We all have a past and many pagans and witches have a religious background, with a multitude of defining moments that guide us to the path we are now on. Here is my story.
I grew up in Christian home, American Baptist to be exact. How that came about was through a previous conversion on my parents part. They were botb originally Catholics converted to Baptists. They didn’t get too far from where they started. But that is the home I was adopted into. I was raised into the Christian faith and I was “saved” when I was 5 years old. By saved, I really mean scared into doing it. Though at that young age I had not quite been pressured other than church and Youth group attendance. I do recall on multiple occasions feeling terrified that I wasn’t “saved properly or correctly” so I would get saved over and over out of sheer fear of going to hell. I remember when I was around 10 or 11, I saw a play about Hell and the Lake of Fire. As a young child it terrified me so much I would just keep praying to be saved because I believe now that being raised this way made me feel I could never be worthy of love or forgiveness. The message that I was a helpless, worthless sinner was driven to deeply into my psyche, that no amount of praying could ever make me feel clean or pure.
By the time I was a teenager, I was struggling with severe depression and anxiety, though I didn’t know or understand what anxiety was at the time. My parents called it nervousness and over reacting, being too emotional. I loved and feared the Christian God so much and yet felt betrayed and alone all the time. Out of guilt and shame I believe I rededicated myself to the Lord at least 3 times at Winter Snow Camp which was a youth group trip once a year in New York.
I was a very devout Christian suffering serious mental illness as well as spiritual crisis. I doubted my faith a lot and with guilt in my heart I questioned if everything I knew was a lie. Because something deep inside always said it’s not true there is so much more to life! But unfortunately I was overprotected by my parents and very sheltered so I did not have much access to very much non Christian reading material to explore my faith.
In the summer time, I would attend Bible Camp and it was an amazing escape away from home life, which was very emotionally abusive as well as some exposure to physical abuse. I made lots of friends and despite all the extra brainwashing, lol I still had a pretty good time though as a teen staff worker I was still struggling with depression and low self esteem issues.
Growing up in a Christian home there was no thinking on my own, or ability to speak up for myself. It was expected at home, church and school ect, that there be blind obedience and that as a young women, I follow Christian beliefs of meekness and submission. Basicly becoming a doormat for everyone. I didn’t know how to speak up, stand up or put my foot down. Saying no to anything was like a sin. I learned to be agreeable and to always say, “yes ok, sure” to anything asked of me. I didn’t want to inconvenience, bother or upset anyone. I was always told by my mother whenever I visited anywhere without her supervision, “Don’t be an inconvenience!!!” I always felt like an inconvenience no matter where I went. It severely affected my life. Stripped away my power and self esteem.
When I graduated from high school, after many years of struggle to pass my classes, I went to Bible college. I was going to be a missionary, which is exactly what my church and Christian School and parents and family wanted me to be. I was a people pleaser I was so sure that was what I wanted to do with my life.
In my second year of college I started dating a man who I quickly decided was the one and when I graduated after 3 years of studying Theology, we got married.
It lasted 7 years and it was quite the ride, I was his doormat and his slave. But I was married to such a good Christian man! Where did I go wrong? Lol simply being who I was is where I went wrong. It really taught me a lot, and the experience, as painful as it was, which I don’t need to go into here, was one of many life lessons that brought me closet to paganism’s door.
In 2008 my father died. It plunged me deep into depression and grieving that lasted 3 years. I saw him in my dreams, out of the corner of my eyes, I’d hear his voice and I wasn’t sure if I was going crazy or actually seeing him. I know now I wasn’t crazy and to this day I know he still stops in to check on me.
I divorced my husband in January of 2012 after nearly 7 1/2 years of mental and emotional abuse. While we were separated I had started to study Paganism and Eastern religions. At the time, witchcraft looked very interesting but it felt too overwhelming and complicated to learn it all. I decided to follow my heart and go the Native way which had pulled at my spirit since I was a teen.
Things went well for a few years but I felt Native beliefs were lacking severely in teaching me what my spirit had been calling me to do since I was a teen. I always felt a calling, that my spirit guide kept trying to get my attention even when I was a Christian.
I had tried to learn from the Elders about spirituality and the power of Creator, and when I asked around to meet with and speak to and learn from a shaman, I got strange looks. They looked as though I was talking crazy. I’d ask if there were any good books for me to explore and learn more about Native Spirituality and my Elder told me, we don’t need books for that! I was really disappointed in the lack of teaching, where I had these expectations of a teacher taking me under their wing and showing me the ropes and spending time with me. I realized that I could not rely on any man or woman, except for myself. I stopped asking and just started teaching myself. I knew I had to answer the call, this deep longing within me. There HAD to be more, I just knew it. I’m glad I’m followed my intuition, and I couldn’t be happier pouring over books and studying ancient and secret wisdom and knowledge. It was a long road but I am grateful that I am able to be on this path!