In the past, I’ve spoken vaguely about how I came to Wicca, which shifted to Paganism, which has turned into agnostic witchcraft, which continues to shift as I continue to search. But, I haven’t spoken about where I was prior to that, or really delved into the meat of the journey which brought me to where I am now.
Let’s talk about it. Admittedly, part of my hope in writing this out is to gain some clarity for myself. My spirituality is in a constant state of flux. Looking back at where I’ve been has often helped me figure out where I’m going.
I’m an eternal student. A lot of people hate this, because they believe that religious/spiritual beliefs are something you should be steadfast in. The idea of a shifting spirituality unnerves them; as though I’m playing dress-up and “trying on” different religions.
How am I supposed to figure out what I believe if I’m not allowed to search?
I’ve never been the type of person to just blindly follow something because I was told to. I have blindly followed things because that what I felt in my gut, but not because someone told me to.
So, for the hundredth time, I was raised Christian. I’ve always joked that this was basically the “default” because my parents didn’t really practice anything. I recently learned that’s not entirely correct. Apparently, before I was born, my mother used to take my older brother to church. Who knew?
While my immediate household wasn’t religious when I was growing up, my grandmother (my Granny, on my father’s side) was a Baptist and she did her best to instill a love of Jesus into all her grandkids. “Jesus died for you, so you live for Him,” type of rhetoric. I was a child, so I went along with it without really understanding what that meant. I did believe Jesus died for me—why would Granny lie about that—but I just didn’t understand why he did or why it mattered. I had my Bible. I read it, even. I just didn’t understand.
Conversations specifically about God or Jesus never happened. It was just enough that, when asked, we said we were Christians.
[Interjection: I went to Bible Study once with a friend of mine when I was about seven or eight. It was an absolute nightmare of judgmental preteen girls and condescending adults. Remind me to write about it, sometime.]
As I mentioned in that first post about how I got into Wicca, I picked up the books my mother owned on the subject and started reading them.
But, there’s a bit of timeline issue in that post that I didn’t consider. The implication in “How it Began” is that I kind of found Wicca in middle school and that’s when I “converted.” (Note: I don’t refer to anything on my spiritual journey as a “conversion,” but rather everything has been a “shift” towards something else.)
The reality was a little more drawn out. Yes, I initially started reading my mother’s books in middle school and that did spark some interest, but nothing much came of it, then.
My spiritual journey really started in my teens.
I’m not sure why I felt a desire to suddenly believe in something when I hit high school. I just did. Maybe it was because during this point my depression became the worst and I was looking for something to hold onto. Maybe it’s because, like all young teenagers, I was looking for a sense of identity.
Whatever the reason, I decided to “find religion.”
By this point, I was fourteen and no one had had any conversations with me regarding religion that I could recall. My mother practiced solitarily, my dad never said anything, even Granny stopped with her catchy Jesus soundbites.
Religion, judging by how my family practiced it, was private. So, I didn’t think I had anyone to help guide me on my path—no teachers or preachers or gurus to give me direction. I had to (or thought I had to) figure it out on my own. (Of course, I know now, I probably could have gone to anyone in my family asking for guidance and they would have helped me to the best of their ability. Hindsight and all that.)
As I embarked on my path of religious self-discovery, I knew there were some things I just didn’t connect to immediately. I knew I wasn’t Jewish, or Muslim; nor was I an atheist.
I also just knew I couldn’t be a Christian. The Christians I’d met at that point hated me. The Christian rhetoric I’d heard outside my family (which, again, the rhetoric in my family was almost non-existent except for, “Jesus is the Savior”) was cruel, hateful, and conservative. God hated gay people. Women were to be subservient to men. God hated sinners. Everything was Hellfire and brimstone.
As a bisexual girl who frequently enjoyed masturbation, I steered very clear of Christianity. I just couldn’t believe that if God existed, He could be so hateful. That wasn’t a God I wanted to worship and, according to His followers, he didn’t want me, anyway.
That ruled out most of the mainstream, monotheistic religions. This left me with what were considered by social standards at the time to be “fringe” religions (which was how the mainstream often referred to Eastern religions like Buddhism or Hinduism, and European polytheistic religions like Wicca, Paganism, Asatru, etc…). Because these religions were “fringe,” I didn’t know many of them existed, so didn’t know they were even there to look for.
But, I knew Wicca existed, thanks to mom. So, that’s where I started.
To be continued…
I love you all.
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