First of all, I know that a lot of people are confused about Quaganism, or Quaker/Paganism. Quakerism does have its roots in Christianity, and Orthodox, Conservative Quakers would be traditionally Christian in terms of beliefs, including faith in The Trinity. There is certainly much emphasis in Quaker literature on the teachings of Jesus. It would tend to be the style of worship and the interpretation of the teachings of Jesus that would be very different for Christian Quakers, as compared to, say, Roman Catholics, Anglicans or Methodists - or any other mainstream Christian church. Liberal Quakers are much more diverse in terms of beliefs, but would still relate to the same Quaker approach and appreciate the simplicity of the Quaker style of worship. Pacifism is a core value of Quakerism, although some Quakers have even moved away from this - and it is the shared values which unite Quakers with very different views on many issues. Within Liberal Quakerism, Pagan and Buddhist values and beliefs actually fit beautifully. And, for people with Pagan or Buddhist (or other) beliefs, but who find the rituals difficult or don't relate to them for some reason, there can be a place - a spiritual home - with The Quakers. There are many more reasons why people relate to Quakerism though, and it is such a big subject that it is difficult to know where to start.
Now, I am going to talk more about where I am at personally, right now. The defining question is: To what extent do I feel Quagan, as opposed to Wiccan, based upon my beliefs and emotions, who I am inside and my relationship with The Divine? And to what extent am I simply unable to cope with the rituals of the Wiccan religion due to factors ranging from dyspraxia, agoraphobia and OCD, to my psychological "hang-ups" (if they are to be viewed as such) regarding aspects of Wicca, and Paganism generally, such as "sky-clad worship"?
On the one hand, I have this obsession with, and need for, a spiritual identity, and the need/desire to "belong" somewhere - to have a religion, a specific, recognised spiritual path. I am torn between this and a resistance to conformity of any kind, to being labelled or labelling myself - a need for individuality. I am searching, ultimately, for an entirely authentic relationship with The Divine.
I don't know if I am expressing myself clearly or not, but I want to keep trying. It helps. If reading this helps anyone else too, then that's even better.
I am still not technically a Quaker and haven't been to Meeting for some time now, but that is mainly due to health and practical reasons. I do want to go back again, at some point. My late grandparents (dad's side) were actively involved in The Quakers. (They were Christian Quakers, though.) My dad and his brother and sister were all birthright Quakers (a practice which has since been discontinued), but only my uncle ever became active within The Quakers, and he has since ceased to be involved in Quakerism. I was Christened in the Anglican Church, but not raised "in the church", as it were - although my primary school did teach from a C. of E./Methodist Christian perspective. I only really got involved in Quakerism personally after my intense experiences with the LDS/Mormon and Anglican churches, and Beliefnet.com etc, in 2007/08.
Anyway, I'll leave it there for now. I could ramble endlessly about all of this, but I think that this, as a blog post, is starting to lose direction and focus. Thank you to anyone who takes the time and trouble to read my words. Blessed be. xxx