It is June.

Remember that time I promised photos of stash? Yeah, that’s not going to happen for a while. I didn’t get to it in April, and I head to the northlands for Dorian next Thursday. My next chance at a good yarn stash organization is looking like August. August! (Or maybe I should do it in small chunks …)

Speaking of yarny things, I made a swan. This one’s crocheted. I made it for the May Charms class for the House Cup on Ravelry – the challenge was to “craft something that represents a link between two people or locations”. I chose the swan to represent my great-grandmother Valerie. She always had a lot of swan figurines around the house, and even a few of those swan-shaped planters out on the patio.

Swan

Gustava the Swan

I recently decided to make an ancestral altar, having heard a few folks talk about them on a couple of different podcasts. I thought something handmade would be a nice addition to it. So far I’ve got the swan and a watch that belonged to my grandfather, who died last August. It’s not a very big start – I don’t even have any photos yet. Well, ok I have a few on my computer, but I’d like to print them out and put them in a nice frame or something.

Right now I’m really getting into Dorian/summer camp/escape from work mode. I’ve been thinking about door decorations, and decided there may be an “incognito” theme. And by incognito, I mean mustaches. Bandwagon? Yup. I’ll totally get on the mustache bandwagon. (Who am I kidding? I already am. I bought this shirt on Woot a few weeks ago. Handlebar mustache! I love puns.)

I probably won’t get another post out before camp – although if I really want to ignore work on my birthday next Monday maybe I’ll post then. Either way, hopefully I can get myself together and have another one this month.

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Irony.

… or how I lost my religion.

But first, a brief note. Yes, I know it’s been a very long time since I posted. I lost my blogging mojo – last year was a year of many things, both joys and trials. I would like to hop back on the blogging bandwagon now, and hopefully it will stick. I make no guarantees.

Now, back to the irony story at hand. I want to tell you about the time I lost my Christian beliefs.

Here’s the ironic part: the decline and fall of my Christianity started the day I was baptized. As I reflect on my religiosity, or lack thereof in recent years, I’ve pretty much pinpointed that event as the key point in the shift of my spiritual beliefs. I’ve debated blogging about this, but frankly I need to get it out of my head.

I’m not sure what it was about that day, but something changed. In my family’s church (Disciples of Christ), baptism is through immersion. There’s a funky little baptismal tank in the sanctuary; it has a big window that’s covered by curtains most of the time. Baptism pretty much goes like this: put on clothes that can get wet, go in the dunk tank with the pastor, the pastor asks you if you believe in Jesus and you say yes, then the pastor leans you back (or was it forward?) to get you completely immersed, family takes pictures, then you get out and change back into your normal clothes. My problem came at the immersion part; I suppose I just didn’t trust the pastor enough or something, but I now refer to my baptism as “the time I almost drowned”. It was a very strange thing, and it seemed pretty insignificant at the time; mostly I felt dumb for choking on water.

Time went by. I attended church camp for five summers at the local affiliated conference center. I made some pretty great friends there, and we had fun and fellowshipped together and got emotional and all that. But then one year – either my second or third year in high school camp – I found out that one of my friends was Wiccan, or at least he knew things about Wicca. (I know, strange place to be finding pagan folk, but it was high school after all. Everyone is weird in high school in some way.) I had just been fiddling around with some popsicle sticks during free time, and had doodled some random elemental things on each one. (I don’t quite remember which elements I chose, but I want to say it was similar to traditional Chinese elements. I remember having metal in there, at any rate.) My friend made some sort of comment about them, and then said to keep it a secret.

Later that summer, after we’d been home for a few weeks, I got a letter from the friend detailing Wicca a little more. At the end, he instructed me to burn the letter – lest it “fall into the wrong hands” or something, I suppose. Needless to say, I got curious. I started doing what any other teen in the late 90s would do: looking information up on the internet. I found correspondence charts, explanations of the elements, cool poetry … myriad items began to pile up. I started to print out some of my favorite things and collect it in a broken binder, which I must have hidden in my room somewhere. I remember one time my mom saw the notebook; looking at the picture of the pentagram with the elements labeled, she asked me where god was, and I mumbled something about spirit being like god. She didn’t ask anything else, and I found a better hiding place. I never really committed myself to Wicca, or even to some generic pagan path, but it was always at the back of my mind, waiting and brewing its own thoughts.

Let’s fast-forward. Attending a Lutheran college didn’t change my leanings at all; I stayed pretty much non-religious in college. (You should read the fourth paragraph on my About page for a little anecdote about that, which is also a lesson in thinking before you open your mouth.) Now, however, is where more irony comes into play: I’m a church choir director. At the same church where I “almost drowned”. Actually, I choose all of the music now, effective since January. And this is the third year I’ve been singing with their praise band. (That was a struggle. I really didn’t want to do it, but frankly, they need my help. Not to be mean or pompous or anything, just truthful.)

Life is strange, and also oddly circuitous. I have so much control and input over a significant part of each service – and I don’t even practice the religion. Not inwardly, anyway. Outwardly I put on the mask of Christianity and play along, while inwardly I’m reflecting on things religious, though decidedly non-Christian. Sometimes I get incredibly frustrated, because I feel as though I’m in stasis – even though I’m trying, even struggling at some points to shift my position, my beliefs. Over the last year or so, I’ve begun putting form to those pagan thoughts that started brewing so long ago, and I think I’m starting to find my spiritual home.

I suppose I’ll leave it at that for now. Next post I’ll have more knitting content, even though I’ve felt a bit drained of that over the last couple of months. It’s good to be back, and I hope to post a bit more.

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