I am not a good christian. Mostly because I am a pseudo-pagan/christian mystic. I don't even know why I am telling you this other than the fact that it gives you a better perspective on where I am. Really, though, I should rewind ten years and tell you about college. That makes all the rest of this seem to make so much more sense....
1996: I graduated from high school in a small, mostly Catholic community. I, myself, joined the Catholic church on Easter Sunday, 1995. I was involved in a very wholesome youth ministry. I had a lot of good, build-you-up, loving and unconditional friendships. When I left for college, I was so sad to leave them all, but sure that I would find more of the same when I went away to school. After a few weeks turned into a few months, I began to get a little worried. My roommate and I were getting along wonderfully. She and I had more in common than you could imagine. We even had all the same classes!
I started going to the big catholic church down the road with one of the nuns from the college to sing in the choir. I was missing music so very much! I met a woman there who set me up with a friend who was starting a christian ministry for the other college in town, and she thought it would be nice for me to be with my peers. I called up this man, and we met for coffee. He was a very nice man. He had a wife and a child. I liked him immediately. He offered to be my ride so I could attend the meetings at the other school.
Over two years' time, I was indoctrinated into the leadership of this ministry. I was systematically cut off from the outside world. I was even moved into a house with members of the national leadership of this ministry. All the while, my old roommate and my friends outside were trying to cling to me. I finally realized that things were not as healthy as they seemed when I allowed myself to drink to oblivion and do the stupidest thing I could ever have done. Luckily for me, no one was physically hurt or diseased after this mess, but there are relationships that have been irreparable.
I left everything. I left the apartment and moved back in with my old roommate. I left the ministry. I still had a lot of healing to do, but I was now in a place where I could do it. I began going down to the catholic church closer to my campus, and I realized that I had learned all I could from this faith. And I left the church, too.
I know, I just lost most of you. It's not Christ's fault!! He didn't do it!
Well, I still feel in my heart that I have a relationship with god. I think that Jesus was a very important religious leader who may well have been the incarnate of god. But I have a hard time with the bible. The bible wants women to be inferior. The bible does not hold information for me that is capable of changing my life any longer. I had to move on.
1998: I got pregnant with my son and moved back home with my parents. I didn't tell them I was pregnant until I was seven months along. I went to church like I was supposed to a few times, but it was all so hollow and empty to me. Everyone seemed to be going through the motions because that was what they were supposed to do. Not because they wanted to do it! It was lonely.
2000: After we moved out of the parents house, finished college and got married, we made some new friends. I found what I was looking for. I found people who loved me for me and did not judge me by some impossible standards up to which I would never be able to live. Here, also, was music. My husband was in a band with some great people. We had parties, went to parties, and lived our lives according to our desires and our hearts.
Along the way, we made friends with a girl. No, not a girl. A woman. A woman of beautiful heart and soul and depth. She is a goddess. We'll call her Arachne.
Arachne is a pagan...more specifically a Wiccan. She is open-hearted and peaceful. She is fun and full of love. She is also beautiful, but we'll get to that.She is not flighty like a lot of those weirdo pagans you meet doing it for the clothes and stigma. I was taken by surprise by the amount of belief and spiritual truths we had in common. I had not had an encounter with anyone who felt they way I did about things until I met Arachne. We had many talks and many glasses of wine and games of cards and music and movies and laughter. Many things passed between us.
One night in November of 2001, I had a dream. Not a scary or happy dream. But a dream that changed my life forever. It was black. There was a fire. I was standing in front of it. A woman in a flowing white dress and cape with a crown upon her head seemed to form out of the smoke and stand in the flames before me. She spoke to me of many things...of why I was unhappy, why my life was unfolding the way it was. She smile and welcomed me home. I didn't know what any of this was about, but when I told Arachne of my dream, she said, "Welcome to the Faith, Sister."
I spent some time with her and her circle as she gave me the space to find the path that is right for me. She never pushed anything on me. She answered all of my questions, or at least told me where to look to find them. I owe her a great deal of gratitude for teaching me how to respect myself enough to take the time to research my decisions and learn to follow my heart by way of my head. (You have both a head and a heart so they will balance one another out. Following your heart all the time can get you into trouble, and following your head all the time causes you to miss out on some great opportunities.)
Over time, our paths took us in different directions, but she is coming back for a visit soon. I guess this is why she is on the forefront of my mind right now. We spent quite a bit if time apart as we evolved in our own lives, five years, but we are coming together again for a meeting of the minds and souls.
Arachne, Sister, I await your visit with joy in my heart and peace in my soul...