This topic was given to me by alexseanchai. I was encouraged to pick my own subtopic, but I think I'll just give a general overview and then that might lead to further questions down the line.
My first introduction to spirituality probably came from my Grandma Louise. I used to go to Methodist church with her when I was little. She taught me to pray before bed and before eating, but once I started school, people made fun of me when I said my prayers before lunch, so I stopped doing that. When we moved to North Carolina, my mom still took us to a Methodist church for a while. I had some friends who would invite me to activities at a local Baptist church, and I went a few times but they scared me.
As I got older, my mom started really getting into books about Edgar Caycee and other alternative spirituality topics. Conversations with God, the Celestine Prophecy, that sort of thing. We bounced around to a Science of Mind church and tried out a Unitarian church once or twice. Eventually we all kind of agreed that we didn't really need church to be spiritual or good people, so we stopped going.
When I became pregnant with Eden – I guess I was about 21 or 22 – I started going to a Unity church. It's not quite the same as Unitarian, but I'm given to understand that they're fairly similar. Basically, they believe Jesus was a great guy and we should all try to act like him. They also recognize that the bible was written by men so is not necessarily infallible, but they often interpret it in a metaphysical way. Our altar had statues of Jesus and Mary along with Buddha and Yoda, plus other folks I'm probably forgetting. They're a very accepting and open church, although I ended up having a pretty bad experience with my particular church back in NC and so once again stopped going.
When I was about 14, my mom started channeling. She would do both automatic writing and would also have spirits enter her body and speak through her. It was some pretty crazy stuff, but it left me definitely believing in an afterlife. I've had one or two experiences like that myself, so I'm a definite believer. I find myself torn though, because some of my mom's channelings came out very anti-gay, which I don't believe God is at all (although my mother was, for some reason. She was open-minded about everything else, so I'm not sure why this was a thing for her). I think they were influenced by my mom's belief, but I definitely don't think she was faking the channelings. I've felt it happen myself, and I've seen too many unexplainable things and seen her readings be right about too many things. But finding some of those obviously biased channelings did shake my faith a little – my faith in the channeling I grew up with. I firmly believe that God is a God of Love and that he accepts us all regardless of sexuality or gender identity.
Now I consider myself a Pagan Christian. I still believe Jesus was a master who came to teach us all how to be good. I don't think he's the only one who has come to do so, so I don't believe Christianity is the one and only way. I don't believe in Hell as Christianity explains it (I think it is simply when we are forced to relive the hurt we have caused to other people as part of our post-life processing). I don't believe I need to try to 'save' anyone. I don't usually go to church.
I got into Reiki after meeting my Reiki Master at the Unity Church. Reiki is a form of energy healing, and it has changed my life. My RM lived with the Cree for 20 years and married into their tribe, and he saw how their Medicine wisdom worked well with the reiki he had already studied, and he developed his own tradition, called Medicine Reiki. It is heavily tied into Cree Medicine practices, and so comes the 'pagan-y' part of my beliefs. I work with my totems, offer tobacco during ceremonies, honor the Earth and Moon, smudge, etc. I got heavily into shamanic journeying after my Reiki Master attunement. I've done journeys for both myself and others.
I have to admit that I've fallen off the wagon with my spiritual practices, but I want to start focusing on them again. I want to resume doing my daily self-healings, regular shamanic journeys, and participating in ceremonies again. Now that Josh's work schedule has changed, I might be able to attend church again every now and then, but the nearest Unity church is over an hour away, so I may not make a regular habit of it. But I definitely need to start refilling my spiritual well again. It's long overdue.