My prompt for today's NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) was Spirituality.  Wow!  That's a big topic for me.  Spirituality is, for me, probably the central strand in the weave that is my life.  It, my own version, both anchors and colors the rest of the pattern.  I have been a spiritual seeker for as long as I can remember.  It's only been in the last several years that I've felt as though every other thread in my life's pattern is woven with my spirituality.  I feel, at this space in my life, whole.  It's taken a long time to find this spot.

This is a long post, and it may only be useful to me.  I am, at the core of my being, interested in understanding my Self, and writing the story of how I found my way here might open windows of awareness that have not been cracked.  Perhaps I'll discover a missing piece or an alteration that needs to be made.  If another person is interested in this story...lovely.  Perhaps another seeker, still early on the road will find it useful in some way, or maybe someone I've worked with in Healing or Runes will find it interesting.  I just don't know.  I'm simply going to write it and see what happens.
I used to say that I was raised Lutheran.  I no longer believe that's true.  I was baptized in a Lutheran church, and I passed through the various rites of passage in that church.  I went to church on Sundays, and for a couple years I went to confirmation classes on Wednesday nights.  That was it.  The edges of religion stayed tidily within the lines of the Trinity Lutheran Church on 7th Street.

We didn't talk about God or Jesus or religion at home.  Ever.

Church was just something that my Mom did, and she took me along with her.  I can say in all honesty and with almost 100% surety that at the time, my mother was really just going through the motions and hoping she didn't die before she figured her shit out enough to land in heaven.  She was (both of my parents were) pretty miserable back then.

So... I wasn't raised in the Church.  I just went to church and learned to recite the books of the bible.  

I remember the day I knew that I wouldn't stay.  I was 12 and in the 6th grade.  Y'all, I wanted God.  I did.  I wanted SOMETHING.  I've been a seeker my entire life.  So, my young, God-wanting Self approached the pastor of my church and asked a very serious question that had been plaguing my mind for a while.  

"What about the dinosaurs?"

He made the worst mistake that adults everywhere sometimes make.  He didn't take the time to answer my question.  

And that was it.

His humanity, the fact that he hadn't had a cup of coffee that day or was busy or just didn't know how to talk to me, flipped a switch in my mind.  Even though I would stay at Trinity for another 3 years and reach confirmation, I never trusted the leader of that church again.  That translated to, "Lutheranism is not for me."
I met one of the greatest people I've ever known in Edzell, Scotland.  He was a Lieutenant in the Navy, and he was a Catholic Priest. I liked him.  He was down to earth and kind.  He had a sense of humor.  His humanity was beautiful to my young, very sensitive Self.  (I could go into great detail about how much love and care he showed me over the 2 years that I knew him in Scotland, but that's for another day).

I converted to Catholicism. 

My then fiance was also Catholic, but I was working toward conversion before he and I began seriously dating.  I converted because this priest, this person TALKED to me.  He took me seriously, validated my feelings, and answered my questions.  At the time, it was enough.  It wasn't everything.  But it was enough.

I found most of the rest in the ritual of the Catholic Church.  I dig ritual, folks.  I love pomp and circumstance.  My senses explode when I smell incense burned in churches and sacred spaces.  Hymns and chants and toning can bring me to tears.  The colors, textures, silence, sounds, tastes - the ENERGETICS - flip my world and leave me quivery.  

And there was still something missing.

I didn't find God.  And I'd always been seeking...  SOMETHING. Something bigger than Human.
I was seduced away from the Church and from monotheistic religion by a Being that allowed me to dive all the way in, go deep, and experience some big Mysteries.  

The Ocean.

She seduced me.

I used to say I'd found God 60 feet below the surface of the water.  Though I might word that differently now, it's still basically true.  SCUBA diving gave me direct access to the immensity that I'd been seeking, and for a while that was enough.  I was satiated.  My Seeker Self was satisfied.  I felt held, awed, on the edge of terror, and comforted - all at once - every time I went in the water.

But there was still something...  Something not quite filled up.  A 7.5 oz glass of water that could be 8 ounces.

Here's a thing about me.  I want to know.  KNOW.  And the thing that I want to KNOW more than anything else in the entire multiverse is my Self.  SCUBA gave me access to the OUTER, the BIGGER.  THE OTHER.  It didn't give my then Self access to the Inner Depths.  And geez.  I wanted that.  So fucking bad. I really had no idea HOW much I wanted it, how badly I needed it.
In order to really get to my own inner depths, I had to go crazy, but that wasn't all that happened in the mid 90s to shift my path.

I discovered psychosis, the neo-pagan religion, Wicca, and Zen Buddhism all within a year or two of one another.  These three threads, were twisted together almost from the beginning, nearly becoming a single thread, and that thick, twisted strand has anchored my personal spiritual, religious, and human understanding, discoveries, and practices for over a quarter century.

My psychotic episodes introduced me to altered states of consciousness and gave me access to worlds and visions I'd never experienced.  I saw Freya cross the moon in her cat-drawn chariot long before I knew Her for the multifaceted powerhouse that She is.  I dedicated my inner work to Her years later.  I experienced inhabiting other people's emotions and physical sensations long before I learned and understood the concept of interbeing.  Empathy and compassion had never meant much to me before that experience; now, I cannot be in space with another human being, unless I am very conscious, without sensing the looseness of that boundary, and empathy and compassion are the foundations of my professional work. Finally, I danced with Kali in fire and jumped into her open jaws before I learned that she was the eater of time.  Ecstatic and trance experiences, now brought on through breathwork, touch, swaying, shaking and dance rather than psychosis and illness, are foundations in my life and in some of the healing work that I do with others.  Death and transformation ground almost all of my personal work.

Wicca gave me access to new rituals.  Personal rituals.  It opened the doors of magic for me and allowed me the space to be an active participant in my own religion.  (Yes.  Religion.  I consider myself a religious person - it was a hard pill to swallow, and it's another story, I think).  I was no longer dependent on an outside expert to tell me how to commune with the divine.  I began to design my own rituals, create my own stories, and dance the ecstatic dances that called my heart.  As an Earth-based religion, it fit with my powerful experiences of the Ocean and the lands that I'd walked over the course of my life.  I am not Wiccan. The way I define my Self and my religious practices has certainly changed, but Wicca opened the cabinet of curiosities and gave me the space to explore.  That exploration eventually led me to the polytheistic reconstructionist religion of Heathenry, which wasn't a perfect fit (again, a tale for another day) but remains the closest thing to my deep Truth.

Finally, Zen Buddhism, which in some ways was more frightening to me than psychotic episodes and trance journeys with death goddesses combined, came to my life as an academic study.  I couldn't immerse myself in Zen because the idea of Nothingness was just too scary.  Still, the practice of zazen and the slow, sure study of the nature of the mind oozed and eased its way into my Being.  The word, mindfulness, emerged, and that word and all that it entails has followed me both personally and professionally.  My work is always based in Mindfulness.  Without it, there wouldn't be anything else - including sanity.  I'm sure of this.
Let me tie this thing up by asking what the hell any of this has to do with the prompt, spirituality? What the hell is spirituality anyway? 

For me, Spirituality is Life.  My Connection to others, to my ancestors, to animals, and to the Earth is Spirituality.  It is my sense of serenity and power.  It is the energy that drives everything for me.  It moves the way that I think, feel and behave - the way that I treat others and run my life.  It is the way I make connections in time and space and the the things that I choose to read and learn about.  It's also the OTHER stuff, the magical stuff.  It's the trances, the ecstatic dances, the rituals that I do with my systers, the healing work that I do for myself and others, and my connection to the Runes.  Spirituality sits next to my religious practices.  The candles and incense that I burn for my ancestors, the lore that I study, and the large and small ritual observances that I engage in are tied together by my Spirituality.

And my personal Spirituality grew out of my experiences.  It doesn't include a connection to a monotheistic deity; in fact it has absolutely nothing to do with the Abrahamic religions at all.  There is no savior to look to either.  My experiences with trance and ecstasy, my direct experience of interbeing, and my understanding of mindfulness have come together in the package that is me.  Spirituality is Me at my deepest, most complicated, and at my simplest and most true. It is me, my life, and the way that I understand those things.

Now that I've come to the relative end, I think the story still fits.  What I mean by that is that my understanding promotes a sense of wholeness in me.  I FEEL this.  I KNOW this.  It is still my Truth.  I have had many truths over the course of my life, and some of them have caused me pain and fear.  This one doesn't.  This Truth feels like the fully put together 10,000 piece puzzle on the coffee table.  There may be more pieces to add as I get older, but there are no MISSING pieces now.  It's perfectly right.

For me.

Copyright Fálki Heiđdóttir


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