Pagan, spiritualist, rationalist, atheist, witch, Buddhist, Gnostic… Which am I? All of the above, and none of the above. To try and fit my beliefs into one neat, little category just simply isn't possible. I take and learn from all schools and traditions wherein the spirit is concerned.
My Religion? I Call It "Shanna"
The only man who ever behaved sensibly was my tailor; he took my measurements anew every time he saw me, while all the rest went on with their old measurements and expected them to fit me.
- George Bernard Shaw
No one religion can encompass all that I am, believe in, and practice. I do not have a "religion". I have my set of beliefs - call them Eclectic, if you must call them something. I am Shanna; nothing more and nothing less.
I feel that how you live your life is the true sign of your beliefs. You may call yourself something, but act in complete opposition to the things you claim to stand for. The test of one's devotion to their beliefs is how they live their life.
I was never one that could be pigeonholed into any type of pre-set ideals or labels. I've always fallen somewhere in the middle - or had enough aspects of each to be able to claim both. My mother always said I was a walking contradiction - the only person she knew who was both the original and the opposite of many things. It can get confusing to live such a life, believe me.
Yet, the thing that has always driven and interested me the most deeply was the mysteries of the esoteric sides of life and beyond. I have always been fascinated by the things most people would just as soon not think about. My goal is enlightenment. To me, nothing is more important. When I am dead, it is the only thing that will have mattered - the advancement of my soul for the betterment of all.
All Is One
There is only one religion, though there are a hundred versions of it.
- George Bernard Shaw
I believe that all religions are basically the same. At their very core, each and every one revolves around the same thing - love. I love studying ancient belief systems, and my personal beliefs encompass many varied ones.
I was raised Christian; baptized Methodist as a babe and confirmed Methodist at the age of 12. My interests in astrology go back as far as I can remember - though I was fearful of "going to hell" and that did stop my earliest attempts at learning more of this ancient art. When I was around 15 or 16 I read Linda Goodman's "Sun Signs" and hence was born my unquenchable astrological thirst. I've been casting charts for more than 9 years now - wanting to prove to and for myself that this stuff really worked. It has never been wrong, or even slightly off. Around this time I met a young woman, close to my age, who was a Witch. She taught me a great deal of what I know now about Tarot Cards. I currently have two decks (Palladini and Sacred Circle), yet rarely do readings - even though my friends often beg me to. Around the age of 21 I found Witchcraft and Paganism and finally found a home - a belief system and way of life that was in tune with Nature, and even accepted and practiced the arts I'd been doing for years - astrology and Tarot! Since then, my studies - various readings and much deep thought - have led me even beyond my beloved Pagan ways of life. Today I am heavily interested in Buddhism. I jokingly call myself a Buddhist Pagan - but the fact remains that in a few years, I will probably have moved on to studying something else.
I believe in reincarnation and study often, also, ancient Egyptian magic and beliefs. I am currently learning more about the Chakras and Kundalini, have delved into Astral Travel, the supernatural, communication with the dead, gypsy magic, the lost Atlantis, and aliens (though not in the traditional sense of the word). As I said, my beliefs are wide and varied - taken from many belief systems. I am my own religion. There is nothing more noble than to sit and seek your own Truth. What speaks to your soul will speak to no other - "religion" is a personal thing.
Spirituality In Our Society
Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering.
- St. Augstine
One of the problems with today's world is that we've become so apathetic about our spiritual sides. In our present fast-paced life there is no time for working on the soul - it takes everything you have to keep your body and mind in good health - and even that we often fail at. There is little room for the esoteric in our technology-ridden society. Material and worldly possessions blind us to what is truly important. A hard life where you never seem to make it erases compassion and civility from our every day tasks.
In this Aquarian Age, many people are breaking away from the traditional Church, and Christianity - like all other popular religions before it - is seeing the end of its 2000-year reign. All "mainstream" religions have lasting power of about 2000 years. The "New Age" that is coming about isn't, in fact, new at all. People are becoming more spiritually aware, even as our advances as a society take us further away from such precepts. People are practicing and believing in things that were taboo only twenty years ago.
Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, the must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.
- Thomas Jefferson.