The Road Later Traveled
Article ID: 12732
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,501
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Posted: July 20th. 2008
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In the stories I’ve read here, it appears that many people began Paganism in their early teens. Not me. I started at eighteen, and didn’t get serious until twenty-one. My story is hard for me to believe, after looking back these three years. How could I, a devout Sunday School attendee and Biblical genius since the age of seven, become a open and out Pagan? Well the story goes like this.
At a young age I was curious about everything, and for a while, church satisfied that curiosity. After I turned ten, however, everything changed. My curiosity ended and childhood kicked in. Even though I went every Sunday constantly, my Baptist beliefs were getting harder and harder to understand. At thirteen, Sundays became monotonous. Also I began questioning things like free will and choice. Also I began to develop an interest in plants and “experiments”, which complimented my growing interest in what I called “magic.” (I was shunned from doing this by my grandmother.) I found that it was natural to me, and began having dreams of being all-powerful and studying things like the moon and stars. It brought back my curiosity. I held on to my beliefs taught to me since childhood while in high school, but I began to read up on herbal remedies and astrology. I was called a “witch” at times, but I denied it, as back then, I associated the word with evil, at least that’s what my religious teachings told me. Besides, there was no such thing, right?
In my junior year in high school, my first small crush was a girl. This new discovery threw me. Now, I questioned not only my beliefs, but also myself. Was I good enough for the eternal paradise taught to me in my youth? Out of all the things I could be this was the worst. I tried to brush it off, but it kept coming up in my thoughts. I didn’t want to graduate confused and worried about my life. To squash my “wrongful feelings”, I went from humble Baptist to radical Fundamental over the course of my senior year. For a while, I was content with myself, with no thoughts of magic of girls. I became an amateur graphic designer while in school. My family stopped badgering me. I started college in the fall of 2005, studying Culinary Arts. I was doing well in my classes and in my personal life, which was until I discovered the college library.
While looking for pictures for my graphic design work, I stumbled onto the children’s page of a Pagan website. At first, I thought I seeing things. “Magic isn’t real, ” I thought. But as the next few nights passed, my forgotten curious nature started to kick in. I went back to the website and read up on this new belief and found that these people called themselves Witches. I didn’t laugh anymore. I found that they were a part of an umbrella term called Paganism. My childhood musings finally had meaning. I spent hours and hours doing extensive research that brought me all of the answers that I wanted. At first, I was fluffy at best, and outright arrogant at most. That’s probably why I got myself into trouble a lot at the church I was going to. I quickly learned my lesson and got serious. My dawn of realization about girls came when I danced with one at a youth conference. I looked the subject up and found out that most branches of Paganism didn’t care too much about orientation. I was relieved. Finally, a place I could belong. A new world had opened to me, one where I could find my own way and hopefully not be judged for it.
But the judgment came.
I was removed from the youth night groups at my church and finally I stopped going all together. My family began to question what I was doing, saying that I’ve changed and am more secretive. In a family of Baptists, however, I had to hide my “other self” in fear of swift judgment. I did my workings in secret and hid my books in my dresser. I had friends who supported me, and still do, so I never reached rock bottom, but I did suffer some depression.
I turned twenty and got my first girlfriend. Things were going right again. My Paganism became more serious. But a new issue came up. When I told my orientation teacher that I was a Pagan, she said, “I didn’t know that we were into that.” Of course “we” meaning black people. I was surprised at this remark. My family doesn’t believe me either. And for a while, I believed them. Then I did my own research and not only found the Egyptian pantheon, but also, when I went to a Pagan Picnic later that year, I found several black Pagans, which put those former statements out of my head.
Now at twenty-one, I’m an aspiring Kitchen Witch with a swaying towards Egyptian deities. I’m studying herbal uses in healing, forms of Divination like Tarot and rune work, and Astrology and Astronomy. My altar is still in the works, but it still makes me happy. I have yet to take part in any full rituals on my own yet, but recently I’ve felt a calling and I may do one soon. My psychic abilities have grown and while scary at first, I’ve grown used to it and accept them as one of my many gifts from the Divine. I'm still learning, and still researching.
Looking back on my life I still find it somewhat surprising what I’ve been through. But I did it. I’ve chosen my path and, if given the chance, would do it again. I hope that one day, my family and me can make amends, but for now, I’ll keep my beliefs quiet around them, just to keep peace.
I know that there are some people out there that didn’t find their Path until adulthood and are still struggling with it. Don’t worry. Just having chosen your path is a step, no matter how small it may seem. Ask for advice if you can. Find allies. If you have Internet, do research.
While I respect fellow Pagans who have come so far in such a short amount of time, I realize that not everyone gets to that point as fast, including myself. One day I’ll get it together, and so will others like me.
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Author's Profile: To learn more about RiJayden - Click HERE
Bio: I am a student in college, currently on break. I'm an amateur graphic designer and artist.
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