Before I took myself off to receive a 'proper' religious education I was unmistakably a religious person. I'd had visions, I'd heard voices, the border between my conscious and unconscious mind was thin enough for sound and light to pass both ways.
Where normally images are closed off until the paralysis of sleep enables the dreamer to watch without action, dream imaging- a visual synesthesia- used to project itself into my waking state.
I'd see tongues of electricity protrude from the edge of light-switches.
Leaving burn marks over the walls...
That faded into invisibility.
Weren't ever there.
My room was once suddenly full of birds that dissolved into air.
There was music too.
Still see ghosts.
I was 'sane' because I kept such things to myself and listened rather than acted. I neither believed or disbelieved what I saw and I soon came to understand that this way of thinking is simply what happens when the walls are thin; and the world rushes in.
Gods and ghosts, echoes and entities...
Self and projection of self?
Or external and autonomous?
Doesn't make a fig-leaf of difference.
Your own conduct is the only thing you can control.
When I was very small I thought that I'd been called by god the father.
Seriously- a voice in the sky.
I can still remember how it felt to hear..
Another time, running home past the church and I fell. Badly. Chipped a bone and staggered home with concussion...
At fourteen I thought Christianity to be a debased religion.
All pleadings and praise
The occasional white candle and a bowl of flowers
Words such as might and mercy...but nothing to show for it.
A man nailed to a cross to gain life eternal?
Oh for goodness sake!
One afternoon a friend and I walked into a church, we were alone and I went to stand by the alter.
I looked up and felt the congregation behind me and saw the cone of energy...
And I was frozen to the spot by a sense of unbearable, parasitic evil; as if the deity worshiped here fed off the longing and need of those who prayed.
It grew fat
A god created from the energy of hope and despair...
I really didn't like it.
After that I wouldn't sing hymns in assembly at school.
I wanted ritual and challenge
And I wanted to knowledge.
So I read anything and more.
And found that the place of experience can be dream.
Receiving an 'orthodox' religious education did not conflict with any of this. The religion I entered didn't feed the gods hope and fear. Instead there was pride and strength. The relationship between human and deity was still to a large extent symbiosis.
With us to lose more than them.
They would still exist without us.
So now I see between the words, flags and tombs of the church, to the real religion underneath...and to see that the icons we use are the closest approximation to the truth we are capable of understanding.