This next post is a personal post and for once not on both of us. Why? Because it’s about spirituality, belief and faith and I would feel very uncomfortable speaking and explaining on behalf of someone else. So after I published this, maybe Nannu will decide to publish a blog post on this topic too.
First of all I want to emphasize that I am completely aware that this is a very sensitive topic. So if and when you read it, I am asking you to share this awareness. Belief and faith is something very personal and relative – everyone of us has their own (or not, which is also ok). We should all respect each other’s opinion on this topic, so I am not asking you to understand and share my kind of belief but I merely ask you to tolerate and respect it.
I was baptised Roman Catholic as a child, which actually does not mean a lot to me now, as I really do not practice. In Austria being baptised Roman Catholic was and partly still is a tradition for Austrians, and while I had my first communion and my confirmation as well, I would not consider myself being Roman Catholic. You see, in Austria the church is connected very tightly to the state. Giving my opinion on this would include some political stuff and I swore myself to never ever talk about politics in social media, because there are just too many opinions on this. So in case you are interested in Austrian traditions, just let me know and I will be very happy to dedicate a blogpost on it, but it will not include politics.
So the heart of Catholicism is God, of course. I had many phases throughout my life in which I did believe in God, in which I didn’t and at the moment I am in a “No God”-phase. I don’t really believe in God, but this may change again soon, who knows.
What I really do believe in is humanity and individuality. I think what makes us strongest is believing in ourselves and in others. I also believe that everyone knows best what kind of belief makes him or herself happy and powerful. So I think spirituality and belief is more of a cultural and personal construct that helps us in our everyday life. This being said, I want to tell you what kind of things make me happy and powerful.
Talismans and other items
Certain items can have a powerful impact on my happiness. I am not only talking about mementoes or lucky charms, but also certain religious items. I give you: the grisgris-bag!
This is my grisgris-bag. Many of you probably don’t know what it is. Long story short: A grisgris-bag comes from Voodoo and can be used as a talisman and bringer of luck. Depending on what herbs or items you add, you can use it for different purposes.
Now, don’t freak out! I had you at Voodoo, right? Voodoo is not at all what we know about it. It’s not the terrible rituals we know from Hollywood movies. First and foremost it is a religion. And in my opinion, every religion has its good and bad aspects. Voodoo is a seriously misunderstood religion. I learned that in New Orleans, where Voodoo and a lot of other “creepy” (as many people see it, sic.) religions are still practiced. Everyone who is interested in getting to know Voodoo and its rituals should really consider going to New Orleans and taking a free Voodoo tour on foot. I learned a lot about Voodoo and could even identify some of its features with my own beliefs. If New Orleans is out of reach at the moment and you are still interested in learning more about Voodoo, please don’t use the classical websites like Wikipedia, but try out the website of Voodo Authentica, the best Voodoo shop in New Orleans, where I bought my grisgris-bag.
So returning to the grisgris-bag: Mine is for financial purposes and luck. Back in NOLA, that was my biggest concern. Now I regret I did not buy one for health as well, because I had to get my wisdom tooth removed yesterday.
You will think: “What, she really believes in that?!” And I tell you: Partly. What I do believe in is that this small bag gives you a lot of power. And I don’t know if it’s only a placebo effect or if it’s really Voodoo powers, but it helps me, because I believe in it. What many people do not realize is that believing in something makes you strong. It’s not what you believe in, but it is the fact that you believe in it. Anyway, that is my opinion on it.
Except for that, I also believe that certain things give you power. If you feel like this pair of shoes fit perfectly and match your outfit – that gives you power. If you feel like this top has been bought at a place that was super special for you – that gives you power. If you feel like wearing your Gryffindor socks brings luck – that gives you power. Not even starting on souvenirs and mementoes and lucky charms.
Thinking and acting
As I already said, I don’t really believe in God, neither in ghosts nor in spirits. But what I really do believe in is Karma. For those who don’t know: Karma is the belief that every action concerning other people comes back to you, when it’s good then in a good way and when it’s bad then in a bad way.
For me, this is not religion, this is just real. It happened to me multiple times. That’s why I try to live my life as good as possible and helping other people as much as possible. One of my favorite quotes and also one of my mottos is
“We rise by lifting others.” by Robert Ingersoll.
For my life this is very true, because it makes me incredibly happy to make other people happy or help them. It is more important for me that other people feel well than that I am feeling well. Sometimes this is a little stupid, but more on that in another blogpost (maybe).
Another thing I believe in is destiny. I think we all have a purpose and that everything happens for a reason. Especially in difficult situations this comforts me very much and often it turned out to be true and that bad things really happened for a reason.
Now I don’t know in wich section this would belong, because I could have also categorized it as talisman since kind of it is an object, but I have two tattoos connected to my beliefs.
On the left you can see my Karma tattoo (technically it’s turned upside down, I should have tilted the picture, sorry bout that). On the right, on my second finger you can see my Dagaz tattoo.
Dagaz is a rune from the Nordic beliefs. Some years ago I had a time when I was very upset and things were not at all working out to me. So I had to reach out to someting and I needed something to believe in. So I tattooed Dagaz on my second finger. Second finger, because that is the one which touches everything. Dagaz, it is said, is supposed to turn negative things into positive things and it stands for new beginnings and night in a rhythm with day. This is exactly what I needed and only believing in it and that it would turn everything around helped me a lot. It is probably gonna vanish sometime, which is good because that means that my problems from back then are also fading.
To summarize: The things I believe in make me strong and that is my sense of belief. I think this is the core of believing. And as long as it makes you strong and happy, it does not matter what or who you believe in.