One of the blogs that inspired me to start my own is Rogue Priest, written by Drew Jacob. He is a modern-day Priest, Hero and Adventurer. What does that mean? Well, you’ll have to read his blog to figure it out. I don’t always agree with his take, but I love that he’s actively thinking about the big Life Questions and attempting to live the life he believes in. One of the things that I love about P/paganism is that it seems to create space to live the life of one’s imagination (fodder for a future post). Now, Drew doesn’t identify as a pagan – big P or little p – but he’s part of the wider family. His blog got me thinking – and writing!
Last fall he released an e-book, Walk Like a God. I bought it straight away and decided to save it for my Place quarter. I’m so glad I did. It lines up perfectly with what I’ve been writing and thinking about this quarter.
One of the things that I love about Drew is his emphasis on experience, not belief. One’s beliefs are of little depth if there is no experience to back it up. I can see how important this is in my own life when I look at my relationship with Jesus during the years I was a Christian. I still think Jesus is rich, complex and wonderful – but that’s mostly theory because he and I never developed a relationship. I had no experience to back up the ‘personal relationship with Jesus Christ’! That’s important if religion/spirituality is going to take root in real life. Yes, faith is the belief in things not seen, and there can be virtue in that, but it’s not a solid foundation. Drew encourages the reader to embrace experience and things that we can see/touch/smell, etc.
I should mention a minor trigger warning: in the beginning of the book Drew mentions depression a few times in a casual way. I don’t think he is meaning clinical depression or meaning to use the term disrespectfully, but I know some people out there are very sensitive to mental health words. Get past those early pages and it never comes up again.
Drew discusses four areas where humans find spiritual connection:
*Celebrations and ceremonies: This area is most often associated with organized religion, but can also include raves, parties, communal actions, etc.
*Solitude: This can be straight up time alone, or perhaps practices that hinge on it, such as meditation.
*Nature: For me, this one is intertwined with solitude, but this doesn’t have to be the case.
*Great personal challenge: This can be either circumstance or choice.
All of the above have been important and powerful teachers for me in my life. Drew focuses on the bottom three.
Walk Like a God is basic and conversational – in the best ways! It’s ideal for people who are disenchanted or uninterested in conventional, organized religion, and that includes many forms of paganism. I also think that many of the mystically inclined and unconventional people in any tradition might find this book a welcome supplement to their practice.
One of the few things that made me cringe was Drew’s question to the reader early on: ‘Are you ready to be in control?’ Yes, this approach (and for me, Paganism in general is good at this) creates space for each individual to have more control over one’s spiritual life. But the mystic in me also feels like we aren’t fully in control – spirituality is a relationship. We can no more demand that the gods show up than we can demand that the ravens stay one place for our meditation. A minor quibble (but I didn’t study theology for nothin’).
While I am already practicing just about everything Drew mentions, I did learn a few new things. For example, leaving strands of hair as an eco-friendly and personal offering. Brilliant! I was also challenged by his discussion of adventure. Such a lack of adventure in my life! ….Except that’s not true. My adventures look different than his, or from the one’s I used to have when I was kid-free and younger. But I’ve managed to travel and move countries and take employment and artistic risks – all while partnered, with children. Adventure comes in many forms! For me, blogging publicly has been a risk and adventure, as well (another thought for a future post). Still, I was challenged to think about what the next adventure will be…
I highly recommend this slim book. It takes 30-60 minutes to read. Drew does such a great job of summing up what my Place quarter is really about. Get in touch with where you live, find a new way to connect with yourself, the gods, and your land. You won’t regret it!