Reading further afield

Since Beth has stolen Beth has borrowed my Kindle to read Phillipa Gregory’s newest release, my reading through of the Qu’ran has come crashing to standstill. This is likely just as well. As much as reading through the Qu’ran during Ramadan makes my Virgo tendencies incredibly happy, spending so much time on source material for other religions, and majority-type religions*, can be disheartening and lonely-making, and counter-productive. And, coming to them as a polytheist, it also can make things a tad uncomfortable. On the one hand, Poseidon is not a very jealous god. He’s comes across as relatively stable (oh, the things I did just then! Too many to even name! Do you see? Do you??) in His divinity. Pops, on the hand? I wouldn’t call Him jealous in a threatened sort of way, but my Dear Father is . . . well, my Dear Father.

The translation of the Qu’ran I had been reading stresses time and again how Allaah has no need for children, has no wives, no family, and reading these bits has made me both aware of and grateful for the concept of the gods as our Elder Kin, as family. Big, immense, potentially scary family that are not even remotely human, but still . . . family. The translation stresses their God’s alienness, in that He created everything and is removed from it, etc., etc. And I see the usefulness in being reminded of Their alienness. (Aliens! ::shudder::)

But, Beth’s commandeered the Kindle away from me, so I’m reading other books. Like How To Be A Monastic And Not Leave Your Day Job which is about Benedictine Oblates — sort of. I mean, the book was about that, and I devoured the book in a few hours, and it was interesting, but I wanted, I guess, more anecdotes and it was instead a tad on the vague side. I’m also, thematically enough, reading through The Rule of Saint Benedict, and I’m finding myself . . . thinking thoughts. Thinking monasticism thoughts. And poking at things like compassion and contemplation and prayer offices and kindness and devotion and paganism. I’m poking at myself to make sure I’m not becoming Christian. When I hit various literature, and they start talking about love, about community, about devotion to one’s god, about being in this world for that god and with that god, and not being swept up by worldly things to the detriment of one’s soul and heart, I find myself nodding along and getting excited that people think like this and talk like this . . . and then I remember that I’m discounted, because I’m not of their faith. So I poke. With compassion, and kindness, and humility, and being called to cover, am I still Poseidon’s? Am I still Odin’s? How do these things fit into that? Am I trying to make Poseidon over into Jesus Christ?

Except, you know. Not so much.

Are these things inherently Christian or monotheist-specific things, or do they have place within paganism? And, do I really care what other people think, if they say, ‘no’, since I am pagan, and they have a place in my life, and thus, in paganism? Not especially. Poseidon reached out His hand to me and saved me, already. Not by sacrificing Himself, but by being Himself, by His own awesome power. I don’t know how to talk about that without talking about Grace and Majesty and Divine Awe.

The Rule of St. Benedict is illuminating to read. It is a little bit kicking my butt and a great deal a reminder of the call to mindfulness. Something else that I’m finding in common with religiously minded folks, regardless of their path. Mindfulness is hard. Living deliberately is hard. But, it is oh so worth it.

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5 thoughts on “Reading further afield

  1. Of course, you need more book suggestions like a hole in the head, but you might find the Plum Village Chanting and Recitation Book an interesting read for a different quasi-monastic approach. It does not have anecdotes (though many anecdotes about Plum Village are sprinkled through Thich Nhat Hahn’s other books), really, but does have examples of how this one Buddhist village in France cultivates mindfulness throughout the day. I’m finding myself borrowing from it heavily in constructing my personal “Divine Office.” Unsurprising, what with Kwan Yin and all, but I’m also finding the concepts and approach helpful in constructing prayers to Apollo and Pan as well.

  2. “Pops, on the hand? I wouldn’t call Him jealous in a threatened sort of way, but my Dear Father is . . . well, my Dear Father.”

    Hear! Hear! Sent you an email that deals with a very similar (same) situation.

    I love daddy but don’t quite ‘get Him’ just now.

    Maybe, and this is me musing, as I so often do…maybe we NEED these things to remind us, like road signs along the way, just to remind us of why we went down this path, why we are where we are. I count you and Beth as family now and Daddy gave me that and I am eternally grateful to Him for it and for y’all.
    I pray that He, They will show me how I can support this monastic path that y’all are on from where i stand because that is what family does..work together to help and prosper one another. So, one foot in front of the other, right? This will build into something greater than all of us one day and we’ll do it together.
    It is a Great Work of which to be a part.

    • Right now support is going to look like letting me babble about it as thoughts firm up into words. 😉 ((hugs)) I got the email. I’ll have to get to it later today/tomorrow, though tomorrow is busy, so hrm. Anyway. ((morehugs)) You rock. 🙂

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