Recently the subject of religion vs. spirituality has come up quite a bit so I thought I would discuss my thoughts and feelings about this subject. Please note that I am speaking of my own experiences and opinions, and I do not judge any religion or belief.
Looking up the definition of religion vs. spirituality I came across this definition found on https://chopra.com/:
Religion: By definition, religion is a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices; the service and worship of God or the supernatural. At its core, religion is about faith. Belief in something based upon unconditional acceptance of the religion’s teachings. Unlike the scientific worldview, religions don’t require evidence to validate their claims. Through religion, you are taught to have faith in God or the scriptures as being the infallible and ultimate truth of reality. Acceptance and surrender to the divine are taught as the path that leads to ultimate salvation.
Spirituality: Spirituality, on the other hand, connotes an experience of connection to something larger than you; living everyday life in a reverent and sacred manner. Or as Christina Puchalski, MD (leader in trying to incorporate spirituality into healthcare), puts it, “Spirituality is the aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose and the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, and to the significant or sacred." Spirituality doesn’t dismiss faith; however, it often leans more heavily on direct experience of the soul or divinity. Spiritual practices such as meditation, yoga, silence, and contemplation allow you to make conscious contact with more expanded states of consciousness, thus helping to experientially validate the teachings rather than accepting them on faith alone. You know something because you have tasted the experience yourself and have allowed it to resonate, as opposed to taking the word of another.
Although I am a practicing Pagan, I consider myself more spiritual then religious. I was born and raised in the Catholic Church and for most of my life the Catholic Church played a major role, I was even in the convent for three years. But it was in the convent where I really started questioning that faith and there was just so much I could not believe in and it just no longer “fit” me. After leaving the convent I began searching for something that felt right to me, I started searching for something that spoke to my soul. I found that in Witchcraft and started practicing witchcraft as a religion, but it ended up giving me so much more.
I know and understand that many Christians believe witches worship Satan, well that is so far from the truth. Witches practice and believe in love and connection. We believe that we are all connected to everything around us, including our earth. We do not judge others but accept everyone for who they are and what they believe. Wicca or Witchcraft is a beautiful religion if you truly know what it is about and it felt like home to me.
Now, I am not suggesting that my religion is for everyone, but I find having a religion helps to balance and grow my spirituality. My religious practices re-enforces my spiritual beliefs and behaviors. I believe that religion teaches those lessons that spirituality calls us to live. Religion may not be for everyone, and I know many who are spiritual, but have no religious connection. You do not need a religion to be spiritual. Spirituality is about listening to your soul and respecting yourself and others. Spirituality is about honoring all the ways we are connected to each other and our planet and all life on our planet. It is about understanding that there is something greater than ourselves.
Spiritual for me is that moral compass. It gives me direction and teaches me about the person I am and want to be. It is the foundation that I build everything on. My spirituality drives me to be a healing practitioner and to be true to myself. It is about belief, faith, and trust.
I once had a conversation with my sister about her religion vs. mine. It was a time when she was feeling very lost, she had just lost her husband and she was doing some soul searching. Being Christian, my sister always feared for my soul for as a Pagan, Psychic, and Medium, according to her beliefs I was going to hell.
She expressed her anger at her God for she was really struggling, and, in her eyes, she was doing everything she was supposed to be doing. She was praying, she was attending church, she was honoring her faith to best of her ability and yet she felt like nothing was working out for her. She turned to me and said I don’t get it, you practice witchcraft, turn to Tarot cards and do all the things we are told to stay away from and everything works out for you, what am I missing?
I turned to her and asked her “do you believe in your God?” and she said yes. I then asked, “do you trust your God?” and after giving it some thought she said no. I told her there is the difference for I trust my Gods and Goddesses completely and that I understand the answers are not always going to be what I want, but it will always be what I need. That to me is spirituality. I live what my religion teaches me to the best of my ability and trust the outcome even if that outcome is painful at the time, I trust it will bring me to a better place in my life.
Spirituality and religion play a major role in my life, but I claim to be spiritual not religious. I always strive to live spiritually and be the best person my soul is called to be. So, when searching for something more or fulfilling find what speaks to your soul and when you find it, trust it. Don’t let fear define what you believe.
May you always feel the peace and love from whatever Divine Being you follow or whatever faith you have. May you always have the freedom to believe in a power that makes you better than you are now. Do not be afraid of the search and questions, spirituality is not meant to be restrictive, but rather it opens doors that our souls long to walk through.
I wish you all blessings for your journey and the magic that comes with that journey!
Reminder that I will be on vacation the week of April 17th! Please note that the Metaphysical Discussion Group WILL STILL be held on April 20, 2022 even though it falls on the week I am taking off. I hope to see you all then.