When the musician and follow witch, Castalia, put together her second music CD, she included a chant called “We are the Wick.” As I think about my own journey into Paganism and witchcraft, I find it appropriate to relate the first part of that chant:
We are the wick
That feeds the flame,
The flame that is the love
Which brings us back again.
Castalia and I follow different traditions, and what I’m about to say doesn’t fit exactly with the message of her chant. However, I’m hoping that our bonds of affection would put her in a place where she would be okay with me using her powerful lyrics as a springboard into my discussion.
This chant is, in part, about being drawn back into the Craft. It’s about being drawn to that “flame” — the love of the brotherhood of the Craft — and (back) into the fold another time. That idea of an irresistable draw is very salient, as it is something that I have felt in my own life as I travel the roads from the faith of my parents into loving devotion and service to my patron goddess, Freyja.
Why did I become a Pagan? The shortest, simplest, and most true answer is that everything in my life has gently — and on occasion, not so gently — propelled me down the path which led me here. Many events, both big and small, almost seemed perfectly orchestrated to lead me in this direction that if I were inclined to believe in fate, I would declare that it was my fate to be a Pagan. (And maybe there’s some truth to that. But my mind is still undecided when it comes to the idea of fate.)
In many ways, coming out of the closet as a gay man back in 1996 was one such event, and a significant one at that. Unfortunately, in some people’s minds, it seems to be the only such event, which is unfortunate. In reality, however, it’s significance is due to the fact that my coming out served as a catalyst for the greater process. Coming out put me in a position where I began to take stock in what I believed in and why. It created a myriad of questions in my mind, and invited more questions to the party as time went by.
Another major event was my breakup with my first boyfriend and the loss of my best friend in a single weekend. This event was significant because it put me into an emotional tailspin which in the end, required me to take a hard look at how I perceived myself, the world around me, and Divinity. I realized that in order to survive, my perspective needed to undergo a radical change. That change came in the form of embracing a Pagan path.
During all this time, I also found myself questioning much about the theology I was taught growing up and while attending college. I began to question such concepts as sin, original sin, the total depravity of man, and even the need for salvation. I began to question everything. I found that many of the basic assumptions that were central to the faith of my childhood and youth no longer made sense to me.
This meant a process of examining those assumptions, considering why they no longer made sense, and coming to knew conclusions. When the dust settled (well, as much as it has to date), I found myself more in line with Pagan worldviews.
There was also the issue of psychic abilities, which played a major contributor. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been empathic (meaning that I could sense and even experience other people’s emotions). This would create problems for me at various times in my life. Often, I’d find myself overwhelmed by the strong emotions of people around me. When began to follow Pagan pathway, I found ways to prevent that. And I found ways I could use those abilities to help others.
There’s much more I could write about. I could write about being a child and “imagining” energies flowing all around me, only to discover in my mid-twenties that such a fantastic reality really does exist. I could write about how my passions for all things North European and especially Norse led to me to Freyja. I think I could write for days without exhausting the tales I could tell of my journey. However, I hope what I have written provides a small taste of that inexorable draw to the “flame” that I have felt and responded to.