Walking around campus, you may not be able to find an immediate religious presence — but it’s there.Castleton State College may not be a religion-focused campus, but there are students and faculty who have strong and unique feelings about spirituality.
English Professor Burnham Holmes said he is not aware of any religious movement on campus, but from time to time students will speak about spirituality. He said he does not see himself as a religious person, but as a spiritual person.
“It helps us in the long range and the day to day . so you’re not so concerned with your two squares of the universe,” said Holmes.
Holmes said he does not try to influence others ato adopt his beliefs, but he tells his students to do the best they can and don’t make excuses.
Sophomore student Eric Seel, a mass media major, said he feels the same way.
“I attempt to lead my life in a way that allows me to find spiritual fulfillment. There are times when . I am walking in the woods, or swimming in a lake, or even just sitting enjoying life — I get something out of that, something I can only explain as spiritual,” he said.
Craig Haley, a junior, believes that all religions have there own place in this world and even if you do not believe in a set religion “you’ll always find yourself talking to God right before you die, so you might as well have said a few things to him in the meantime.”
“Anything that gives a person a set of morals and something to believe in is a good thing, no matter what faith you practice,” said Haley, a non-practicing Catholic.
There are also students who do not consider themselves religious or spiritual. Deb Gragen, a junior, said “I don’t practice a religion, but technically I’m Roman Catholic.”
Gragen was a practicing Catholic, but only until she was 13.
“My parents didn’t make me go any more and I didn’t think it was important any more so I stopped going,” she said.
Dan Cook mirrors Gragen’s beliefs. Cook, also a junior, said he has been a Christian, “since I was born practically,” but he only goes to church on Christmas.
Rebecca last name???, a senior sociology major, has shunned traditional religions to practice Wicca.
She has been practicing Wicca since she was 12 years old. Before then, she was raised Catholic. Her introduction to Wicca was from a news special on two girls who at school openly said they practiced Wicca and were singing songs about a goddess. Consequently they were made to leave the school because of their actions.
Rebecca told her mother she wanted to study Wicca and her mother was very open to her decision. She was so open that Rebecca’s mother bought her first book on Wicca, which she still has.
As part of her practice Rebecca performs spells which, “use energy, representations and items to manifest energy for your self growth.”
She also practices the belief that no one should harm the free will of others and to act without negativity.
Throughout the years of her practicing Wicca, she has dealt with many misconceptions, mainly that Wicca is Satan worshiping.
“Some call it Satan worshiping, but Satan is a Christian concept. Wiccans don’t believe in Satan,” she said. “I believe there are many paths to God. My beliefs change all the time. It’s important to question and be open-minded”.