Believe it or not this question comes up more than even I would have ever expected. People know that I am a Spiritualist in philosophy but I also have a healthy regard for Wicca, as well as Santeria and Voodoo. I consider myself eclectic in my spirituality but that doesn’t mean that I have walked away from my main theological philosophy which is still Spiritualism. What I have done is left the “organization” of Spiritualism.
I have always believed that religion is flawed by it’s own inception. All religions in fact have been created by man to capture an ideal and propagate it onwards. Spirituality is our belief, our inner most workings with a spiritual being, creator, or whatever the hell you feel comfortable calling it. I mean after some careful thought on the matter nothing should be tossed out or discounted however we all need to weigh the subject matter for ourselves in its rawest, most primitive form. Why is that? Simply because man by nature is flawed and those flaws will eventually filter down through sacred media to the congregants. When you read ANYTHING understand that the knowledge and passion of the author is being showcased along with their misunderstandings, social influences, as well down right hatred of certain groups of individuals. I tell people when examining anything of a religious nature to LISTEN, THINK, Then QUESTION any subject especially one of a spiritual nature.
OK that being said let’s address the reasons why I do not belong to any certain religious or any organizations for that matter. Pull up a chair and make sure that you have taken a bathroom break….this might get involved…..
Back when I was a kid being brought up in the Roman Catholic faith everything was just so easy. I mean the nuns would make you read something, they would mimic what the book said out loud and that was that. Truth 101…. If you want t go to heaven do A-B-C and you’ll get there. (Of course they never covered how much you were “suggested” to drop in the collection basket each week, pew rent, special fund raising activities, etc.) It was just so cut and dry that you really had to go out and commit murder to not see St. Peter at the Gates. Even then if you said a good Act of Contrition and were really sorry for offing that scumbag you could be forgiven and yanked up to the clouds by angelic hands.
As I grew older and having the grey matter between my ears begin to function…well as best as it could things just didn’t jive. I mean I questioned why I had to go to a middleman to confess my sins and for that matter if I was forced to do so by the nuns I sinned by making up sins to tell the priest…sort of a crazy round robin you might say. Also the concept of receiving a dry wafer during communion because it was somehow the body of a deity smacked of the Donner Party and cannibalism. Of course now I totally understand that it is a symbolic gesture signifying the unity with God but back then things just were not explained that well.
It was about 5th grade when I noticed something that really put me off going to church…the annual alter boy picking contests..well not exactly contests but it was then that I learned how people in power lie as to not have a rebellion on their hands. We were told that alter boys were a special breed set apart by their seemingly devotion and dedication to studies. I bought that propaganda for a time until I realized that only the boys who moms were active in the PTA were picked no matter if their grades sucked or they were bullies to nerds. After this revelation I began to question everything that was being taught. I craved for that old timey glow that religion used to do for me. Fortunately the sun did come out and renewed my passion for religion except it wasn’t in the Roman Catholic tradition. It was through visiting friends and relatives in the tiny community of Lily Dale. “The Dale” as those “in the know” call it is a Spiritualist community located in western New York State where a more progressive style of spirituality was practiced. In fact the several styles of Spiritualism that is practiced today usually will not allow you to join its ranks until after a period of around two years. The time period is set in place for the prospective member to actually test the truths that are taught. No more read and believe. Now it was learn and take it out for a test drive. That certainly appealed to my inquisitive nature.
I was still a kid in grammar school when this great burst of realty rained over me. I being young and not too savvy to the ways of the religious world wasted no time in telling fellow classmates and friends about “The Dale” and what I experienced there. In my 8th Grade year the goodly nun asked us to write an essay on what we did on our summer vacation and little did I know that my literary masterpiece would cause such a stir. In my project I wrote about having hands laid on me at the Healing Temple, having someone “give” me a message from my Great Great Grandfather, attended what was called a “children’s séance, and of course that was the year that I learned about two way spirit communication and the Fox Sisters. I was so proud when I handed that essay in because while all the other kids were writing about hockey camp and going swimming I had experienced some really cool stuff. The next day as the nun handed back our essays I didn’t get one. Instead I had a note to go see the principle immediately. Once in the office I was handed another note this time to my parents for a conference. Of course they dutifully went after severely grilling my butt because only bad kids get their parents called in for a conference to which I swore I did nothing. To make a long story short the nun was upset that I was telling my classmates about Lily Dale and what I saw there. My father explained we went to visit relatives and we would continue to do so. However the nun made him tell me to knock off my story telling of that place…which lasted about a month. After that I rebelled even more telling stories and with my pal Bryan we would hang out in an old camping trailer at his house and practice working the Ouija Board…which by the way was something covered by “those people” in “The Dale.” Eventually I graduated from 8th grade and went on to high school, stopped attending church and began to read everything about the occult that I could get through the local public library.
Which brings me to the next phase of religions and churches……(need a pee break yet?)
Many years later, having been exposed to the different forms of Spiritualism I decided to join a local church which was under the umbrella of a very large religious organization. For a while I really loved it. Practicing mediumship, learning about the pioneers of the religion, and studying to eventually hold a title within the organization itself. Talk about being in pig heave, boy oh boy. It seemed so perfect that I couldn’t believe that I was a part of something again like Roman Catholicism but on a more intense level…guess what happened…my cynical brain kicked in and I began to question some of the teaching of the individual church that I belonged to. I mean I was the best thing since sliced bread to them until I began to think about what was being taught. First off having been so active in studying occultism and metaphysics earlier in my life I noticed that the teachings were almost all firmly rooted in the1970’s or earlier. I thought to myself that this was impossible because so much in the way of experimentation and demonstration was being done all over the world and yet the same old tired topics were still being rehashed to a new audience. When I mentioned that I was taking classes in Lily Dale to the organizational president she replied “Lily Dale, that place is CRAP!” (That comment stemmed from the diversion of Spiritualist churches now being recognized in “The Dale”. Before that time there was only one National organization there and it ruled with an iron fist driving out any and all who dared to disagree with them.) Needless to say that I was APPALLED by her comment. Yet that wasn’t quite enough for me to leave…yet. About this time I began looking for new instructors to work with. Why…because that inner voice said “DO IT FOOL.” (Insert Mr T’s voice there if you must.) Well news of my taking classes must have reached the woman who was “THE CERTIFIED MEDIUM” of the church and thus was pressured by the president to teach mediumship and healing classes, even though it was obvious that she never enjoyed doing so. Our relationship had been cordial though I suspect that she never really liked me or the male species in general. I think out of 4 or 5 guys that started her class I was the only one to stay the course. However after it became common knowledge that I was taking classes elsewhere she became almost antagonistic towards me. I mean all that I wanted to do was learn and serve Spirit along with asking a few questions along the way. Her badgering and mocking of me in front of the class was almost unbearable but I kept my cool because I really loved that church with all my heart and soul. I would try to do nothing to destroy that relationship because after all it was my way of serving spirit and practicing my message work as a medium.
As with all things there is a breaking point. In my case two breaking points. Hands on healing was done before every Sunday worship service and I had studied and was “tested” to be allowed to participate in this wonderful alternative method of healing. One day I noticed that while there were other healers working it seemed that I always had people waiting for my open chair. Of course this did not go unnoticed by the church president. One day my wonderful “male” hating instructor mocked out the way that I performed healings. She had heard that I was studying Reiki, a healing modality that had its roots in Japan and accused me of performing Reiki healing on those who sat in my healing chair instead of “Spiritualist Healing”. Basically in Spiritualist Healing you ask for Spirit Guides to guide you in the placement of your hands and they would actually conduct the healing energies where needed. Reiki on the other hand was a more direct healing method where you openly channeled energy directly through you and then into the client you are working on. For me having studied about energy and vibration this was a more natural and far easier way of doing things. The instructor stood in front of our study group and imitated the way that worked and said…”STOP SHOWBOATING. IT’S TOO FANCY AND PEOPLE THINK YOU ARE BETTER THAN YOU ARE. I KNOW YOU’RE NOT THAT GOOD.” Wow..thanks bitch (I’m ashamed to admit that was my actual response.)…I guess you told me huh. After that I stopped doing the open healings before services.
The second punch came after it was known that I was taking an “Advanced Five Day Mediumship Intensive” class in “The Dale” Intensive wasn’t the word but I totally adored the instructor and consider her to be my mentor still to this day. This wasn’t a pansy assed class where we sat and guessed about what was going on with another person during message work. It was hardcore hands on, tossed to wolves type of class and I loved every second of. By the end of the week I reached a peak in my own self that cannot be properly described with words. Now I have had a lot of instructors over the years and have had some interesting and great experiences but after that I began to see things clearly.
Church classes usually began in Fall and regardless of the mocking that I received I attended them because I was always looking or a way to polish my mediumistic message work. In fact most Sundays I attended no less that THREE services a day. One at my home church and then later one in the afternoon and one in the evening at other Spiritualist styled congregations. I believe that it was just after the holiday season when after myself and fellow students began badgering the instructor the church began to have “Student Medium Sundays” where those of us who were studying could do open readings as practice. Well my wonderful man hating or at least “TIM” hating instructor allowed all of the other students to do message work first, leaving me for the very end. While this might sound great to some it’s very hard to do. First you’re not supposed to read the same people that someone else may have read. Secondly you have to wait and if you aren’t confident in yourself and your relationship with Spirit then you will definitely look like a world class loser. Well she finally called me up and I stood there on the platform in the front of the church feeling really vulnerable. She looked at me with a smug expression and said “Well go ahead.” I next did something that I regret to this day. I looked back with an equally smug look and asked “Well how many people do you want me to read?” Remember I had been practicing hardcore all summer. I stood before those assembled congregates and guests and asked “Who has not had a reading yet?” I think 10 or 11 people raised their hands and I read each one. I did it well, bringing through personality identifiers, and giving validations to some unspoken questions. Afterwards I turned and just sat down.
It was at this point I knew that I had the church board on the ropes because people began to accept me more and me being me I had to push the boundaries. I stopped going to church classes, not because of the “Tim” hating instructor but because basically the knowledge was almost 20 to 30 year old. I craved more up to date information. Also there was a rift beginning to form on the church board and an “us versus them mentality” was sweeping through the organization. Suddenly new rules and regulations were in place tightening down on who could serve in church and work openly at the platform. Committees were formed and the only way that I can describe it was a “state of martial law” began to infiltrate into the peaceful and loving services. Of course I had backed the more progressive side which was defeated in a very close election and my fate was sealed. I decided that I would leave as to not cause any dissention or problems. I did and currently do love that church. Still while the actions of others may have hurt I can see a higher purpose in the why’s and how’s of the inner workings of the universe. I forgave those in power however I will never forget. I will not forget so that things will never repeat themselves. I came out of that experience bloodied but much wiser.
My experiences have certainly colored my outlook and how I interact with other people and organizations. I am slow to warm up to people in the various fields in which I work, I am cautious when I am asked to help organizations or even speak at church services. When attacked I will always apologize for something that I may have done wrong..or not done. To many the world of religion, metaphysics and paranormal can equate to a paycheck and it’s easy to offend those who are banking on becomes a celebrity or the next media darling. (I try to take the high road but when things become too unbearable I will call upon my dark side and conjure what is needed to end the discord. I am a firm believer that a good defense stems from having good offensive capabilities. I don’t care if it stems from having a decent reputation or from using that which is unseen to help Karma along its path. Karma ALWAYS evens the playing field eventually.
What is very important to me at this juncture in my life is the lack of a man made structure which allows me the freedom to work with anyone that I choose. ANYONE regardless of what others might “suggest.” (I’m a basic let me make my own mistakes type of guy. Don’t warn me about people. I’ll find out all on my own. ) So please forgive my French but “Shut The Fuck Up.” My world doesn’t revolve around petty organizational politics anymore. I’m an indie type of guy and if you don’t like it oh well. Sorry …don’t care.) I’ve always been amazed when I work with certain individuals and have been warned against others. (I’ve has a few people walk up after working with me to say “Geeze you’re not like I heard you were. You’re really a nice guy who knows stuff. To that I like to respond, “Ya well I pretend a lot.”) If you don’t take the chance to work with as many different types of people as you can how can you experience new horizons. Remember that even painful experiences are learn experiences.
One thing that I never do is to confuse friendship with a working association with people. I am a guy who has a lot of associations but a very small amount of real friends. ( Ya I know I’m almost at the max for the allowed amount of social media friends. One of my guilty pleasures is to weekly cull through my list “unfriending 20 or so per week. So far I have only had one person ask why or to be added back in. So what does that tell you?) Once again I really do not crave that “family” experience so many organizations talk about. Hell if you knew my real family you’d know how dysfunctional they are and understand that I don’t need to add any more to that stable.
Back to being serious again…It Is my personal belief that I am and will be forever a seeker, an experiencer, someone who craves the mental high of learning (Which alone might be considered “unusual.”) Unfortunately as much as I have tried I have yet to have found any organization or church that satisfies me enough to ask for membership. It can get lonely being solitaire however if you know who you are and am comfortable in who you really are then eventually other like minds will show up and you can get a group rate at a fried chicken joint!
People seem to think that I am totally anti organizational in my rants which is not true. I always tell people who ask about my philosophy that my Roman Catholic education was important because I was exposed to some hidden knowledge which wetted my drive to look into the mysterious. The Spiritualist church I once belonged to taught me that I just am not a person to lightly take in the dogma that was created or interpreted by man. It taught me to push as hard as I can to achieve the goals that I feel are important to my own personal spirituality…no matter where the path might take me or the people who I will meet. It also taught me patience and that everyone is not like you so take a step back and allow them their space. When things becomes intolerable then simply leave. Plain and simple vote with your feet, get up and walk away. Lastly it taught me that the most important things in your life is you family tribe, your happiness, and your spirituality. The least important things are..well, you know who you are. (Yes, Seriously They Do.)
Remember….Organized religion is created by man. True Spirituality is your interaction with the Divine. Life is meant to be lived on your own terms not dictated by others. If something doesn’t work, change. If you can change something then move on to the next shiny object.