Articles/Essays From Pagans
June 16th. 2013 ...
How To Stay Spiritual Amidst This Chaos?
Hearing The Music And Dancing The Dance
A Tale of the Wood
June 9th. 2013 ...
The Nature of Sacrifice
The Magick of Buildings
Start your own Pagan Church in Canada - A Detailed Guide
June 2nd. 2013 ...
Maiden, Mother, Who?! (A Discussion of the Triple Goddess)
Gods Who Live In My House
Why the 'Redneck Pagan'?
Among the Greenwod - An Interview with Raven Grimassi
May 26th. 2013 ...
So You Think You've Found a Teacher...
Learning To Live Your Own Life
Raising Personal Magickal Energy for Spellwork
Casting The Wiccan Circle
May 19th. 2013 ...
The Role of Identity in Magic
Talking Trash? It's a Dirty Subject but Waste Happens.
My Wiccan Journey
13 Keys: The Victory of Netzach
May 12th. 2013 ...
Pagan Studies I: How Should We Define Modern Paganism?
The Third Path
Nothing Special... Part Two
May 5th. 2013 ...
The Value of Multicultural Awareness
Put Your Back Into It (Our Lady of the Sacred Honey Badger)
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Red Lipped Bat Fish
April 28th. 2013 ...
Lessons from the Lessers: Iris
April 21st. 2013 ...
Taken By The Goddess: The Crescent Moon Tattoo
The Gods/Being Godbothered
To Be A Witch
The Archetypes are Gods: Re-godding the Archetypes
April 14th. 2013 ...
On The Inclusion of Children
'Wand Fun' With Grandson
Lessons from a Baby
Lessons of Freedom: On Divinity and Healing
April 7th. 2013 ...
Out of the Broom Closet... Sorta
A Journey Through the Witches Tarot
History and Science Behind Numerology
March 31st. 2013 ...
What is the Magickal Self?
Ethics and Numerology
March 24th. 2013 ...
Keystones of the Sacred Land
March 17th. 2013 ...
Why Some Pagans and Witches Still Hide
Witch Heritage 101: What Happens When Witch Haters Joke about anti-Witch Films
I'm Not a Broom. So What's with the Closet?
March 10th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Things I Did as a New Pagan: Part 3
Hunting for the Real Witch in Film
The Collective Shadow
Lies - The Opposite of Truth
March 3rd. 2013 ...
Grounding and Releasing Negative Energy
A Patchwork of Magick
February 24th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I Made as a New Pagan (Part Two)
February 17th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I made as a New Pagan... Part One
Gardening with Crystal Energies
A Call from the Ancestors
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Black Water Snakes
February 10th. 2013 ...
We Are the Weirdos, Mister: A Completely Uncool Story of Origin
February 3rd. 2013 ...
"I'll Grind Your Bones to Make my Bread": Pagans and Animal Husbandry
The Role of Contemporary Culture in Magic
A Pagan Response to Endangered Earth
The Great Mother's Gift, Heinlein, and the Nature of Squirrels
13 Keys: The Glory of Hod
January 27th. 2013 ...
Why We Do Need Wicca
The Cosmos In the Coffee Shop
On Travel Spirituality and Magick
January 20th. 2013 ...
Beloved Backs and How to Save Them
Building or Burning Bridges?
Plants, Magic and Intuition
Plagiarism - How It Harms Our Community
January 13th. 2013 ...
Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichés
The Magick and Power of Words
Aging Is Not Easy
The Riddle of Who We Are?
January 6th. 2013 ...
Wicca v Witchcraft
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Syncretism:The Spiritually Broadening Experience|
Posted: June 10th. 2000
Times Viewed: 5,070
I am a Witch. I've come to that conclusion after nearly 3 years of dedicated study and practice and the decision to continue the study and practice.. I've accepted Witchcraft as my religion and I am very happy with my decision. Imagine my surprise when my friend asked me if I would accompany her to an interfaith Thanksgiving service at a local Episcopal church.
Don't get me wrong--I have a deep respect for any and all types of religions, and this comes through much reflection of religious ideals when i realize that in the end, they are all very much the same. I had never been to church previously, however, outside of a few piano recitals which I found extremely tedious. It had always been my belief that God didn't need to be found in church and was something an individual found in his or her self. In fifth grade, I remember quite clearly our studies of dissenters. Anne Hutchinson became something of a heroine to me, even at that young age when I knew nothing really of religion. I also held a sneaky suspicion that the majority of church-goers were members of the socially elite who attended church to "get in with the good of society." It seems to me that going to church is socially acceptable. Aside from my "dissenter" reasons for not wishing to go to church on a regular basis myself, I had no desire to rub elbows with socialites. But I found myself on the footsteps of the church with my Lutheran friend and my Baptist sister. I was curious and I wanted the experience at least once in my life. My first impression of the church was something along the lines of awe. The place was huge and decorative and quite extraordinary. Very beautiful. Yet, I wondered why God would prefer large, expensive projects to the smaller, adequate, and much cheaper projects when each served the same purpose. Then I remembered that I decorate my altar with beads and colors because it makes me feel better about it, so I understood. Sort of.
We entered. I admit, I was uncomfortable. Had I been one of the dime-a-dozen Fluffbunny poser playgans, I would have expected to burst into flames as soon as I saw the front entrance, but I was simply uncomfortable. I still felt this wasn't a place for God(s) to listen and talk to me. I could do that anywhere. Upon entrance, an old man came up to me and hugged me as a welcoming gesture. I was impressed. We took a seat in a rear pew and waited. Services began with the ringing of bells in a Handbell Choir. I loved it--I love all music. Welcoming words were said and then the first responsive prayer.
It wasn't because the prayer didn't include a Goddess that I raised an eyebrow. It wasn't because the prayer was Jewish that I cringed. The part that bothered me was hearing "Blessed is the One who rewards those who fear God." Till my death, I will never understand why God should be feared. I've asked others, and I could never get a straight answer. I always held a conviction that God(dess) is a friend I could go to. They made God sound like a megalomaniacal psychopath bent on Supreme power. I stayed silent. Out of respect.
There came another prayer, the last lines reading, "We give You thanks for everything that has given us strength for earth and hope for heaven. Accept this sacrifice of praise for Your love's sake. Amen." I was delighted, as I recalled similar lines in a Sabbat ritual a short time ago, and I took it upon myself to replace the 'Amen' with an under-the-breath 'Blessed Be.' as it made me feel a little more at home.
Perhaps my favorite part of the service was a reflection of our ancestors first Thanksgiving, and a Native American poem was recited. All five elements--earth, air, fire, water, and spirit--were mentioned. I closed my eyes and listened, and tears came. This was music. Then eyebrows raised and shoulders cringed and I do believe my heart skipped a beat on occasion when the sermons were delivered. I understood what was being said, but there were particular things that left pebbles in my shoe. For example: "O Lord... under your leadership, we can fear anything." There goes that fear thing again. "It is you who has given us prophetic power to see everything, " yet prophecy is said to be limited to only a select few or pagans, and so often "heathenistic" to them. "Though they did not always practice the justice they sought, [the Pilgrims] found renewed purpose and the opportunity to outgrow old fears and superstitions." That's fine and dandy, but they surely didn't outgrow their fears and superstitions of Witches, even to this very day! "Judge the people with equity." Will I be alive to see the day... and why judge anyway? "Acknowledge that you are God." I liked this, but it seemed somewhat out of place considering what had previously been said in the sermon about placing yourself below God as he is all good and all powerful.
I didn't agree with all that was said, but whoever really agrees with everything? I believe that the most important thing was that these different faiths and all these people come together with a single purpose--to believe. Believe in what? Whatever their faith decreed. Including myself... the Lady was not forgotten in MY prayers. I looked around the room and saw what faith does to people, regardless of what kind of faith it is. It brings them together. THAT was the purpose. The Quaker sermon said it well: "Here we have a prospect of one common interest from which our own is inseperable, that, to turn all the treasures we possess into the channel of Universal Love." Moving, isn't it? I thought so.
At this Interfaith, though I never spoke up and dared to be silent, I felt proud to represent my faith. My sister was the only one who knew of my practice of Witchcraft--the others just knew I was there to celebrate God with them and that was enough. Religion brought us together. I see not why the world lets it pick us apart.
During the ceremony, I ran my fingers across my two rings. One is a pentacle ring, the other is a row of crosses (given to me as a sincere gift by my boyfriend who believes much like I do although he doesn't define himself as a Witch). They are both on two different fingers, but yet, each finger is on one hand. Food for thought.
Now, I leave you with what I was left with at the service which I will always remember for what I enjoyed and what I loathed. "Shalom, my friends. 'Til we meet again, Shalom."
Location: , USA
Bio: Lynn Carstein is an 18 year old Eclectic Solitary Witch who has been studying for approximately 3 years. She advocates religious rights and supports free thought and she seems to live by one of her favorite sayings..."I may not believe a word you say, but I will defend your right to say it." She also has a webpage that she works steadfastly upon, located at http://www.angelfire.com/ga2/paganpractice
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