Monday, September 14, 2015

Craftful Teachers

This is going to be a very honest post and some of you may laugh at my humble pagan beginnings. Honestly, this is extremely difficult to write because I am, well, embarrassed. I started dabbling in paganism when I was in high school. I knew from a young age I did not believe in "God." My family never went to church and the couple times I went with friends I left with more questions than answers. I tried, I really did, to be a Christian. I tried to believe the Bible and it's teachings. I tried to be a "good" person because everyone around me was Christian. Well, that's not entirely true. My mom believes, but she doesn't attend services or read the Bible. My dad doesn't know what to think and probably doesn't care either. But for the most part, everyone I knew went to the same church, attended the same youth groups, and prayed around the same flag pole every morning together. The older I got, the more I despised their practices. I watched as many of my "friends" became obsessed with trying to convert me, telling me I would spend forever burning in hell if I didn't come to service on Sunday or youth group on Wednesday or pray with them each morning. I watched these same "friends" ostracize others, especially those of color or a different sexual orientation. I watched "good" people turn into the exact opposite of good.

The more I pondered religion, the more I came to dislike it. However, I knew I wanted something. There is very clearly a void in every single human being to ever walk this planet. We want to know why. Why are we here? Why do bad things happen to us? Why do we suffer? Why do we live? Why do we die? And of course, is there something more than this? My husband fills his void by convincing himself there couldn't possibly be anything more than this right now. Like me, he is very scientific, but unlike me, he has absolutely no spirituality. It works for him and many other atheists, and that's great. It doesn't work for me. While I don't believe in divine beings, I still craved filling my void with something. That is where paganism came into the picture.

While in high school I visited Borders (the old bookstore) often. One day while walking to the bathroom a white book caught my eye. Teen Witch. I stopped. "Huh." I thought, "What's this about?" I picked it up and read the back cover. It was as if the sky opened and trumpets sang from the heavens. I forgot all about going to the bathroom and walked straight to the counter to purchase it. Yes, the book that started it all was Teen Witch by Silver Ravenwolf. I know, she is not the best person to take advice from, but at the time she was the most important pagan teacher in my life. I read several of her books. I carried Teen Witch with me everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Despite the criticism Teen Witch received, it spoke volumes to me when I needed it most. Silver did a great job relating it to a religion I already understood: Christianity. Up until this point I had no idea what Wicca was and thought witchcraft was only something practiced in the movies. I knew bits and pieces about other world religions, but my foundation was Christianity. I know many people hate this book for the exact reason I liked it most as a teen. If I had not seen her book that day 10 years ago, I'm not sure what path I would be on.

While I am no longer Wiccan and have made some serious leaps and bounds in my spirituality, I won't ever forget my humble beginnings. A couple years ago I very reluctantly donated Teen Witch to Goodwill. It was hard to drop it in the donation box, but I knew it was time for it to change another teen's life.

So there you have it. The most influential pagan teacher in my life is Silver Ravenwolf, one of the most criticized and down right hated pagan authors on the planet. But it's okay. It's my story, my beginning, and I doubt I am alone in it.


No comments:

Post a Comment