Thursday, July 2, 2015
A Different Path to Truth by Susan Morgaine
I was raised, way back when, as a Catholic, and at one time, was pretty good at it. I was baptized, had my communion, conﬁrmation, sang and played my guitar in church. I got married in a church, because it was expected by both families, not because it was my choice. My children were both christened, again not my choice but because it was expected; and my daughter had her ﬁrst communion. My mother-in-law was so excited. I hated every minute of it — the little white dress, the gloves, the veil. With that, I found that I had had enough. My son did not go to CCD classes, nor did he have his ﬁrst communion. We joined a local Unitarian Universalist Church for the next 18 years.
I should say here that I do believe in Jesus, not as my savior, but as a prophet of peace, love and understanding. For his time, he was a radical being, ﬁghting the status quo, the religious hierarchy and authority. That, in my book, makes him pretty damn cool. I ﬁnd it unfortunate that the church does not adhere more closely to his teachings. I did not leave Catholicism because of Jesus; I left it because of their God and the patriarchal way they do business, and more importantly, I was called by, and now belong to the Goddess.
I have always had an interest in different religions. From the age of 7 to 19, I lived with my mother and her partner, who happened to be Jewish. I was raised Catholic because of my mother, but I was also raised in a Jewish household, because of her partner. Her children were not interested in celebrating their heritage and so I, by default, became the one who would go to synagogue with her, read the four questions as Passover, light the Sabbath candles if she were not home on a Friday night and whatever else I could do to help her.
I found I did not believe in Judaism anymore than I believed in Catholicism. She was Orthodox and going to synagogue continued to feed my belief that these patriarchal religions were not for me, or, for that matter, most women.
What this exposure to another religion did do, however, is to open my mind to the other religious possibilities. I had a friend who was Mormon, and so began my education in Mormonism. I had a *crush* on a missionary (please remember that I was in my mid-teens), so my asking questions had a two-fold agenda, seeing him, while learning a new religion. I have read The Book of Mormon twice and was fascinated but what I learned. In the end, however, it, too, was not for the woman I was becoming.
While going to church, to synagogue and ﬂirting with a Mormon missionary, I found the Goddess. She called me and I wholeheartedly answered, but it did not stop my learning about new religions. Through the years, I have studied Buddhism and Egyptian mythology, having read large swaths of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. As a Kundalini Yoga teacher, I have an understanding of Sikhism; and I have studied the Hindu Shakti Goddesses.
In my younger days, when I was reading about different religions, I had not heard of Islam or Mohammed and as I got older, mainstream American media was giving us all a slanted, skewed vision of what Islam is. It is one of the few religions that I have never learned about. What I know I have read in newspapers or watched on the news. I believe none of what I read, or what they say. I believe that no one in this country, other than Muslims, has a true understanding of this religion. This should change, not only for me, but for the world at large. You need to know about something to understand it and understanding Islam now will contribute positively in the world’s future. I recently mentioned to my husband that I feel a need to read the Koran to truly learn more about this religion that plays such a large part in the world’s events.
While I have a rudimentary knowledge of a few religions, it is Goddess-oriented Spirituality that holds me. My soul/spirit belongs to her. She accepts me as I am; does not try to change me. As a woman, I am made in her image; not ignored because I am not made in man’s image. She has been, and is, with me in each stage of my life - Maiden, Mother, Crone, and every transition in between. Because of Her, I found my feminism, my political leanings, my love for the Earth beneath my feet. She has inﬂuenced and shaped my life.
Belonging to a UU church was a great experience. Clergy of different religions were brought in to preach. It was encouraging to be able to run a Goddess-oriented Women’s Spirituality Group for 7 years and lead 4-5 Pagan services per year. Ultimately, we left, for as the congregation started to change toward more traditional worship, my husband and children found themselves more agnostic/atheist, while I preferred to worship in my back yard.
I believe that the most important thing I have learned through my years of learning about different religions is that, for all of their differences, beneath the jargon and the dogma, there really were no differences, just a different path to Truth.
-Susan Morgaine, a selection from the upcoming Girl God Anthology: Jesus, Muhammad and the Goddess.