I love how enormous the full moons of winter are.
I just came upstairs from turning on the dryer, and I discovered a beautiful birch-bark crescent moon hung on my front door where the harvest Indian corn originally was. I have no idea where it came from; one of my visitors over the past couple of days must have hung it there, or the upstairs neighbours, or even HRH without telling me. Or maybe it was fairies. Whoever put it there, it’s absolutely beautiful, and I love it completely.
I think I’ll find some red and green ribbon and sift the tiny jingle bells out of my sewing box to add to it, in order to make it even more Yule-specific for this season.
What with computer time being limited and most of my spiritual RAM being taken up by whatever book I’m writing, I’ve let my Witches Weekly questions slide for a long time. Also, a lot of the questions are already answered elsewhere on the web site, or in my books. But I think I’m going to start going back and answering old ones now and again, because I’ve noticed that I tend to not talk here about my spirituality a lot any more since I’ve been writing about it full-time in manuscripts.
November 10: When did you first realize that the pagan path was for you?
It was one of those by-accident things, as they so often are. (And here I will digress and say that really, what is coincidence? Is it noting a connection between two seemingly disparate things? If one subscribes to the everything-is-connected-by-energy theory, sometimes referred to as “the web” in Neopaganism, can one really argue that there exists such as thing as disconnection? Digression over.) In my mid-twenties I created a fictional character whom I decided would be a modern-day witch. And then, because I thoroughly research issues and backgrounds before I go on to develop a character, I proceeded to look into modern witchcraft in order to have a better handle on what it was.
As I read I started to recognise a sympathy within me for the central tenets and practices demonstrated in witchcraft — the honouring of Nature as an expression of the Divine, the acknowledgement of a feminine energy to deity, the belief that symbols hold energy, and so forth — and realised that hey, not only was witchcraft real (as in not fictional), but it was remarkably grounded in the expression of a spirituality that made sense to my heart and soul. And the more reading I did, the more I found out about different paths of alternative spirituality that encoded different cultural approaches and philosophies, and the more interested I became in the whole idea of cultural-specific spirituality and the revival/reinterpretation of pre-Judeo-Christian religions. My initial research into straightforward witchcraft had led me to the rich tapestry of alternative spirituality and modern religions, and I discovered as I went that a lot of the ideals and moral standpoints found in these religions were ones I already held.
I just kept reading, because what I read nourished something inside me. It all felt right. And eventually I got up out of a chair and started actively and formally practicing beyond living with awareness, being in the headspace, and honouring the world around me. And then I took a class, and then I started to teach, and then I wrote books, and here we are, a dozen years later. My spiritual work hasn’t always been easy, because it demands a lot of self-examination and a willingness to shed behaviours and beliefs that no longer benefit one, as well as a willingness to grow and change and challenge oneself. But it’s a very rewarding long-term path (and I specify this only because it’s hard to recognise personal change in the short-term), and one that I believe is the right one for me to be following.
(There is a longer and more detailed version of this information on the Believe page of my web site.)