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Into the Dark

I think everyone wants answers through their spirituality for the bigger questions. Why are we here? How do we know the gods exist? Do we have souls? What happens after we die?

With larger, more unified faiths, there’s usually a pat answer (except for Judaism as far as I know). Heaven. Reincarnation. These religions also tend to have clergy where one of their jobs is to give you answers to these questions.

While Pagans have clergy, we don’t have a unified lengthy training program. Many of our clergy need to have day jobs to support themselves, which is a different topic in and of itself, and many Pagan clergy members don’t set themselves above their fellow Pagans.

So we ask each other. And some of us answer with confidence from the work we’ve done, the spirits who speak to us, the austerities we accomplish. We ponder and sometimes fight with each other about fine points of practices and faith here on the blogosphere to try to find answers.

As many of you know, I like order and routine. So I put together a neat little package of answers to my questions so I can get out of bed every morning and most days that’s enough.

But should I ever be considered to be in a position of authority, I don’t want my neat packet of answers to be mistaken for deep, unshakable faith. Because, I don’t have that. I did, as a child and teenager in Catholicism, but somewhere along my dad’s long, painful drawn out death, I needed more answers. As a mad girl scientist, I immediately thought, books! I took classes in college on the Old Testament, Western Religion, searching, searching and still coming up shaken. I became a Dianic Wiccan shortly after I attended a circle as part of my class assignment (to attend a service for a faith other than mine).

For those of you who have ever seen it, Scrubs was generally a comedy about working in a hospital told through the eyes of JD. But once in a while, they had a serious episode and that’s when it was a cascade of tears for me. “My Last Words” is about a man dying who has a lot of questions and no sure faith in anything in particular. JD and his friend Turk start out with platitudes and other reassuring things, but end with, I don’t know. We have to fight death every day and we don’t know and it’s terrifying. And . . .that’s how I feel.

As a Worker who has attended far more funerals than weddings, I still don’t have any answers. In the episode, they use a song by one of my favorite bands, Deathcab for Cutie called, “I Will Follow You into the Dark” which really sums up my feelings on the whole matter.

I don’t have answers. Death scares me. But, the lyrics of the song sum up how I feel.

Love of mine/Someday you will die/ But I’ll be close behind/ I’ll follow you into the dark/ No blinding light or tunnels to gates of white /Just our hands clasped so tight/ Waiting for the hint of the spark/ If heaven and hell decide that they both are satisfied/ Illuminate the no’s on their vacancy signs/ If there’s no one beside you when your soul embarks/ Then I’ll follow you into the dark. . . .

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Deborah Castellano is a frequent contributor to Occult/Pagan sources such as Witchvox, PaganSquare and Witches&Pagans magazine.  She blogs regular at her blog, Charmed Finishing School. Deborah's book, The Arte of Glamour is available for purchase on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Her craft shop, La Sirene et Le Corbeau specializes in handspun yarn and other goodies.  Her Craft shop, The Glamoury Apothecary specializes in handcrafted items for your magical/occult practice.  Both can be found on Etsy.

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