1. A spiritual experience that I’ve never felt comfortable talking about because it seemed too “out there” or “silly”; Hhmmm…I’ve had quite a bit of “out there” experiences, nothing that I would consider “silly” because they felt so real to me. I’ve been to some fairly large rituals hosted by the Council of Magickal Arts down in Cistern, TX where the energy was so strong and “thick” that it just surrounded and engulfed you, swooping you off your feet, figuratively speaking of course (well, for some actually quite literally – but that could have been in conjunction with a little too much mead, who knows, LoL!). The energy would just take you over, make you move and dance like you’ve never moved and danced before while transfixed on the huge flames of the bonfire shooting up into the night sky as the drummers frantically banged away on their drums, feeding off the energy of the dancers who fed off the energy of the fire and the beats coming out of the rhythms and beats coming out of the drums – like an Ouroboros. You just felt the “real” world fade away. It didn’t matter anymore; it didn’t exist anymore. You were somewhere else in some other place and time, here in the now, in this place and this time; in your own place and time as the others too seemed to slip out of your consciousness, yet at the same time all connected and in harmony within the shared place and time.
Just remembering these experiences, the memories brings me to tears, even now as I write this as I have so terribly missed THAT, all of it. It’s been just about 4 years since I’ve left Texas and haven’t been to such a festival since. I miss the sense of being in that “other place”, where you feel like as soon as you drive up the driveway into the woods onto The Land, that you’ve come home to spend 4 spiritually fulfilling days and 3 crazy nights with about 300+ of your closest Brothers and Sisters.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been to some community open circle rituals in which the bond of “kinship” and friendship was so strong that I left with a wonderful sense of spiritual fulfillment. I’ve participated in some closed rituals with those whom I trusted and left feeling overjoyed and loved. In my own solitary rituals, I’ve felt the Goddess within me, felt Her love, heard Her words. Sometimes, it was a physical feeling, like having a hot flash overcome you during a ritual while you’re seated and perfectly still in a room that’s “room temperature” yet burning up until you ground the energies and release the circle. Sometimes, it’s an overwhelming feeling of being so infused with pure love and pure joy that you start crying your eyes out because you’re just brimming with those energies.
Does that sound “out there” or “silly”? No, not in the least.
2. With the three objects that I originally placed back on my altar, I know that Brighid feels “right” back in Her place. The water felt “right”. The incense holder…something not quite right – unbalanced. Perhaps because it is so much smaller/shorter than my “well”. My altar DEFINITELY needs a flame. I lit a tealight candle on my altar placed on the incense holder, but it still wasn’t quite right. I switched it out with a taper candle and holder about the same height as the “well”. Better – but the candle holder doesn’t feel “right”. This may not be as much a “spiritual” thing as it is a “Virgo” thing though I suspect, LoL!
To be honest, I’m not really missing the other items right now. I opened up the cabinet tonight that is currently housing my other items and I really didn’t want to put them back up. I mean, my heart jumped ever so slightly as one’s heart would feeling happy to see something or someone that they were particularly fond of who they hadn’t seen in awhile. My altar, truth be told, actually feels less cluttered. It still kind of feels “incomplete”, but I don’t know what to put back on it right now.
3. I would describe my spiritual practice actively discovering, embracing and sharing the knowledge of the Feminine Divine to empower myself and my sisters while seeking Nirvana…with a hint of Dianism. While I understand the concept of balance between the masculine and the feminine, I feel that scales are already tipped too far or weighted down with patriarchal religious influences. I have to surround myself with the Feminine Divine just to tip the scales back the other way in a desperate attempt to balance out that grievous unbalance and injustice.
4. What I find uninspiring is any religion is fundamentalism and conservativeness. I don’t find twisting a faith to benefit one in their quest for power and control at all inspiring. I think its very negative, oppressive and doesn’t allow flexibility or room for change and growth. I really can’t stand it when one preaches on a pulpit or “soapbox”, looking down on the group they’re talking at, screaming “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots”; spewing venomous hate and ignorance, inciting intolerance, fear and violence. There is nothing, I mean NOTHING inspiring or loving about that. You know that when one or a group calls for and promotes the rape and murder of those who are different than they are (whether physically, mentality wise or spiritually), there’s something fundamentally wrong.  When a group prays to their god(s) for the death and destruction of those who live a different lifestyle or worship differently and rejoices in their deaths, there’s something not quite right.  You know that when a group seeks to dominate and oppress another group because of differing religious beliefs or their sex by means of intimidation, physical violence, and passing restrictive legislation, there’s something wrong.  You know that when a group of grown men verbally harasses an 8 year old girl on her way to school because her skirt is “too short”, there’s something wrong.  Something is very wrong when it is OK to splash acid in the face of a woman to permanently disfigure her because she refused a marriage proposal.  Something is very twisted when a 15 year old girl becomes pregnant because she was raped by a member of the church and then made to stand in front of the congregation to apologize for her “sin” and sent away across the country to have the baby.  Something is very wrong when its OK to sexually abuse children and diligent steps are taken by Higher Ups in order to hide it; only years later for a Cardinal to come saying that “He’s no longer sorry, and he no longer believes that the priests who molested, beat, raped, and ruined all of those children’s lives even did anything wrong…evens goes so far as to say, ‘They can talk about sex abuse or talk about their concern about finance—that’s alright. I believe the sex abuse thing was incredibly good.’” 
These are but a few examples that immediately came to mind. I could go on and on and end up writing volumes of atrocities committed against mankind, all in the name of God or Allah or because “God” told them it was the right thing to do.
Here’s a clue, if your “God” or Holy Text is calling for torture, permanent disfiguration, rape and the murder of your fellow human beings, then it’s probably not God whispering in your ear and God is surely not influencing what is being written to be perceived as the “Word of God”.
THIS FEELS OFF
To tell you the truth, sometimes I believe that Gnostics and Atheists have it right. I can think of no other two religions that have caused so much pain, torture, bloodshed and death. Maybe that came out a little harsh – I’m not trying to beat up anyone’s religion here…let me rephrase that…I can think of no other religious followers other than that of Christianity or Islam that have twisted the words to be used to cause so pain, torture, bloodshed and death. A little better?
But then again, I’ve had my own personal experiences with the Goddess, so Atheism wouldn’t work out all that well for me.