Hi All! I hope the beginnings of 2011 are going well for you. A new year calls for opening your minds to new things so I’d like to feature something a bit different…an “alternative” (in quotes on purpose, as it’s actually based on ancient practices) view on religion/spirituality. I, myself, practice an Earth-centered, nature-based spiritual path and it requires creativity in it’s own right so I felt it was appropriate to include in my art blog as a lot of art stems from some sort of belief system or a reaction to or against it. I hope you enjoy this guest blog from my friend Mona, and that it opens your hearts and minds to creative views on spirituality.
My name is Mona but I usually go by my Sanskrit name, Iraja, which means “daughter of the wind.” You can find me on www.paganspace.net and www.gaianvoices.com, and various other Ning and Yahoo groups. Devi Spring coined the term “IndoPagan” and that is what I call myself. That means I’m Pagan and I follow the pantheon of the Eastern deities, specifically Shakti, the female powers. Durga and Shiva are my main deities. Some people think that means I’m Hindu; I’m not. I do follow many of the teachings of Sanatana Dharma (the original name for Hinduism). I also follow many Yoga philosophies, and Yoga is not necessarily Hindu, though some Christian groups lately have tried to make it so. I also am Spiritualist and a Witch. My Circle Priestess calls me her “Hindu Witch”, which really is a misnomer. So after all that, I am sure I have confused you even more.
I am divorced, retired and on disability so I have time to pursue what I choose, finally. In March I’ll begin training as a Yoga teacher, specializing in Yoga Therapy. Currently I attend Yoga classes 3-4 times weekly and practice at home. Yoga is THE BEST medicine for back pain!
I am a Spiritualist. Spiritualism is the art and science of communicating with those who have crossed over. Yes I’m a Messenger. I believe that everyone has that gift but most do not practice it or trust in it. That is the key. On Pagan Space I have started a group called “Pagan Spiritualists of Indiana.” It is an on-line group but I hope to develop a core of folks who want to be involved in a local group, meeting periodically for meditation and to exchange “gifts”, or messages. This is the old-fashioned Spiritualist way, but with Pagans.
Over the years I attended every Spiritualist church in Indianapolis, one for several years, but I was restless. Eventually, I realized that they were Christian underneath, and I wasn’t. Hence the word: church (Duh!). After those experiences, I finally found a name for how I truly believed – Paganism.
Most people who come to Paganism, or any branch of Paganism, come from a relatively strict religious background. Many call themselves “reformed [insert religion here].” I am different because I come from a non-religious background. My mother was a non-practicing Mormon and my dad was an absentee Pentecostal. I have no good or bad religious memories from my childhood. When I was a teenager, one of my elder sisters became Baptist. She pressured me but by then I was old enough to know better. I started searching for my faith while in my 20s and found it in my 40s. I’m 55 now.
So that is me, Iraja. 2010 was a year of changes for me. 2011 is my year of new beginnings, my new life. Bring it on!
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Gandhi