Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Why I Left the One True Religion
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," your eleventh-hour salvation superstore!
Behind on that shopping? Cookie-baking? Card writing? Why do you do all this every year anyway? Ever wonder?
I'm Anne, back from the deep. "Mr. Applegate" is a fine subsitute blogger, but he scares my cats and leaves behind the odor of burning leaves. You can only take so much of that, especially if the leaves smell like oak and not cannabis.
On this Yule Eve, I'm proud to announce that I will be coming out as a druid on December 25. It happens that Christmas and the beginning of Hanukkah (sp?) fall on that date, and our little community is planning a lighting ceremony. What better place to appear, wand in hand, and quietly add yet another little religious curiosity into the mix?
Not that I plan to steal the show or anything. But from now on, in this town, whenever they have an ecumenical religious event of any kind, I will be there in the position of resident druid.
So why, at mid-life, did I deep-six Christianity?
It was like a shoe that never fit my foot. Always.
Even as a kid, I preferred the "legends" of King Arthur, and the Lady of the Lake, and Avalon, and the dragon boats bearing the dead away to Sidhe.
Imagine how excited I was when I discovered that some people consider these stories religion.
When you add the fact that druids were not all priests, but in fact a caste of educated people, the plot thickens. My dad was an educated scientist, a lifelong Christian church attendee, sang on the choir and taught Sunday School for fifty years. But he often told me that the religion felt to him like a shoe that didn't fit.
Even before Dad died, I put on a new pair of slippers that felt better to my feet. And in the process, I assessed the shoe store and found it full to the brim of fascinating products of the Collective Unconscious. Bird deities. Unidentified Flying Objects. Local shrines, Asheras, ayahuasca and peyote, vision quests. OBEs. Psychics who see Uncle Ralph by a stony brook.
Belief in just one religion does seem so "cramped up and smothery sometimes," to quote the inimitable Mark Twain.
So when I use the word "druid," it just means I want to learn more. And maybe hug a few oak trees just to keep up the stereotype.
Far be it from me to challenge you and your faith. Just don't spill anything on my furniture, okay?
Ending with Mark Twain again, I am
THE BEGUM OF BENGAL
FOUR THOUSAND MILES OUT OF CANTON