I was baptized into the Christian faith at 7 years old. I was dunked under the freezing cold waters of the Rappahannock river in Virginia on a freezing cold and rainy November day. I was excited and nervous because I just wanted to be included and involved with the other “kids” who were already part of the “faith.” I just wanted a place to fit in and call my own.
Within days of being baptized I felt a distinct shift in my spirit. I strongly believed I was touched by god and was held by him. As I grew older, I somehow kept a hold on that child like faith despite the abuse my parents put me through and even despite their hypocrisy, I still held tight to the beliefs I thought were mine. It wasn’t until those beliefs were used to belittle me and they were turned against me that I started breaking. But, as my deepest desire in life has been to do nothing without being absolutely sure and willing to accept the consequences of whatever I decide, I spent three years purposefully picking apart my religious beliefs. It as an incredibly overwhelming and frustrating and scary process. Even though my belief system was already utterly shattered and my feet were rapidly sinking in the quicksand, I knew I had to be methodical and be absolutely sure of the direction I wanted to go and it had to be entirely my own decision.
There was a lot of mourning and grieving as I left behind the only belief system I had ever known – in this life time that is. A lot of Christians will talk about how their god is the only one who can fill the “hole” in your heart. In other words, the only being who can satisfy all your desires and it was the only RIGHT god to follow. But I can confidently say that the moment I left Christianity, my entire being – my soul, my heart, my mind – felt relief and complete and whole. I felt like I had finally shaken off the shackles that had been binding my spirit/soul for almost all of my life. Not only that, it felt like I could take a deep breath for the first time and I wasn’t afraid of being happy or that I should be ashamed of feeling free.
But after a short while, I began realizing there was a missing piece from my heart and soul. I needed a spiritual practice to follow, I needed spiritual beings to worship and the spiritual realm to enter. With the help of my first therapist who is also a medium, I discovered tarot cards. But those weren’t enough. I was also carrying so many shadows from what had been done to me – known and unknown – that accessing the spirit world and allowing myself to kneel in their presence and receive the knowledge they wanted to give me was almost impossible. My heart was so heavy and wounded still and my spirit was so fractured.
Two years after I had left Christianity, I started looking into Wicca. The “do as you will but harm none” really appealed to me, especially having come from a religion that was so toxic and harmful. But having spent almost 18 years in an organized religion that nearly killed me, the very thought of being under “elders” made me extremely uncomfortable and triggered. Around this time, I moved to Colorado and I felt a freedom of spirit like none I had felt in any other place I have lived. I felt the freedom to go towards the Pagan path that was calling me. In the presence of the towering mountains, I felt the call of the spirits who had been with me for all of my life. Being the researcher and knowledge-holder that I am, my Pinterest boards began to fill up with Wiccan blessings, rituals, and I discovered the Wheel of the Year and fell in love with the idea of celebrating those holidays. But shortly after arriving in Colorado, my health, which had been barely held together at my previous place of living, utterly fell apart. Here I am, almost 4 years later, just now feeling like my health has reached an actually good place. Not only that, I have finally found my direction with this Pagan path. The biggest thing that’s changed and given me direction is that I have found my community among fellow witches/Pagans. Trying to go that path alone was difficult. I still struggled with believing that I could decide my own faith, and not only that, there is so much conflicting information out there that I had no idea what or who I could trust. I also believe it wasn’t time for me to move forward yet with committing to a Pagan path. The flames had started flickering, but they weren’t ready to be ignited yet. Despite that, I have been patiently collecting knowledge and things as I waited to dive in.
I believe part of the delay was that my heart and soul still needed to heal more before I would be able to fully commit to the things I wanted to. Just over a year ago, I had memories return of having been sexually abused by my father at the age of 4. Those were the final pieces I needed to retrieve and then heal. Since then, my soul has felt more complete than ever before, I am more open and grounded than I ever have been, and my heart is fully committed to following Paganism. The weekend gathering I attended a month ago was my “formal” initiation into Paganism. I was introduced to some of the Divine and given tools to understand what I have experienced a lot of my life and the words to understand what my spirit was longing for.
I adore the feeling of being connected to Gaia, Mother Earth, and connecting with the Goddesses that are speaking to me. As I wrote yesterday, the Celtic Goddesses are ones that I can sense calling to me the most. I feel like I have been reborn as I gather as much information as I can and try not to get overwhelmed with the wealth of information I am learning. I am not ready to share the details of the path I am traversing, but I am grateful to the Goddesses for pulling to them and for guiding my feet.