You too can change in just 48 years, seriously it shouldn’t have taken that long, but I’m a wee bit stubborn and I don’t really listen well.
I grew up going to the First Baptist Church of Fairborn where my Granny went for many, many years. My brothers and I were put on a church bus every Sunday morning for a long time. We would sing songs on the bus and I’d get to go to Sunday School. No parents were on the bus, but they did have some chaperones. (This was the 70’s afterall.) Every now and then I’d get lucky and actually see my Granny at church and that’s really why I was happy to go. I was baptized on January 15th, 1980 and I remember this day like it was yesterday. I wanted my Granny to beam with pride from the congregation. However, my beloved Papaw was too sick for her to leave the house so she stayed with him. I was 10 years old at the time and didn’t really understand what the commitment meant, but a whole lot of people kept saying they were proud of me. Getting positive attention at the age of 10 was something I really desired so I was happy these people were proud of me.
Shortly thereafter, my mom started dating a man who went to a church near Miamisburg. Now, I have tried like the dickens to remember the name of this church, but I cannot and it’s probably for the better to be honest with you. My mom and I started going to this church with him and his younger children who lived at home. My mom eventually got engaged to this man who was very active in his church at the time. We went every weekend, much to my chagrin. My mom would make me wear a dress (oh the horror LOL), but I agreed on one condition. I had to be able to wear my ball cap too. She gave in and allowed me to do this so I looked presentable. I never did understand why jeans and a t-shirt weren’t ok for Church. Did God love me less because I wasn’t wearing a dress? I was told not to ask such silly questions. I really did like this church because it was much smaller than the last one and the people were much friendlier to us. Everyone remembered my name and I enjoyed class. I even got to help carry candles for service and light them. Man I was special!
Things happen in relationships and my mom and this gentlemen broke off the engagement. The following week my mom and I showed up at the church. I was happy to be able to go, but a little sad because if he was there I wouldn’t be able to sit with him and his children. I loved him. My dad lived in Florida and I never got to see him. He stepped in as my dad and spent time with me. He also had children I loved very much just like my own siblings. Anyway, my mom and I showed up at church and I will never, ever forget this moment for as long as I live. The Reverend came outside with his pasty white skin and thinning dark hair with his robes on and met my mother and I on the church steps. He explained very politely to us it would be much appreciated if we would find another place of worship. It wasn’t appropriate for us to show up there after the break-up of the engagement as it would be too painful for the gentlemen and his family. My mom said she had no desire to find someplace else. The Reverend immediately changed his tone and was very clear. “You are no longer welcome here. Please leave now.” I was devastated.
I had lost another father figure, siblings and now a church. If this is what religion is about, you can have it. I was done. I was forever tainted about Christianity from the moment on. As I got older, I tried different churches. I felt like my skin crawled every time I walked into one. I didn’t mesh with their ideology. One thing became very clear to me, I was not comfortable with being called a Christian.
In my early 30’s, I started researching and found out about Judaism. I took classes with our oldest daughter to convert to Judaism. My husband was raised Jewish so he wasn’t required to take the class with us and the other children weren’t over 13 so they didn’t have to either. When class was done and we graduated, it was time to become official. My husband and I along with all 4 children made our appointments for the mikvah and took our vow to the Jewish culture. Girls went first, then the boys (you never do this together, ever.) We celebrated Jewish holidays, shabbat every Friday, my kids went to hebrew school, all of it. It felt better than Christianity did, but still not right. Eventually I gave all of that up too. It didn’t fit.
Lost. I felt lost. Something was missing. I was tired of religion. I figured I was just different and alone and I’d never find my place.
On and off over the years I’d heard about Pagans and I distinctly remember the Christian view on it. I was so pre-programmed about all of the bad things about being a Pagan, that I never got to learn what it means TO BE a Pagan. The meaning of paganism is very simple and absolutely nothing I was taught: Paganism is term first used in the fourth century by early Christianity for populations of the Roman Empire who practiced polytheism, either because they were increasingly rural and provincial relative to the Christian population or because they were not militates Christi (soldiers of Christ). It has evolved over the years to now mean simply this: polytheistic or pantheistic nature-worshipping religion. Pagans pray to and respect different deities of many different pantheons (including Jesus, Mary, Buddha, Ganesha, etc) and they worship nature. Pagans see the absolute beauty in nature. Everything has a spirit: trees, rocks, blades of grass, animals. If it’s in nature, it has a spirit.
I am a Pagan, specifically a shamanistic witch. There are so very many different types of paganism too. The list goes on and on so I was amazed at this! I had to figure out what type of pagan I was (however, I had a little extra help from a friend who clued me in).
I believe nature has many lessons it can teach us about life. There is a balance to everything. The hawk eats a mouse as a way of survival. The mouse has then learned it needs to become much more calculated in its way of thinking so it doesn’t get easily eaten. It finds ways to search for food so it doesn’t become prey. Hawk teaches us that by flying above and looking down we need to be able to see the whole picture before we make a decision. Just because that chicken looks good enough to eat, is it too heavy to carry? Are there predators nearby to watch out for? If you just sit peacefully in nature and watch, there’s so much more to learn. So many lessons which could benefit people on how to treat each other.
This is a religion which makes sense to me. It is absolutely not how I was raised, in fact I was raised to believe anyone who don’t worship Jesus Christ will go to hell. I do not believe that. I believe there is a place in the world for every religion. Everyone serves a purpose to keep the balance in life. You cannot have too much light or too much dark. Yin and Yang. This is the true balance of life.
We each carry light and dark in our hearts. It’s how you harness that energy which will separate you between good and evil.
This is a very short synapses of how I became pagan. I’m actually looking forward to writing about how I’ve healed my heart and moved on to some amazing things in my life.
Thank you for joining me.
Peace and Blessed Be.