I was born and raised in something of a Bible-Belt area. Churches of one type or another dominated the countryside. The different world religions, as far as I could discern, were Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, and Catholic. We even had Mennonite and Amish in the general area. It was a veritable smorgasbord of Christian denominations and none of them ever satisfied me. I simply could not feel a connection to the Divine under their auspices. Spending my Sunday morning sitting in a pew, singing hymns to some executed carpenter from another time and place was not my idea of worship. Christ may have been an exceptional man in his day, but to me he was as dead as Julius Caesar.
Thus it was I ruled out Christianity as the vehicle that could deliver me to the Divine. From there it was a logical step to further exclude Judaism and Islam; they both pledged fealty to the same God as the Christians, a God whom I always considered too distant and aloof to worship. With the Middle East religions offering no inspiration, I studied the ancient wisdoms of the Far East. I found them much more invigorating and broad minded than Monotheism, but I still could not internalize their beliefs as my own. Buddhism tried teaching me that my own sense of uniqueness was an illusion, something I simply could not accept. Hinduism was colorful but not very focused, offering the believer far too many deities to choose as a patron. Taoism and Confucianism were on the whole fine philosophies, but they offered no insight on the Divine force that I still felt earnestly tapping me on the shoulder.
I was a year out of college and still left without a spiritual clue. It was then, however, that the Neopagan craze began penetrating into even my remote neck of the woods. I would walk into any bookstore and the New Age section was constantly expanding. I would surf the web for information on religion and eventually bump into a Wicca site. I decided to ascertain for myself just what all the fuss was about. At first it seemed kooky; people were trying to resurrect witchcraft and ancient nature worship? Surely this was the work of people with too much free time and too many acid trips.
The more I read, however, the more I became enthralled. I always loved noting the beauty of nature around me since my earliest years. The sun, moon and stars were ever-constant companions in my life in a way God had not been. What better deity could one have then Mother Earth herself, with nature and all the creatures that dwell within as her universal church? Here, finally, was a religion I could appreciate. Nature is something I need no external inspiration in revering; it comes naturally. Neopaganism, unlike most religions, embraces modern existence with all its recent discoveries in science, psychology, and social ethics. When I discovered this, I could safely say that I had found the worldview I had been seeking. I had come home.
Whatever happened to the man tapping me at my shoulder? That was the most startling discovery of all. I had been looking for some external force I thought had been hiding from me, which I would meet only after some arduous journey. Instead I have discovered the Divine is all around me, it is inside of me. It encompasses all of creation. It was always there right in front of me, trying to say hello. I was prepared to take the journey of a thousand miles to meet my maker; now I am learning to swim in an endless ocean of creation.
Does Neopaganism satiate all my cravings for understanding and happiness? Does it provide me with all the answers to the questions I have been asking for years? No, it does not. However, what Neopaganism does offer me is a light to guide my way as I continue to progress on my spiritual journey. It is one huge leap in the right direction. Neopaganism may not be the end of my quest for the Divine, but it is, at long last, a worthy beginning.
Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):Aubrey Bell - The Magic Of Spain
Tommie Eriksson - Tree Cults In Northern Magic
Franz Bardon - Frabato The Magician