I had planned to work on learning cross stitch today when my daughter went down for a nap. She unexpectedly decided to take a nap much earlier than usual and I was in the middle of 100 things and wound up. So instead of rushing to pull everything out to get to work I stopped what I was doing (setting handspun yarn by washing it) and decided to have some time for quiet religious reflection of a sort.
I have been thinking about my life and how it is spun together (I’ve been working with a lot of roving lately so excuse that) with my religious beliefs. I always called my Pagan (I have only been a Heathen since 2008 but was a Pagan long before then) practices my “spiritual” practices. When I mentioned the word “religious” my mind automatically went to Christianity. I had only ever seen the term connected to mainstream religions and most often the Christian faith. Even the term “faith” had the same connections. So it was something I stayed away from using.
However, Heathenry is my religion. I live it. I breathe it. I think about it every day. It inspires me and everything I do. From my family planning and lifestyle, to the work I adorn my body with, to feeding my family, to crafting and beyond. It’s more than just being spiritual. I don’t like invalidating my faith by saying it is anything but my religion. “Path” is another term I see used instead of religion by Pagans and Heathens. I admit I use it often but mostly because I need a bigger variety of words to use. I don’t want half of the words in my writing to be “religion” or “religious.” It’s not wrong to use the term “path” as I see it compared to solely using “spiritual” and ignoring your specific path as your religion (not everyone’s practice is such so “spiritual” works for them). Heathenry is my path. My religious path. That’s not to say I don’t have other things that influence me. I have practiced Witchcraft far before I knew that is what it was. I consider myself a Witch and can see it in my broader family as well. It’s less something I found in a book and wanted (in my case knew I was) to be and much more like the communities with folk beliefs they don’t tie to Witchcraft and the practices they have. That is apart from my religion. I want to make that clear for those who scoff at my mixed practices. It has little to do with my religious life.
I see some of the things I post and how some Heathens turn their head to the side confused. That I may not be doing it “right” in their eyes. Some of what I do isn’t directly pulled from some text or dig where they made conclusions on what MAY have been practiced. There wasn’t a unified religion during the time of the Vikings (no idea why many heathens stop there as if Scandinavians suddenly popped out of the ground like Cabbage Patch Kids in 600 C.E.) so to tell me something is wrong is kind of mind boggling. You would think we would be allowed to grow, change and adapt practices to modern times. Some don’t see it as such despite using modern tools and such in their blots, etc. Being knowledgable about the practices, culture, stories and such of our ancestors (spiritual or blood) is one thing. I highly support that. Forcing yourself to do everything as they might have based on whatever you read? Not so much. It’s great if it works for you. Going through the motions and not getting anything from it isn’t. Some things (physical objects you might see in pictures) of mine are leftover from my Pagan days, were gifts, belong to my husband or simply are something I like and do no harm. I doubt the gods are offended by my scented candles from Michaels or the gargoyle statue I have had for years now (family practice I learned from my mother).
On another note I’m glad I did this instead of crafting as my child had a very short nap and woke up screaming. Teething is brutal.