Spiritual Nomad: Week Two

I’m slowly catching up on Spiritual Nomad, which got off to a slow start due to illness.  Fortunately, I did a lot of it last year.  It’s nice to revisit everything, though.  I still have to dust and clean the shrines, but since they’re pretty much as they are when I set them up last year, they don’t really need much, if any, rearrangement.  Some of them do need more attention, though, which tells me I may have too many shrines around the house.  Some of them are just in bad places, though.  My house is a little small and cramped, so I tend to cram things where I can.  Consequently there’s a Lakshmi/Ganesha shrine on a high shelf that gets very little attention.  I should at least make a point of lighting a candle on each one once a week.  If I don’t go to church every Sunday, maybe that should be shrine and altar day.

This week’s task is a guru board: a collection of photos of people who dispel the shadows from my world.  I did this one last year, and I haven’t gained any new gurus in the interim.  I did, however, decide to take some off of the board: mostly fictional characters, whom I decided were inspirational, but not necessarily gurus.  It also left space on the board for new faces, should any present themselves.  I do need to write down why each person is a guru to me, though.

Another task for this week is to rebuild one’s altar if it was stripped bare the previous week.  Since I did this last year, all I’ll do this week is make sure there’s nothing extraneous, or missing.  Our cats use the space in front of one of the shrines as one of their main highways, so everything is being constantly shifted around on that one.  It needs some love, particularly since it’s the one honoring the main deity of our house.  She needs more honoring in general, so I’ll be focusing on that as well.  There’s also building on the practice of breathing in sacred space, so that needs to happen.

Week two came with a set of questions as well, which I also answered last year, so here are those answers, again, edited for changes in attitude in the interim.

1. Write in your journal about a spiritual experience you’ve never felt comfortable talking about because it seemed too “out there” or “silly.” Does it sound similar to any of those discussed in this week’s material?

Um, well, I married myself once. Which seemed really stupid until I saw someone do it in a much more magnificently ceremonial way. I still have the ring somewhere.

2. Once you’ve tried meditating with the three altar items you chose, try switching them out for three completely different items and doing your meditation with them instead.  Does it feel different? Being limited to only three, is there a fourth or fifth item that you really miss having in front of you in sacred space?

Not really applicable since my spaces didn’t come together that way.

3. Imagine you’re at a party and someone asks about your spiritual practices. How would you describe your unique flavor of Nomadism in, say, 30 words or less? Ask yourself this same question again at the end of the Nomad course to see how your path and your priorities change.

I usually say I’m a Buddhist Pagan, or a Buddhist Pagan Naturalist, or sometimes just a Buddhist Naturalist. Which is probably redundant. Sometimes I just say I’m Buddhist since it seems like a good umbrella for everything I believe in and do. Of course, I’ve been working on my Nomad tendencies even before taking this course, so I’ve had time to distill my religious self-definition.

4. What is one thing a lot of people you know seem to find inspiring that you just don’t get? Is it simply not appealing to you or are you resisting it for other reasons? It’s just as important to know where you don’t find inspiration as where you do – and if something feels off, it’s important to figure out why so you’ll know what to look for in future explorations.

“Women’s Mysteries”. I know my opinion is colored by personal experience, which hasn’t given me a whole lot of reason to celebrate my womanhood, but I really do not get all that stuff, or like it. I also don’t get many ritual aspects of Wicca, paganism, and modern magic. I’ve always hated the whole “cone of power” thing and have had to suppress laughter on more than one occasion, because it’s rude to make fun of someone else’s rituals and beliefs (since writing this I have participated in a ritual using the ‘cone of power’ that I found very satisfying and not cheesy in the slightest, so my opinion has shifted somewhat). I’m also not so big on the whole God/Goddess dichotomy. I understand the nature of duality of the Universe, but I don’t like the way Wicca/paganism celebrates that duality. I find it simplistic and restricting.

I can’t say exactly why I don’t like these things, for the most part. They just don’t feel right to me, although I’m still strongly drawn to other aspects of Wicca/paganism/magic. This was a point of great confusion to me for a long time, like I wasn’t being a good pagan or something. After a great while of estrangement from the greater pagan community, I realized it wasn’t the “pagan” I liked, it was the community and the chance to spend time in nature. I’ve felt a lot less restless from a spiritual perspective since I figured that out and made peace with it.

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