Spirit Garden: Explorations in the Spiritual

Author, shaman, and psychic medium Catt Foy shares experiences and knowledge on a wide range of spiritual topics.

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Defining Your Own Spiritual Path

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

I am a member of a Facebook pagan group and I see a lot of questions from new or young pagans trying to understand and define their personal paths. 

“Can I be a pagan and still believe in Jesus?” asked one.  “How do I know what kind of witch I am?” asked another.

What many don’t realize is that the beauty of freeing yourself from organized religions and claiming yourself to be pagan is just that:  a declaration of religious freedom!

To me religious freedom does not just mean free to choose a particular, pre-formed, already established religious path, but goes even further—the freedom to craft your own individual spiritual path to a connection with the Divine, whatever you define that to be.

Many people drawn to so-called Paganism feel as though they have to choose a specific path—Wiccan, Druidic, Asastru.  Newcomers ask lots of questions—mostly about what they are “allowed” to do or practice or believe.  They often are stuck with the preconceived notions that their religious upbringing or even standard religion stereotypes have given them about obedience and the “right” way to practice.   It takes them awhile to understand that they really don’t have to follow any “rules” or specific methods of practice to be spiritually free. 

When I look back at my own religious upbringing, I am grateful that it contained a number of elements that allowed me to form a sense of independence of spiritual thought.  I was raised, officially, in the Presbyterian Church, specifically the Market Square Presbyterian Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  I was at least the third generation to belong to this church—a beautiful structure with a soaring white sanctuary sporting massive stained glass windows and red velvet pews modeled after the cathedrals of Europe.  I could often feel the presence of God there. My grandmother was raised there, my grandfather converted there from Greek Orthodoxy, my father and mother met there when my Dad was a youth minister in the 1950s. I was baptized there, and thirteen years later, confirmed there.  In those days, nearly everyone was Christian--Protestant or Catholic, with the occasional Jewish family.  I was not exposed to Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus or the followers of other traditions growing up.

Except…

My grandmother, while openly Presbyterian, was “secretly” a Christian Scientist (not a Scientologist, please note).  She had discovered the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, in the early 20th century.  Eddy’s writings’ primary message was that Jesus taught us how to perform healing and expected us to follow in his example. She believed that natural health was our God-given condition and only our thoughts, expectations, and misunderstanding led to disease.  Which sounds a lot like today’s ideas about alternative spiritual healing. 

But we also lived in central Pennsylvania and the family historically was connected in the deep past to the Amish, Mennonite and Quaker practices that thrived there as far back as the 17th century.  Among those beliefs was a belief in and fear of the practice of witchcraft.  Grandma was convinced that her half-sister was a witch (of the evil variety).  She also believed that her own mother had the “second sight,” but refused to use it because it was a gift from the Devil.  At the same time, Grandma had been known to consult the occasional “fortune-teller” long before we called ourselves “psychics.” I suspect she was psychic, too, but had been given no tools to understand or embrace it.

Add to this mix my intuition that I had been an adult before being “Kitty Anthony” and my father’s open-minded and intellectual curiosity about eastern religions and his willingness to share his understanding of concepts like reincarnation. I was pretty lucky to have a lot of sources to draw upon to begin to create my own spiritual pathway.

That pathway has led me through many spiritual forms and practices over the years.  I have read many, many New Age / spiritual / pagan / self-help books and philosophies in the past five decades.  And I always took everything I learned with a grain of salt.  I asked myself, “Does this make sense to me?” and “Does that feel right?”  I determined long ago that for something to make it into my permanent belief system, it had to make sense to me intellectually, as well as have the intuitive “feeling” of being right. I try to use both sides of my brain.

I still pray the prayers I learned in childhood because they represent my personal history with what I perceive to be “God.” I still talk to Jesus.  I also talk to my angels, ancestors, spirit guides, fairies and dead people. My practices include the use of crystals, candle-burning, prayer in many forms, and the use of sound and incense.  It contains elements of Christianity, Greek Orthodoxy, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christian Science, European paganism, ancient Egyptian and Greek mythology, shamanism and New Age thought. It is my own unique brand of spirituality.

So my message to you in this blog post is this:  find and define your own path for yourself.  Do what feels right and makes sense to you.  Question all assumptions, including your own on a regular basis.  Be willing to review your belief system in light of new experiences or information.  True paganism can represent true spiritual freedom, if you allow yourself the freedom within your own spirit and learn to trust yourself and your relationship with the Divine over the advice, input or information from all others. And grant others the same respect. Blessed Be, Ajo, Amen, Make It So.

 

 

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Catt Foy has been a professional psychic and astrologer since 1978 and a freelance writer and photographer since 1981.  She is the author of Psycards--A New Alternative to Tarot, and the novel Bartleby:  A Scrivener's Tale.  She holds an MA from Western Illinois University and an MFA in Fiction from Spalding University, and is currently CEO of Psycards USA.  Catt likes to garden, paint, and make jewelry, and is currently working on several other novels.  She lives with her husband and two feline companions in an RV in Eugene, Oregon.

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