"Spirituality is an ever-evolving thing, and while some folk can do that within the structure of one religion... some of us always have a weather eye on the horizon. We learn a bit here, and a bit there, and gather tools and souvenirs from every tradition we visit, but ultimately we prefer to keep on walking and do our own thing... I found that, when I could no longer reasonably call myself Wiccan, I was sort of floating in the Sea of Muddled Eclecticism, and I had to tread water for quite a while." -- from Becoming a Spiritual NomadI took this quote from her "Becoming A Spiritual Nomad" E-Course summary. Having once called myself "Wiccan" (also later finding the term lacking), her statement strongly resonated with my own experiences & my spiritual progression out of "formal" (if one could ever call it that) tradition & into the open wilderness of spiritual meanderings. After much consideration, deliberation & procrastination, I decided that taking her course would be an appropriate first step in following through with Goal # 4 of my spiritual "Will Do" list.
|The baby ate my homework.|
The other part of this week's exercises involves altars. This assignment suggested that folks with altars disassemble them (those without altars were one step ahead) & in their place, establish a simple, streamlined altar. Finally, we were instructed to complete a regular meditation before the revamped altar-of-simplicity.
|Crow Bells with Freya's seeds.|
I talked about this assignment with Hubby. He suggested I use the Crow-Bell altar. I felt that the kitchen was the last place I wanted to meditate on the divine, unless I was cooking. Cooking is a great time to meditate, but sitting on the floor in the kitchen facing a shelf is not.
I considered the woodstove, recalling a really lovely post about the magick of fire written by a blogger friend. Our woodstove is our primary heat source & is in many ways, the heart of our home. Yet when I envisioned sitting or lying before the fire in an attempt to get deep with the universe, it conjured images of the rest of the family around the corner; ever-busy, ever-noisy, ever-interrupting & the cats... oh, the cats... sauntering in to disturb the peace with scritchy-scratch destruction.
Besides, I was still hung up on the whole idea of sitting in front of an altar at all. So I asked myself why.
This was helpful & ultimately brought forth a memory which in retrospect, marked a significant turning point on my spiritual journey (although at the time I didn't recognize it as such).
For starters, I have never been to church. Ever. Well, I think I went once with a friend after a sleepover, but that's it. The entire idea of getting high on "God" indoors is pretty foreign to me. However, put me on the edge of a cliff overlooking a ravine or the ocean, throw me into a thunderstorm or into the bowels of a cave & my head will swim with transcendental reverb.
As I considered this more deeply, I recalled an event which probably forever killed the indoor altar experience for me. It turns out this was also my first lesson from my mycological muses. (Who knew? I sure didn't.)
|Fiddlehead ferns, courtesy WikiCommons.|
I had had such a wonderful, mystical experience outside in the shelter of the trees, listening to the plants, that I went to my altar in an effort to prolong the communion. What I found there was a bunch of stuff -- voiceless, spiritless stuff. I was profoundly disturbed & painfully disappointed. I gazed across a landscape of carefully selected, painstakingly organized "sacred" items & could see nothing but mute, impotent objects. It was terrible.
All those special, symbolic things -- the things I tended to so carefully, so lovingly arranged atop the hard-sided suitcase that my Grandmama once carried -- were suddenly just stuff. Worse still, when I woke the following morning, headache-stricken & miserable (but sober), it was all still just stuff. Weeks passed & my altar never reclaimed the sacred quality it once had. Without the heart to remove it, I let it collect dust. It was permanently, irrevocably, stuff.
I have never attempted spiritual communion before an altar since.
So, given the exercise, what could I do?
|Snow-dusted cliffs of Breakfast Canyon.|
I began my meditations on the night of the full Moon. My altar was perfect & the experience sublime. (I wrote about it in (Snow) Moonrise Over Mother & Child.) Each night has been different. Each one a lesson, a gift, although not always perfect or sublime. I hope to write more about these experiences & also some of the questions posed in the assignments, but now, I must sleep.