It was the full moon and the weather was nice for the time of year. So I was sitting in my front yard, in an isolated spot with my candle. I imagined roots growing from my base reaching deep down into the Earth, pulling up energy like a plant does water.
Suddenly, I felt Spirit. A LOT of Spirit. It surrounded and filled me all at once. And as wonderful as it felt, it felt wonderfully familiar. Which confused the hell out of me.
You see, back in my days in the United Pentecostal Church, we raised this energy every service. We called it the Holy Ghost. It was the spirit of god and it was the primary objective of being at church: raising this energy, getting full of it and speaking in tongues. This is how you know you’re saved and in good standing in the UPC.
But here I sat, doing a pagan full moon ritual and I felt the same spirit. How could this possibly be? There’s no way the god of that church could possibly be happy with what I was doing – aren’t these two paths completely exclusionary?
Still, there was no denying what I was feeling. Further, the more I drew in the energy and the stronger it got the more I wanted to do what I did back in the Pentecostal altar. And then I found myself speaking in tongues.
Immediately, warning signs started going off in the back of my mind. I heard the voice of every fire-and-brimstone preacher I’d ever sat under reminding me that the ONLY sin that is unforgivable to God is “blaspheming the Holy Ghost.” And wouldn’t what I was doing right now count?
But I could not deny what I was experiencing. So I went with it. And I had one of the most powerful experiences of my pagan path so far.
Over the following week I tried to process exactly what was going on. Could it be that the energy raised in pagan ritual is the same as that raised in the fundamentalist Christian service? What would this mean?
I did some googling and discovered that speaking in tongues wasn’t invented by Christians on the day of Pentecost. Turns out, pagans had been doing it for centuries before that day:
— 1100 BCE: In a work of historical fiction, a man named Wenamon is dispatched by the temple of Amon in Egypt to secure cedar logs to build a ship. When he arrives at Byblos (in modern day Lebanon) a servant of the prince falls into a prophetic frenzy, including speaking in tongues, and then demands that Wenamon and his god be treated with respect. This is the oldest known reference to what modern scholars call glossolalia.
— Pythia, AKA the Oracle of Delphi, was established in the 8th century BCE (although many believe the site and oracle had been in honor of the goddess Gaia prior to this and going back to the 14th century BCE). From that time up until about 395 AD the Oracle gave prophesies that included speaking in tongues.
— Plato also reports religious ecstatics in roughly the 5th century BC. In the accounts we can observe that in each instance reported by Plato the speaker had no control over his mental faculties, he did not know what he was saying, there was the need for some sort of interpreter or diviner who would tell what was said, and the person was allegedly under the control of a god.
— Virgil, writing about 17-19 BC, mentions a Sibylline priestess who would go into an ecstatic state where she was unified with the spirit of Apollo, and she would begin to speak in tongues, in ecstatic utterance. They claimed that it was known language.
— Many so-called “Mystery religions” popular in the last century BCE and the first century CE practiced speaking in tongues.
So, like all the big holidays, many of the saints and even much of the doctrine, Christianity actually stole or borrowed the concept of speaking in tongues from the preexisting pagan religions. Needless to say, this definitely made me feel better about my full moon experience. If this spirit is not exclusive to Christianity then I can’t very well condemn myself for all eternity just by accessing it outside of the Christian faith.
But still… the idea that the energy I felt in both my full moon meditation and the Pentecostal altar felt exactly the same made me wonder. How does it all connect?
Not long after I was visiting a local Wiccan store and spoke to the owner about my experience. She, too, had at least visited Pentecostal churches before. And she absolutely agreed it was the exact same energy. In her experience, the churchgoers were quite good at raising the energy, which she said was then “pinging off the walls” while the people ran around the building or danced. She said she could only imagine what they could do if they learned to focus the energy and use it.
Which is when it hit me: All this time I’ve considered myself a complete novice in paganism, thinking I have to start over from square one. But guess what? I’m not. Yes, I have a TON to learn. But one thing I do know is how to raise spirit energy. I can raise a lot of it.
Now, my job is just to learn how to use it.
Wow! I’m former COG and have come to Similar conclusion that glossalalia is the very same energy I’ve experienced with qi gong, breathwork, etc. You’re the first person I’ve heard sharing similar ideas. Speaking in tongues is great for clearing the mind and resting in the stillness of Being. It is a meditation. So easy to drop thoughts while speaking in tongues. Glad to see I’m not alone in this. Peace and blessings.
Much love and light to you. I am so glad I came across your blog. My whole Christian past was hindering me from speaking in tongues. But it comes so naturally to me and is full of energy that I googled my question and then I came across this. Thank you.
Wow. I find your story fascinating. While not UPC, I was what you would call a Fundamentalist Pentecostal Christian. It was only the last couple of years I started doubting my faith. By this past spring in my upper 40s it finally dawned on me the whole thing is a lie. Religion, the Bible. All used to control and divide the people.
Now my whole belief system was left up to me. I’d always been extremely conservative, and since I was trying to Crucify My Flesh I realized I had never really lived for myself before. Who am I? I questioned. What are MY beliefs, not those up some some cruel outdated Fairy Tail God?
I researched both atheism and paganism. I couldn’t get on board with the atheists even though I’m unsure if there is a God or not.
I’m only certain if there was a god of the universe it would not be one who endorses both rape and slavery.
When it comes to paganism, from what I understand, and it’s not much, people can go down many different paths and it’s all good. But I think a lot of them worship other deities? At this point I’m so angry about worshiping a God that wasn’t worthy of My Worship I really don’t want to worship any other being again. I can’t see myself praying to anyone or anything.
But mainly, I’m fascinated about your personal experience with speaking in tongues. I too spoke in tongues. I started as a child. The first time was at a Bible Camp when I was 10 years old. I went and got baptized after that knowing full well what I was doing and giving my life to Christ. I was mixed up on the speaking in tongues though. Someone explain it to me that it just comes down on you while you’re speaking in tongues and then goes back up. So that’s what I really until I got older LOL.
Anyway, I went on to be very active in the church. I was a praise and worship leader, women’s leader, one time I was a children’s church leader, and another time of Youth leader. There was a time when I cleaned the church. I ended up giving messages in tongues that the pastor or someone in the congregation would interpret. Though I never interpreted a message myself. And I know what you’re talkin about raising all that energy. I now think that’s what it is as well.
I’ve seen the human aura now and I know it’s real. It’s amazing. Thank you for sharing your story. It was so helpful to me.
Thanks for that, I’m glad it’s been helpful!
I was very similar about gods when I started casting about for what I truly believed. I looked into Buddhism, but as I was reading I came across an account if the Buddha’s birth that had him springing from the womb walking and talking, with flowers sprouting everywhere his foot touched. That was a big ole Nope for me. And I was a pagan for at least a couple years before I developed a relationship with any Deities.
As far as paganism and gods… they are very different from what is portrayed in the bible. They don’t expect to have their egos constantly stroked, nor for you to prostrate yourself before them for the most part. In fact, mostly they seem to want to make you the best version of yourself so you can be of service to the world. Many are very transactional- they’ll do stuff for you in exchange for offerings. Some will get all in your business, and some will indeed fuck with you just for fun. Always research the myths around a deity before working with them so you know what you’re getting into.
But also, as you said there are nearly infinite paths under the umbrella of paganism, and plenty of people who don’t believe in any gods.
As the Temple of the Oracle at Delphi said, “know thyself.” You’re on the right track digging into your own heart and figuring out what rings true for you.
If I could make one recommendation it would be the book “the path of paganism” by John Beckett. It’s a great beginners overview.
Best of luck to you on your journey!
Thank you! At least I am awake and off the wrong path. My journey is just beginning.
I have begun to tentatively find my own path spiritually. I really hesitant to just throw away my old beliefs but i decided to set them aside for now and really be willing to ask questions and be ok with doubting. I would say i was a Christian but while i spoke in tongues i wouldn’t really consider myself Pentecostal. Their belief that speaking in tongues was the ONLY proof of being saved didn’t sit well with me. But then again a lot of things in the Bible didn’t sit well with me i was just too afraid to admit it to even myself. I still feel apprehensive but recently i was outside, it was almost evening and i saw both the sun and an almost full moon. I focused on their energy and i felt a sense of joy fill me, exactly as you said it was completely familiar. Then i started speaking in tongues. I was confused, this wasn’t supposed to be possible as i had begun to embrace a more open spiritual path and have been exploring paganism. Its happened a few times since then too. Im still trying to figure things out and i still have some fear that what i used to believe could still somehow be true, but im trying to be ok with exploring and questioning things.
I just wanted to thank you for writing this blog. I was raised UPC and I still live with my parents but I felt so confused Bc I often “speak in tongues” to fool my parents into thinking I still believe that crap with very little effort and like, right after “sinning” (lol) and I always wondered how I managed to do this. Turns out it’s just me raising energy haha. Anyways I’m also on my “researching every religion to figure out the truth” journey a lot of former UPC/Fundamentalist young people go through when they reject their old belief system and I’ll definitely be bookmarking your blog!
I’ve been through this… how do I use it?
Not sure if you’re asking the question or just relating to it, but just in case… I read some good books on witchcraft that talked about focusing and channeling that energy. It takes practice and a lot of visualization, but once you start to get a handle on it it can be a very powerful force!
My same experience,went to Pentecost al churches,been practicing witchcraft for about 10 years, pray in tongues a lot during meditation.
I really needed to hear this. I have trouble reconciling my separation from the church and traditional Christianity and my ability to still access speaking in tongues and the deep knowledge that it is good and a benevolent experience. The nonbeliever aspect and this ability seem at odds and confusing to me and I’m glad I’m not alone in this experience. I’m glad not all paths have to be divergent and exclusionary. Thanks for sharing.
Hey, I came across your article when searching on google “are speaking in tongues and movement experience in meditations the same energy.” I am able to experience both, but do not know much about either. I have heard about Pentecostals’ accounts, and I have heard a little about meditation experiences. I only know that it is real, and I want to learn the truth behind all of this. There has to be a reason for both, have you learn more that you would share with me.