As you may have noticed from the comments, Kay has tagged me for the latest meme, to list three religions other than your own that interest you, and why. I sometimes play these and sometimes don’t, but this time I will – although in a way it hardly seems fair, since I’ve talked a lot of this out in great detail here already over the last three years – because it gives me a chance to reflect on an aspect of my religious interests that I haven’t already analyzed to death. :P
1. Hinduism – particularly the non-Vedantic, more hard-polytheistic schools that emphasize bhakti-yoga. (Yes, this is a bit of a shift from my previous statements regarding my natural affinity for the jñana-yoga… but it’s all part of the getting-myself-out-of-my-head thing that I’ve been working on for a while.) In any case, the important thing here is what draws me to it – the ancient heritage, the highly formal worship rituals, and the emphasis on knowing the Gods as Themselves. As an added bonus, I have developed a deep fondness for the music, which as we have seen previously is a critical part of my spiritual expression.
2. Shinto – I’ve talked SO much about Shinto here that I’m not sure there’s much left to say, except that what initially drew me to it was what I’d read about the emphasis on the value of Nature (as opposed, unfortunately, to lower-case nature, much of which has apparently been paved over…). Despite everything I wrote in the Hellenism and Shinto series, I find that Shinto actually resonates in the same places that led me into Druidry, much as the Hinduism described above is related to my Hellenic journey. And, again, the ancient heritage – however much debate there may be about the antiquity of any given practice or form, there is an unbroken current there that the Western polytheistic revival faiths, including mine, just don’t have. And, of course, it ties in with my practice of Aikido and my general fascination with many things Japanese.
3. Judaism – Radical shift here, except for… you guessed it, the ancient heritage. Really, though, the differences are fairly fundamental. My attraction to Hindu and Shinto thought is first and foremost intellectual, while my connection to Judaism is less theological than personal and emotional, and even mystical; my friendships with the Jewish community and my experiences in worship have forged a bond that would be very difficult to completely sever, even though my theology differs pretty radically.
This being a meme, I’m supposed to tag some people… but I’m not sure I want to impose on anyone else this close to Christmas. Besides, I’m fairly late to this party, and I see that a lot of people have already been tagged… oh, what the heck. There are, in fact, a couple of people whose answers I would be very interested in seeing – Cat, Jeff, Ali… if you care to play, this is your invitation.