UUFM 21 June 2020
I entered Paganism the same time as I entered motherhood. 31 years old and my love of rainbows, rocks and trees were no long arbitrary.
After 25 years in a religion that suggested my life experiences were satanic possession or at least deception? I was in for a long process of undoing self-harm. That began with a level of self acceptance previously unplumbed!
I had always been fiercely individualistic. Being presented with only ONE mandatory faith and one way, I strove unsuccessfully to make myself conform to it and did not understand why I was lonely and did not belong.
So, who was I?
Out of doors was freedom. Seeing clouds and rainbows – even just in the sprinkler – made me ecstatic. Walking to school was my favorite time of day, seeing trees and bugs and birds and weather. I loved stones, exposed rock, and science class, and spent most of my school day staring out the window…
Because I was also soaked neck-deep in imagination. The 1970’s culture encouraged that! I made up songs and wrote poems, but never thought of them as “writing”, rather seeing them as “made up.” I played space adventures, woodland ranger, wild princess, animal handler, horse tamer. All this while normal life went on around me.
I also had many inexplicable experiences. I dreamed of floating thru rooms, dreamed of seeing thru animal eyes. I suffered moods and thoughts that did not seem to be my own, that did not stem from my experiences.
As I reached 2 digit age, other things began to happen. One astonishing afternoon, age 11, I went into labor. Cramps began in my back and as hours progressed, moved thru my midsection. My mother had me sitting in what I later learned was a classic childbirth position. I had a feeling of pressure and then suddenly…relief! All cramps and pain GONE.
5 minutes later, the phone rang. My sister, 6 states away and out of communication, had just given birth. She later told me that that birth was less painful than her other childbirth experiences.
Then, the phone phenomenon! Back in the days of landline, I would get up and walk to the phone just before it rang…for me. Sometimes holding my hand out for a few seconds…as the caller delayed…and then the phone would ring. Other times I would yell for a specific person to answer it because I knew it was for them. (Two years working in a phone center ruined this sensitivity.)
I loved fairy and folk tales, and then I fell in love with Greek Mythology. Turns out myth and folk tales are closely related – fairy tales are underground myths. Both are dismissed now as mere entertainment, but how are burning bushes and water turned into wine considered legitimate?
After a few years of feeling lost, I read the book “Dance of the Dissident Daughter” by Sue Monk Kidd. This book opened my way to authentic faith WITHOUT dismissing Christianity.
I had been an earnest student of Christianity, attending church every week even thru college. Memorizing and reading, I got an impression of Jesus being an unusual sort. The sort who would go on writing in the dirt when people asked him questions. I had been gifted a Bible as a child and found it violent, disturbing, confusing and with too much obsession about foreskins. Who leaves a child alone with such a book?? But there it was, a traditional gift to children. Church was obsessed too, with status quo and conformity.
I went back to church for 6 months when my baby was born in 2000. That tiny church met in a school auditorium and I felt appreciated instead of lonely. But when the minister broke ground on the new building by calling the elemental quarters, Earth and Air, Water and Fire? (the church had co-opted pagan religion, AGAIN?!) I felt called, and realized I had changed. I was done with Christianity and monotheism.
I wrote a Moon-inspired lullaby for my baby. It was the first song I had written in well over a decade. Re-awakened creativity was GOOD! Walking into a New Age store after this revelation felt like I entered a whole, new, wonderful world.
And I get Pagan extra credit for loving stones and crystals!
I NEEDED things the Church despised and forbid.
Loving the natural world
loving the world of spirits
I joined a healing circle and discovered I had been practicing magick all my life. You see; Imagination is a magickal skill. I learned Astrology, I learned healing, I learned to quest. I joined circles, went to Pagan Unity Festival. I learned that some of my “nervous habits” were in fact magick.
Prayer frustrated me
Sending energy brings me peace, connection and love
I cast a healing spell on myself and information flowed in, people (strangers, even!) just volunteered solutions and the doctor LISTENED. I healed!
SO…is this path easier? LOL
I am responsible for my own path.
I had to invent my own religion.
I needed a Pantheon! Celtic seemed obvious choice for that last concern, as I am Scots-Irish. But when I approached, They regarded me with the same kind, polite dismissal I had felt from Jesus. Yes, dear child, you are searching but not for Us.
So I posed the question to the Universe. Like a dandelion, sticking its fluffy seed pod up into the air…and waiting.
I asked who my gods are, and thought about it a lot. Talked to other Pagans. And one day in my dirty apartment kitchen – not a woodland grove or mountaintop or temple – I wondered if I should devote myself to some deity (Who it was, I forget) and
said NO – YOU BELONG TO ME. Artemis. Not the subtle type.
I fell on my behind * POOMP * in that dirty kitchen.
My original love of Greek Mythology suddenly made sense! My wild – almost feral – childhood, adoring the woods and all its creatures from bugs to bobcats, also made sense! Deities of the natural world made sense to me.
Apollo, god of music and poetry, followed close behind His sister. It makes sense to me that I as a Gemini would follow a set of holy twin deities. Other gods followed: Hermes, Hera, Hestia, Ares, Persephone, Hades, Demeter, Athena. There really may be no end of Greek gods.
In November 2019, Denise Gyauch explained to us at UUFM that spiritual practice teaches us to be our true selves. Her I am, paying attention to Nature and engaging in creativity. What I am naturally inclined to do turns out to be my best form of worship.
I still have a long way to go. 25 years of self-negation takes a long time to heal.
My visions were reversed – and LOUD – for many years. REal visions are still, quiet and calm in my experience. Maybe you remember that from the Bible: the still, small voice of God?
I had to cut out an energy sucker. Rather satisfying, actually.
And here I am at UU, which I asked for, much like that dandelion and its fluffy seeds.