Susy: Thanks for inviting me to start. I guess I'd like to begin just knowing more about you and your "faith journey," as we call it in the church. Can you share your spiritual story? What is your background? Where and when did you start on your current spiritual path? What drew you to your current beliefs and practices? And where do you hope to go with it in the future?
Grian: Firstly, this is a great question and a great place to start - at what I guess would be considered the beginning.
I was raised by a single mother and for the first years of my life we lived with my grandfather. My spiritual story begins with him.
My grandfather was a devout Christian and every night as I lay in bed I heard him talking to God in the next room. He would literally kneel at his bedside and pray out loud in a dialogue with God. From this practice of my grandfather’s I learned about unabashed faith. He was never ashamed that the other people in our house could hear him praying, he only knew that it was important to connect with God in prayer. I consider this one of the most important spiritual lessons of my life.
My mother was not a church-goer. Though my grandmother had made sure I was baptized Methodist, my mother had always told me that we didn’t need to go to church to believe in God. I think she always felt there was a lot of hypocrisy going on within the walls of churches. She grew to believe this through personal experiences, but she has never really told me the details of those experiences. My mother would later realize that her beliefs were best described as Agnostic. I believe this is an accurate label since she always taught me that there was a God (something bigger than me that created the universe) but we were not a specific denomination in any way.
When I was a child I always had a strong belief in God. I prayed very often in my head throughout the day and before sleep as a regular practice. Though my faith was strong, I was also always afraid that I was doing something wrong that would get me sent to Hell. I was often terrified of the Devil and the whole idea of damnation.
As a teenager I began having recurring dreams about Jesus. They were good dreams and I would describe them as almost casual. Jesus and I would be walking down the streets of my small hometown and he would be dressed in jeans, a white t-shirt, and a pair of sandals. I still remember it very clearly. He would put his arm around my shoulders and say “Now, don’t tell anyone I’m Jesus. I’m here for you right now and I want to give you my full attention.” Then we would just talk about whatever I needed to talk about. Jesus would listen like a great friend and then walk me home.
I was 17 years old when the Goddess came into my life. I had always been intrigued by things of a spiritual or otherworldly nature and I believed there was so much more to know that my spiritual upbringing had not given me. So when a friend introduced me to the concept of Wicca, I began soaking up all the knowledge I could get my hands on. I didn’t consider myself Wiccan – and still don’t – but I wanted to learn all that I could about the ideas surrounding it.
At first, it was almost all about the idea of magic and the unknown. It was exciting and I suddenly felt like I was beginning to connect with something bigger – with the pieces I had always sensed were missing. Basically, I learned that I too could be a mystic; that I could connect with God on a personal level without the need for an intermediary such as a pastor or priest. I realize now that my grandfather and my mother were pivotal in helping me realize this.
When I was 19 I moved to Germany to live with my new husband who was in the military. Yes, I was married very young, but I believe this also helped me come to my spirituality more quickly than most. Instead of dating and being absorbed in the search for love throughout early adulthood, I was able to find comfort in my relationship so that my own interests could be explored.
My interest in Wicca had continued through this time, though I had become tired of the idea of spells and such. I felt it was just a little too silly for me. I can hear all the Wiccans being upset with me about that one, so I promise to make my position on that more clear at another time.
Anyway, I was searching for something more. I knew of the Goddess and had learned about her various aspects and faces through mythology, but I had yet to connect with her on that deeper spiritual level. Then one day, while walking in the woods behind our apartment building, I felt her there with me. As I bent down to admire the wild Lily of the Valley, I suddenly felt that I was not alone and never had been – that I was connected to all things and all things were one. Within nature I began to see the Goddess everywhere and in seeing her I began to truly see myself.
I hope I have answered your questions. I could continue on about why I choose Goddess religion and how I came to be who I am spiritually today for many more pages. But my story covers 13 years of education and discovery, so perhaps those things can be touched on in a later post.
I have been invited to have a conversation with Susy of Unmasking the Goddess about my personal "faith journey" and my experiences with the Goddess. The entire conversation should eventually be compiled and posted to her blog. Below is the first part of the dialogue - or what began as a dialogue. It has ended up more like an interview, but that format seems less confusing for readers to follow.
By Lisa on Wednesday, February 13, 2008