When I last visited this topic I had just walked away from Christianity. Atheism did not stick. I tried but I couldn’t shake the feeling in my bones that there was more out there. This is also when I first started to use the internet. It was a wonderful way to explore the world. From the church’s point of view, everything was a sin. My childhood was cluttered with all of the things that were forbidden and dire warnings about falling into sin. One topic I had always wanted to explore was astrology. Astrology had been a big bad sin. It was an easy way for the devil to sneak in. With enthusiasm and new-found freedom I dove into the study of the stars. Often in the links section of astrology sites, I would find links to Pagan sites. Pagan sites intrigued me and I could not help myself, curiosity won!
The more I explored Paganism the more it seemed like a natural fit for me. I had to be very careful about this choice. First, what if I was wrong? I could be damned for this, but then wasn’t I damned anyways? The thing about being born into a religious family is that you never have a choice about your beliefs. I finally had a choice and I did not want to blow it. I studied all kinds of Pagans. I narrowed it down to Shamanism, Druidry, and Wicca. I took my time to decide, I took a year. I’m a voracious reader and I gobbled up whatever info I could. In the end, I settled on Wicca. Now that I consider myself a witch and not really a Wiccan, I realize all three of my studied paths are part of my practice.
With typical Gemini flair, I decided to self-dedicate on Samhain. I am not exaggerating when I say that my life has never been the same. Becoming a witch was like being released from a cage and being able to breathe deep for the first time. It felt like home. I felt in the center of where I belonged for the first time in my life. My first ritual was kind of scary. Would lightning come from the sky and strike me dead? Nope, no lightning. Whew! I went to bed that night, not grounded, and dreamt of flying.
The first deity I worked with was Diana the Huntress. It felt good to see myself reflected in my choice of deity. She was like me and I was like her. It felt like she claimed me. She helped me find myself and my voice. I experienced no judgement coming from her. No striving was required. Soon after I discovered Pan. He was a real wonder to me. A god who wasn’t stern and waving damnation in my face! He came to me as gentle presence. For that, I am forever grateful. I needed that so much. Acceptance from a male deity was key to my healing.
I started to read every book I could get my hands on. Magick and intuition came naturally for me. I started to slowly acquire Wiccan tools. I kept a book of shadows and followed the phases of the moon. I was green at all this but I had intense passion. It was a season of enthusiasm and freedom.
Eventually, I found Pagan community. Every group I encountered was ready to tell me what I was doing wrong. They knew the “right” way. Over time, I became very involved in the community. I spent 2 years in a program to become ordained and I took my service to the community very seriously. I worked within my community for over a decade. The more of myself I gave away the less my practice felt fulfilling. During this time, I learned about the craft and people. I’m sorry to say that in the end, I was more damaged by the community than I was helped by it. I burned out. This isn’t a new story, clergy burnout among Pagans is very high. My community was pretty demanding and they liked to be cared for, but that river did not flow both ways. I hit a point where I felt like an empty shell, I had nothing left to give and nothing left to say.
Eventually, I took a big step back. Everything changes and I knew in my bones that I needed change. I took a year to just be. I did not even plant a garden. Rest, deep rest, and healing were the only things I was seeking. I went to yoga and I meditated. I took the time to breathe and I worked on my private practice. When it came time to start to move forward again I knew what i wanted. I wanted my witchcraft and I wanted to be mostly solitary. I needed to be sure I did not make the same mistakes again.
I have not lost my desire to have community, but I think my idea of what community is has transformed. What I seek is a community where everyone brings something to the table. Backstabbers and gossips need not apply. My community may be smaller but I think it is better now. Right now my focus is to get back to my roots. I’m stripping away whatever isn’t needed and unearthing that old passion. It feels amazing to engage with that old magick again. It is going to be a magickal summer and I am ready for it!
Last night was the new moon. I sat alone and wove some new moon mojo. I lit my altar, sang and meditated, and let my wishes go out to the universe. Deep in my heart I smiled.
Artemis Of The Hunt
Kellianna copyright 2012
Artemis of the silver bow
And arrows formed of silver light
Eternal Maiden of the moon
Beloved leader of the hunt
May I run with you now
Through the green forest glade
Grant me the honor to join in the chase
And when the curve of my bow
Is the crescent moon
Artemis guide my arrow true
Lady Of The Wild Things
And forest nymphs running free
Her bird is the majestic crane
The silver fir her sacred tree
Goddess Of The Moon and Hunt
Running towards the morning light
She runs with lion, wolf and bear
Running free with unbound hair
Goddess Of The Raging Seas
Stirs the waves with a silver leash
And with a cry and mighty roar
She hurls them fast upon the shores
Moon Maiden rides the night sky
In a chariot drawn by four white stags
She sets down in a hidden place
And calls her maidens to the chase