By way of introduction I thought it would be useful to recount my personal history in connection with paganism and wicca. We all have one. The past makes us who we are now. It is with the benefit of hindsight that we truly see the value in our past experiences and how they have shaped who we are in the present…..
I actually discovered paganism and wicca when I was in high school. Prior to that I had always had a keen interest in the occult and the mysterious. I remember as kid being much more interested in the witches and wizards in the stories I was told and read, rather than the heroes that were the main protagonists. I was also really really fascinated by mythology from the ancient cultures. I loved the stories of the ancient Greek Heroes, and the Gods that featured so prominently in those tales. I wondered whether people could still worship and honour them, but I would always think that to be silly. It didn’t stop me seeing the world full with these gods, Apollo/Helios in the sun, or Zeus in thunder storms. Having said that I did come from a Hispanic, Catholic family. Despite not being in any way connected to the catholic faith we were quite superstitious, which seems kind of oxymoronic that as I child I would feel silly thinking that I could possibly go out and worship the ancient gods, yet not think twice about the little random things that we did at home, to keep ‘bad spirits’ away, to bless the house, or to remember the dead….
My interest in Isis in particular was piqued by my mum once telling me a story about a film she had watched. It was one of those old sword and sandal movies (we still love those in my family). She told me of a scene where the women, the priestesses of Isis in Rome were washing the goddess statue with the utmost devotion. To this day I don’t know which movie it was but it sparked an interest in Isis that has been with me ever since. The fact that it was a movie didn’t really phase me because I knew at a certain level that it was based on something really that at some point in time had happened – I was very very interested in history as well so knew that there had to be some kernel of truth in there somewhere…..
Imagine my surprise when I realised that people could still worship the ancient gods! I discovered that these people called themselves pagans, and that some were also witches and that they had their own festival and religious days! They held their rituals by candle and moonlight calling on the goddess and god I At the age of 12 or 13 I felt like I had found something that I could belong too. All this I discovered in a book which I found at the local new age bookstore. If Teresa Moorey is out there – I have to thank her for opening me up to paganism….
From then on I started call myself a pagan and witch. Being a young (stupid) teenager, I can’t deny the mistakes that I made with labelling myself that. For one I got severely harassed at school. I had a lot that wasn’t going for me at high school – fat gay pagan witch kid – didn’t really make me heaps of friends. Naturally I used the newly found knowledge to get back at people I didn’t like. Casting maleficent spells on individuals. For a while the bullying stopped, but then, like with everything I felt the repercussions of my actions.
It was when I transferred to my second high school in my more senior years that my practice and knowledge of the craft settle and matured a little more. I also found other pagans at school which made it easier. I also at this time felt the connection with Isis much more, and began to develop a practice centred around her worship. She was the goddess I honoured when we held our rituals on days we had off from school or after class in the afternoons. Our school was close to a natural reserve so we had a sacred space to worship in.
My connection with Isis grew very strong throughout my final year in high school and even into my first years of University. I decided to study archaeology and ancient history at university to further my understanding of the cultures I loved so much since I was a young kid.
By this point as well I met a older witch who owned a pagan store. She was the high priestess of a group which she asked me to join. I was thrilled. Having spent the past few years developing my own path, I know could learn from an elder and partake in tradition that was greater than me – or so I thought. I commenced the process of initiation. Searching out totems, and discovering personal talismans while mediating and contemplating Isis.
One random night I had a very vivid dream where Isis came to me and told me in no uncertain terms that I was not ready. What for I didn’t know, but from that moment on, the connection I felt with the lady was gone. The way I perceived the world also changed after that, with the connection the earth tides I had also dissipated. My life went through a tumultuous time. I moved. Had a falling out with my father and his partner. I lost contact with the high priestess. I found myself homeless. All I did to ensure I could continue was focus on my studies. But my spiritual develop halted.
And it remained like that throughout my undergraduate degree. I sort of went through life godless, which is pretty easy in a city like Sydney. I got caught up with other things, like going to dance parties and living a ‘gay lifestyle’ – again a pretty easy thing to do in a place like the inner city suburbs of Sydney.
Halfway through this year, halfway through my final year at law school – I had another vivid dream. This time I dreamed that Isis returned (literally she returned in the dream) into my life with open arms, telling me that I was now ready to resume my path. The following day, I rediscovered books I had thought lost in the several moves I had had in the time since I had a falling out with my father and where I finally settled. It so happens that I have been lugging around this particular box of books with me for the past 10 years without actually knowing what was in it! I also re-discovered a box of particular jewellery I used to wear in rituals that I also thought had been lost. Bit by bit the connection that I had felt before started coming back. Isis’ presence was coming back strong. But this time she wasn’t alone. Dionysos had come too!
Throughout my undergrad degree I was all about Dionysos. I studied him, wrote essay about him and researched him just out of personal interest. Being the time that I wandered around godless it never occurred to me that he would at some point feature so prominently in my spiritual life. Yet now I find myself praying to him and offering incense to his honour. Truth be told, I am still trying to get to know the god. I feel more connected to Isis, but that stems from the previous years that I had devoted to her. Dionysos is a little more mysterious. His energy is a little more mischievous…..
So now I find myself on this path. I am rediscovering the pagan world. I had to regather my magickal tools which has been an adventure in itself. I am still personally trying to settle the fact that I work in a very rational narrow field that is the law with my spiritual path. But as day cannot exist without night, surely it is the same with the rational aspects of life with those that defy explanation