I’m Always Seeking a Spiritual Home

I’m kind of getting used to being in this sort of spiritual no man’s land, Interfaith-Tree1where I’m looking for a place to lay my head but it seems like everywhere I look is just this great expanse of emptiness. That could be an exaggeration. But honestly, I keep thinking the answer is out there just beyond my sight line, so close. Is there a spiritual home that exists in the world that fits all of my needs? I love paganism, and I love Judaism, and I even love Christianity a bit (but more in a nostalgic kind of way), but they don’t completely meet my needs. Are they even supposed to? It seems pretty selfish of me to ask something to meet my every need.

Judaism has structure and longstanding traditions and customs. I love that. I love, to a certain extent, having the roadmap sorta written for me. That’s not to say that there’s no wiggle room, but it in some ways makes it easier to be observant. The instructions are relatively clear! Although I say that knowing that I actually only know a very, very small part of the traditions and customs of Judaism, and some of them are quite complicated (and in an entirely new language for me). Every ritual is on paper somewhere, and discussed by scholars ad nauseum. Jews are not messing around, they take ritual pretty seriously and I really appreciate that. Paganism doesn’t have that kind of structure, at least not what I’ve experienced so far. There are rituals written down, but there are so many for one simple event! Look up “Winter Solstice ritual” in google and you’ll get probably 20 different rituals to choose from. Which one is best? How do you weed through all the flowery bullshit and get to some meaningful ritual that meets your needs (in my case, can be done solitary, without a whole lot of tools, and doesn’t involve a bonfire)? Continue reading

Stepping Back from Judaism

I am feeling more and more everyday that a jewish identity and a pagan identity are incompatible. As much as I love the idea of being a Jewitch, I worry that it is too much to have to fight for. I can’t find much of a community for those Jewitches, online or otherwise. Most resources online are really outdated– one blog dedicated to jewitchery hasn’t been updated since 2013. that’s twelve years of silence! Most people who define themselves as Jewitches are Jewish born women who follow a pagan path, but still culturally define themselves as Jews. They don’t participate in most (any?) Jewish practices, but because being a Jew is as much about ethnic identity as it is about religion, they are still considered Jews. Once a Jew, always a Jew– maybe a bad Jew, maybe a heretic, but still a Jew.  Continue reading

Even Candle Holders Are Important

I have added a new candle holder since I last talked about my altar. Look at this beauty!  It’s very sturdy and shiny and I’m sure would be great with regular sized taper candles. This is the type of candle holder I wanted when I first imagined what my altar would look like. It’s very antique-looking, and it makes me think of women back in theIMG_1132 day, lighting candles in their houses to light their workrooms as they mixed herbs and created home remedies for the common cold or something like that. And that makes me feel so witchy! Because part of witchcraft is connecting with those who have come before you, connecting with people who done what you do (or want to do). I’m not talking about practicing magic specifically, but more about relying on herb lore and being a little superstitious and taking care of house and hearth. They probably didn’t call themselves witches, and they certainly weren’t Wiccans. They were probably Christians or Jews or Muslim or any other kind of religious women who believed in their skills and the practices handed down to them generation by generation, and possibly (like me) believed there were forces out there beyond our understanding, and that was okay– they didn’t need to understand the intricacies of the universe to believe. That’s how I imagine myself being as I learn more about what it means to practice kitchen witchery. When I look at this candle holder, I think about all of that.

Healing through Storytelling

At my job we have this list called the Terms of Faith and Resistance and some of the groups that are facilitated here recite this list before every session. I’m newly imageacquainted with this list, but it already really speaks to me in a deep way and I feel like I can use it in my own life for healing. One of the terms is Tell the World my Story. I struggle with a few embarrassing/shameful things that are incredibly hard to talk about publicly, and I hold that shame silently and suffer for it. Part of the healing process is to share your story– you have no idea how important it is to have someone to listen to you, to hold space for your to share your most vulnerable experiences without judgement or unsolicited advice, just to be there and to say “I hear you.” It’s a validation of your humanity! Many of the clients that come through the building are spending their days feeling unheard, like they don’t exist, and when they come in here they may yell at us or become disruptive. But sometimes when someone stops them and listens to what they have to say, validates their feelings in some way, it really makes a big difference in that moment. Continue reading

3 Things To Boost Your Spiritual Practice

I don’t think I’m the only person in the world who sometimes has trouble walking the walk when it comes to spirituality/religion. Perhaps you’re new to a path and are struggling to move beyond the memorization of ritual to fulfilling connection to the Divine. Maybe you’re a longtime practitioner who’s become stuck on autopilot. Whatever the reason, it’s important to check in with how you’re doing, and if you need to, add a little something to revitalize your practice and live your faith. Here are some simple things you can do that can really boost your connection to Spirit even if you only have a few minutes to spare.

Animals pray, too!

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May Challlenge!

I’m taking this blog up a notch. I’ve decided that I need to start setting my plans to action instead of just talking about what I want to do– and not just in my spiritual life, but in my everyday life, too. I’m done talking about what I want to do and I’m ready to go for it! I want to jump in, not afraid of making mistakes or being less than perfect. So I’ve decided to do monthly challenges to keep me on my toes, and I’m going to document my progress here. The first challenge? Start my prayer book!

I’ve already decided on a name: The Snow Family Prayer Book. And I found a nice binder that is both functional and book-like on Amazon, and I’ve decided to use grid paper to fill it. This is just a “long term, temporary” space for all the stuff I collect, and eventually I will make an actual book with an actual cover. But for now, this is more than enough to satisfy my need for organization and spirit. This project is going to take more than one month to accomplish, and I think I’ll be adding stuff to this book for years. But my short-term goal is to 1) buy the binder, 2) buy the paper and accessories (pens, maybe some stickers, dividers, blah blah blah) and   3) add five prayers and five rituals by May 31st. I’m so ready to do this, I’m excited just typing about it!

I am very aware that next Friday is May 1st, Beltane. I think that would be a great day to dedicate the binder to it spiritual purpose and really make a public commitment to my challenge. And by public, I really just mean saying it out loud instead of here or in my head. So Friday I’m going to do a little ritual at home and consecrate it. And that will be the beginning of my prayer book!