"The time is sure to come when people will not accept sound teaching but their ears will be itching for anything new and they will collect themselves a whole series of teachers according to their own tastes; and then they will shut their ears to the truth and will turn to myths."
-2 Timothy 4: 3-4
I am an awkward human, with limited social skills. I spend a large amount of time worrying if I say or do the right things when around others. I never want to hurt anyone or make them feel uncomfortable, nor do I want to offend anyone. Also, there is fear that I will make a fool of myself, that humiliation will be easily won by my awkwardness. Depending on the day, it is a toss up as to which of those fears and worries is the one most present in my mind. It is often a mix of all of them.
The one thing I never felt awkward doing, was praying. I am an only child who was alone a lot. I read books, I wrote in diaries, I listened to music and I talked to God. I have been on a very diverse spiritual journey. Most of the time, whatever spiritual thing I was pursuing could be placed under the very broad umbrella of, 'earth centered spirituality.' Within that label are sub-groupings such as paganism, wicca, shamanism, druidism and similar paths. Those each have their own sub-groupings too. So I learned over the years how to connect with the divine through many different kinds of ways.* At least, I thought I did.* I was not raised in a particular faith, so I had freedom to seek and find God where I could.
Over the years I have done just that. Or at least, I thought I had. I have called God by many names. I have sought divinity through the lenses of a sort of vague monotheism, then hard polytheism, then soft, then that turned into pantheism. Pantheism is where I have been over the last several years, probably since about 2011. At a certain point I wouldn't name divinity at all. I would just pray. Other times I gave 'it' a different name altogether, such as 'teacher spirit' or 'sacred divine.' I was trying, in my own weird way, to connect with God. Just God, without any of what I perceived as human... interference?
Over the last decade or so, one thing that began to bother me in regards to all these paths I was seeking God through, was that they were becoming increasingly laced with troubling ideas. Maybe they had always been that way? I began my studies into those religions prior to the internet becoming what it is now, so I only knew of them what I read in books. During my early teens, there was no Facebook or Instagram or Twitter. There were no authors pages or celebrity pagans and wiccans to follow or like. There was no social or political agenda mixed into what I had been reading about. There was only me and the books I could find. The books back then were solely about the theories and practices. These types of books have come to be known in wiccan circles as 'Wicca 101' books.
To me, I was on a good path of healing and light and peace and tolerance. These other people who were supposedly on the same paths or similar, seemed to have a different way of doing things. Whatever it was they were doing, seemed to incorporate divisiveness and intolerance. They didn't seem to see it that way though. These people also thought they were about 'love and light.' Where I would light candles and pray for peace or healing, they were all about hashtag shout your abortion or hashtag smash the patriarchy or holding public rituals to cast spells against certain political figures*.* I was so not into any of that. I just wanted to be a good little pagan pantheist witch and heal the world and spread kindness and peace. I wanted nothing to do with whatever they were doing. I began to seriously distance myself from the pagan community as a whole and aside for a handful of online pagan friends, I kept mostly to myself.
No matter what, through all of that, I would find myself drawn in by Catholicism. I would happily read things like the Rule of St Benedict or swoon over St. Francis of Assisi's Canticle of the Creatures, or find myself delighted by St. Hildegard von Bingens concept of, *'Viriditas.' *Yet, I'd soon find myself pushing Catholicism away, and then a little while later, it would pull me back in. I'd find myself listening to The Catholic Channel or EWTN on SiriusXM. Sometimes, I would be in my car, at a stop light and become aware of the fact that, maybe just maybe, the people in the car next to me could hear what I was listening to, and I'd turn the radio down. Heaven forbid anyone know that little witchy pagan me was listening to something Christian. (as if that person would know or even care in the first place! Hey, I told you I was an awkward human.)
Looking back, I can see that I was pulled away by false information about Catholicism. Not to mention, in much of the pagan / wiccan world, there can be found a sort of anti Christian sentiment, of all types. We were supposed to forever hold 'The Burning Times' over the heads of any Christian we came into contact with. As if pagans didn't persecute Christians too! While I would like to think, I was never hateful, I would be lying if I said I was always kind. I have mostly been what is termed a 'solitary' practitioner so at least most of my awful thoughts were mostly inside my own head. This is particularly true throughout my teen years and very early twenties. I like to think I quickly outgrew that. I very much hope I did.
Over the past three years or so, I have been in a kind of limbo. I would halfheartedly post wiccan and pagan related things to my social media, because that had become not just my spiritual practice but part of my online persona as well. Pagans and wiccans who find themselves falling into any form of Christianity can quickly find themselves the target of the witchy social media mobs. Mind you, if a pagan or wiccan turns to any other faith on the planet...that seems to be acceptable, but Christianity is a definite no - no. As an awkward, socially inept human, confrontation is something I dreaded. So, I stayed in my safe, non -committal bubble and remained there for over three years until,
Midnight Mass, 2020.