Wiccan without real rituals? eh?
good topic question you post...
I wish I had the answer. But the only answer I have is mine and even that eludes me.
Some people will forever seek, some won't. Why does a person keep seeking even if they've found the religion that suits them.
I used to be extremely critical of people floating from religion to religion, thinking they just always had to have a new fad. While that's probably true for a good many, my own wandering from Wicca (Alexandrian) towards Hinduism has left me perplexed for the last 4 years.
I guess know when you 'know it's the one' and when you don't question that there's anything else outside of that religion, that you search for.
I know it's a vague answer...sorry
I think "Wiccan without real rituals" means reading about a ritual and being like "yeah right, I'm really gonna do that." It never stopped feeling like I was late for auditions for The Craft.
Wicca is an initiatory tradition based religion. No way to get to be Wiccan without initiation, so by then you have of course had 'real ritual'
I know that's the standard, but there are enough books directed at solitary witches (and Wiccans) that I'd guess some people do it on their own. Then again, you can create a watered-down whatever you want if you're going it alone. Just don't do it with the help of Silver Ravenwolf, LOL.
I'm with magicalmehendi...sometimes seeking is it's own reward, and there's nothing wrong with that--as long as you're approaching each course of your religious growth/change with an attitude of "what is this teaching me about God, spirituality, and myself" (as opposed to "well, I'm [religion X] because I don't have to do much to go to heaven tee hee") you're on a path, you're just on the path that eventually branches out into every other path.
Keep looking. I don't know if you'll know what's right when you hit it--I certainly haven't yet, and thus my religion at the moment is a mish-mash of good concepts and practices I've gleaned from a number of traditions, primarily Zen Buddhism and Judaism.
Ultimately, you're doing fine as long as you're at peace with your relationship with God(s/ess/esses) and with yourself.
That's where I was after realizing I was never going to really be a part of the Wiccan community; I almost felt like Wicca was my compromise because Judaism wasn't an option. Oh, and you can be a solitary Wiccan (added bonus in the Xtian midwest). Before I stopped ignoring "that little Jewish spark" for lack of a better phrase, my altar had stones and a Kwan Yin on it in addition to Celtic stuff and Sarasvati. My bookshelf looked Jewitch and still does.
Like The Oracle said in The Matrix (paraphrased):
When it's The One, you just know it. From balls to bones you know it.
There's no question, in my experience.
Sorry it took me a while to respond but midterms are a pain! And who knew I had so much to say:
I was born to Agnostic-ish parents who were raised Christian. They gave me no religious background, but they did give me Judaism in another sense, because they gave me books. And Judaism in the form of children's literature about the Holocaust and World War II spoke to me, called me, from the very first time I read about it.
As I grew up and became best friends with a Catholic, a Muslim, and a Hindu, I became interested in their faiths. I've gone to Midnight Mass and baptisms and attended catechism classes with her. I've fasted for Ramadan and celebrated Eid and literally cried at the haunting beauty of adhan. I've witnessed countless pujas and tied for Raki and lit lamps at Diwali. All of these experiences are a part of who I am because they explain my respect for other faiths and show me the utter humanity of all religions that I cannot ignore. While they all affirm the diverse beauty of expression across man’s faiths, they also affirm the similarity of devotion, of how integral religion is to our being and identities.
But how do I know that Judaism isn’t a just a phase? The answer to me is quite simple: I’m 20-years-old and have had this desire since I was 13. I’ve had the desire to defend Judaism and Jews for the most important seven years of my life. And not just defend them in the sense that I defend all religions and their followers; I really do believe Muslims and Christians and Hindus and Buddhists and Zoroastrians and Bahai’s and everyone else has the right to practice as they want. I really do believe that while much of the wisdom contained in these faith traditions is shared, there still lies unique contributions from each of them.
But when I defend Jews, there’s this difference in my defense. It’s not an objective defense; I feel personally involved and always have. I feel like arguments against Jews and Judaism are a personal attack—just like if you were to “attack” socialism or San Francisco or Latin America. These are all important, integral, vital parts of my self-constructed and self-understood identity and when I finally realized that my response to them was the same as my desire to defend Israel, I knew.
This realization is not always forefront in my mind; it would be hard to keep it that way for seven years. So it reemerges every now and then, with high peaks of fanaticism and valleys of doubt. But I always end up surprising myself with how quickly this desire to defend resurfaces. Most recently it came in the form of a thread on a travelboard regarding circumcision—three non-Jews in my opinion attacking a Jew because she used her religion to support this “barbaric, unnecessary, mutilating” tradition. I amazed myself in the ferocity of my words.
But they shouldn’t have been. When I pick up my siddur after an absence, when I see people wearing Magen David’s, when I see people wearing kippah and speaking in Hebrew, when I go to shul, when I see BlackHats talking to Reconstructionists, when my heart silently pleas for good whenever when I hear Israel on the news, when I celebrated Purim for the first time and felt more fulfilled than 20 years of Christmases, I know. I knew. This is for me. I have this strong desire to make the religion my own, to claim it as my faith, my g-d, my people, my culture and civilization. The power, the answer for me, lies in my desire for ownership. I want to live and celebrate Judaism’s beauties and fallacies with my children, I want to make it a source of comfort and pride for them. I want to create a meaningful, well-established and respected tradition to firmly root them in.
In my opinion, phases require a serious lack of intent. It’s like a natural or forced ending point already exists, or begins to develop, in your mind—conscious or not. And this I think that's disrespectful. Seeeking requires—once again, in my opinion—a genuine interest. I don't think there's a problem with seeking. The problem lies in realizing it is a phase and not treating it as such.
"When I pick up my siddur after an absence, when I see people wearing Magen David’s, when I see people wearing kippah and speaking in Hebrew, when I go to shul, when I see BlackHats talking to Reconstructionists, when my heart silently pleas for good whenever when I hear Israel on the news, when I celebrated Purim for the first time and felt more fulfilled than 20 years of Christmases, I know. I knew. This is for me. I have this strong desire to make the religion my own, to claim it as my faith, my g-d, my people, my culture and civilization. The power, the answer for me, lies in my desire for ownership. I want to live and celebrate Judaism’s beauties and fallacies with my children, I want to make it a source of comfort and pride for them. I want to create a meaningful, well-established and respected tradition to firmly root them in."
I think you said this beautifully. I am Shinto, but I was raised Catholic. I completely feel the same way. When my partner and I went to Japan, we set foot on shrine grounds, not necessarily realizing the impact it would have on us. It called to me, softly, slowly claiming my heart and mind, until this past winter we got married in a Shinto ceremony and spent Oshogatsu there helping out. It was amazing. While I knew before I wanted to be Shinto, wanted to consider myself Shinto, it is only after that experience that I know there is no other path that would give me the comfort I found there.
Thank you for putting it in such beautiful words.