I have always watched the world through a broad lens. Growing up, my family experienced a lot of pain and a lot of death. It made me feel heavy, and it brought many burdens, but these experiences taught me about what life means, and they shaped me into the person I am now. I was never angry at God for the things that happened. I’m still not. I understood that being responsible for myself and loving others to the best of my ability are the only things I can do in this life, and that blame solves nothing. I turned to God without anger when times were hard and I never felt truly abandoned. I know now that the universe never abandons you, but that you often abandon yourself. The universe is always there waiting for you when you want to return home to yourself.
As a kid it never made sense to me to think that one God controlled the entire uni/multiverse, even though I always believed in a higher power, and I’ve always felt a personal relationship with this power. I guess I thought that God must be a lot like my mom, who wanted her kids to be free to make their own decisions, who surrounded us with love and acceptance, hoping they’d figure out how to be their own definition of good people somewhere along the way.
I was never comfortable with the idea of God as the LDS church defined him — I went to the this church from childhood until I was about 13 years old, and sparingly after that until about 16, but I was never invested in its teachings. I think it’s because I already had my spirituality and beliefs in place like a seed, and it needed cultivating, but the mormon church was the wrong regimen for me personally. I’m not comfortable with the way most world religions define God, either. In a universe so vast and complex and full of paradoxes, I’ve never had trouble believing that all gods and all heavens and all energies exist in a bizarre, beautiful harmony, all connected by one consciousness. Looking back, I can recognize that I’ve always wanted an all-encompassing god, a Divine. I didn’t care much for worshipping Jesus and I still don’t worship any specific dieties. Right now, I am more interested in making myself into a better, more mindful person, and I am interested in worshipping everything.
Paganism clicks with me. It is a key that fits into this lock I’ve been waiting for years to open. It fits with my worldview. It opens my mind to new possibilities every single day. It gives me the tools I longed for to help me understand who I am and why I am, and it gives me the definitions I didn’t even know I wanted until I found them. Paganism accounts for and admires contradictions rather than ignoring them and pushing them aside. Paganism teaches me in a way that I can understand and relate to, and it is accommodating and welcoming of shifts in thought and action. It loves to be asked questions. It evolves, just like us.
Spirituality has always been important to me. I need it to feel balanced and whole. Identifying Pagan helps me feel connected to the rest of existence (because we are connected). Paganism affirms my beliefs; it doesn’t shape them. It allows me to have spiritual experiences by myself, or, if I choose, with a group of my spiritual kinfolk. I am excited by my spirituality these days, something I think not everyone can claim. I thrill to be able to call myself a witch, to be able to gradually understand and practice real magic. I feel connected to the rest of existence on a beautiful, intimate level, and I know that there’s no rush to get to any spiritual marker by a certain time. This is a journey. This is a way of life, and it is lifelong.
I am so much happier, so much more peaceful, so much more myself, for traveling this path.