My mother raised me in a large part out of Starhawk's Spiral Dance, though I myself have very little time for the racist, self-righteous, idiotic cow (Starhawk, not my mother). OH THE STORIES I COULD TELL! Anyway my own disregard for Starhawk notwithstanding, Spiral Dance is largely based in Feri, which I have a strong affinity for, possibly as a direct result.
My mother took me to many different churches, circles, meets, moots, temples, and pretty much exposed me to every possible religon she could access. By the time I was a dozen years old I think the spiritual questing thing was well and truly out of my system. It effectively immunised me against cults and spiritual control, a fact for which I am profoundly grateful when I see how much abuse and suffering power-over style spirituality can permit.
My mother is also a feminist, a unionist, and a Very Difficult Woman in all respects. For this too I am grateful, because she shielded me from a lot of social and cultural bullshit that controls and diminishes women, and I became a Very Difficult Woman myself. For her, as for so many before her, witchcraft was a feminist statement, a radical action. In some respects it is for me as well, because I still see a great deal of sexism and patriarchy in religion. That includes Wicca, by the way, so I'm not picking on the Abrahamic set here. I think the only authentically empowering spirituality is self-directed. I don't think anyone should give up their spiritual power to another person, and I think it is doubly important for women to claim personal power wherever possible.
I am at core an Ecstatic. I'm all about hands-on, personal, direct spirituality. I can teach people tricks to do it themselves but I'm profoundly opposed to telling anyone how to experience or interpret their own spirituality, I don't think anyone has that right. I'm a spiritual anarchist.
Any faith or religion which imposes upon or dictates to the believer from without, will ulimately undermine the individual capacity for moral judgement, self-protection, and righteous action. Sooner or later, the believer will make a decision based upon the tenets of the religion or concede to the judgement of another person, and from there it all goes pear-shaped. All religions are created by people, and people get shit wrong. It's one thing to get something wrong yourself, it's another thing to enshrine that mistake within a religion and have others repeat it.
There are no perfect religions, no perfect maps to divinity. All are burdened by human flaws, human preconceptions, human motives. A religion of one has only the flaws of one, and doesn't share them around. A religion of many has the flaws of many and shares them gladly with all. Mistake compounded upon mistake until a snowball of error corrupts the original ideals the religion was supposed to vector. I basically don't think spirituality is tranferrable data.
So. Wrapping this up somehow. A conclusion of some kind. Right, key points are: I'm a spiritual anarchist, an Ecstatic, and a Very Difficult Woman, because that's how my Mama raised me and I reckon she was pretty right. There you go.
A heathen, conceivably, but not, I hope, an unenlightened one. (The Wicker Man, 1973)
30 Days of Paganism