I’ve always been drawn to Nature. Something about a wooded area, mountains, a stream or lake… even a single flower has always been able to feed my soul.
But I grew up in the Bible Belt. So it never occurred to me growing up that Nature could be my spirituality. I remember as a teen sitting at my bedroom window at night watching an incredible lightning show in a thunderstorm, and telling God (my understanding of him or her at the time anyway) how majestic it was and how beautiful.
Not long after that, I lost 2 close relatives in quick succession. I was angry, I was grieving. I desperately wanted something solid in my life. I was introduced to, and became part of a fundamentalist church called the United Pentecostal Church or UPC. I spent 20 years in this cult, and the story of my experiences is a good chunk of what this blog will be about.
Once I had escaped the UPC (it’s not the kind of cult that you have to physically escape from or that poses a threat to your life if you try to leave, but it is emotionally traumatic, and leaving does leave scars) I did a lot of soul searching. I’ve always been a spiritual person, but what type of spirituality was right for me?
I looked at Buddhism, but ultimately it felt to me like just another religion. I did not want a religion of any kind. Nothing with some type of faith I had to buy into, or intricate rules I had to live by. (I do realize that Buddhism at its core doesn’t have those things, but the books I was reading were enough to make me realize it was not the right path for ME). I realized I wanted something nature based. And as I searched for a spirituality that was empowering, liberating and full of nature, I discovered paganism.
Immediately I KNEW this was the right path for me. And the more I’ve read, the more I’ve explored, the more certain I’ve become in this knowledge.
So, what’s the purpose of this blog? Am I trying to suck other Pentecostals out of the arms of Jesus and into my heresy? Am I trying to win converts for Satan? (LOL) No. As I told a very close friend when I came out of the broom closet, this is not a religion that proselytizes. If you’re meant to follow this type of path, you’ll feel it on your own. And even if you are, your path will not look exactly like my path. Thats the beauty of a spirituality that doesn’t require you to get your truth from some intermediary like a priest or pastor. You can access the Divine for yourself and connect to it in whatever way works best for you.
What I do hope is that my experiences can contribute something positive to the world in general. If you’re a member of the UPC or other fundamentalist Christian organization, and you’re happy there, then good for you. But you do need to be aware of some of the things that go on in those types of churches so you can protect yourself. Emotional and spiritual abuse are no less damaging just because the scars are invisible. Surely there is a way to enjoy the good that these organizations can offer while avoiding the negative.
There are a lot of misconceptions in Christian churches about paganism and what pagans believe and worship. I may be extraordinarily naive, but I’d love for this blog to bridge some of the gaps in understanding and perhaps open a civil dialogue between both sides.
Finally, for other pagans out there, both new and old: I hope sharing my experiences can lend something of value to yours. And I’d SO love for you to share yours with me. I’m new. I’m learning – and I have a LOT to learn.