energy, etc, and that if I can connect with my spirituality and with a connection to this energy I will be where i want to be
- I fully respect all religions and understand that everyone has their own beliefs and we are all entitled to that

I hope this is not overkill and too much info, or contradictory, but I am really looking for opinions here as I am new to all of this.
So far from my research the closest belief system I think most identifies me is pantheism, but, again it just seems there is something missing from that somehow. (as i suppose it is because i do beleive in a higher power of some sort)

I guess i was hoping for an 'AH-HA' moment, something to click where something just felt so totally right, but so far nothing quite feels that way!

So, any responses, insights and opinions would be much appreciated!

Thanks Cheesy
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« Reply #1: April 17, 2011, 11:59:19 am »


- I beleive in the importance of spirituality and that we are all inter-connected and that energy flows between all living things on the planet.
- I beleive that when a human or animal, or plant or any living thing dies, it's energy flows back into the earth and goes into something else that is living (soul).
- I beleive that all living things have souls although I am not sure if I can define it beyond that
- I do not beleive there is a 'god' that judges us, looks down upon us and created the world and/or universe (as in personified)
- I beleive that there is a higher power/force but that it is WITHIN us all, every living thing on the planet
- I don't really beleive in multiple gods and goddesses, apart from mother nature as our god and that for metaphorical purposes we could refer to god and goddesses, I just don't think they really exist as 'actual'
- I think nature is very important and that we should all surround ourselves with nature as much as possible. If i was to worship anything, it would be nature, the earth.
- I DO beleive there are other life forms out there in the universe other than just us, we are not alone
- I of course believe in peace and love and harmony amongst all things, i think that all people have the potential to live in harmony if we can all just understand the simple truth of living as one
- I am not really am drawn to magick at all... not sure if i personally beleive in it/that i can grow or evolve from it
- the main thing that I am drawn to is energy flow, i think we all have the potential to harness energy, heal with energy, etc, and that if I can connect with my spirituality and with a connection to this energy I will be where i want to be
- I fully respect all religions and understand that everyone has their own beliefs and we are all entitled to that

I hope this is not overkill and too much info, or contradictory, but I am really looking for opinions here as I am new to all of this.
So far from my research the closest belief system I think most identifies me is pantheism, but, again it just seems there is something missing from that somehow. (as i suppose it is because i do beleive in a higher power of some sort)

I guess i was hoping for an 'AH-HA' moment, something to click where something just felt so totally right, but so far nothing quite feels that way!

So, any responses, insights and opinions would be much appreciated!

Thanks Cheesy

Welcome to the Cauldron! I'm sure you'll like it here, everyone is super awesome.

It sounds like you may want to look in to animism and panentheism. Animism is the philosophy that all living things have souls, including people, plants, and animals.

Panentheism is (someone correct me if I'm wrong!) the idea that the god, or the higher power, is the universe - it is manifested as everything around us.

This is opposed to pantheism because in pantheism, the universe is a part of the higher power.

In both systems, the divine is directly connected with the world around us, and is not a distant creature looking in. If I had to lean either way, I would be a panentheist.

I hope you find what you're looking for! You should take a look at people's listed religions around here. Most people don't have just one religion, like Wicca, Druidry, or Kemetic Reconstructionist. A lot of people have descriptions like "Wicca-ish Celtic Druid Recon", or, "Initiatory Traditional Left-Hand Witchcraft". It goes to show that it is possible one set, specific religion might not fit your beliefs.
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« Reply #2: April 17, 2011, 01:04:57 pm »

Hi everyone,

I would agree with Torkie. Look into animism, pantheism, and panentheism. As for the difference between pantheism and panentheism:

Best description I've heard:

Pantheism - God is in the Universe
Panentheism - the Universe is in God

So pantheism sees Deity co-present with all the universe, and panentheism seems to be pantheism + the existence of a higher, transcendent force as well.

You can decide which of those descriptions fits you better.  Grin

The 'problem' with pantheism/panentheism is that there isn't much structure surrounding how one might 'practice' them. A lot of people make it up as they go along.

I am a pantheist, and I am a FlameKeeper. The basics of FlameKeeping is "the universe is divine, and we should all work to improve it".
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cgbear
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« Reply #3: April 17, 2011, 05:51:04 pm »

Thanks Torkie & Fierflye, I have been looking into all of this more this afternoon and will continue to.

To be honest it is actually making me more confused!! In some ways Pantheism makes more sense to me but then there seems to me there is something beyond the universe as well - perhaps not beyond the universe, but beyond this realm, if that makes sense. It seems like Pantheism isn't really too involved in spirituality but perhaps I haven't got there yet.

This all brings me back to Buddhism - but i cannot bring myself to agree with the idea of Perfect Enlightenment!

Oh dear!!... Thanks again i will keep researching, I have taken a brief look at the Flamekeeping website linked to on this forum and it seems quite interesting so I will do some more reading!  Undecided
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FierFlye
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« Reply #4: April 17, 2011, 06:40:41 pm »

To be honest it is actually making me more confused!! In some ways Pantheism makes more sense to me but then there seems to me there is something beyond the universe as well - perhaps not beyond the universe, but beyond this realm, if that makes sense. It seems like Pantheism isn't really too involved in spirituality but perhaps I haven't got there yet.

Honestly I wouldn't worry about it all that much. Slapping a label of pantheist or panentheist on yourself doesn't really do you any more good than saying "I believe everything is sacred" or "I believe there is a divine energy that flows through us all". They are both somewhat umbrella terms (though considerably more focused than 'pagan') as there is no strict practices for them.

Some thing you may want to look into are certain forms of Druidry. Some Druid organizations (like ADF), heavily focus on deity worship, which is why they didn't spring to my mind earlier. But there are a few that seem to focus more on getting to know nature.
Here is a link to the AODA study program: http://www.aoda.org/curric.html
and another page you might find interesting: http://druidnetwork.org/learning/courses/online

There's also been talk of starting a Druidry SIG here on the forum, so keep your eye open for that.
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« Reply #5: April 17, 2011, 06:48:11 pm »


Cgbear,

Just a quick note:  Please remember to quote, even if you're just replying to the first message in the thread.  It makes the discussion easier to follow, and it's required by our rules.

This isn't a formal warning, just a reminder.  No reply is necessary, but if you have questions or need clarification, please feel free to contact a member of staff privately.

Thanks!

Catja
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« Reply #6: April 18, 2011, 08:15:27 am »

Welcome to the Cauldron! I'm sure you'll like it here, everyone is super awesome.

It sounds like you may want to look in to animism and panentheism. Animism is the philosophy that all living things have souls, including people, plants, and animals.

Panentheism is (someone correct me if I'm wrong!) the idea that the god, or the higher power, is the universe - it is manifested as everything around us.

This is opposed to pantheism because in pantheism, the universe is a part of the higher power.

In both systems, the divine is directly connected with the world around us, and is not a distant creature looking in. If I had to lean either way, I would be a panentheist.

I hope you find what you're looking for! You should take a look at people's listed religions around here. Most people don't have just one religion, like Wicca, Druidry, or Kemetic Reconstructionist. A lot of people have descriptions like "Wicca-ish Celtic Druid Recon", or, "Initiatory Traditional Left-Hand Witchcraft". It goes to show that it is possible one set, specific religion might not fit your beliefs.

You've got pantheism and panentheism backwards - pantheism is the Divine is all things and there's nothing outside.  Panentheism is the one where there's an external part as well.
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cgbear
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« Reply #7: April 19, 2011, 12:23:12 pm »

Honestly I wouldn't worry about it all that much. Slapping a label of pantheist or panentheist on yourself doesn't really do you any more good than saying "I believe everything is sacred" or "I believe there is a divine energy that flows through us all". They are both somewhat umbrella terms (though considerably more focused than 'pagan') as there is no strict practices for them.

Some thing you may want to look into are certain forms of Druidry. Some Druid organizations (like ADF), heavily focus on deity worship, which is why they didn't spring to my mind earlier. But there are a few that seem to focus more on getting to know nature.
Here is a link to the AODA study program: http://www.aoda.org/curric.html
and another page you might find interesting: http://druidnetwork.org/learning/courses/online

There's also been talk of starting a Druidry SIG here on the forum, so keep your eye open for that.

Fierflye, I have had a look on the Druidry website links you posted and alot of their concepts are very interesting and make sense to me. I will keep researching. And you are right about putting a label on my beliefs not being very important, it is what we beleive ourselves and what we do that are important, and the path we take. I suppose the reason I was looking for a label, was to have a more constructed path to take with guidance and knowing others are on the same path- but perhaps that just isn't me and I need to take what rings true for me from various different forms of Paganism and other belief systems and make it my own path. Thanks again Smiley
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« Reply #8: April 19, 2011, 01:05:58 pm »

I suppose the reason I was looking for a label, was to have a more constructed path to take with guidance and knowing others are on the same path

I know exactly what you mean. I've looked for the same thing many times. I can never find anything that fits perfect though, ya know?

I've actually just started to build my own path that is very similar to that on the AODA site. The problem I have with Druidry is that it is built on a Celtic foundation, and I have no particular ties to the Celtic pantheon or culture.
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« Reply #9: April 19, 2011, 02:35:38 pm »



Hey cgbear,

Looks like we have a lot of similar beliefs. I can't say I follow any particular tradition, though. But for a long time, I found myself on that "what religion am I?" quest as well. For me, I think a big part of it was wanting to fit somewhere - to know that there were others who also felt and believed the same things as I did. When I didn't find exacts, I'll admit, I stopped looking. I think this is the point where I was able to sit down and really define what I believed, and why. And from that point I was able to look outside and not ask "do I fit there?", but rather "what can I learn here?". You can still build that framework for yourself from looking at what others believe, or how they do things... and then take it and make it meaningful for you.
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« Reply #10: April 19, 2011, 02:50:33 pm »

You've got pantheism and panentheism backwards - pantheism is the Divine is all things and there's nothing outside.  Panentheism is the one where there's an external part as well.

That's what I thought. I admit I went looking because I thought I had gotten confused about which one was which - and it seems like the whole Panentheism vs Pantheism confuses a lot of us lol.

I think the most most straightforward description I've found is similar to yours:

Panentheists believe God is the universe but is also greater than the universe.

Pantheists believe the universe itself is divine and do not believe in personal or creator gods.
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« Reply #11: April 19, 2011, 03:07:22 pm »

Pantheists believe the universe itself is divine and do not believe in personal or creator gods.

Actually, some pantheists DO believe in personal gods. They just believe that those gods are part of the same Universe they belong to, and are not above or outside it.
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« Reply #12: April 19, 2011, 04:51:31 pm »

I've actually just started to build my own path that is very similar to that on the AODA site. The problem I have with Druidry is that it is built on a Celtic foundation, and I have no particular ties to the Celtic pantheon or culture.

If you haven't already, you might want to check out ADF's version of druidry.  If I understand correctly, ADF does not limit its druidry to a Celtic context, but includes many other Indo-European cultures.

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« Reply #13: April 19, 2011, 05:05:45 pm »



I was in ADF for a while. It was not a good fit for me as I am mostly agnostic/atheist, and their rituals heavily focus on honoring the gods and spirits. There are parts I greatly liked though.
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« Reply #14: April 19, 2011, 08:57:13 pm »

Hey cgbear,

Looks like we have a lot of similar beliefs. I can't say I follow any particular tradition, though. But for a long time, I found myself on that "what religion am I?" quest as well. For me, I think a big part of it was wanting to fit somewhere - to know that there were others who also felt and believed the same things as I did. When I didn't find exacts, I'll admit, I stopped looking. I think this is the point where I was able to sit down and really define what I believed, and why. And from that point I was able to look outside and not ask "do I fit there?", but rather "what can I learn here?". You can still build that framework for yourself from looking at what others believe, or how they do things... and then take it and make it meaningful for you.


Emberlee,

Thanks for posting, it is nice to hear someone else has very similar beliefs and went through the same thing. I have stopped looking a few times before for the same reasons, but something has always told me to get more in touch with my spirituality and with nature, and to pursue the feelings I have... just being a typical, terrible procrastinator, i have never quite 'got around' to really getting into it. Now it is time. Following a spiritual path is too important to me now to keep putting off! Smiley
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