With the end of 2010, we are coming to the end of our gratitude journey with the “blessed beads.” Today, we have arrived at the second to the last bead of my Prayer Beads.
This bead is for my profound gratitude for the gift of my faith; my spiritual path.
The Goddess, to my utter shock and disorientation, called me when I was about twenty years old. But I did not understand. I did not believe in Her or myself, and I did not know how to answer.
So I spent long periods of my life searching; wading through lonely swamps of deep doubt and conflict; wandering in the empty landscapes of agnosticism and defiant atheism.
But through it all, there were truths I could never deny: the song of the wind; the whispers of the Good Folk; the loving wisdom of trees; the laughter of stones; the stories of birds; the intense, fierce love of Mama Ocean. All is alive, and aware, and conscious.
It was a long time before I discovered these core truths are at the heart of a spirituality that, in fact, comes directly from my own blood ancestors. So, when I first stumbled across, and then began to formally study The Craft, deep memories in my blood and bones danced; I was home!
Although I love and cherish many who practice it, in truth, mine is not the religion of a nomadic desert people. The ancient ways of my tribes come from the lush forests, hills, and sacred streams of the Celtic lands. My Divine Ones dwell by the holy springs, gentle meadows, windswept mountains, standing stones, oak and ash and thorn and the Land of Apples.
And in my thanksgiving, I acknowledge how blessed I am, because for the first time in a thousand years, I can openly practice my spirituality — I can be who I am. (Although I never, ever lose sight that there are many who are busy at work right now, to undo this. And, I fear, their power and influence seem to be in ascendancy.)
Still, things are profoundly better than in other lifetimes. Today, I can practice my Craft, I can worship my Beloveds, I can meet and celebrate openly with others who feel the same .. all without forfeiting home, family or my very life for doing so.
This is a great gift indeed, paid for with centuries of brutal injustice and innocent bloodshed.
So with this second to last bead, I give my great gratitude to She who called me and helped me find my way safely home. For the mighty gifts of Mystery and Magic, I give thanks with all my heart.
What path do you walk? In what ways do you acknowledge the gift of your tradition or spirituality, in and of itself?