Often people have left Christian upbringing and come to Paganism as a way to get away from opressive Mother Church. I left the church I grew up in because I had had enough of the hypocracy of church leaders and the politics. I had tried to keep in mind that my behavior should honor God in his house. I was very devout and dedicated to my religion and devotion to God. From there, I decided to learn as much as I could about early Christianity and what Jesus was actually trying to teach. I read about Gnosticism, Esceticism, and Judaism. I even got my first taste of Kabbalah. I really liked the ideas of the overlooked Female figures is the texts other than the Torah; the Shekinah, Lilith, and Sophia. I decided that my practice would have to be of my own making as the Christian church didn't resemble at all the early teachings. I read the Gospel of Thomas.
I took a step further when I discovered sex and decided that God created something that was a beautiful gift to humanity. I could no longer focus soley on a transcendent reality when earthly existance could be harmonious and beautiful. I was angry at how I was raised as a subverted female and broke away from my foremother's history and became a raging feminist. The Goddess helped me become a healthy woman rather than a ashamed one. I started forming a sense of self with the support of the other women in circle together with me.
Some of what I had loved about the church was the ritual. Formalized robes, altars, incense, candles, song, prayer, and traditions repeated over the years. I also looked up to the crone who had taken me under her wing in service to the Goddess. A solitary path with me, the God, and the Goddess was fine for my since of peace, but much of the splendor of miracles and magick were found sharing with other people. I wanted formal training and I wanted to share with other women who needed the healing and transformation I had received.
Therefore, I sought out the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel which became my coven, friends, and spirtual family. I met them in 2001 and joined in 2002. I initiated in 2005 and consider my life's work to be within this organization. What makes coven work worth it is the smiles you see every time you meet, the heartfelt connection, and the support that we all progress together. The longer I am within the ASW, the more I can see the growth over the long term. This Wheel is the hub, the moving, spirally, yet steady point that I build my life around. The very organization is stable and strong, and I know that it will always be there for me. The people, the magick, the work give me strength for everything else that life throws at me. The harmony between people in accord lends faith when I am doubting and light when I am confused or in darkened places.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to celebrate Yule and participate in sweatlodge. By Sunday, I felt an overshadowing aura of love and care that continues to deepen through the years. I am so blessed to have such a caring community and such strong friendships.
Furthermore, I find myself a part of an evolving and growing community of similar friendships in NJ. I have hope and faith for the future. The coming year will be busy with lots of challenges but with as much laughter, tears, joys, and tribulations. I hope that I will learn, deepen friendships, and strengthen my family and communities.