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.)