I decided to do a reading last night on a change that I've been feeling and seeing for a while now. The truth of the matter is that I've been feeling very disconnected from Christianity for a long time now. I've never been 100% comfortable with it, in spite of the face that I have tried to present to people. I made a choice based on in part wanting to keep the peace in my house and in part on wanting to irritate someone who was nasty to me. Which I think we can all agree are not good reasons to choose a religion.
And I want to say that I feel that, in spite of the wrong beginning, I really did believe. Or maybe it would be better to say that I decided that I should believe, that I wanted to believe and so I believed that I believed. I wasn't lying, or at least not to anyone but myself. But I never felt quite exactly like I meshed. I did have moments of comfort and happiness, where I felt as though I'd found someplace that I could belong. If I was just going on feelings I could happily keep plugging along under the label of Christian because I feel good about it.
But here's the honest truth: I don't see any difference between the claims of Christianity versus the claims of any other religion, ever. Yes, there are different details, but what I mean is that the likelihood of any one of these faiths being correct is equal. So there's no automatic greater weight to be applied to Christianity simply because it's monotheistic and monotheism is so much simpler and more logical than polytheism. First, that's not true. Just look at the debates that rage in Christianity, whether you're Trinitarian or Unitarian. Or Judaism or Islam. Second, monotheism has been tried before, in antiquity. It didn't take off quite as well as it later did but it's not new.
This...really has little to do with what I'm saying though. Other than accepting that fact has made it easier for me to step back and really evaluate what I'm doing. I think, in part, I wanted to be Christian, or at least in the monotheistic tradition because that's what is common. It's what is expected, in many ways, unless you've become an atheist.
The truth of the matter though is that I have always understood the universe and divinity best through paganism. I have to admit and accept that I never really left it, even when I said that I was a Christian and had done away with the old 'superstitions' of my life. I never stopped worshiping some of the gods in small ways. I never stopped feeling the need to perform certain rituals. And when I *did* stop them, something reached out and reminded me. I debated, within my own mind whether or not it was an accident and a coincidence or not. And I don't believe that it was. It's too perfect with meaning and with the devotion that I had let slip.
Since I picked that devotion back up, I've felt better. More settled in my own soul and things have been looking up in my life in general. I know now that in the past my religion has been unbalanced. I'm not going to pick it up exactly the way that I left it because I left it for a reason. I was allowing my anger to control a great many things and my form of worship was one of them. And that's why, I think, it didn't work the way it's working now.
I feel like I'm finally seeing the path that's been beneath my feet the entire time.
So, that was rambling, all to get to the reading. I use a set of rune cards, for the moment. I plan on making my own proper rune set but I need to make them in stone rather than clay since I sleep with the runes beneath my pillow and I'm afraid clay would break. For the moment, the cards work well enough.
The way I do a reading is really simple. I shuffle the deck while concentrating on the question or the event that I want insight on. When I feel that I've got the focus right and given enough time I cut the deck in half (roughly) and draw the card on top of the bottom half. That's the first card. I will usually draw two more cards to further focus and clarify the answer.
Last night I did two readings on the same issue. The issue being whether or not I was right to let go of Christianity and follow what I was feeling.
These are my cards from the first reading:
Cen (Freya) - Asa (Odin) - Mannaz
Right. So Cen (Kenaz) was my first card. It's associated, in this deck, with the goddess Freya. There are a *lot* of meanings on different levels associated with each rune but I'm just going to focus here on the ones that apply to my question. On the mental level Cen is associated with insight. Spiritually, it represents enlightenment, a spiritual awakening or opening. It is a sign of guidance, a reminder that the spirits (or gods) guide believers along their chosen paths.
My second card was Asa (Ansuz) which is associated with Odin. For those unaware, Odin is the chief god of the Norse pantheon. Again, many meanings but it is wisdom, the gaining of knowledge and religious acts. Inspiration.
My third card was Mannaz, or Man as the cards call it. The meanings attached to this are the human intellect, rationality, memory and tradition.
It's a very good, positive reading! I was surprise that the message was so very straightforward and positive without any pitfalls or notes of warning. You get that, sometimes, where there's a message of progress but it comes with a second card that warns of delays or blocks in your life. That's why you draw multiple cards, in order to see further.
I was so surprised by the goodness of this first reading that I did a second one!
Asa (Odin) - Sol - Algiz
I got the Asa/Ansuz card first this time. Which actually just about knocked me on my ass. I've never done two readings back to back as it were and gotten the same card in both. Never. So we remember from the first reading that Odin is associated with this rune and that it's wisdom and knowledge. I personally associate Odin with self-sacrifice in the name of knowledge.
Sol (Sowulo) is a rune that means success, or favorable circumstances.
Algiz is a rune associated with the god Heimdall who is said to be all seeing. There's nothing that can be hidden from him. He's considered a protective deity. It means protection, success through effort at the end of a quest or a period of seeking.
Which all boils down to me getting two readings on the same question with very similar answers. It's...I'm not going to lie. It's very awesome.