"In our worship there are two elements:
one is the spiritual communion arising from our own meditation;
the other, instruction from others . . .
of the two, the more profitable . . . is the meditation.
Meditation is one of the most secret,
doors through which we pass into the presence of the Lord."
~President David O McKay
Last Friday night, I sat in a darkened room, listening to "Holy Now" on repeat, and visualized a ball of light within myself. I watched and felt that light extend through my root chakra and into the earth, and through my crown chakra and into the sky. I drew in energy from my Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother, and extended out metaphysical arms of that energy and light to connect with other women, forming a circle of "holding hands" even though we were in 4 separate states. We then prayed for each other, sharing our words via skype (because we are so far apart). Then we sent our prayers and energies out into the world, to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples, asking for blessings of peace and healing, and pledging to do our part to enact those things within our spheres of influence.
That prayer circle was intensely spiritual. And I never would have thought to participate in such a thing if I had not opened the door to integrate paganism and eastern spirituality with my faith practice.
~When I was a teenager, we had an exchange student from central america come to stay with our family for three months. She was Catholic, and we took her to mass each week. I remember sitting in those services and thinking "this is really different from my church, but it's beautiful." I loved the beauty, I loved the ritual. I discussed it with my parents once, how I wished that we had more ritual in our church. They smiled and said that when I went through the temple I would get to participate in more ritual. So I looked forward to that day.
When that day came, they were right, some parts had ritual that I found exquisite and meaningful...but some parts really did not. I was more than a little disappointed. I still craved ritual as an enactment of meaningful spirituality.
~When I was in college, as part of my research for my role in Macbeth, I learned about modern Wicca, and was fascinated. The intentionality, formality, and simplicity of their ritual style, calling upon elements and communing with nature, appealed to me.
A little over a year ago, I adopted a more intentional, more mindful, more open integrated mormon-pagan path. About six months ago, I joined a coven with three other women. These women are my sisters, my coven, my fellow "morgans" (mormon-pagans). I meet with my coven each week for a group chat on skype (we often talk more than once a week, but our scheduled chat is important and we all make efforts to make sure we are always there). We are all active, caring, involved mormons. We are all also finding things from outside the mainstream church very helpful to us in our spiritual journey.
~Samhain (Oct 31-Nov 1) is the pagan new year, a time of endings and new beginnings (which is why they believed that the veil between life and death was thin, and thus spirits of the dead could walk among us). Last Samhain, in the spirit of new beginnings, I changed the "religion" entry on my facebook profile. Now it says
Universalist Mormon Pagan
Embracing truth wherever it is found.
Seeking the wisdom of my Mother, Father, Savior, and Spirit.
Observing seasons, esbats, and Sabbats.
Rejoicing in the restored gospel.
Keeping my temple recommend.
I made this change in solidarity with the others in my coven. I don't know whether anyone actually looks at what it says in a person's facebook profile, but there was something about the act of putting it out there into public space that felt good. As Jena explained,
When it comes down to it, Paganism has made me a better Mormon. Lighting a candle while I pray makes me feel more focused and keeps my mind from wandering so much. Adding ritual elements to my day-to-day makes me feel more connected with God. Is it "critical to my salvation"? No, but I don't think it hurts, and it makes my faith rituals feel more intentional. I miss that in mainstream Mormonism. I feel like we've had some of the beauty scrubbed out of our general practice. Incense and oil were burnt in the ancient temples of Israel to purify and sanctify the space and to lift prayers to Heaven...[but] we've become so much about practicality and uniformity in modern times. Things like beauty in architecture and adornment, scent, sound... we rarely use more of our physical senses than sight and hearing in our services and rituals, and I think that makes our correlated practices... sterile. Homogenized. Pasteurized. Devitalized. Boring. Uninspiring.
For me, bringing in these new elements has given my faith vitality again in a time when I desperately need it. It makes it easier for me to feel like I'm in touch with Divine power, like I can receive revelation and inspiration, be guided and protected. I feel a little bit more spiritually alive, and I crave that. I have always craved it.
"The spirit is a present-moment reality. Meditating, pondering, and contemplating are powerful spiritual disciplines. They take us to the present, where the spirit is experienced directly--to the only state in which we can commune with the Infinite."
|This board is filled with things that I |
find magickal, or spiritually inspiring
In the pagan worldview, everything is interconnected, and everything is blessed. In other words, we are all part of one eternal round, and everything is holy. I find that when I believe that I will find this holiness, this magick, then I do find it. When I believe in it, I am able to experience it.