Guest Post By Daniel, the fasting newbie:
Some more background to my spiritual heritage is in order for you to fully understand where I am and where I'm going. I was born in Sweden which is traditionally a protestant country but we still have strong heathen tradition. My father is brought up without (to my knowledge) any strong religious beliefs. My mother is from a strict Catholic family originally from Norway, she is like me a seeker and she has "tried" everything from Christianity to "new age" so I think I have inherited my spiritual side from her. I have a younger sister on my father's side who is a devoted Lutheran and an uncle on my mother's side that is a Catholic but except for that I have
next to no religion in my family.
I did my confirmation in our church at the age of 15 but that was more for the opportunity to meet girls from other schools than my own and for the gifts you recieve from relatives than anything close to religion.
When I was in my late teens I travelled to England where I was for the first time in touch with "real" religious people. Most of them were Christians and Rastafari. This opened my eyes to religion in a new way as I lived close to people with rituals of worship.
I have also a different source of inspiration to my spiritual side. I love history and while studying history it is inevitable to run in to religion, so I have studied the Tora / Bible / Qur'an on the side of the history books. And I have a hard time to see a big difference between the three of them... But I have no formal training in interpreting religious texts so I might be wrong : )
I believe that there is only one divine power in the universe but different cultures put different faces on it. Some might give it three faces like the Christians and the Rastafari some might go closer to the source of "the light" and just give it one. Even the Hindu with their thousands of gods recognize that there is one single divine power behind them all...
I'm not looking for a religion but for rituals of worship. Since I don't have a "religion" I don't have rules to live by just my sense of morality (based strongly on Christianity) and the one thing I "miss" is a way to live a more "religious" life. The fast is a good way to practice your will and to show your devotion to what I from now on will call "The light" (the face I have put on my god, sexles, not looking like me. Just the pure force behind the faces of all the gods in the universe). Prayer is another ritual of worship that I have borrowed from religion, I pray 5-10 times a year, only when I really feel that I need it. I also give thanks, a prayer of sorts but not the deep prayer I use when in need. I give thanks 3-5 times a day when I'm happy and less when I'm down. The fast will probably be a part of my "religious repertoire" in the future and I will most likely share it with Muslims as Ramadan is a good time to fast as any other and I get the support of others and I can celebrate with fellow believers...