The typical difference that rises up tends to be that one is institutionalized and the other isn’t. In a way I guess its true – if you think about main religions, it is so.
On the other hand when you take path on spirituality, we often don’t realize but we create ourselves the same level institutions to follow. Golden Dawn is a good example. It was through and through spiritual, yet they have one of the best institutional build up I’ve come across. When you turn to anything that relates to working with spirits or improving yourself, you need to have the determination in mind to reach your goal and to do so, you create systems to follow. Yoga masters practice each day, priests pray and work with their followers to make them more acceptable by god, in Shinto you turn to your ancestors for the same reason and you follow any banning rules you think you must follow. So I don’t think there’s much of a difference – one following nature can be just as resilient as Catholic priest. Perhaps the only difference there really is, is how many people are between you and god, but even here I could continue the argument.
I think both are part of each other and can live happily without each other as well. A man can be spiritual in sense that he feels things he can not explain or see spirits, yet swear that he is not religious man. He doesn’t set up holy places nor does he pray or meditate. The same way, you can be deeply in your main religion (be it Paganism, Wicca, Judaism, Christianity, Muslim) and truly believe it and follow it and be fully spiritually connected. A priest might have doubts if God existed, but he will never abandon his perish, because even if he thinks it’s not worth anything, he still believes that others do need it keeps him going. Because the human nature asks for somebody higher than him, so he wouldn’t feel on his own, when having to take difficult decisions.
When I thought about it some years back, I never came to conclusive answer. The main difference I could find was, that if you follow a god or goddess or any spiritual creature, it would define under religion. But if you work on yourself, to be more perfect, to live longer or to whatnot other reason, while not following any spiritual creature, it would be spirituality.
Religion – the path outside.
Spirituality – the path inside.
In the end they will both bring you back to where you started from- to your heart, creating a nice infinity curve.
A post I wish to remember.