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Posted by on in Culture Blogs


Family HugLike many other Pagans, I was the black sheep of my family.  My family were hard-working blue collar folk, with some low-level white collar aspirations here and there.  They believed in the ethic of hard work.  They were not at all religious, having had negative experiences with the Anglican church of their youth.  They didn’t understand the mystical bend that shaped my life and experience from the earliest time I can remember.  When I went to my best friend’s Mormon church for the first time, they sat me down to talk to me about it in the same manner that I later would experience when they sat me down to discuss drinking, drugs, and sex.

But I suppose the foundation of my Paganism was laid by the way in which I was raised.  Though my parents shunned the Anglican Church they embraced a lot of Anglican values, and I’m convinced that Wicca is what happens when you expose an Anglican countercultural folklorist to Hinduism.  I was a Brownie and then a Girl Guide, and as Ronald Hutton pointed out, the woodcraft movement was a powerful influence on the development of modern Wicca.  Through my father’s imagination, I learned a sense of wonder; through my mother’s love of the natural world, I learned to find the sacred more keenly in nature than in any human building.

I had some pretty intense mystical experiences – events I would later recognize as higher states of consciousness and satori moments – from a very young age.  I was ten, and in the beginning stages of puberty, when the world of the spirit opened up to me.  I communed with the goddess of the moon Diana whom I’d discovered from school lessons in mythology.  I talked to trees and urged the weather to change according to my mood.  I spent hours communing with the lake near to where I grew up.  I saw visions in the clouds, had dreams that came true, and wrote a poem about a moment of mystical communion with the Sun King that was the Baby Jesus at a nativity scene in a snowfall on the Winter Solstice; a poem my grade six teacher kept.

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  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Thank you for telling this story. Coming out to your family can be so hard and it is great to hear of of the positive connections

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
It Gets Easier. Trust Me on This One.

This morning I packed a basket with Goddesses and Wiccan tools and headed out to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Swannanoa Valley.  I was invited to talk to the young people's RE (religious education) class--they are doing the section on Neighboring Faiths. I sometimes do the sermon at this sweet church and always enjoy the time I spend there.

I began by asking them all how well they'd scored in the Great Pumpkin Candy Berserker Night celebration. Most of the kids know me so it was pretty comfortable for them to talk--since I'm not technically a stranger.  I then read part of the Charge of the Goddess and we launched into an hour's worth of discussion on the Wheel of the Year, European tribes, tools of the trade and the nature of the Divines.  We finished with casting a circle.

It was fun and the kids were attentive and curious. The little red-head who was sitting beside me had even been to Newgrange and whispered to me that it was "awesome."

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  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Thanks. Everything seems best when simplest these days.
  • Shauna Aura Knight
    Shauna Aura Knight says #
    Great post. I really agree with the part about finding your practice getting simpler and deeper.

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