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Thread: My spiritual background... a path to the Eclectic (long read)

  1. #1
    Member Eryx_UK's Avatar
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    My spiritual background... a path to the Eclectic (long read)

    I've only ever discussed my approach, induction, whatever you want to call it, to paganism with a friend who was a bit shamanistic. She was a great help in helping me get my feet on the path about twelve years ago. Whenever I hit a rut, like my life has been over the last few years, I tend to think back on all this to see if I can see something "helpful". The following is a little bit of an outpouring I guess.


    I don't come from a religious family. My grandmother was very Christian. When my grandparents came to live us in their 70's due to ill health and age, she would watch every church hymns program on TV each Sunday and sing along. Always said her prayers. My parents weren't like that at all. Mum sometimes said she was Eiscopal but I don't think she ever really believed in anything spiritual. My first real introduction to faith was when I was very ickle in the 1970's and started infants school. Morning prayers in assembly was the first time I had encountered religion. I remember thinking something along the lines of "okay, so this is something" and I used to go to bed and pray for God to look after my family and all the animals. Didn't take me long, even at that age to come to the realisation that I didn't believe a word of it. It wasn't for me. I went through the motions in assembly but I was not Christian and I was never going to be. Thankfully once I hit my teens and what we call here in the UK, secondary school (high school in America I guess), you didn't do the religion thing. We didn't do the prayers in assembly (when we had one, which wasn't often).

    I remember in my teens being a bit of a downer on religion. Christianity mainly because that was all I ever had contact with and it dominated a lot of British life at the time. Hymn services and religious programming dominated Sunday television, and I really used to get on my nerves. I felt that it was pushed on us. By the time I left school at the end of the 80's that wasn't really the case anymore and televised services was more a Sunday morning thing. By the time I left school it didn't bother so much and I was less aggravated by it. On Sunday's I was out with friends and we were doing other things. But I remember being irritated that it was so ever present at the time.

    The internet didn't really hit the UK until the mid 90's and at one point I did find myself pondering and looking for something. I found Wicca but dismissed it at the time because it felt too female-centric and not what I was looking for. Something did resonate though but I had nothing to really connect with. By the time I hit my early thirties I had sort of settled into the idea that the "old gods" existed. By "old gods" I mean the gods of the Celts, Egyptians, Greeks, Japanese... etc. You get the idea. But in asking myself questions I came to the conclusion at the time time that here and now in the 21st century perhaps they were almost unknowable in the sense that we as human beings had given them names and spheres of influence. I did start talking to them at times. Thinking them unknowable I condensed them into five aspects - the Maiden (the feminine), the Youth (the masculine), the Beast (nature), the Crone (the darker side of things) and Death (a positive caring aspect). This felt comfortable at the time and it was only when I met my friend K that things changed. Sometimes I do wonder whether I was meant to meet her but I know how silly that can sound.

    K was a pagan, although she rarely if ever used that term, on a shamanistic path. Something she said after a few years was not what I was meant to walk. Always found that interesting. We talked online and in person for months really. She said that my Aspects was a good place to start on my path and that I should take it further. Learn from that, read and continue the journey. At the time I was having some internal issues. the main one being how can someone have faith in something that never proves it actually exists? People would say "look out of the window and you'll see prove of God's creation" but I saw science, evolution and natural selection. K's advice and patient manner began to show me that science and the spiritual are not different. They are just two sides of the same coin. This was the first flash of a lightbulb above my head.

    The first book that K had me read was Psychic Self-Defence by Dion Fontaine. I think I still have it somewhere. It was the first book on such things that K had read in her teens and suggested as a jumping off point. It was an odd read but I finished it within a few days. I then went out and bought several books by Cunningham and If You Want To Be A Witch by Edain McCoy. Cunningham was good and opened my eyes but it was the latter book which I returned to time and time again. It is probably the book I will pick up again shortly as I try to find my path once more. I continued read various books but I found the traditional Wicca or Pagan path didn't always gel in my mind. The goddess and the god replaced the aspects that I had previously spoke about. Instead I saw these two divinities being a combination of all those aspects. I found the Wiccan Rede didn't sit with me other than a guide to be a good person. Good and bad doesn't come to you because of what you do (usually). Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. Another book, Out of the Shadows by John Coughlin, I was drawn to the idea of the grey path. Light and dark are extremes and walking the middle, the grey, was a better way. This resonated with me as well. I tried to read as much as I could without confusing myself too much.

    Towards the end of the 2000's I was talking to a Jewish friend of mine. Not about spirituality really but a general chat. He said to me that he had had doubts and musings about whether his believes were right until he had an epiphany that made him realise he was on the right path. I asked him what it was but he wouldn't say, only to tell me that it wouldn't make any sense to me as it was not my epiphany. I would later have one of my own that confirmed to me that being pagan was the right path, and I know what he meant now. No one else would understand or probably accept what I had experienced. About this time K said to me that there was little more I could learn from her. She was a Shaman and I was something else but she felt that someone was walking with me. I just had to find out who that was.

    I have worked magic. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't and once it backfired slightly. I don't think I was quite ready or in the right frame of mind. K once said to me that you'll know when you are a witch. You won't say it, you'll just know it. I'm not there and I don't think I was close. I never felt though that I wanted to just work magic for the sake of it. If I was going to it needed to be for the right reason.

    Everything went pear shaped several years ago. My dad developed bladder cancer and the stress of it exacerbated his diabetes and ultimately robbed him of his eyesight. Mum suffered a serious of minor strokes which left her with vascular dementia. She was still herself but sometimes she would tell me about the Roman centurions building a car on the roof of the house across the road earlier in the day, or ask me to remind her who we were at war with in Europe at the moment. I became their carer. I didn't lose my faith but my spiritual progress was pushed into a box in the corner as it were as I focussed on them. Eventually they were forced into a care home and I was spending my time on the job market. Mum passed away four and a half years ago in her sleep, just two days before I started my new job. Dad passed away two years ago from a mixture of sepsis and pneumonia.

    I have a girlfriend but she doesn't really understand spirituality. She believes in another life after this where you meet all your family again but she doesn't talk about it, and I know she wouldn't grasp Paganism - although she has asked once or twice. If it wasn't for her, I don't know how I would have coped with my parents passing. She has been my rock during those times.

    These last several years I kept that spiritual path placed safely away in the corner of my mind. I've been too busy with looking after my parents, real world issues like job hunting and paying the bills, making sure I can play my hobbies, and recently dealing with the pandemic. I left my path and now I am feeling that I want to return to it. I don't know where to start though. The beginning is always a good place and that is where I think I have to go back to. Pick up those old books off the shelves and read. Walk in the green for a bit. Right now, it all feels a bit wayward if that makes sense. It is one reason why I came back to these forums. I remember the good advice and welcoming community here. Hopefully it can be another springboard to where I am going.


    I appreciate that the above is a mess of words and rambling but on this night, Samhain, I felt it was a good time to put down where I have been and look to see where I want to go even though I feel a bit lost. Thank you for reading it if you managed to muddle through it.

  2. #2
    Sr. Member Eleanor's Avatar
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    Re: My spiritual background... a path to the Eclectic (long read)

    Not a mess of words at all. Part of your story actually resonates with me and what's been going on in my life. I came back to my pagan path just a few months ago. This forum has helped me rediscover it as well as my old books. I bought a few new ones and I set up a tiny altar.

    I was in a relationship with someone who doesn't understand and maybe also not completely accepts concepts like religion or spirituality. We broke up in May, but I still have to live with him, because the Dutch housing market is terrible at the moment (house prices are ridiculously high) and it's almost impossible for me to find a suitable place of my own. I've been practicing more since the broke up and I've been feeling more like myself because of that. I've also realized something that became very clear to me last night.

    Last night was a very beautiful Samhain night. The full moon was very bright! So I cleansed my crystals and placed them in the garden to be recharged over-night. I came back in the house and my ex gave me a mocking glance saying "you know that doesn't do anything, right...." It hit me then why we never worked out and why I haven't been very happy the last few years. I have always wanted to be accepted by others and paganism is not really something that is understood, even if you attempt to explain it to non-pagans, let alone be accepted. I gave it up to be with him. Back then it felt like the right thing to do as being pagan could be a stressful situation, because I felt like I had to hide it in the shadows all the time.

    It was a stupid thing to do and I will never do it again. It is just part of who I am and throwing that out just to try and fit in other people's boxes is like killing a piece of yourself. Last night I decided to never stray from my own path again. To always be authentic to me, even if that means some people won't accept me for who I am. Coming back to that feels great.

    I don't know why I'm telling you this. Thought it was nice to share a little of my thoughts as well. Keep walking your path, but most of all stay true to yourself! You won't feel lost again
    Last edited by Eleanor; 01 Nov 2020 at 02:14.

  3. #3
    Member Eryx_UK's Avatar
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    Re: My spiritual background... a path to the Eclectic (long read)

    Thank you for sharing @eleanor. You have to be who you are and believe in what you do. I'm grateful that my friends who know of my spiritual path are understanding of it even they don't understand themselves.

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