Apologies to the lack of Pagan Friday- it was my Dad’s birthday and so I thought I’d wait and give you a bumper Pagan weekend instead!
Today’s post is the first of two, reflecting on five years of following the Pagan path, tomorrow will be focussing on the festival of Imbolc:
I started looking into Paganism when I was about eleven, at that age all I was aware of was that it was connected to nature- something that I had a huge affinity with. After years of research I made the decision at the age of fourteen to dedicate myself to the Gods, my first ever ritual was done in my bedroom with a glass of water and up-turned plastic box as an altar.
I remember it so vividly because that time in my life was the calm before the storm in terms of my mentalism, a few months later I would start showing symptoms of depression which would escalate and turn my whole life upside down.
That first year was hard, lonely and life-changing for many different reasons. It made me realise that I couldn’t separate my religion from my life, nor should I. It was hard at the start to be open about my faith and to talk to my family and friends about it, slowly it became something that I was more relaxed about.
In the last few years it’s turned into the thing that I’m proudest of, I really feel like I’ve grown into a mature, intelligent Pagan. I feel like I’m part of this community and I feel comfortable in my (Pagan) skin.
It was really hard starting out as a Pagan when I was in my teens, being under eighteen was a hindrance as it meant that I couldn’t do much in terms of joining groups- I desperately wanted to meet other Pagans but was just too young to chance it. It was very lonely in those first few years.
Unfortunately life and my mental illness started to get in the way of my religion and I was forced to put it on the back-burner for a while. The Gods helped me incredibly in terms of getting through my darkest moments. I can honestly say that my faith was the only thing that kept me alive.
To the best of my knowledge suicide isn’t looked down upon in Paganism, and I knew that the Gods wouldn’t punish or judge me if I chose to take my own life- however I knew in my heart of hearts that I wasn’t supposed to die. I felt, and I still feel that the Gods have something different planned out for me.
I started out as an Eclectic Wiccan, putting together rituals from any source I could get my hands on. I was always more interested in the Celtic Gods than any others. One of the first things I did was a meditation to find my Patron Deity, in this meditation I encountered an incredible woman- tall, white skinned and with a mass of flaming red hair. Taking into account her physical appearance and the objects that surrounded her it didn’t take me long to discover that she was the Goddess Brighid.
Brighid opened a door into the world of the Celtic Gods, I soon found connections with other Gods from that pantheon and realised that this was where I felt most at home. After a few years I slowly began to realise that I had very little interest in Magick and other things that made up Wicca and was in fact much more focussed and passionate about the Ancient Celts, their Gods and rituals.
My interest in the Ancient Celts started at the age of eight, we were taught about ‘Ancient Britain’ in history, the focus back then was very much on how the Romans invaded Britain, wiped out the barbaric Celts and spread civilisation. Even as a sheltered eight year old child I couldn’t help but feel incredibly sorry for the Celts… and eleven years later that moment still holds a special place in my memory.
As I started to realise my passion for the Ancient Celts I shifted from calling myself an Eclectic Wiccan to a Celtic Wiccan to a Celtic Pagan. I found that a few of my close friends made comments about my changing definitions, they thought that I was changing my religion- it was hard to explain that my beliefs were the same, I was just struggling to find a category that they fit into.
I’ve started researching Druidry, sometimes I might refer to myself as a ‘Druid’ but honestly I don’t think I’ve reached a level of experience to use that title, I’ll only use it for simplicities sake. Druidry is definitely where my interest lies, but the term ‘Celtic Pagan’ allows me a little more freedom to find myself and so that’s what I currently refer to myself as.
So that’s my journey along the crooked path so far, five years on and it feels to me like the early stages of being a Pagan are over, now is the time for my faith to mature and develop. Bring on the next five years!