Today, I'm happy to welcome Jesse Coffey. Ms. Coffey is a fellow member of Kentucky Independent Writers Network, and today she shares with us her post, "Finding My Faith". I hope you'll take time to read and comment!
Finding My Faith
I sometimes tell myself that I should have majored in Comparative Religions instead of the English Lit/Comp degree I ended up getting. I'm fascinated by the subject; mainly because in my personal belief system, I don't follow along in any one path. I tend to be what is called a Deist coming from a Polytheistic belief system. I don't believe that any one religion has it all right. Nor do I believe that any one religion has it all wrong. And I think if we actually shut up long enough to listen to each other, we'd find out that we're all basically saying the same thing when it comes to the basic precepts of being and our place in this cosmos.
When I started writing The Savior, I was very strongly in the Pagan/Wiccan camp and I still tend to think of myself as a Goddess worshiper (just with a foot in all religions these days). What irritated me at the time – and still does, if you want to know the truth – was the blatant idiocy of how Wiccans were portrayed in the entertainment field. If we're not being treated as flat out nut jobs who really believe all that nonsense about turning people into various forms of animal and vegetable life or using broomsticks as objects of mass transit, then we're crazy evil things that sell our souls to a deity that we don't even believe in so that we can rape, pillage, and plunder all in the name of said deity that we don't even believe in (actually, the Satanists do use the terms "witch" and "warlock" but Paganism and Satanism are not the same thing, never have been, and never will be.).
It was annoying and insulting the way movies, books, and television portrayed those who follow that path. Sorry, but I don't cackle, I don’t have warts on my nose, and I don't spend my days and nights in front of some black cauldron chanting my backside off and tossing bunches of herbs and other plant life. I decided that I wanted to write a story that was a hell of a lot more truthful about it all. I wanted to show people that a) the religion is not based on casting spells and precious few of us do it, really; b) the religion is more about worshiping Gods and Goddesses, accepting that all things have a soul, and that the God/dess of our particular path is a part of us and we are their children in various stages of evolution of soul; and c) threatening to turn someone into a toad is always going to be particularly confusing for the toads and not really recommended. I wanted to show the actual day to day life of an honest to goodness Pagan lifestyle. Hence, The Savior.
What I didn't count on was the path my hero took nor where that path would lead me along with him. I won't bore you with the details of how I found the plot to The Savior; it would take me a lot more space than I've been graciously given for this guest post. But let's just say that in researching the story for Toby Riordan, I ended up learning a great deal myself. Toby starts his journey in the first century AD, in Jerusalem and makes his way to Ireland before landing in Tibet. He encounters the Hassidic Jewish community before finding the Celts and Druids and then meeting a monastery of Tibetan Buddhists. In order to write the story, I had to possess a working knowledge of each religion, because it really is important to the story and Toby's journey.
Did you know that the Jews have a dietary law, in terms of what makes food kosher, that an animal cannot be slaughtered in front of its parent/sibling/family? I didn't. And when I found out, it made a great chapter. Did you know that the Celts invented a great many of the farming implements that we still use today? Or that they developed breeding sciences and crop rotations hundreds of years before the farmers of today? I didn't. And did you know that the Bodhi Tree in the Bodh Gaya monastery is the same tree that the Gautama Buddha sat under to find his enlightenment twenty-five-hundred years ago? That the full moon in May is celebrated as the Buddha's birth day, enlightenment day, and death day?
Color me surprised when everything I learned pointed back to what I said at the beginning – that if we all just shut up long enough to listen to each other, we'd find out that we're actually saying the same thing. And realizing that, myself, started an intense yearning to learn more about the many religions in this world and the people who worship in them. I haven't gotten to all of them yet, but the ones I have been reading about are amazing. Including the one that adopted me.
There's a saying I'd like to leave you with – there are many pathways up the mountain but there's only one summit. We may all be on different paths but I think when we get there, we're going to find out that we've all been climbing the same mountain. And whether you worship a God or Goddess, whether you follow the path of Christianity, Agnosticism, Atheism, Taoism, Polytheism, Judaism, or Rastafarianism, we all have that code of ethics and we all follow that spiritual journey. We all want to be as close to perfect as possible. And we all want to love others as we would want to be loved.
In the end, that's what matters. Right?
Jesse V Coffey is the author of Salt of the Earth, a Karmic Comedy, and the soon to be released. The Savior, which will be out in ebook and paperback on 28 February 2013. Ms. Coffey is a member of ASCAP, the Erotic Authors Association, and the Kentucky Indie Writers network. She currently lives and writes in Lexington, KY.
You can find her online at: