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a little knowledge [can be a good thing]

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Today we explored the fields of spirituality which are/were mostly unfamiliar to me. Also practiced (role-played) initial conversations with clients. Here are some notes.

Wiccan/Pagan/Native spirituality is rarely recorded but handed down as stories since the beginning of time / between listeners and elders, shamans and medicine people / based on careful observation of what happens in nature; / belief that everything is possible, even if it not yet known; / belief that everything and everyone contain an aspect of the divine; / similarities in beliefs and practices among indigenous Peoples from as far afield as Siberia, Romania, First Nations (US and Canada), South America, Australia, South-Sea Islands; / the term Wiccan from Wikhar = sacred well.

Jewish spirituality based on the understanding of ‘truth’ is evolving, progressive; / discussion and disagreement about scriptures are essential; / believers are expected to disagree with each other; / God can be wrong; solemn duty to confront God, to engage in debate.

Desert fathers and mothers (4th century AD) / once home-based Christian practices became state religion and rituals became super-sized and in the hand of select clergy, / horrified, women and men moved to the desert to live in caves, to maintain the simplicity and directness of their worship; / they were mostly illiterate, had neither certificate nor clerical robes; / some became known for their wisdom and were sought out for advice (like hermits in other traditions East and West); / when consulted by someone who’d committed a serious misdeed, one said, “I will carry 1/2 the weight of your transgressions.” [This simple sharing of burdens — as practiced to this day in 12-step and other support groups — was later institutionalized by the Church into confessions and forgiveness of sins.]

So much to learn. Main objective: to expand my awareness and appreciation of others’ beliefs and practices so that I may serve their spiritual needs.

images: (top) Native American shaman at http://www.firstperson.us;  (bottom) St. Anthony and St. Paul, known desert fathers.

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