tonight my heart is cold

the hand behind this pen relives a failure every day
the hand behind this pen relives a failure every day

Sometimes I wish I was Catholic. Or, rather, I wish I had the same sort of vehicle for purging my negative emotions as confession. To be able to go to a respected elder and say “Forgive me, for I have sinned. I have allowed weakness to infect me. I have fallen lax in my spiritual duties. I have allowed confusion to take over my mind and cloud my vision, weakening my determination and ambition.”

And for hir to respond with “The Creator loves and blesses you, child. Use Hir strength to carry you onward and bring purpose to your actions.”

Or something similar.

I just feel really alone somedays, on this path. And that makes sense — it’s kind of me, dealing with this, by myself. The other people who might understand are far away from me. And while I can get in contact with them, it’s not the same sort of feeling I would have being able to go to a dedicated building to our shared spirituality, where I could talk to someone wise whose job is to offer advice and solace to the spiritual community.

A sin is an act against God. We are all expressions of that boundless love, of the Creator and Her energy. To act against one another in anger and hate, to act against ourselves, is a sin. And I’m desperately searching redemption.

8 Comments


  1. I think a lot of us get that way at times. I had similar thoughts back in December, when I had stopped worshiping my gods as I should have been doing all along. I wanted someone or something that could connect with me. I wanted an entire congregation that could understand what it was that I was thinking/feeling. In the end, I came to grips with it.

    The path of a pagan is a solitary path, for the most part.

    Have you looked into attending an UU church? Apparently, they’re pretty kick ass. DarkHawk is always posting about what the pastors say on her blog…

    Reply

    1. I’ve attended Unity Church before (not actually sure if they were UU or not) and it saved my life — quite literally — back in high school. Being in that youth group gave me an amazing source of fellowship with other teens who were spiritually inclined but didn’t necessarily want to sit in on service. And it definitely wasn’t heavily Christian — the church came from a Christian background, but it was of the “We worship pure love, which Christ was a physical expression of, and we all have a Christ-self within” — definitely something I can get behind, even as a Pagan.

      Anyway, I left them when I was…17? 18 maybe. Since then I’ve had some major crises of faith. And I pick myself back up after every one, but sometimes I really just want to say fuck it and join something like Catholicism because I’m so damn tired of doing it alone, of not having clergy I can actually freaking talk to. (No, talking to the Wiccan priests doesn’t cut it. Especially when I’m not terribly opposed to using curses from time to time. They frown upon that.)

      Reply

  2. *hugs*
    I hear you.
    This is the most difficult part of a solitary path. To stick to it and handle it, even if we have days we would prefer to be not so solitary.

    Reply

    1. Thank you. :) *hugs back*

      Reply

  3. As an ex-catholic the whole topic of sin and absolution and redemption stirs a whole hell of strong feelings in me, so I hope I’m not coming across too strong here. (I won’t be insulted if you decide to delete my post.)

    I see this whole ‘you’re sinful and need our absolution’-game of the church as spiritual abuse to bind followers to them (I’m not saying every Catholic person plays this game, but a few do and I suffered a lot personally). For me it’s the same as if a doctor would tell me that I have a terrible illness and only he alone can cure me. I have played along the rules of that game much too long and much longer than I was conscious of it.

    What really helped me is to finally realize that people don’t earn forgiveness and happiness (from being pious or repending). There just *is* happiness and understanding for everyone. There are deities like Kuan Yin who would never turn me down if I asked for understanding and compassion. (I don’t say forgiveness, because in her eyes I can’t commit sins anyway.) And I guess Jesus isn’t so bad there either, but I never had much of a connection to him because his big dad was always kind of in the way for me…

    And there’s also the ability to forgive and understand oneself. I don’t mean justifications, I mean acceptance of what one has done and not done, of what one can and cannot, of how one *is*. In my opinion if the function of ‘forgiveness’ is taken up by a spiritual hierarchy like a church a person is robbed of hir own power to accept hirself as she/he is and gets dependant of external acceptance (by the spiritual hierarchy).

    I’m not sure I’m helpful. I can understand the need to have other pagans for moral support. I really feel that myself often enough. I think everyone needs that and I miss a lot of this too. I think there’s a kind of support which isn’t ‘redempting’ you as in giving you what you ‘can’t’ give yourself, but accepting *what is* together.

    I’m really not sure I’m expressing myself well, there might also be different concepts behind the words ‘sin’ and ‘redemption’. I believe one could commit wrongs, like hubris or just plain neglect…and such might need reconcilliation or even forgiveness from the offended deity, but I really have a problem with the words ‘sin’ and ‘redemption’ because for me they imply that there’s something inherently wrong with the ‘sinful’ person and I just can’t imagine that whatever you have done or neglected to do make you a sinful person.

    That’s just my honest personal take. I really hope I’m not offending you. I don’t say that the way you see your own ‘spiritual state’ is wrong. I might be completly off and putting my worldview over you while I completly don’t get what you talk about.

    This is complicated.

    *cooks tea*

    Reply

    1. I won’t delete your post. I have a philosophy about owning one’s words. :)

      You didn’t offend me, but I think mayhap my meaning was lost, which isn’t your fault — I don’t come from a Christian or Catholic background at all, though there was enough Christianized secularity around me to have an effect all the same. So I have different assumptions about words like sin and redemption and what they mean.

      One of my other blogs was called Sin and other Salvations: Katje’s frank self-assessment. The traditional concept of sin doesn’t jive with me, and I don’t believe that people are inherently sinful, or flawed creations. Well, we’re flawed, but it’s flaws that make perfection and wholeness a possibility (perfection being wholeness in my eyes). I do believe that sins are possible, and that there is one definition for sin: an act against God.

      That means we have to get into my definition of God and what acts against Her would be. God is a word we use to describe the universe. The force, the energy that binds us and gives us breath. Everything has spirit, and I believe that all those spirits are interconnected.

      That doesn’t mean that I am the same as a tree — that means the tree is my brother, because his spirit is part of that same divine force that my spirit is part of. And so cutting my initials into his bark is a sin because it harms him and is not an action that’s part of the cycle of life and living. Cutting him down to make a log to build a house to shelter me is not a sin if it’s done with respect for his being — I need shelter, and if he doesn’t want to give his life for that I will find a different tree who does.

      Part of this definition is the acknowledgement that an act against myself is a sin against god. This particular post was referring to something specific in my own life, but I didn’t really wan to talk about it then when I was wallowing in my own weakness. I posted this on a night when I was about to break my seven months of sobriety from alcohol. I was an inch away from going out to the liquor store and getting some Jack and downing the bottle.

      Falling off the wagon is an act against myself and a sin. I fucking hate programs like AA because they emphasize helplessness. “Oh, it’s all up to god — I can’t actually beat this myself, He needs to do it for me!” Bullshit. I have stayed sober for 7 months riding on my own strength, occasionally calling on friends for help — which I am happy to have. Without my friends I am nothing and I realize this — individualism is also a lie. We need community and support and we need friendship or we’ll die. Which is why programs like AA really work for some people. But I’ve read the 12 steps and based on those I refuse to be a part of the program because I cannot agree with “giving up my power” to a higher being.

      No, sorry, the higher beings, the gods, gave me this power — what a slap in the face to refuse it. And why would I want to make myself feel more powerless in the face of alcohol. “Help, god, I can’t do this alone.” What if god doesn’t answer? They don’t, always. Sometimes I need to find the strength myself. What if it’s during one of my weak points?

      Oh, then I can just blame the gods for my slipping, and continue to not take responsibility for anything.

      When I speak of wanting to confess, I mean I want to go and talk to one of the Elders (which I may do soon; the Elders in the First Nations Studies programs at our school are really awesome) and just confess all of my feelings: I feel like a terrible person for letting myself become an alcoholic when I know it runs in my family. I feel like a terrible person for judging people who drink now that I’ve quit. I feel like stopping the medication that reacts badly with alcohol and started me on this path to self-realization and sobriety just so I can have one little drink. To me, this is weakness because I know these feelings are bullshit and I should just be able to push them away. But I’m not, and I need support. So instead of a response like “Say 10 Hail Marys and get out of my confessional booth,” I would want a response like “The Creator loves you no matter what, and you have that strength. You just need to reclaim it for yourself.”

      That response puts power in my hands again, but it also gives me a place where I can say the things I need to get off my chest so I can breathe again.

      Anyway, I hope this cleared up the confusion from my post. :)

      Reply

  4. I think I understand what you mean now. Phew, it’s also hard to me to wrap my mind about a definition of ‘sin’ which isn’t Catholic, because it’s one of the first religious words I’ve learned as a child.

    “The Creator loves you no matter what, and you have that strength. You just need to reclaim it for yourself.”

    There were times where I had desperatly needed something like this, but I never found a human who said this to me. I think it’s a big spiritual gap that there are so few elders who could say something like this to people who are searching and struggling on their ways.

    It’s really what I connect to some deities like Kuan Yin or Isis, this unconditional love and acceptance. I don’t think one does need to ‘submit’ to a higher power, but there’s a certain act of letting be that could feel a bit like submission. It’s not actually submission, but acknowledging that there’s some deity which loves you despite the fact that there are things about yourself you don’t love. And when I realize this I accept this love and I also accept myself and so I find my own strength to live on.

    I’m not sure I’m making myself clear. I’ve found that when I just fight against a habit of myself I don’t like it doesn’t help much because I’m continuing when I don’t know what else to do. Part of myself does need the ‘bad’ habit for comfort and even more so when I hate myself for it. Trying to make oneself better can be very hurtful for the self. But when I love myself it’s much easier to exchange a bad habit for something much more fun and healthier, because I deserve it. Sometimes a deity can show me this power. It’s not because I’m weak and need the love of the deity because I can’t love myself, it’s because sometimes one looses connection to one’s one powers and deities can show you how to reconnect.

    I’m not trying to advise you, just trying to tell how this is for me. I’ve been in hard places myself.

    Reply

    1. *hugs*

      It’s a difficult tangle of emotions and thoughts, that’s for sure.

      For myself I’ve been concentrating more on accepting myself than loving myself. I find it’s difficult to love myself if I can’t accept how I am or what I do, so if I start with acceptance love should follow. And if it doesn’t, I have acceptance and that’s damn good.

      That means accepting my negative emotions along with my positive ones; it means accepting the flaws with the perfections. Where I have trouble is the wallowing. I have chronic depression, so acceptance can quickly turn into a manic obsession. I have to be strict with myself. And sometimes that means escapism into workaholism or too many episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. Whatever gets me through the day.

      This is why the tough love approach of Morrigan and Brighid works so well for me. I also like the more gentle approach of Manannan, but He’s not my Main Thang, you know? More like the uncle I run to when I can’t handle my snarky aunts anymore. XD

      However, I have been told by someone who works a lot with Kuan Yin that I’ve been “marked” by Her, or at least that’s how it seemed. Something I found interesting, as my mom raised me in her Buddhist faith and got me focused on Tara — Kuan Yin’s divine sister, if you will. So there’s something there, but not anything I can explore at this point (my Celtic deities are taking all my energy and time, believe me).

      Anyway, I’m going to tie this up before my words devolve into drool. I’m super-tired and won’t be making sense fairly soon.

      *hugs* again.

      Reply

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