My cousin said it was a combination of 3 things, something from the bark of a tree and something from a plant and something else...
She also said that she felt upset that this life changing experience hadn't changed her life...
Alice, I sensed a sadness in what you wrote above, a sadness that you are missing something you once had, a void you once did not feel and that you now do feel.
Your awakening from religion--though you say little of it--appears to have been gentle. My awakening from Catholicism was traumatic, like a leap off a cliff into a void. The thought of returning to the cliff repulsed me so I set out to fill the void.
Use your energy to fill the void you are in, not on bringing the old baggage with you.
I think I've felt like I'm in a void for most of my life - if I ever did feel that I belonged I can't remember... although I've managed to create that now to a certain extent with my own children - I hope that they are feeling a greater sense of belonging and love and security in their lives - and enough of that to feel fulfilled into adulthood and beyond.
My sense of emptiness at the moment comes from a lack of creativity or peace or something like that presently in my life. Life isn't perfect and so it's about each individual - especially in our individualistic society - to find a matrix of events that are fulfilling to us. I think I'm missing a couple presently - that I'm not fully expressing myself or getting the most out of my life that I feel I'd like to.
It's something about using our brains and all parts of it.
Religious experiences are recorded by neuro scans as using other parts of the brain, that lead to experience's of well being. In other words it's another way of getting a high.
We have drugs / alcohol
We have sex
We have love affection and attachment to children an other loved ones
And then we have a personal inner contentment based in something - it might be spending hours painting or dancing or singing or socialising at a party with a combination of factors contributing to well being.
Alice, I remember well some of the Catholic rituals that seventy years ago I knew.
Imagine yourself six years old and recite daily these words: "The purpose of life is to know, love and serve God and be happy with him forever in Heaven."
Now be an adult again and ask their intent and their effect. Was their intent your well being, or your submission to church authority? Was their effect to leave no void in your life, no place for the uncertainty that we non-believers carry about with us?
Talk with committed Catholics and you will hear certainty. It fills their void.
The void you feel opens you to life. To its sadness, to its happiness, and to what lies between. Value it highly.