Gamergirl's Pre-Atheist Spiritual Journey
My spiritual journey may best be described as the winding path. I was raised by an Episcopalian and a near-Agnost, but my parents had a firm view that they would not thrust any particular religious path on their children.
These days, I count myself among the rational and earthbound minds on the planet. I shed all "faith" slowly at first, until roughly early spring of 2010 when I leapt off the cliff-side of religion and into atheism. I leave the recollections below intact as a matter of expressing my progress, and hopefully reaching out to any number of individuals out there whose footsteps have followed a similar path.
As a result of my parents views, I spent my early self-aware years with an open mind and open heart. At four years old I was moved by a service at a large Episcopalian church, and began reading the bible for fun. After elementary school my parents experienced spiritual changes of heart, both of them converting (if you can call finding the spiritual path that makes your soul feel free, loved and worshipful conversion) to Paganism. My father identifies more with shamanic teachings, my mother with Celtic Witchcraft. Imagine if you will a scrawny 11 year old girl, all limbs and uncertain angles, approaching a priestess of a circle and asking to be Initiated. Yep, that was me, 11 years old and I knew all the answers. Anyway, the end result of the two and a half hour discussion that this lady and I had was that she would accept my question again in three years, during which time I was to learn, read and explore as much in regard to world religion as I possibly could. I did just as she asked. For three years I read, researched and discovered an even wider world of religion than I ever thought possible. I read hundreds of books, from paperback pamphlets from churches to translated texts of Kabbalah, rubbings and translations of Egyptian myths and legends, you name it. During this time I was also introduced to a lovely lady who spoke to me about faith and religion as if I were an adult. After several hours of talking to me (at the expense of not speaking to the two dozen others around except when I went off to help my mother and when ritual occurred) she asked me to call her "Momma Silver." Later, when we left circle that night I asked my mother who the lady was, only to find out that it was none other than influential and wise Lady Silver Ravenwolf. I was shocked!
I learned so much from the people in this circle, which was eventually named Ravenfain. Lead by a wise man named Steven Vaughn, this merry band of Pagans was like a second family to me. I grew up around these bright souls, learning each person in the circle's take on religion, faith, devotion, and life. I spent weekends camping at places like Serpentstone, talking and laughing and growing with individuals considered Elders in the pagan community. These were treasured years of my life, my teenage years filled with magic and glory.
It's difficult to express how my teenage years passed for me spiritually. During this time my walk down the roads of belief was interrupted by normal kid stuff, boys and high school, yet in my heart I always knew that out there in the aether there was someone who had given me all the keys to life, and like a brand new driver I was speeding along.
Have you ever looked at the ground and just watched the earth until it ebbs and flows in your vision? Have you experienced the shudder of excitement that thrills your body when the wind picks up suddenly around you? I have, and I attribute these things to the presence of the Goddess. I envision her with her arms wrapped around me, supporting and comforting, holding me as I make the tough choices in life, cheering me on as I make the right decisions, but remaining in my heart when I choose wrongly.
Anyway, after Ravenfain splintered, I withdrew into myself. I attended pagan rituals infrequently after returning from the military, and worshipped in my own special way. I have always believed that faith is more important than what brand name you place on your religion, and at the core - living a good life, treating your fellow human being well, and doing your part to treat the Earth we live on as if it were an extension of yourself... these things are important, and these ideals have been reinforced in my religious experiences.
While faith is a deeply personal and individual growth process, I find myself thinking about all the people who have impacted me, taught me, loved me for who I am along the way. Were it not for Momma Laura, Solitaire, Dawn Raven, Serpent, Rowena, Gwendolyn, Ember, Dragonstone, Ravenfain, Silver Ravenwolf, and literally hundreds of others, I would not have the vast knowledge and understanding I do today. If ever their eyes should grace this page, I want them to know they are on my mind, in my heart, and beloved to me always as brethren. We share in the Goddess, and in that there is bounty.
I believe that this journey is one which will never end. Should the day come that a monumentous update need be done here on this hub, I will do so. Until then, trust that every day is a new experience that I cherish, every spiritual revelation held close to my heart and bringing me another step along the path.
Love and Light... Merry Meet, Merry Part, and Merry Meet again.