Literature and relics: what sources (like spiritual tomes) did you consult or study for increased knowledge and guidance in each phase, if any? (from here)
When I was a teen, especially between the ages of 15 and 18, I read the Bible (New International Version, New Living Translation, The Message, New King James Version). Well, I read it throughout my childhood, but during my teens I read it cover to cover twice, and read the whole thing again in my early 20s. I used it as an emotional shield when I was in public school: days when I read it before school, I wasn't disturbed by the massive invasive energies of all the others, but days that I didn't I came home feeling like I had no skin and wanting to scream at every little thing. I'm not sure why it worked but it did. I also used it as a divination tool: I would ask Godde a question and then randomly open the bible and read to find the answer. Later I read a lot of books on near-death-experiences, because I wanted to have proof of spiritual things. After I was scorned by my pastor for calling them out on contradicting Jesus, I stopped reading books about spirituality (I collected them from used book stores but never actually read them). Once I had an experience of sensing a tree communicating with me, I started looking for books about plant communication because I wanted to feel like what I had experienced was real. I found a few books that seemed to have similar experiences to mine, but most of the stuff out there is just bullshit. Recently I read through the Chapters of Coming-Forth by Day (the ancient Egyptian book of the dead) which I found very inspiring, mostly because there were a lot of self-affirmations in it and reading them aloud made me feel powerful and connected to ancients. I hadn't really thought of doing that kind of self-affirming before. In Christianity the tradition is to describe yourself as a helpless worthless peon who god takes care of anyway out of great generosity and other illustrious characteristics. In Coming-Forth, a supplicant describes some deities as full of astonishing characteristics, asks for their help, then describes themself as powerful and amazing and tells other deities that they better not fuck with them. Much more in line with what feels true to me. A powerful, secure being has zero interest in other beings groveling. Only a whiny, insecure, selfish creature would feel at all uplifted by the self-deprecating of other beings.
what, if any, physical objects have held spiritual significance for you over your journey? if you transitioned to another belief system, did you keep those objects despite the change? did you re-purpose them? get rid of them? give them away? how did individual objects become charged with meaning? was it instantaneous, or did it happen gradually, over time?
Objects with significance are the Bibles I have owned (they are tucked in my memory box), objects I found at meaningful moments (on my altar), and various symbolic objects representing some part of my being or beliefs (also on my altar). I keep them all, unless I feel like they would do more good to someone else - then I will give them to that person. Meaning usually is instant, but there are some objects that grow in meaning, with repeated use as a tool (such as a stone for holding in meditation or a deck of cards for divination).
In general I value things not just for their current associations but for their history. So I still have my love letters from my ex-spouse (even though they are super embarrassing) because they are a part of my history. I don't throw things out when they are associated with something painful - if something has a large amount of my emotional investment (whether positive or negative), I value it highly. There's pieces of me in there! I might put it in the bottom of the closet for a while, but I won't voluntarily part with it if it still has meaning to me.