Wednesday, February 04, 2009

What Is Religion?

What is religion?

Religion is a good meal, and everything it took to get to your plate, from soil to seed to harvest.

Religion is listening to the wisdom of animals, through whose movements and sounds we gain glimpses of the Gods.

Religion is drawing strength and nourishment from loved ones, and giving it in return.

Religion is honoring the experience of passion in love.

Religion is standing upon the earth, surveying the skies and the treescapes, taking in a deep breath, and knowing this planet is good.

Religion is knowing your world, through every nook and cranny, with every grainy and varied texture, and feeling its sacredness through and through.

Religion is gathering up all of this varied experience and translating it through the imagination into tales the folk love, so that the reality of the world and its imaginative context interpenetrate to give rich, poetic meaning to things.

Religion is calling together the folk for periodic feasts to remember what is valuable in life and toast that which is honorable.

Religion is learning how to be a human being in the ongoing wave of human generations upon this beloved earth.

Religion is walking upon the grass and knowing that ancestors' bones sing here, and feeling their presence, however subtle, in the breeze and on the edge of dream.

Religion is having a tradition based on generations and generations of spiritual insights filtered through the enlightened pragmatism of the ages, which over time filters out what doesn't work from what is truly wise, so that the finest ancestral heirlooms of wit, beauty, and meaning may touch us in their simplicity and profundity whenever we stoop to kiss the earth or outstretch our arms to the heavens in praise.

Religion is that which binds together what might otherwise be scattered, what makes whole that which falls apart, and which picks up the pieces after disasters and gives heart and strength back to the broken-hearted, mitigating whereever it cannot completely heal.

Religion is not just the spiritual impulse of a moment, but the distilled essence of visionaries and prophetic commonfolk over generations and generations of time, that allows the many, many voices of the community both living and dead to speak, and if we are wise, to be heard.

Religion is living a normal, extraordinary, wyrd human life on a planet full of marvelous creatures created by mysteries we can barely understand and yet who come to us through comforting forms shaped by loving and kind grandmothers and grandfathers, and through whose cherished forms we come to love and honor the mysteries.

Religion is about staying close to reality, infusing it with spirit, strength, imagination, gumption, endurance, love, and lust for life.

If your religion does not provide you with these things, perhaps it is time to try religion shaped by the Old Ones, the path of the Old Ways.


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