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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What Religion Are You?

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

People ask me what religion I am, and I’m never sure how to answer that except to say, “I have a personal relationship with the Divine.”

My spiritual tastes seem to be eclectic. I like to visit Catholic Marian shrines and Native American sacred sites. My belief system includes Hindu and Buddhist ideas. I have a deep reverence for Jesus and his message of love, compassion and forgiveness. I have past life memories. I am attracted primarily to modern shamanism.  I light candles, drum to the full moon, call the directions, and have Goddess, Jesus, Mary, and Buddha images on my altar. I think all religious practices come down to intention and energy management.

I was in Ecuador with a school group in college, and we visited a Marian Shrine high in the Andes.  Many of the students were Catholic (it was a Catholic University, after all).  Of the 40 or so in our group, I was the only one who brought flowers to honor Mary—I had purchased a dozen roses. One of the students I was walking with from the bus to the shrine itself was from Africa.  She asked me if I were Catholic.

I had not really considered this before, exactly.  I mean, I knew I wasn’t Catholic in the strict sense of the word, and yet I embraced many of the values of charity, kindness, compassion, etc.  I also had a special space in my heart and my spiritual world for Mary—whom I see as simply the Christianized representation of the Great Mother—the female face of God. 

So I answered, “Yes.”  Then, “No.”  Finally, “Well, sort of…”

Many of my pagan friends are specifically Wiccan, or Druid.  Others worship a mixed pantheon of ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian, or Norse gods. I recognize all these entities as simply the faces of the Divine—all the same Divine.  You know, the blind men and the elephant.

When I go to church at all, I go to the Unitarian Universalist Church or sometimes the Unity church, or even the Spiritualist church.  Now that there is a CUUPs group at our local church—a Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, I frequent the first one. I have nothing but the highest respect for ANY religious or spiritual practice that creates peace, encourages compassion, and helps make the world a better, kinder place. Judge not, and all.

I was surprised recently when I saw a Wiccan make a disparaging remark about “New Age” ideas.  What?  Apparently, this person felt that only the “old” ways were the correct ones.  It made me wonder why they think that is any different than others looking down on them as being evil practitioners of the dark arts.  I had heard Christians mock New Age thinking for decades, but other pagans?  Surprising.

Wikipedia defines the New Age as, “a term applied to a range of spiritual or religious beliefs and practices that developed in Western nations during the 1970s.”  But I believe that there are many sources for New Age thought beginning with the American Renaissance writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Thoreau.  Much New Age thought was spurred by the writings of women on spirituality—Madame Blavatsky, Annie Besant, Mary Baker Eddy, and my personal favorite, Florence Scovel Shinn.  It has been influenced by a resurgence in pagan religions, a renewed understanding of the properties of crystals and herbs, in the widely experienced and witnessed UFO events. Along the way, many authors have contributed to the expansion of New Age thinking including Ruth Montgomery, Gina Cerminara, Hans Holzer, and Brad Steiger, not to mention the enormous library published by the recently departed Carl Llewellyn Weschcke, owner of Llewellyn Publishing.  There is the enormous body of work produced by Edgar Cayce, the sleeping prophet, and the popularization of astrology through authors like Jean Dixon and Linda Goodman.

Anyone—Pagan or otherwise—who mocks or scoffs at New Age ideas lacks any real understanding of the development of these ideas.  It is because of the “New Age” that paganism is now more widely accepted than it has been for nearly 2,000 years.  It is because of the “New Age” that there are more and more holistic health options available to the average person—acupuncture, herbalism, and yoga, to name only a few.  “New Age” thinking includes honoring the Earth and protecting the environment, contributing to the rise of environmentalism and the idea of creating a sustainable way of living.

Spirituality in its truest sense is inclusive—it embraces the Divine in us all, and encourages all of the many paths to the understanding of that Divine.  If we let our spirituality devolve into highly structured and narrow “religions”—even Pagan religions—we deprive ourselves of the ability to embrace the Divine in all its forms, and we build the kinds of separations that we criticize in the big-name religions.

So, when I am asked about my religion, the single best answer I can give is:  I have a personal relationship with the Divine.  How about you?


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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.


  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Monday, 09 November 2015

    I pray in the morning while taking a shower, and at night before going to bed. I also pray silently while working. I used to meditate but don't anymore. I have a drum tape that I used to listen too when I used to try that shamanic journey stuff but I don't know where it is. I frequently use a pendulum. I write down my dreams every morning but I almost never review them. I haven't attended a church service in years. I call myself a Unitarian Universalist because all my encounters with other faiths and denominations affirm that identity.

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