This is a continuation of My Path: a short series on how I found paganism, my Gods, and ultimately my path to this present moment. If you missed part one, click here!
The day I told my mother that I thought I was a pagan, she was horrified. I’ll never forget the disdain in her eyes when I confessed that I had been researching wicca, paganism and witchcraft and identified with what I read. I had been reading into these spiritual paths for three months. I wanted to be certain that when I told my mother I would be able to answer any of her questions. I waited until she was driving me to my flute tutor lessons, the twenty minutes I could be certain we would be alone.
My parents were incredibly strict in our upbringing, yet in spite of this had taught us to accept others no matter race, creed, sex, religion or sexual orientation. Of course this did not extend to their own family. I think I sensed this from a young age. My father was not a man to be questioned and I lived in fear of him for much of my youth. Knowing it was he who had the attachment to Catholicism I thought it would be best to tell my mother about my new religious identity first. I never expected her to react the way she did.
She told me I didn’t know what I was talking about. I explained the basic beliefs of paganism, how it wasn’t evil or satanic. She told me it was a phase. I told her it wasn’t. Her face was red and I had a heavy stone in my stomach. I felt so much shame for my beliefs. In my mind I was a fool for believing these things. Maybe I had just gotten fixated on an idea, like she said. I believed her and began punishing myself for following my truth. She told me not to tell anyone else. She told me when I studied every other religion out there she would discuss it with me again.
I went home and began studying other religions. Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Satanism, etc. Ultimately I wound up returning to pagan cultures, mostly indo-european. When I began my journey, I was months away from 13 years of age, by the end I was 15 and certain about my faith. I was also certain that my family could not accept my faith.
As I said, the first god I was conscious of was a sky god. I later identified Him as Thor. My earliest experiences with paganism was greek mythology. I had always been a voracious reader, and when I came across these stories I thought I was close to identifying this being, my friend. However upon reading about Zeus, I was well aware that He was not my childhood friend. Zeus was intimidating and ruthless, my friend was kind and playful – atleast with me He was. I’m not sure where I first heard about Thor, but ever since I did I knew that He was my childhood playmate.
I had tried to be a Catholic many times, but where Thor was always a presence I recognized Jesus was not. I remember praying after a visit with my grandparents. We had gone to mass, and as I sat in the pew I reached out for Jesus. I prayed that He reveal Himself to me. When I never felt His presence I slumped in my seat and observed the actions of those around me.
There was this feeling of emptiness in that church. I realized in that moment that the Christian church would always be empty to me. God was not there, He was outside in the skies playing in the rain.
Our long journey from Arizona to our home in Colorado was spent in the rain. I watched out the window and prayed to the Gods – any that would listen – and begged to know why I wasn’t normal, why I could not be Christian. I had expected Thor to reply as He was the only God I had a relationship with, but it was a chorus of female voices that responded. The Fates or the Norns.
They called me their sister and told me not to be sad. They said I was chosen and would help revive the old ways. They asked me to have patience and to trust that there was a reason for everything. I was so relieved to finally have contact from other deities, I promised Them I would have faith.
These were just some of the truths that kept me going through high school. I survived those four years of persecution inside my home and my school, and that summer I graduated the ravens came for me.
For three months I was haunted by murders of crows. Everywhere I went crows would appear cawing and making a raucous. At one point I went to California on vacation and found my room had a tree next to the window where the crows would tap and caw, disturbing my sleep but no one else’s. It took a while, but I finally accepted that there was a Goddess trying to contact me.
I love crows. They are one of the most amazing and brilliant creatures in the world. When they began to show up I was overjoyed by their presence. I would listen and try and hear their message. It always felt as though there was a woman beckoning me with their song. When I determined it was a Goddess I immediately started searching for a Goddess related to crows. The obvious guess was the Morrigan. As much as I thought I should be working with the Celtic pantheon due to my family’s heritage, I had read that it was best to work with only one pantheon. Since Thor and the Norns (the Norse Fates) were the divine beings in my life I begrudgingly set aside the Celtic pantheon and found the goddess associated with crows in Norse mythology.
Her name is Freya. My Lady, my Mistress. Freya is Queen of the Valkyries, the choosers of the slain said to take the form of the crow, the raven or the hawk. She sent the crows to me to get my attention. She did a marvelous job, because I quickly made my way down the rabbit hole after Her. The moment I realized Her claim upon me, things began to make sense, I began piecing the puzzle pieces together until I formed a clear idea of who my true self was. She helped me find myself and in doing so I found myself eternally devoted to Her.
The path is never simple, is it? Follow my journey through darkness in part three, read here.