A bit of personal history–
What follows is a former intro to a blog that never got off the ground. Still like it, want to keep it. It’s part of the path to Witchery.
So … how to start a letter to the world?
I’m a psychotherapist who is haunted by God. It’s a stormy love, marked by honeymoon periods, raging quarrels, and stony silences. I’m haunted not only by God, but by gods, lots of them, the gods of millions of people out there whom I’ve wanted to please (the gods and the people), even when trying to rebel.
I was raised Catholic, was intermittently agnostic, and currently practice both an uneasy Catholicism and Zen. When I’m not out of sorts, that is, with the whole business. I feel almost bipolar, or even “multiple,” when it comes to God. The careening back and forth among several different positions has made it hard to take myself seriously in any pose. And a pose is what it often is. I’m great at staging sudden conversions. It begins in doubt or guilt lashed into turmoil, resolved in a climax of insight, an afterglow of remorse and resolution… then lather, rinse, repeat. These episodes promise closure for awhile, but don’t last.
That tells me that my questions are off the mark.
Meanwhile, my work has put me in touch with a lot of people who’ve lived through deep trauma, and that contact has changed irrevocably the lens through when I see any belief system. I have been forced to abandon platitudes I know I could never say to my clients with a straight face; I’ve been forced to trust that compassion, not judgment, is the last word on the anger, despair, and fear of people who’ve been hurt this deeply.
All religions evolved within some context of trauma, if only the trauma of human striving against an implacable natural world. All have evolved in contact with violence, privation, and pain. All of them show the marks of trauma-based thinking: the self-blame for tragedy, the attachment to an abuser, the hope that we can love and please someone who dominates us, and learn to love that condition. It seems to me that the trauma survivor who tries to find a home in any faith tradition gets confronted sooner or later with these larger echoes of the personal traumatic world, and has to figure out whether belief of some kind means succumbing to trauma-enforcing messages, or re-creating their traditions in the service of freedom.
I want to hear from a wider variety of people who encounter this struggle. I will write about my struggles with the tradition I know best, and would love to hear others speak from their own experience. It doesn’t have to be god-centered experience; any larger frame that promises meaning, whether that’s science, Wicca, non-theistic traditions like Buddhism– it’s all grist for conversation here.
How this blog shapes itself will depend on how many people get involved. Meanwhile, peace, Shalom, Shantih shantih shantih, live long and prosper,
and may the force be with you!