This weekend I am off to Groningen, a city in the north of this country. I will stay with a beloved friend who I haven’t seen in nine months. The train trip will take 3,5 hours, which for this country’s standards, is very long indeed. And the next four weekends will also be buzzing with social engagements. I have been and am pre-occupied with restoring and nurturing human relationships. And so, coming up with an interesting topic for the Pagan Blog Project has not been easy. Well, something that is interesting to my readership, that is.
But this is silly.
Religion or spirituality (choose the term of your preference) is first and foremost about connection, connections to: friends and family, our natural environment, the gods, ancestors and even pets. What religion, for me, is not about is private belief, especially when it remains ever private. Now read closely. I am not saying that belief is of no importance. I am saying that private religious beliefs or thoughts cannot lie at the heart of religion. Whenever a protestant says that believing in Jesus is what really matters, not the church visits ors the lighting candles, I wonder. When my sister-in-law states that Jesus Christ ended religion, I wonder.
I am private about my religious beliefs, and even more so about my religious practices. I may bechatty social being, loud at times, but as a true introvert, I am very particular about what I share with my friends. I am good in selective sharing. And I think this is a mistake.
I am the classic type 6 of the enneagram: most loyal to my friends and beliefs, and most distrustful of my own mind and judgement. Building relationships of trust matter even more to me than to most people. At the same time, I tend to project my own fears unto others, thus removing myself from others. I am a guarding and evasive person when anxious. And I am most private of those beliefs and ideas that actually matter, in order to protect them and myself from ridicule. I am over-protective. And this stifles my growth. Sharing thoughts makes me, a responsive creature, creative. Connected I thrive.
The things that matter most deserve being shared the most.
And so I showed a friend, a real friend, this blog. Soon I will spend a weekend with this friend while being on a ridiculous mini-cruise to Newcastle-upon-Tyne and possibly Durham. The trip is ridiculous, because we will be spending 28 hours aboard a ship and less than 8 hours onshore, but we will revel in its absurdity. We will drink wine, gaze at the horizon and share. And it will matter.
My sister-in-law has shared her plan of building a website for church-less Christians. She did this knowing that I am not a fan of Jesus. But then, she also married my atheist brother. I have taken the opportunity to tell her that I am involved in something similar with the Solitary Druid Fellowship, though without actually using the word ‘druid’. And why do I fear my brother’s judgement? He is often a pain in the butt, and knows how to hurt me best, but he married a Christian, did he not?
I will heed the message of Sannion and Galina, not to preoccupy myself to much with what other people (might) think. But not because I do not or should not care about their opinions (even if there is truth in that as well), but because I care about my religion. And my religion is about connection.
Ideas are free
and so should I be