Author Topic: Spirituality changing with transition?  (Read 1015 times)

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Offline RoryL

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Spirituality changing with transition?
« on: December 17, 2018, 10:45:02 am »
Since beginning my transition last year, my spirituality has also been evolving. I was raised in a devoutly Methodist home, but rejected that during adolescence in favor of a blend of agnosticism & witchcraft/Wicca. In my late 30s/early40s I returned to Xtianity, I believe to sort out some spiritual baggage left over from the religion I learned as a kid. Supplementing that has been a quasi-Buddhist practice of meditation & chanting.

However, in the past few months I've really been feeling a pull back to my more witchy past. Some of it has to do with my deepening understanding of the Divine, especially in non-binary or feminine expressions. This past weekend I've been exploring my Wiccan roots and remembering studies & practices from that period of my earlier life. I'm definitely feeling a goddess-shaped yearning these days. Also factored in is my increasing trust of my intuition, which seems far more solid to me now than ever before.

I'm curious - how do others feel about their spirituality in the context of transition? Have any of your perspectives or beliefs changed as you're embraced your gender truth?
"I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else's whim or to someone else's ignorance" - bell hooks

"The best mind-altering drug is the truth." - Lily Tomlin



Offline Linde

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Re: Spirituality changing with transition?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2018, 12:06:06 pm »
Since beginning my transition last year, my spirituality has also been evolving. I was raised in a devoutly Methodist home, but rejected that during adolescence in favor of a blend of agnosticism & witchcraft/Wicca. In my late 30s/early40s I returned to Xtianity, I believe to sort out some spiritual baggage left over from the religion I learned as a kid. Supplementing that has been a quasi-Buddhist practice of meditation & chanting.

However, in the past few months I've really been feeling a pull back to my more witchy past. Some of it has to do with my deepening understanding of the Divine, especially in non-binary or feminine expressions. This past weekend I've been exploring my Wiccan roots and remembering studies & practices from that period of my earlier life. I'm definitely feeling a goddess-shaped yearning these days. Also factored in is my increasing trust of my intuition, which seems far more solid to me now than ever before.

I'm curious - how do others feel about their spirituality in the context of transition? Have any of your perspectives or beliefs changed as you're embraced your gender truth?
I do not feel any change.  I am glad that my nice, a Methodist pastor, is one of my very strong supporters, but that does not want me to be more Methodist or anything.
I don't know whether it is my education in a science field or not, but I do not feel strongly connected to anything emotional or spiritual toward the direction of religion.
I grew up Catholic (my mother was a Catholic Jew), but our version of this denomination was very liberal (influenced by, the rather radically questioning the authority of the Pope, Dutch Franciscans - similar to Jesuits).  I would never fall for any religion that would limit my version of expression in any way!
I hink I will continue to be a free spirited Christian who does not feel the need belong to any organised religion!


Offline RoryL

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Re: Spirituality changing with transition?
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2018, 03:02:25 pm »
I hear you.

I'm very fond of the lovely Episcopalian faith community I participated in for nearly a decade, but am over just about all organized religion. Sometimes I miss participating in the music & the beautiful liturgy, but not enough to engage more than occasionally. Spirituality is & always has been important to me, but the structures that humans construct around it have much less appeal. Especially since they are so often co-opted by bigots & hard hearted people. I know they're not ALL like that, but I've worked too hard to regain my sense of self-worth to allow any religionist to judge and find me wanting because I'm transgender or queer.
"I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else's whim or to someone else's ignorance" - bell hooks

"The best mind-altering drug is the truth." - Lily Tomlin



Offline dee82

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Re: Spirituality changing with transition?
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2018, 03:14:01 pm »
...
but am over just about all organized religion.
...

Rory, I had been Christian for a long time, but never too keen on organised religion. Too often the message of Jesus seems to get lost in all the organisation and structure.

About your specific question, I have found transitioning has encouraged me to go the other way. Become less spiritual. With so much change happening in my life, it seemed like a good opportunity to re-assess my faith. I think transitioning sped up the process of realising that I haven't really "believed" for quite a while.

~Dee.


Offline RoryL

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Re: Spirituality changing with transition?
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2018, 12:12:20 pm »
Thanks, Dee.
"I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else's whim or to someone else's ignorance" - bell hooks

"The best mind-altering drug is the truth." - Lily Tomlin



GingerVicki

Re: Spirituality changing with transition?
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2018, 02:28:34 pm »
Like you I was Christian and my flavor was Catholic but I decided to leave. When I realized that I could/would transition I find that I am mostly spiritual with an atheist twist. I'm complicated. Probably has a ton to do with a priest calling me an abomination and that my afterlife consists of agony in 'Hell'.

But honestly, science has answered and helped me with my problems more than anything. Not prayer. Medications and meditation seem to be my answer.

I try not to say too much about religion.
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Offline NatalieRene

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Re: Spirituality changing with transition?
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2018, 02:44:10 pm »
Rory, I had been Christian for a long time, but never too keen on organised religion. Too often the message of Jesus seems to get lost in all the organisation and structure.

About your specific question, I have found transitioning has encouraged me to go the other way. Become less spiritual. With so much change happening in my life, it seemed like a good opportunity to re-assess my faith. I think transitioning sped up the process of realising that I haven't really "believed" for quite a while.

~Dee.
I have never been a member of a church in my adult life but that has more to do with what I saw at church and didn’t see. I felt like people where going through the motions for appearances. I used to go to the TECH retreats in Georgia in high school and once while in college. Those I liked a lot.

I have a low opinion of church and people like the pope, but I do commune with god in my own way.

I’ve been told several times I’ll go to hell or burn in hell for my life “choice”. This isn’t the case but there is no talking to zealots and bigots draped in the Bible.

I’m sorry that you’re going through a crisis of faith Dee.  :(

Offline NatalieRene

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Re: Spirituality changing with transition?
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2018, 02:50:44 pm »
Like you I was Christian and my flavor was Catholic but I decided to leave. When I realized that I could/would transition I find that I am mostly spiritual with an atheist twist. I'm complicated. Probably has a ton to do with a priest calling me an abomination and that my afterlife consists of agony in 'Hell'.

But honestly, science has answered and helped me with my problems more than anything. Not prayer. Medications and meditation seem to be my answer.

I try not to say too much about religion. Albert Einstein

It wasn’t god that rejected you it was a man. A man calling himself a holy servant of god. Remember just like everything else run by humans religion is corrupted. When Jesus returns they think they will be raptured away. It will be a rude awakening when not only are they not but Jesus calls them out for one of the worst sins imaginable, ie twisting the word of God to change the meaning. Not just that but casting out God’s children and acting as judge.

You don’t have to reject God to transition.

Offline dee82

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Re: Spirituality changing with transition?
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2018, 04:34:32 pm »
I have never been a member of a church in my adult life but that has more to do with what I saw at church and didn’t see. I felt like people where going through the motions for appearances. I used to go to the TECH retreats in Georgia in high school and once while in college. Those I liked a lot.

I have a low opinion of church and people like the pope, but I do commune with god in my own way.

I’ve been told several times I’ll go to hell or burn in hell for my life “choice”. This isn’t the case but there is no talking to zealots and bigots draped in the Bible.

I’m sorry that you’re going through a crisis of faith Dee.  :(

The way I see it Life/Faith is a journey. If my beliefs don't change, then I am probably in a too comfortable rut. I actually maintain the website for great inclusive church and get to read the sermons each week. Last week I also popped into a local congregation, just to check it out (had never been there before). So if God really does work in peoples lives, there is plenty of opportunities for things to change.

All I know is that right now, I am pretty tired of how people use Holy books to "prove" what they want to believe, and am having a break emotionally and intellectually from all the wishful thinking that seems to go on. (Sorry, if that "wishful thinking" comment is offensive.)

Natalie, I respect you for sticking at your faith when there is so much trans hate in mainstream Christianity. But as you say faith is not the same as church going.

~Dee.

Offline NatalieRene

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Re: Spirituality changing with transition?
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2018, 05:00:09 pm »
The way I see it Life/Faith is a journey. If my beliefs don't change, then I am probably in a too comfortable rut. I actually maintain the website for great inclusive church and get to read the sermons each week. Last week I also popped into a local congregation, just to check it out (had never been there before). So if God really does work in peoples lives, there is plenty of opportunities for things to change.

All I know is that right now, I am pretty tired of how people use Holy books to "prove" what they want to believe, and am having a break emotionally and intellectually from all the wishful thinking that seems to go on. (Sorry, if that "wishful thinking" comment is offensive.)

Natalie, I respect you for sticking at your faith when there is so much trans hate in mainstream Christianity. But as you say faith is not the same as church going.

~Dee.

I think you’re right life is a journey and yes the church body is a cesspool, but then it was ordained that the church will have a pope that validates the Antichrist as God. This can’t happen if the Church didn’t become what it has long since become.

I understand what you’re saying about the Bible thumping too. I have a policy of not suffering fools so I don’t even listen to them anymore. I’ll cut them off and walk away.

Don’t get me wrong. There are some individuals in the role of pastor and priest that really are good people it’s just that they are like a needle in a haystack. It’s much easier to meditate and commune with God directly.

Offline Linde

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Re: Spirituality changing with transition?
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2018, 05:16:16 pm »
I wish you girls could meet my niece, who is a Methodist pastor.  She is probably my biggest supporter of my journey, and she used my case in one of her sermons to preach acceptance and tolerance.  She is the way, real Christians are supposed to be.  She, and her mentor Pastor Dave, are sone of my reasons not to loose faith in Christianity!


Offline KathyLauren

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Re: Spirituality changing with transition?
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2018, 08:09:28 pm »
I have been a Buddhist for about 40 years.  I am pretty comfortable in that tradition, and my transition has not affected it in the slightest.  Buddhist morality is based on reducing suffering, both one's own and that of others, so there really aren't any issues about being trans.
2015-07-04 Awakening; 2015-11-15 Out to self; 2016-06-22 Out to wife; 2016-10-27 First time presenting in public; 2017-01-20 Started HRT!!; 2017-04-20 Out publicly, beginning full-time; 2017-07-10 Legal name change; 2019-02-15 Approval for GRS; 2019-08-02 Official gender change; 2019-10-18 Phone consultation for GRS; 2020-03-11 GRS!; 2020-09-30 New birth certificate




GingerVicki

Re: Spirituality changing with transition?
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2018, 08:24:47 pm »
Wicca is ok too as long is it isn't the Diana coven.

Offline Anne Blake

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Re: Spirituality changing with transition?
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2018, 12:57:49 pm »
My Christian faith has been a very big part of my life for the past thirty plus years. Before I understood any thing at all about my gender/body disconnect we were members of a conservative evangelical church, the kind that has hurt so many in our tribe. After coming to terms with my true gender identity I had to come to terms with my relationship with God. My old church was left behind but my relationship with God has grown stronger. God is way beyond gender but I have found that accepting the feminine nature of God along with the inherent gracious love that God has for all of us, I still see myself as a Christ follower and one that sees God's love as one of inclusion without hate.

Tia Anne

Offline RoryL

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Re: Spirituality changing with transition?
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2019, 01:33:14 pm »
Thank you to everyone for the marvelous replies!
"I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else's whim or to someone else's ignorance" - bell hooks

"The best mind-altering drug is the truth." - Lily Tomlin



Offline soyunachica

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Re: Spirituality changing with transition?
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2019, 12:14:05 am »
Since I came out, I've increasingly had a stronger drive towards the more liberal form of Christianity I was brought up on. We stopped going to church when I was 7, but much of my core worldview and ethics is built around Christianity as I took it in growing up.

I was more agnostic around when I graduated High school, but have slowly drifted back towards faith. And I tend to find myself praying more when I'm nervous, which has definitely happened since I came out. I also have found a need to rebuild my spirituality and ethics with what I accept about myself now.

The church I was baptized in happens to be within walking distance of my college campus (we moved to another town 20 years ago, funny coincidence), and they're really really liberal and embracing with LGBT. I might come back there again soon, all these years later  :D
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Offline transspoonie

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Re: Spirituality changing with transition?
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2019, 11:31:49 pm »
I was raised in an agnostic/atheist home (depending on who you asked), but always had spiritual/religious questions that my parents' lack of faith couldn't answer for me. Transitioning helped me come to terms with being myself, instead of just being my parents' child, and my desire to find my faith followed. I'm... Still not there yet, unfortunately.

It feels like I'm standing in a long hallway with countless doors, most of which are locked or barred or buried beneath things I don't understand. A few of the doors are unlocked and clearly labeled, the "named religions" with large followings and longstanding traditions. I'm drawn to a few of the unlocked doors because I can learn about them without looking too deeply inside myself, or without diving headfirst into the unknown. They feel easy and simple, but I'm not sure they feel right. One is so, so close, but then I look down the long, long hallway, and I'm not so sure anymore.

The locked, barred, and buried doors are different. I have no religious texts, no generations of worship, no personal gnoses to go off of. I just have my gut, and I'm still learning how to trust it as I transition. How do I know which door to pick? The one with the most audible whispers, spoken in some ancient, forgotten tongue? I press my hands into the dirt and something speaks to me, younger than the land itself, but much, much older than me. How do I answer?

When you believe every religion, every spiritual practice, has to hold some sincere and genuine truth... How do you even begin to choose? Honestly, I think transitioning has made my physical life a lot easier, but my metaphysical life a lot trickier. That's not inherently bad, but it is daunting. I just wish I knew which door to pick.

It's a small start, but I went to a Unitarian Universalist service a couple of months ago. It was very nice, and I hope going to more services will help me better connect with spirituality/religion in general. It doesn't matter if I see one door or a thousand doors; if I only ever read the signs outside, or stare at the rubble blocking my path, I'll never be able to leave the hallway.

Just like I needed to come out and talk to people about my transition, I need to enter a door and talk to people about finding my faith.

- Alexander






Offline Beverly Anne

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Re: Spirituality changing with transition?
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2019, 11:54:09 pm »
Christianity and the church have always been very important to me and part of my life. I'm in a leadership position at the Methodist church in which I'm a member. I have a deeply spiritual side, which is more esoteric, and I can relate to Wicca and the divine feminine. My spirituality gave me the courage to come out full time and transition, and I have to say that one without the other would not be as fulfilling. I feel like the path I'm on is not just about gender and being authentic but something bigger I can't quite define yet. It's been thrilling to grow spiritually and as a person as my true gender and gender expression are now congruent. Great question.
Be authentic and live life unafraid!

Ann W

Re: Spirituality changing with transition?
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2019, 04:17:02 am »
I'm curious - how do others feel about their spirituality in the context of transition? Have any of your perspectives or beliefs changed as you're embraced your gender truth?

I was raised in a conservative, evangelical church and eventually found my way to the Catholic church, which was a very healing experience for me. As a consequence of an impetuous decision, I lost my connection there and found my way to the Goddess, with whom I have walked for about 25 years. I understand what you mean about missing liturgy; ritual can be a powerful tool for good when infused with true meaning. But I am immensely satisfied with where I am now, and where I am going.

It was an act of the Goddess that revealed to me that I was transgender. To say I'm grateful doesn't begin to express my feeling.

Offline Paul Muad-Dib

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Re: Spirituality changing with transition?
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2019, 07:37:14 pm »
I have noticed something. The mind - which used to be in a kind of gridlock before HRT - has relaxed and begun to access perception more efficiently/clearly. Not in the literal cognitive sense although perhaps that too to some degree I can't measure. I can just out and admit things to myself without there being something intangible in the way. I can surmise exactly how I'm feeling about something instantly and that was something that took time before. There's no barrier any more to admitting internal truths on difficult topics. I'm not holding back or being dishonest with myself. Not that I think I was being actively 'dishonest' before... but it was so difficult to look at myself, as a whole being, and it was difficult to truly respect myself too. Now I don't seem to have this problem any more.

In spiritual terms I seem to be much more in contact with myself, including the hidden, unconscious things that normally just buzz around in the background in the brain and have no real words to describe them. In its highest form, I see religion/spirituality as a self-improvement and self-reflection tool. Which of course is much easier to access if you can finally look at yourself.

It's a subtle change, but I think it's a good sign.

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