My Spiritual Journey.
A bit convoluted for a blog post.
Before I go too far back, say, right back to when I was eight and used to sit in church admiring a photo of Jesus on the wall at the end of the pew (yes, I thought it was a photo—an assumption that rested unquestioned in my psyche until I was about, um, forty) let me say right here that I have never publicly articulated my spiritual beliefs.
And now here I am, making Part Two of my Year in Review, all about my spiritual journey.
I said to Himself, ‘How can I write about my spiritual journey? I haven’t even meditated for SIX MONTHS.’
He said, ‘Well, write about that. Tell the people how you’ve fallen off the wagon.’
‘I have NOT fallen off the wagon! Sheesh. Just because I haven’t meditated doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned my spirituality.’
And I guess that’s the thing.
Sometimes, we get so caught up in the externals, the publicly sanctioned externals, we forget that a large part of spirituality (most of it, really) is about our inner life, our feeling life.
Our connection to the divine.
Our thoughts about the…ineffable.
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
Opening lines, God’s Grandeur, Gerard Manley Hopkins
I like my spirituality to be threefold:
1 It needs to be intellectually stimulating.
From the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, (Jesuit Priest, Oxford Scholar, all-round Super Poet, to Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda, to the writings of Carl Jung or Clarissa Pinkola Estes, I want to be on a spiritual journey that makes my brain crackle and spark.
2 It needs to be practical.
My spiritual life must make me a kinder person, more patient, compassionate, grounded and connected. And more resilient.
3 It needs to resonate intuitively.
For me, a worthwhile spiritual practice needs to transcend the intellect. It needs to take me beyond mind (which is so inextricably beholden to ego, logic and cultural constructs), into a greater realm—the Higher Self for want of a better term.
Most Pagans see the universe and all its parts as rare, precious, and worthy of appreciation, respect and careful handling.
This year, I’ve spent much of my time contemplating Paganism.
How does this sit with my Threefold Criteria?
1 Paganism is intellectually stimulating.
I enjoy reading about it and researching it. In studying Paganism, I have broadened my ‘cosmic’ worldview and expanded my knowledge in many areas, from the history of religion, to a more comprehensive understanding of the concepts of Deity, the chakras and Magick (with a k).
2 Paganism is practical.
My interest in Paganism, and in Goddess Permaculture, plays out every day in my garden and in the choices I make in the marketplace of Life.
While I am by no means militant, I do strive every day to make mindful choices; buying second-hand, vintage or locally made whenever I can, composting, limiting and, in many cases eliminating, the use of chemicals in our home and garden.
I’ve even stopped dying my hair!
And, this Christmas when the gang said, ‘Where are the bonbons, Queen Jen?’ I told them they could bloody well clink their glasses instead, make up their own stoopid jokes and save Mother Earth from another truckload of crappy landfill.
Pagans are filled with awe and wonder at the mysteries of the universe and believe that its sacred nature imposes a burden of stewardship on humanity.
3 Paganism resonates intuitively.
Well, der. Box ticked.
Everything is sacred and alive (that is, shares the spark of consciousness or intelligence) and each part of the universe can communicate with each other.
One sunny afternoon, a year or so ago, I was on a train into the city (Melbourne). I’d been studying Eckhart Tolle‘s, The Power of Now, and I was in the zone. Totally in the Now.
I could almost ‘see’ the quantum field around me, sense the interconnectedness of every single thing, alive or inanimate.
I got on the train, and a young Japanese women sat down across from me.
She looked straight into my eyes and nodded, ever so slightly.
I returned her gaze and nodded back. Ever so slightly.
She was in the zone, too. No question about.
Talk about like attracting like.
For the next twenty minutes we sat in blissful contemplation of the ENORMOUS world around us, OBSERVING the world rather than participating in it, devoid of judgement and inner commentary, smiling quietly at each other now and then, like lovers with a delicious secret.
Only we were total strangers.
Then the train pulled up.
The clang and bustle of Flinders Street crashed in on us.
And that was the end of that.
In many ways, that experience stands as a metaphor for how I have always experienced spirit or if you will, God. As flashes of brilliance, of insight, of irrefutable connectedness in an otherwise mundane world.
Which leads me to the Tarot.
I’ve always been intrigued by the Tarot.
I love the mystery and theatre of it.
I’ve sought readings now and then, mainly when I’ve felt particularly lost or confused, and I’ve always found them helpful…
Except for that one time when I instinctively knew the woman doing the reading was a complete and utter ninny, and she proceeded to tell me a whole lot of BLETHERING CLAPTRAP. In fact, the reading was so bad, so SILLY, that even the tape recorder spat the dummy.
When I got home and tried to play the tape back, the woman sounded like a chipmunk on steroids. God it was funny.
Lesson? Trust your intuition. Honestly, I think Intuition should be a proper noun.
As an English major and an author, I’m big on symbolism. Maybe that’s another reason why I’ve grown to love the Tarot.
This year I bought my first pack.
I started with Rider Waite because, well, isn’t that where everyone starts?
I have resisted buying any other packs! (If you’re not in the Tarot community you probably won’t get this joke. But let’s just say, most of my readers will get this: ART SUPPLIES!)
Every morning this year, save one or two, I have pulled a card. Just for myself.
Then I have transcribed its basic meanings, from the reference book into a journal.
This’s how I always learn.
I read something.
Then I write it down.
I cannot miss the ‘writing down’ part. Without that part, my information retention is, hmm, about ZERO.
This has proven to be a gentle and thorough way to ease myself into the art of reading Tarot.
I’m in no rush.
And each card deserves at least a day of contemplation.
The thing I love about the Tarot is not its ‘fortune telling’ abilities.
No, what I love about the cards is the way they make you think.
The cards invite you to go deep. To dive into your oceanic psyche and think seriously about what’s going on in there. And how your thoughts, your inner life, is manifesting in the ‘real’ world.
The cards are elegant triggers.
Portals into self-knowledge.
And the Rider Waite series is so pretty.
In a creepy, Madam Zola kinda way.
Tomorrow is New Year’s Day.
In the morning I will pull a card.
I will hang my Thich Nhat Hanh calendar.
Maybe I’ll meditate.
I will definitely take a walk around the garden.
Because in the garden, Magick happens.
And the Goddess speaks.
No doubt my spiritual journey will continue to unfold, much as it always has, in fits and starts and moments of astonishing cosmic clarity.
And that’s a good thing.
I’m more than happy with that.
New Year blessings to you, dear reader. May 2019 bring you peace, connection and love in abundance.
Thank you for reading Part Two of these reflections.
Refs: Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centred Religions, Joyce and River Higginbotham, Llewellyn Publications, Woodbury Minnesota
20 Replies to “Part Two. My Year in Review: My Spiritual Journey”
Not for everyone â or perhaps not just yet.
Each in our own time, in our own way.
For me, it will always and forever be Nature.
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Yong: the journey of an unworthy son
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Little Chicken, chickabee 2017 CBCA Notable book
Iâm a hungry dinosaur 2016 CBCA Notable book
2016 Speech Pathology of Australia- Shortlisted Whereâs Jessie? 2016 CBCA Notable book
That Boy, Jack: 2014 CBCA Notable book
I’m a Dirty Dinosaur: 2013 Get Reading! book
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Eddie Pipper: 2013 Speech Pathology
From: girl and duck
Reply-To: girl and duck
Date: Monday, 31 December 2018 at 5:49 pm
To: Janeen Brian
Subject: [New post] Part Two: My Year in Review: My Spiritual Journey
girlandduck posted: ” My Spiritual Journey. A bit convoluted for a blog post. So. Before I go too far back, say, right back to when I was eight and used to sit in church admiring a photo of Jesus on the wall at the end of the pew (yes, I thought it was a photoâan assumpti”
Yes. Nature trumps it all, for sure, JB xo. 😉
Thanks for sharing, Jen! Very much enjoyed reading about your spiritual journey. Happy New Year x
Thank you, Catherine! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, it’s waaaay off topic for my blog! xo
Another great post, Jen. I do like magic moments and treasure them. Even watching a little beetle appear because I’m watering a tree and it been disturbed. Happy New Year. x
I can see that beetle so vividly, Kaye! HNY! xo
You do spark and crackle and you are uncanny in your intuition. You know a psychic ( called Denis) once told me I was on the bottom rung of the spiritual ladder. He also told me I would meet Demi Moore. Hilarious! May your 2019 be devine in many ways.
Now, THAT’S funny! xo
Thoroughly enjoyed your blog. Spiritualism is a wonderful way to live a life. Many blessings for 2019.
Blessings to you too, Carolyn. xo
I have been looking forward to reading this and you didn’t disappoint. As a Roman Catholic raised I still love a Bells and Smells ritual and Wicca really provides that element as well. I tread a pretty eclectic path which can confuse a lot of people and it advised against by a lot of spiritual masters but it works for me so I’ve learnt to accept that’s the way I am. I also use the Rider Waite and return to it a lot as I love the illustrations. I also use the Mythic Tarot for the same reason. Have you read The Creative Tarot by Jessa Crispin? You would probably enjoy that as she uses literary influences as well. I have a huge Spiritual library of books and I’m sure many of mine you also own. Have you read the Phyllis Curott books on her spiritual journey through Wicca? I’m the same as you and as the years pass I’m more convinced than every that nature is our church. The one downside of our life above the clouds is I lost my Women’s Circle which I had worked with for a couple of years in Sydney. It was a great group and we had some lovely meetings together. Have not been able to find a group that’s similar up here. I have been working my way through Lacy Phillips online courses which you may be familiar with. She’s like a modern rebrand of Creative Visualisation. Could chat on all of these topics all night as you can tell! Did you start The Course in Miracles again? Every year that book calls to me. I pulled it out again and maybe this year I will finish it! I guess I agree with Albert Einstein: ‘You can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.’ I choose the latter. xx
Love hearing from you so much, TP! Gosh, couldn’t we chat for HOURS??? I’ve always guessed we were on a similarly eclectic spiritual journey! I saw the Jessa Crispin book at the weekend, I’m sure of it! I was in the TS Bookshop in Melbs. Have you ever visited? It’s awesome. And Lacy Phillips sounds fab, I’ll definitely follow up. Notes to self!! Meantime, still inching towards CIM. I pick it up, feel overwhelmed, put it down again! It’s all about timing, for sure. Years ago i really enjoyed Marianne Williamson’s Return to Love which refers to CIM a lot. You probably read it back then, too. Love the Einstein quote! I hadn’t heard it. Hope you find you some beautiful Moon Sisters up there in the mountains, soon. Much love always Jxox
Thank you Jen,
I never really understood about Paganism. Somehow I thought it was about people burning witches at the stake etc., but you make it sound much nicer and homely. I like going to Tarot card readers when my direction in life is unclear and uncertainty gnaws inside. 2017 was the first year I bought a pack of tarot cards. I pull them out for some clarity and direction. Also admire the delicate detail of my gossamer winged fairies and angels card illustrations. You’re right Jen life is too precious to be mired in debt. Enjoy your rural life. It’s as an unpretentious and down-to-earth as you.
ps fab pics also.
It’ so cool that we picked up our first decks around the same time, Maria! Who would have thought?! Thank you for this gorgeous and enlightening comment! Love J xo
In my twenties, reading tarot was my party trick. I found it was mostly about giving people permission to express problems and choices they were struggling with but couldn’t articulate in daily life — I loved gently leading them to talk about their inner lives. The Jungian aspect of the cards also really appealed to me. I haven’t pulled them out for a long time, maybe it’s time to revisit my faithful deck (nearly falling apart from years of handling!)
Exactly! They are such a beautiful portal. And the Jungian aspect is so enriching. Get thee back to the cards, Kate C! xox
Hi Jen, I have been following you silently for a while and I’ve loved how your warmth and friendliness is reflected by all the wonderful people in the duck pond. This post particularly resonated with me. I love tarot for the same reasons you do, they are a key to our subconscious and a great tool for self-reflection. I always do a reading on New Year’s Eve for the year ahead and my cards (and my intuition) indicated that I need to dedicate myself to spiritual practice. I have always been spiritual but never really practised any spirituality. The act of worshipping some God(ess) makes me uncomfortable. Though, I’ve been building traditions to celebrate the seasons.
Christmas in my home is a celebration of all things Summer and Australian (colour-scheme of gold and teel, decorations of Australian flora and fauna, Aussie Christmas lunch, I even have an Aussie Christmas playlist on Spotify that I play endlessly from 1 December).
We celebrate Easter with an egg hunt but the iconography is wrong for the season. I still haven’t found a way to change it into an event related to Autumn, I’ll think up something I expect. Suggestions most welcome!
In June, I light candles and bake turmeric scones with marmalade for Winter Solstice (yellows and oranges to celebrate the sun), and read fairytales about Frau Holda, the winter crone.
The tree and lights go up again in the first weekend of July to celebrate Yule – Midwinter (this time with traditional Northern Hemisphere decorations, reds, golds, greens, trinkets that celebrate my Canadian family and Scandinavian heritage). We also go out and get a real fir tree for the back verandah. We read wintery fairytales and Yuletide Eve (night of the 14th July) I open a box with new winter pyjamas and books for each of us to celebrate Jolabokaflod with the Danish culture of Hygge.
The middle Saturday in July we have a massive party with a spit roast pig, hot food, hot drinks (mulled wine for the adults and warm apple and cinnamon for the kids). There’s a Yule Log Cake, fireplace crackling, chestnuts roasting, Yuletide music (another Spotify playlist for ‘carols’ that mention winter, yule, French and Scandinavian favourites, no religious themes or mention of Santa). The wood leftover from the last year’s Yule tree is put in the fire pit (along with a sachet of ‘magic’ which makes the fire blue and green).
September 1 is Wattle Day and the start of Spring. This year I plan on marking it by baking some wattleseed bread, decorating the house with wattle flowers and any other thing that I can think up. Halloween is becoming a big celebration. I grew up with it, being half Canadian but the iconography is all wrong for the season. So, we do trick or treating but celebrate Dias de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Lots of big, bright flowers, sugar skulls, Mexican food and music. This year I’m going to create an ‘ofrenda’ to display photos of all our loved ones who have passed, and light candles for them from the start of October. The movie ‘Coco’ will be watched as it is such a lovely story and has lots of inspiration. Do you celebrate the seasons?
I also wanted to let you know about two books that I am sure you will love. They are both by Dr. Sharon Blackie, a psychologist specialising in myth and mythic imagination. ‘If Women Rose Rooted: The Journey of Authenticity and Belonging,’ and ‘The Enchanted Life: Unlocking the magic of the everyday.’ I’m sure her story and wisdom will resonate with you.
Sorry for the long comment. All the best for 2019, I can’t wait to see where your journey takes you!
Hi Genevieve! This is truly the most scrumptious comment! Thank you! I want to print it out and take inspiration from it. I love the way you’ve figured out how to incorporate all the important celebrations into a Southern Hem calendar. What you’re doing is so creative and joyful, not to mention soulful! When our kids were little we always had a seasonal table (a tradition we picked up from our son’s Steiner school). It’s a practice I miss. You have given me so much to think about. I’m so glad you broke your silence! BTW, I have not read Sharon’s books but they are on my list for 2019! I get her newsletter from The Hedge School and I adore her work. I dream of doing a live retreat with her one day soon. Many blessings to you and yours. I’m excited about your new year of dedication and hope it leads you to rich, wild and profound places. Be sure to stay in touch. Jen xo
Ooo a live retreat with Sharon is on my bucket list too as is doing one of her courses! The ultimate would be a trip to the UK with a group of similarly minded women, to visit sites, do courses, soak up the soul of the place, connect to our wildness. I’ve just started reading ‘Women Who Run With the Wolves,’ which I’ve noticed is on your reading pile in your latest post. I’m currently in a very introverted time in my life, but I love haunting your blog and I’m grateful for how open and honest you are on your journey. Sending you good fortune and joy!
Wouldn’t it be heaven? I’m gearing up for something in 2020. I’ll keep you posted. Sending love, sis! x