The Problem of the Personal Experience

The Problem of the Personal Experience September 16, 2012

I agreed to edit a devotional anthology to Hephaistos a coon’s age ago. Submissions poured in. And I couldn’t do it. I feel pretty crappy about that. Today I turned all the material over to someone else to assemble into a devotional.

The reason I couldn’t do it is because I have very strong personal relationship with Hephaistos. And all of those submissions bore little relevance to my personal relationship to him. It was as if they were talking about someone else. None of them were “bad” or “wrong.” Some were astoundingly lovely. But I came to realize I have no communal framework in which to speak of him. Not only did I not know what to do with these lovely offerings, I didn’t know what to say in return.

That is a big damn problem. My faith has become so small and personal that I don’t even know how to begin to communicate with other devotees. I have no larger framework to place my faith in. It is not that my faith is wrong, but that it is stunted and anti-social. It has no manners, no chit-chat, no experience of reaching for common ground.

I know the answer is to find community.  To stretch my religious muscles. To find a common Hephaistos and a common religion.

It is easy to say, and not so easy to do. But I am not the only one. Paganism is full to the brim with solitaries, each with their own deep personal religion, their own mythos. Do you ever find your faith is so small, customized and unique that even among Pagans of like mind you feel completely alone?

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