Expand your conscious mind to limits where you've never imagined.
It's April and I am writing this at a restaurant down the street from where I live: Maxwell's Bar & Bistro, 340 Elgin street ( Home to the only Co-ed\Bi\Poly group in Ottawa, Last Sunday of each month). Maxwell's is this Month's sponsors. So remember "Go to Maxwell's & Drink Deep."
So now onto the show. Religion. I've read of many writers who have gone through the change, witnessed the rapture, came out and ran away from the good book of the "one god" whose cryptic riddles priests interpret every Sunday from 11am-12pm (check local listings for the time the show starts in your neighborhood) But I've never read the experiences of those who began the search afterward. If you are reading this and have written on this topic, please drop me a line and the URL, I need all the help I can get.
I'd been shopping for religion for nearly a year now. Like many people, I knew Christianity wasn't for me. So, I went to church for the last time in late October (Canadian thanks giving) During which point I got physically ill (I've feel nauseous inside churches ever since I was a kid) and had to go outside. After the sermon (something to do with there being no designated path toward heaven only just being you and doing God's will; which left me with the Calvin Klein fragrance slogan in my head "Just Be" and the thought of a man on a cross surrounded by waif apostles looking rather bored but I digress...) After the service, I told my father that I had lost my faith. He took this in, considered for a moment and told me of people who did not believe but on their deathbeds decided to pray or those who pray when they are in pain or dire straits. I responded: "But what if I don't pray?" He responded "I think you have to answer that yourself." I think I just did, Dad.
The thing that both appealed to me and aggravated me about religion was the Dogma, The all encompassing "RULES" set in the stonefaced preachers and mystic Gideon bibles from Tacoma to Yellow Knife, a sterling path on which to follow one's God's sterling example. A book of fuzzy "parables" which allow mankind to find a clear and present path to the pearly gates of heaven.
When I first started "shopping for a new religion," I found there was no Other Good Books with lots of rules! Well at least not in the religions I was interested in learning. Just a group of belief systems and a peaceful will to achieve them and to quote U2, "I still haven't found what I'm looking for?"
The problem: I found that the area of knowledge that I'm interested in but there is some thing inherently awkward about entering an occult shop (or bookstore of alternate religions) approaching the counter and saying in a perpetually cracking voice.. "Uh, hi, I'd like to get involved in Wicca, where can I get more information or sign up?" (Like there is some kind of recruiting office)
There is also the fact that I fit the demographic of the "20-something pagan wannabe" which only adds stigma when inquiring about a belief system. I still haven't found what I'm looking for. So far I've found the history of paganism and the fundamentals of ritual magic. The rest, as they say, is vapor.
Next month, an agnostic's foray into Alt.pagan... wish me luck.
As always, resources feedback or questions to be directed at firstname.lastname@example.org My oasis writers directory is located at http://www.storm.ca/~ajax/ej.htm