Genuine curiosity here, I’ve noticed a number of people here are into Tarot, Wicca, druids, etc. Anyone care to share why?
For myself, I like that the earth-based faith systems are more ancient and less patriarchal. I’ve had more than enough of more formal religion, particularly of the abrahamic variety.
Tarot is a way for me to reflect on things in my life without the thinking being directed by typical ruminations or anxieties.
I am mildly into hearing tarot readings by other people, but I am really into astrology. My sister who’s just a few years younger than me is sUPeR into astrology. Astrology memes are all over instagram. The Astrology and horoscopes section is the only reason I would ever visit the Vice site these days lol, and I do check my horoscope there every day. It’s having a huge moment among twenty somethings, especially women. And some of my smartest and most logical friends are really into it too. If you explore the more “advanced” readings and your full chart, I’ve found certain things click. Like how I have four placements (that’s a ridiculous concentration) in the twelfth house which is associated with isolation and mental illness and confinement and due to my life events, creepily lines up. But even though that has no bearing on my actual life and I know it’s not real, it’s oddly comforting. Focusing on astrology through an emotional and relationship aspect is kind of like reading self-help type books that are less scary than real “therapy” type stuff, while still stimulating your mind. I also was raised super duper Evangelical Christian and am now flat out atheist, so this is a way for me to access something vaguely spiritual/religious that doesn’t feel scary and bring back memories of psychological abuse in childhood.
also maybe it’s because I don’t like believe in these things enough, but it actually seems incorrect to lump astrology into the other tarot/wicca/druids stuff. sorry if that’s kind of over-generalizing, I don’t know as much about the other stuff. In my mind they are all kind of comparable, and astrology is my personal genre/flavor preference
Sorry that you had that experience of Christianity. There’s nothing abusive about the authentic message of Jesus, it pains me so much to see the hurt people have experienced, and the hurt I myself have gone through in my faith journey.
Care to write anything more specific?
I’ve studied a little about ancient Celtic religious practices and one thing I always found fascinating was the reverence for the goddess that inhabited the local water source, going ultimately back to the goddess Danu at the source of the Danube in the original Celt homeland. And how the chiefs/kings had to be spiritually married to that goddess.
It’s ok! I appreciate in adulthood getting to learn about people w positive religious experiences I’ve seen some of the religious writing in your journal. A huge issue was the particular neuroses of my family and that I went to a religious school so it was way too totalizing, in combination with me being a too sensitive kid. But yeah — I’m likely never ever going back
It pleases me that celebrating the solstice and the turning of the seasons is the oldest expression of faith, globally. I’m a devout atheist but I believe in human traditions, particularly those that transcend specific cultures or locations.
I find organized religion, particularly Christianity, to be actively harmful. I reject it and embrace the oldest of human traditions.
I like the movement of the seasons too. There’s definitely things to grumble about but farming and trying to be outdoorsy has taught me a lot about embracing the seasons here.
I am a Christian but would definitely agree that the vast majority of historical and present-day Christianity does harm. The harm done is a perversion of the original message and it’s deeply terrible that so many people have only encountered the harm. I have experienced a lot of it myself.
But I’m not trying to preach here. I want to understand what attracts people to non-formalized spirituality after having very negative experiences of formal religion. Though in your case I’m guessing you’d say there’s no spiritual and you simply find it a useful tradition to keep?
I get legitimately painful heartache when people share stories like this. I hope you have been able to heal
Which original message? That women should be forced to marry their rapists? That a teenage girl should be impregnated without her consent by God in a highly patriarchal society where unmarried pregnancy was punishable by death, to legitimize someone’s claim to be God? That the meek/ poor/ whatever are blessed for being these things and so should just look forward to rewards in the next life? I see no valuable messages here. Just harm.
If you want I can give you my take on all of those points but if you’re not interested I totally respect that.
But know everything you said is a misunderstanding of the God I believe in
I think a lot of people want to interact with something bigger and more than just themselves, and that religion and philosophy and also practices like tarot can fill that void for people. I don’t do tarot myself, but that’s the role it seems to play for people I know who do it. I think discussing major world religions is hard because it can easily become a no true scotsman type of conversation where anything negative isn’t really the true belief of that religion…even when it is extensively taught as a true belief and written about in the main religious books of the religion.
I think it comes down to:
So many people of different faith backgrounds experience their religion as damaging and filled with fear and hate.
So many people of different faith backgrounds experience their religion as healing and filled with love and forgiveness.
Interesting way of putting it
I should say here I don’t want to derail the thread by making this about my take on Christianity, sorry I am trying to understand, not evangelize or preach.
If people do want to talk to me about that, though, feel free to PM or go to my journal.
Let’s keep this just about alternate spirituality so I can understand that point of view
I’m pretty much not on the spectrum of witchy- I would be measured at about a 2% on a scale of 100% - but as I’ve aged I’ve gotten far less secular as I’ve concluded that:
- humans love traditions and rituals (myself included) - both ones that help you reflect on your own place in the universe (prayer/meditation/kabbalah) and ones that connect you to your community (church/mosque/temple/holiday gatherings)
- there is a ton that science can’t explain, and we will always create systems of belief to explain them
I have always admired faith - of any organized religion - used in positive ways to help other people. That’s why I lived at a house of hospitality and worked as a catholic worker helping with young mothers experiencing homelessness. I worked side-by-side with many people of deep faith that led them to that work, and in particular spent quite a lot of time working with Catholics, Quakers, and badass Methodists who supported the peace activism we did.
But organized religion, particularly Christianity of certain flavors, has caused enough harm in me personally, many of my friends, and worldwide - that the faith community is not for me. So many wars have been perpetrated in the name of religion, so many young women have been raped, stoned to death, forced to marry or carry a child, cut off from their families and support system and homeless because of their sexuality - it’s hard for me to personally want to be be part of any of those hierarchical systems of faith.
Believing in (a) book(s) of teachings (be it the Bible, the Quran, the Book of Mormon), I think, is just the same as finding other teachings - astrology, tarot - that try to help you understand yourself, the universe, and what being a good person is.
We know that people who go to church live longer - but the data shows that can be replacated by 1) a feeling of your purpose and place in the universe and 2) weekly connection and meeting with a community - and I think for some people, witchy-stuff replaces that for them.
One of the appeals to me of the more earth-based, less-organized belief systems is that - for me - they’re a self-awareness that they’re new systems of belief but that it’s only that we collectively have decided to believe them - so the value is less on the hierarchy, the “righteousness”, but on the fact that we like these rituals and traditions.
Ah, cool. So it’s not really a resuscitation of historical paganism so much as a brand-new thing constructed around some historically relevant things? And it’s being designed in a contractualist manner, interesting.
Yes, similar to most faiths, these practices are a modern adaptation of older practices. We no longer do most of the rituals of any religion that were done 1000 years ago, because they have been adapted. Very few people sacrifice their firstborn daughter to god on a rock, or blood let out of a calf.
Paganism’s practices, in particular, though, was shut down by a number of wars over the past 2,000 years and they have far less documentation than a lot of other religions.
For example, the book of mormon, which is about as recent as modern paganism - is used to supplement the bible, which is an old work that has been reinterpreted over the centuries.
As to this question: I consider myself a practicing stoic. I literally have a practice that I do daily, like a morning devotion, and I have rituals. I read many stoics and mediate on it and truly try to live my life in line with many (not all) stoic ideals. I have my own statement of philosophy that is informed by stoicism but also altruism, I call my little belief system Altruistic Stoicism, haha.
I think for me, I grew up christian but do not believe in christianity. I tried really hard to find another religion! I always noped out at a certain point though, the supernatural aspect was always a tough sell for me, and then I found that each religion had parts I agreed with and parts that I just couldn’t believe in or take on or that didn’t make sense to me.
So…why not just have nothing? I think this is a big misconception about people who are non-religious or even atheistic. Like when I was christian we called this group “nonbelievers” as if they were defined by the fact that they didn’t believe what I believed. But the thing is, I’m not not a christian only because I don’t believe Jesus is the son of god, etc, I’m also not a christian because I hold other beliefs instead.
I am as deeply invested in being a good person now as I was when I went to church. I still believe that a human is comprised of the actions they do, the thoughts they have, the words they speak. I believe in forgiveness and selflessness and love, but also in self-preservation and morality that works with human nature and not against it.
I studied a lot of religions and couldn’t find one that rang true to me, but stoic writings resonated with me instantly. They do reference gods, in passing, but the system of living itself doesn’t necessitate a belief in a deity. I also like that there are meditations on stoicism from many sources, there isn’t one book or a set doctrine.
Additionally, I feel very moved by science- especially the study of space time. I don’t actually believe reality is what we think it is, or that time is how we perceive it. So I feel like…with that in mind, what matters most is not whether there is or isn’t a creator, or a divine, it’s keeping our little human eyes on our own pages, and doing the best we can in our own tiny spheres, while maintaining perspective that we are just teeeeeeeny little specs in the span of existence. Like, when I look at the moon through my telescope…I feel a sense of connectedness (which I’ve heard described in some Buddhist and Taoist writing as well, I like some of those).
If there were a group of stoics that met I would definitely attend as I think there is great value in studying and discussing philosophy together.
I can definitely see stoicism in your writings, particularly the way you deal with your disability
And yes, there’s so such thing as “nothing” when it comes to beliefs because (small f) faith is something a priori in our relation to the world. In other words, unless you’re a super determined skeptic, we believe that the world our senses see is actually there, that we’re not in the Matrix.
But there’s, for example, no way to empirically validate the validity of empirical knowledge.
I know this sounds ridiculous but I always think, if an ant could speak to me, and it was very stressed out and having an existential crisis about its ant-life, what would I say? I would say, “don’t worry ant, just be the best ant you can be because you literally don’t know the context of ANYTHING”.