My coven is currently reading The Body Sacred by Dianne Sylvan and even though we’re barely into the second chapter, I can tell that it’s going to be just as good as her The Circle Within book that I’ve already reviewed here.
In an exercise called ‘Reverie’, Dianne instructs the reader to “think back to a time before you knew there was a Goddess. How has your life changed since then? What has that knowledge given you?”
I’ve talked of my history in the Craft before and how my path has always felt like a natural progression to where I am now. It was always very fluid feeling. I liked the idea of this exercise right away because ever since I read it I’ve been going back and really thinking about what my discovery into Wicca was like. I also appreciate the opportunity to identify how my life has changed because of my growing relationship with the Goddess, God and Great Spirit.
Let me start off by saying I never felt lost on my spiritual journey. There was a time when I was definitely searching for what my next phase would be, but I never felt like I didn’t have any options. Since my family was always involved in a church community as I was growing up, I was pretty much always active in it. I participated in holiday pageants when I was in elementary school. I became an acolyte after I was confirmed and took turns reading scripture during services. I even taught church school, regardless of the fact that I’m pretty sure I had no idea what I was doing at the time.
During my life as a Christian I felt that my connection with the Christian God was a positive one. I felt his presence in my life, along with that of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. I felt moved by the act of worship. I remember watching the ritual of Eucharist, the mystical turning of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, with awe. My spiritual life was a good one and I think that helped to make other parts, like growing up in poverty, more tolerable.
When I went off to college my experiences and friendships grew and diversified. I went to a school that was more than three hours away from home and I didn’t visit often. I was on my own, both physically and financially, making all the decisions for my daily needs. The first couple of years there I feel that I had a typical college experience where I challenged everything I’d learned while growing up. I was among the first in my family to go to college, so of course I knew more about how the real world worked, right? As it turned out I didn’t, but I limped along and managed.
Among the things I challenged was church, so I didn’t go to one. I still believed in God, but church just wasn’t a priority for me. When I became friends with members of the Native American community and started learning more of the history of the native people in this country I was basically livid to be a white person! How could God let this happen to such a noble people? There was no way I wanted to be identified with a God that condoned the destruction of so many people and their way of life.
The Great Spirit of the Ojibway people spoke to me and I felt a kinship there. Everything about the history of native culture made sense to me. Their connection to the animals and the respect given to them. How war was carried out. How the elderly were treated. These were all approached and carried out with a respect that I found so honorable. This is where my path turned to Paganism.
When I eventually came to know the Goddess it was like coming home. The things I have learned about myself and the world since that introduction has changed me to my very core. How I look everything around me has changed. I know that I can have a relationship with any plant or animal spirit, all I have to do is take the time to cultivate it. I know that I have the ability to contact ancestors to ask them for help and guidance in my life. Most of all I know that I can make change in my life by using my Will to make it so. These lessons are priceless to me and they are ones that I want to pass on to the next generation.
What more can I ask for, right?
I would love to know what kind of a response this exercise provokes in you. Leave a comment with your experiences or a link to where you’ve answered Dianne Sylvan’s questions. Thanks for walking a while with me!
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