My early tentative steps away from Christianity led me to an oasis of endless spiritual possibilites: Druidry, Buddhism, Native American, Shintoism, Heathenry, Goddess worship, Celtic, Roman, Greek, Germanic, Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Gnosticism, the list goes on. But the initial excitement of researching and trying to find ‘the one spirituality’ for me quickly deteriorated into disappointment when I realised that the same pattern was emerging. Just like Christianity I was not resonating wholly with any faith that I was studying.
I came across the term Eclectic Paganism early on in my research and it didn’t sit well with me. In my eyes it was the cheat’s guide to finding your own faith. Just ‘pick and mix’ all the bits that you like of every spirituality or faith that take your fancy and then discard the rest that doesn’t. I was so used to following just one religion whether I agreed with it all or not that to suddenly come across a belief system that could be tailored to soley suit all my needs felt wrong on so many levels. It lacked committment, it lacked thoughtfulness and it definitely lacked substance. Chocolate and sweets could no way substitute manna from heaven. For me, spirituality was more than just a quick sugar fix. It was the slow burn of carbohydrates.
Ever since watching the Scottish historian Neil Oliver take an ancestry DNA test on his television series, ‘The History of Ancient Britian’, in 2011, I have wanted to find out for myself where I come from. Back then it would have taken a very expensive blood test to find out, but now thanks to Ancestry, a simple saliva test at a more reasonable price can make the same amazing discovery. The need to do this grew with my confusion of not being able to identify with any one particular spirituality. I believed that with these test results I would finally be able to follow the spiritual path of my ancestors. This was the path to take and would solve my dilemma once and for all. I would have clarity at last.
When the results came back I was shocked to say the least. There in front of me was clarity, but not in the sense that I was expecting. I was 35% Italian/Greek (did this explain my love of Roman Mythology and my connection with the Goddess Diana?) 21% Irish (did this have anything to do with my love of Celtic myths and legends and my deep desire to explore Scotland and Ireland?) 18% Scandinavian ( was this the reason why I have an affinity with the runes and since childhood wanting to visit the fjords?)
I eventually arrived at the conclusion that eclecticism, when it comes to spirituality, is not a dirty word. The Greeks, Romans and early Christians are fine examples of eclecticism. It is something to embrace and honour, just like we are able to embrace and honour our ancestors that have gone before us. Those strong unwielding souls who survived plagues, famines and wars.
So not only should we not feel ashamed or guilty about incorporating different faiths into our spiritual practice in tandem with our ancestral roots, but also lest we forget, we have been on this Earth many life times before as Native Americans perhaps or Aboriginies or Eygptians, so honouring a part of these paths is a reflection of who we are, both in our physical body and our soul.
We are all related to one another on this Earth and as long as we are respectful of how we practice our spirituality and understand the history behind what we do and the reasons why we do it, then we need to let go of the guilt. So if you want to practice Shintoism and you were born in Sweden then don’t let anyone tell you, ‘You can’t because you are not Japanese’.
For now on my ever evolving spiritual adventure I incorporate Ancient Roman, Celtic and Stone Age celebrations into my practice, rune magick and The Nine Noble Truths, Totemism and the Medicine Wheel, as well as aspects of Druidry to name but a few things I do. These I am sure will change and grow over time.
And what about yourself? What excites and inspires you about different faiths and spiritualities?