One with Nature

I love meeting new people, especially individuals from other spiritual backgrounds who are as hungry for knowledge as I am. I was sitting—on the floor—by the mythology section at a Barnes & Noble last Thursday. I was browsing through a beautifully illustrated book on dragon magic, when a lady walked up to me.

She gave me one of those doubtful looks that immediately tells you that a person is about to ask a question; she didn’t ask anything. She stood there for a few minutes, went to the next section of the bookstore and then returned and stared at me again.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I must be on your way. I’ll move.” I wasn’t on her way. I just wanted to break the ice.

“Not at all, I just…” She paused for a few seconds and focused on a world mythology book. “Can I ask you a question?”

I knew you could do it girlie! I thought. “You bet. Shoot.”

“I'm back in school after 17 years, and I’m taking a religion course. I took it because I thought it was going to be about something I was familiar with, but things have changed since my old college days. We are discussing Nature religions and I have to write a paper on it, but…” She let out a barely audible sigh.

“What do you know about Nature religions?” I interrupted.

“After discussing the topic in class and reading my textbook, I’ve realized I don’t know jack.” She laughed and I was glad she was relaxing a bit.

“Hm… I guess you can write about anything then. Have you thought about discussing the foundation of Nature religions, and how you understand them after reading up on the subject?” I was proud of me; you see, my mind was going a mile a minute. I was already drafting her paper in my head, but I actually formulated a question to make her think about her choices.

She frowned. “That’s the worst part. I tried doing that; explaining the basics of Nature religions from the perspective of someone with a very different spiritual upbringing. But every time I open a book I find something different.”

I believed her; there is just so much information out there. “You know what? I found a quote on The Power of Myth, a book I just started reading, and I think it fully explains what’s at the heart of Nature religions. It says that
‘Nature religions are not attempts to control nature but to help you put yourself in accord with it.’
So I would say that the one thing most—if not all Nature religions—have in common, is the fact that its followers are mindful of Mother Earth and everything that lives in it.”

“Oh man, I didn’t realize; so what Nature religion do you follow?” She looked hopeful.

I smiled. “I’m an Eclectic Pagan who likes to laugh, love and learn, so I follow my heart.”

She sat next to me on the floor. “I want to know more about it.”

And that my Wicked Darlings started a discussion that went on for nearly 3 hours. We exchanged numbers at the end. We are supposed to meet next Wednesday, when she’ll tell me all about her life as a Mormon.


What would you say, if someone asked you to describe your belief system or spiritual path in one sentence?

25 comments:

  1. I would have loved to have been a party at that conversation....and the follow up one too. Always so interesting!

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  2. I long for conversations like that!

    I'm usually only ever at stores with my friends or boyfriend. Oh, the joys of not being able to drive and living in the middle of nowhere. People don't really come up to me, and it doesn't help that nobody wants to spend 5 hours in a book store like I'd want to.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

    Blessings,
    Skye

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  3. I love your "breaking the ice" move!

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  4. i do the same thing I sit on the floor in waterstones (a big bookstore in the uk)and read books, I've had a few funny looks but no longing conversations.....what does a witch have to do lol
    If I was to describe my belief system in one sentace, a very tall order for me lol I'd probably say an Ecletic Pagan Witch who loves to be out in nature and follow her path whole heartedly. See, long sentances work better for me lol
    Nice story though Magaly, if only things like that would happen where I live.

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  5. Wow. :) People just come to you don't they? That's awesome.

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  6. Jeanette, I might share the next part of our encounter with you then. Like I said, I'm meeting her for late lunch on Wednesday before I pick niece up from school.

    Skye, I aways go to the bookstore by myself. I used to go once a month with friends, but they are back at Illinois. But you know what, even there--I lived in a very small town--people used to come and talk to us about our group (The Witches' Reading Lounge) We had this huge sign and they always wanted to know if we were real Witches and could "fly brooms and stuff" lol

    GreekWitch, a Witch has to do what a Witch has to do ;)

    Pixie, I'm the master of sitting on the floor at bookstores lol. I used to have my spot at my old town. I was there so often that the guys from the coffee shop will bring me hot cocoa. They would even let me stay after pre-closing if I was too deep in a book--my book club was a good costumer.

    Janicu, I hear that often. I think I'm just very approachable. I smile all the time, and I mean ALL the time--even at inappropriate times. There are times when I kind of work my way into the action, if I think I can offer a helping hand. And yes it feels quite "awesome"!

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  7. What a lucky, magickal moment! Love when that happens :).

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  8. Me too. I believe that energy attracts similar energy. I yearn for these moments, so that might be the reason why I get them. Or maybe, I just stare at people too much lol

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  9. If you asked me to explain my beliefs in just one sentence, I would be like "Um....uh...." lol Maybe, MAYBE, a good way to describe my beliefs in one sentence is "I believe in many deities, nature spirits, and I hold believe in the sacredness of nature." But ask me again tomorrow, and I might have a different answer.

    Your conversation sounds awesome. I love talking religion, partially because I just like to talk about it, but also because I absolutely love to learn about other religions. And it's so easy to ask about someone's beliefs when we're already talking religion. :)

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  10. I think must of us go through the "Um... uh..." every once in a while. I believe the spirituality is alive and always changing, so we can't never be completely sure. But we'll get to the I'm soooo sure stage eventually.

    I love talking about spirituality. I don't understand why people say that it is impolite to do so. It is just a part of life, but you are right it is a lot easier when you ask when you are already talking about it.

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  11. I love it when these little moments happen, and I'm so glad you were able to help her so much.

    I'm not really sure what I would say to describe my beliefs in one sentence. I believe in so many contradictory things that I tend to confuse people when I put thoughts to tongue like that. Mostly, however, I believe in my inner self, my soul, and let nature and the energy around me show me the way to understanding and the sublime. But there are so many things I might say instead...

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  12. What a wonderful story!

    I think that it is great that you seem to be gaining a new friend.

    I hope we get to hear more about it as it progresses!

    I used to sit on the floor of our library in town and read, it was my "quiet time" lol...

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  13. Explaining what is at the centre of my spiritual spiral path, I quote from Gaiman's and Pratchett's "Good Omens - BE YOURSELF AS HARD AS YOU CAN. After that it gets complicated. ;o)

    (The exact quote should be somewhat different, but it's early and I haven't had coffee and the desk is full of boring work. *g*)

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  14. Oh how I wish I was there! I am finally coming to a conclusion on my religion..eclectic roman catholic :) maybe I am the first as I have no idea if they exist but so far that is the nearest I can continue calling myself catholic..maybe in the end I will change completely but that is my conclusion so far:)

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  15. I'm fairly new to your blog but wanted to say that you dear lady have reminded me how it's been far too long since I've had my butt in a bookstore and I really need to change that asap!

    Also, this is an incredibly cool story. I've had a few Mormon friends over the years and they have all seemed to be pretty vibrant, positive and inquisitive people. I like their groove, and their willingness to stand up for what they believe in, even though it runs a bit counter to mainstream culture. Maybe that's where I find we click? ;-)

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  16. Emma, I've always told myself that as long as I understand what's going on in my head when it comes to spirituality, then everything is good. So if you can make sense of your own ways, life is good :)

    Bella Foxglove, I can't wait to hear about YOUR stories once you come back to the library floor ;)

    Diandra, you are soooo absolutely right, coffee or not lol. And at this point in my life that quote is more right than ever--I'm applying it!

    Melissa, I think that once you put that "eclectic" in front of your beliefs everything changes--for the better I believe. Some might not share my views, but in my heart diversity and eclecticism make the world a bit easy to understand and enjoy.

    Lyon, I welcome to Pagan Culture! And I'm right with you about finding Mormonism interesting, especially the way they defend their traditions, no matter what others say. This is one of the most marginalized Christian traditions or denominations, and although I don't completely agree with some of their practice, I applaud anyone who fights for what they believe. But I wish they left children out of it. I just don't think that children are mature enough to grasp a concept as complex as religion.

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  17. Book stores.. wonderful places.. My daughter and I were in Barnes and Noble this weekend, though not the same Barnes and Noble.. We had a great time picking out new material.. Grabbed a big picture book on the world's religions.. There are so many; I would love to know them all, but that particular book went back to the shelf for next time..

    One sentence, eh? Well, let's see.."Nature is God, God is Nature; we are all just energy which is recycled"

    That is very difficult. It's so much more involved.

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  18. Magaly, that just sounds wonderfully and fun. I also love talking about my beliefs with others and also welcome it from pple-I'm not very shy :-).

    But if i had to describe my religious path it would be Polytheistic-from my experience, you say pagan pple assume you are wiccan etc....like this polytheistic works...

    But if you were to ask my friend he would tell you I'm a Classical Polytheist with Mormon Influences...but i digress.....

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  19. Judy, I totally get it. It is difficult to describe what we believe in in just a sentence, but I must say you did a grand job!

    Written In Earth, I don't think that I think I should put my new friend and you in contact. I didn't even think about it, but now that you reminded me, your insight might me exactly what she needs.

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  20. I'm here from Jennifer's blog which I love. I enjoyed your post and I guess if I could sum up my beliefs in one sentence, it would be walk gently on the earth and leave everyone and everything better for knowing you.

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  21. That is such a wonderful description. I hope to touch everyone I meet in such a way; I know that it is almost impossible, but where would we be if we didn't dream?

    Thanks for visiting Pagan Culture, hope to see you here again.

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  22. This gave me goose bumps! I love people who are open minded enough and not so egotistical to think their religion is the only way.

    Bravo to your new friend and to you for being so patient and willing to help.

    What a great way to spend an afternoon.

    Please let us know how she does on her paper. :)

    )O(
    boo

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  23. Well, we met on Wednesday and ended up talking about Urban Fantasy books (my other passion) lol. We sat at a library, right next to my niece's school and watched the rain for a while too. I'm actually about to get ready right now, to go to the city. I'm picking up my niece and meeting my friend again. I told her about Pagan Culture and how everybody reacted to this post and now I'm trying to convince her to guest blog. Cross your fingers ;)

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  24. Wow. :) People just come to you don't they? That's awesome.

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  25. i do the same thing I sit on the floor in waterstones (a big bookstore in the uk)and read books, I've had a few funny looks but no longing conversations.....what does a witch have to do lol
    If I was to describe my belief system in one sentace, a very tall order for me lol I'd probably say an Ecletic Pagan Witch who loves to be out in nature and follow her path whole heartedly. See, long sentances work better for me lol
    Nice story though Magaly, if only things like that would happen where I live.

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