Originally this was a Facebook post I made many months before starting this blog, but I feel like its a good starting point to knowing me and the path Im on…..
A lot of people who have known me the longest would probably tell you that I’ve never really been much for religion. I’ve always been the practical sort and really never wasted much time with things that were not solid, scientifically provable concepts. Yet ironically I have always been very spiritually aware, even powerful in some ways. I was not just entranced by the beauty of the mountains, forests and oceans… I could /feel/ the divine power in them. I could see in my minds eye, images of another world. I could hear the voices beyond the veil. While as a child these things were clear to me, as I grew up, thanks to a heavy dose of good ol’ modern skepticism and imagination-stomping I began to question if these things were real at all or if I was just a kid with an active imagination.
Eventually I would get dragged to church and indoctrinated into the Christian faith. It resonated with me… for a moment. I felt a glimmer of that old feeling coming back, but as soon as my heart began to open up again the man at the podium slammed it shut, locked it and threw away the key. I was shamed, insulted and ridiculed just for DARING to suggest a flaw in their logic, or perhaps that some of their rules were a bit old fashioned for the modern world. I never wanted to hurt or insult anyone, I just wanted the freedom to explore that feeling of divine power in a way that worked for me and follow the path I felt was best for me. They took my young, impressionable and sensitive heart and stomped all over it. I was crushed, my heart broken and my trust in anything spiritual was shattered.
Though I afterwards pretended to be agnostic with a slight leaning towards Christianity I was in fact completely (and bitterly) Atheist in my heart. I just did not proclaim so for fear of ridicule and the terrifying prospect of hellfire for being wrong. Ah but the other world wasn’t done with me yet… try as I might to reject the notion of gods spirits and magical beings of any kind, I could still feel their presence.
Unfortunately for me, unlike the good spirits of the earth and seas, the dark and frightening entities of this world do not wait for you to accept them to make themselves known. More times than I care to think about there were times where a spirit would wake me from my sleep. I could hear a voice, feel hands on my body, see a shadow dancing at the edge of my vision if I dared to look. At times I felt such a strong sensation of being watched that I was petrified to move even. There was even a time where I heard knocks on the door so loud that they woke me up, and they continued until I was so annoyed I physically had to open the door. Imagine my shock when I opened it to find no one was even home at the time. That incident was a turning point for me, that was the moment that scared me so bad I couldn’t possibly ignore that there were elements of the world that were beyond what science could understand.
Eventually I came to realize that all of the incidents had been the same spirit all along. What it was and why it tormented me so, I still do not know to this day… All I know is that it started after the death of one magical animal. Before Christianity crushed my faith in the spiritual realm, I had a cat, simply named Milk. A reference to his “milk mustache” of white fur below his nose he had as a kitten, and a clever acronym for “ My Innocent Little Kitty” but we usually just called him Milky. Silly as his name may have been I truly loved him, just about as deeply as a person can love. He was more than just a cat. He was remarkably tolerant to my infant sisters accidental abuse and seemed to have a supernatural ability to understand my feelings and respond to them. I could communicate with him with a single look, or a a thought and somehow he would always understand and respond accordingly. He was my only friend for some of the loneliest and saddest years of my childhood. and then one day… he died. Slaughtered by somebodys pit bull that they refused to stop from escaping the yard all the time. It took me years to forgive the breed, and to forgive my mother who INSISTED on letting him stay outside all the time. After that happened I fell into a deep depression. I cried myself to sleep almost every night. After all…I had lost my only friend in the whole world. I felt his presence occasionally late at night when the world and my mind were quiet, and that gave me some comfort. The church however didn’t offer me a damn thing. In fact their dismissal of the divinity of animals is part of what caused me to hate them so deeply. Eventually though I would begin to grow up and move on. That’s when the hauntings started however…
After the door incident, I knew I couldn’t ignore the spiritual world any longer, and I knew at this point I had to seek help. I would eventually begin to study buddhism, a path of tolerance, wisdom and divinity without the harshness and guilt. Though I am Asatru today I will ALWAYS have the deepest respect for my buddhist teachers. It was from my masters there that I learned how to clear my mind, cultivate my spiritual power and open my mind to the divine. Without them I would not have learned all that I have today, and I thank them for this from the bottom of my heart. I still am not perfect, but it made me a FAR more emotionally durable and courageous person than the weak minded coward I had been before. Once I had acquired some degree of spiritual fortitude I began to do battle with this demon which harassed me so. Some of the most terrifying incidents to date occurred at this time but I didn’t give in to the fear and managed to keep it at bay.
Fast forward a couple years to the last semester I took in college and I had grown quite powerful spiritually. Though after a few quiet years I had become lazy and secular thoughts pervaded my mind. Until I heard the voice of a goddess…
That Goddess was Kaiona of the Hawaiian pantheon, who’s name I first heard in a song. The song I heard resonated so powerfully I began to have dreams, and visions of this goddess, who in hawaiian spirituality is the goddess of lost souls. She who guides the frightened and alone from uncertainty and doubt. She who guides the dead to their rightful place, and the kindest of all the gods of Polynesia. Though I was spiritual I had long dismissed the idea of deities as fictional beings, until one run in with a goddess on a faraway island changed everything.
I had always struggled with mathematics throughout my life, and by struggled I mean it destroyed me. I could NOT do algebra to save my life. I had nearly completed my AA degree but I had to take two levels of college algebra for a math credit, which I also needed to take the science credit classes I needed. However I placed so low on my placement exams in math I had to take TWO levels of remedial math before I could even qualify to take those classes. Four levels of math ahead of me and my first semester of trying I couldn’t even pass the first one. Second attempt I passed the first level but the second?…I was certainly doomed. I worked myself to the bone studying, nearly failing all my other classes just to get past remedial algebra! And still it wasn’t enough…. Here I was at the final exam, in a position where if I got ONE POINT below a C, I would fail…. again…. I got through a little more than half the exam alright, but as I calculated how many I needed to get right I knew I was doomed. I would need at least five more right answers to pass at all. So in absolute desperation I did something crazy… I prayed.
I prayed in desperation to a goddess of a faraway place I had never been to, and swore my undying loyalty to her should she guide my hand and give me the guidance and success I had so desperately needed. On the last five questions I had NO IDEA what I was doing, not a flicker of an idea of what they were talking about. I bubbled in five random answers, threw my hands up in defeat and walked the hell out! A few days later, our final day of class came, and to my complete and utter shock I found out I had passed, by exactly ONE point! Why? because every one of those last five random guesses had been correct! I was shaken, startled and in complete awe. As I walked home that day I tried to rationalize what had just happened “5/5 isn’t impossible odds!” I said, “I worked hard this semester, I deserve credit for the victory, even if it was by a wild ass guess, right?” And then, like a divine slap in the face, what did my disillusioned eyes see?… None other than the red ‘Ohia blossom… the flower most sacred to Kaiona. I didn’t realize thats what those shrubs outside our apartments were, and I CERTAINLY hadnt seen them bloom until that afternoon!
That incident changed me forever, and started me on the adventure of a lifetime. It was then I resolved to move all the way into the middle of the mighty pacific ocean to a tiny island seeking the answers I had always known were out there. I had heard the call of the gods, and it was time to meet them. Kaiona guided me here, but it was Pele, the most known, feared and respected of all the Gods of Hawai’i who would become like a mother to me. I have always connected with the elements of water and ice, so why a goddess of fire would take me in as her own, I may never know, but that does not matter. Kanaloa, god of the sea, showed me the true power, terror and beauty of nature, Lono and Kane the gods of agriculture and of the bounty of nature fed me in desperate times when I was hungry. But Pele… she spoke with me in her own voice, appeared before me in the flesh, gave me the success and enlightenment I had desired and nurtured my soul until I was ready to discover my true power. She has watched over and guided me since I came to this island. With Pele at my side, I felt invincible, everything I tried went perfectly, I couldn’t be stopped! Until an old enemy of mine reappeared…
I again began to have nightmares. I fell into a deep depression yet again. I could feel my sanity slipping away from me as I felt an unwelcome presence in my life, whispering in my ear and tugging at my bedsheets. I ritually purified my home, and that drove the entity away, for a while, but then it continued. I thought perhaps Pele had abandoned me, but it turns out she was letting me suffer only briefly so something truly magical could take place. I again consulted a local shinto priest, as I had come to trust in old-world pagan religions. As we spoke of my life and spiritual history, he confessed to me that he felt there were in fact two spirits following me. One who was hellbent on sucking me dry of every ounce of happiness and peace, and one who had a very deep love and loyalty to me but was upset with me for forgetting about him. It then hit me like a freight train… Milky. As I relayed my experiences with that wonderful animal to the priest he seemed to grow excited as he told me something that deep in my heart I had always known…That cat was no ordinary animal.
His spirit was very powerful in fact, enough so in fact to be considered kami, a divine being. Like in many cultures, Japan is no stranger to spirit guides or guardians in the guise of animals, and that’s just what he was. Upon death he had taken on a new form, and new power and was desperate to connect with me again. He instructed me to build a kamidana, which translates roughly to “god/spirit shelf” or in laymans terms, a shrine to my beloved companion. So long as his memory never died, nor would he. As soon as I erected for him, a new home and invited him to come back into my life, this terrible entity and the anxiety and depression that came with it have not dared return. I had reconnected with the divine world, met with the gods and even reunited with an old friend from beyond the grave who had shed his mortal chains and had come to my side as my familiar.
As all these strange, wonderful and mysterious things began to happen all around me I began to realize there must be a reason for all of this! As linguistics has long been an interest in mine I had taken a passing interest in the runes and I would later start to become curious about their “magical” properties and the viking age culture behind it. I kept searching for images of them and for some strange reason I felt a powerful pull towards them so I ordered myself a set. I began to study them, play with them and think about them daily. I even began to meditate on them and during one particularly deep meditation session there appeared a man in my minds eye. Emerging from the fog He looked stern, but kind, with a long beard and missing an eye. “About time you came home, boy…” was all he said before I was suddenly startled out of my meditative trance. I had just had a vision of Odin, the allfather and primary god of the pre-christian Germanic peoples. After this I would have continued dreams and visions of my ancestors and a very home-y, welcoming feeling pervaded my soul.
In the gods of my own ancestors I had finally come home to the spirituality that was where my heart belonged. The Norse pagan faith however, is currently being hijacked by white supremacists using it as justification for their ignorance and hatred. This was finally a fight I had some stock in. Finally a purpose to fight for! Though the gods of Hawai’i loved and accepted me, the people on the other hand, did not want my help. My own Asatru brethren and ancestors however, beg me to fight alongside them in this battle against prejudice and hatred.
In discovering my spiritual place in the world however I also discovered that my spiritual abilities, my connection to nature, the spirits and the divine was not just to get me to join the right religion and call it done. I realized quickly that not only was magick and witchcraft a real thing, but I was strikingly talented with it… It started with simple bindrunes and spells to make myself more comfortable but later, I cast a few curses on some well deserving targets and got exactly what I needed from them within 2 days time. Now startlingly aware of my real power I am slowly becoming more aware of the magical things going on all around me. I have never felt more empowered, at peace or sure of myself than I now am.
I still have no idea what I want to do as a career but there has come a point now where that doesn’t even matter. It’s as if the real world is here in my heart, and out in nature, in my life with spiritualism and magick, and out there in the city, among the national borders and politics is the fake world. The world defined by narrow-minded people who do not understand the world as it truly is… the Muggle world, as J.K Rowling would put it. A place in which I have very little interest any more. The problems that worry and distress people so much nowadays do not bother me much anymore. Why? simple, because I am no longer a part of that world. My physical body resides in it, but my mind, my spirit, does not. It’s nigh irrelevant to the most important and powerful aspect of myself. A wizard has no need to muddle around in such affairs. My time and energy are better spent on things that I actually have some power over.
So here I am, unsure of where I’m going yet again… but its different this time. Because this time I know who I am, I know what I’m capable of and I have friends in high places who will guide me on my way. The pagan path has offered me all this… and what did Christianity ever give me… fear? doubt? guilt? to name a few things. blatant insults to my humanity and verbal abuse disguised as concern in an attempt to manipulate me into obedience to name a few others. Never again will I trust the Christian faith.
My gods do not demand my worship, they ask for my loyalty and service in fair exchange for their own. They walk beside, and fight with me me rather than watch from afar as I suffer to no avail. They empower me when I ask, not just so they can get off on my prayers, and most importantly they punish people for being morally corrupt, not for choosing the wrong religion. My gods are not so insecure and selfish that they have the obsessive need to be worshiped for nothing in return. That is why I have come to the Pagan path.
I now walk the path of my ancestors. I live in a world beyond what most can see. Among the faerie folk, ghosts and nature spirits. It is the path of the old gods and of believing in that which we all want to believe but are too afraid to. Those who most people fear and tell themselves don’t exist are my greatest allies now. The uncontrollable and terrifying forces of nature are my source of power. It was not until I jumped into the darkness that I began to truly see. That, is why I am pagan now, and there is no going back. Now if you’re more comfortable to sit in church and worship your one-size-fits-all instant microwaveable god who wants you to obey rather than understand that’s fine. But do not ask me why I am pagan when you have never even asked yourself why you aren’t. Remember the old adage, fortune favors the brave, so are you brave enough to walk a different path?….