A Druid’s Journey
November 8th, in the year 2015, ‘A Druid’s Journey’ truly began. This was a path long-in-the-making, one that was as difficult as it was terrifying. However, in order to jump to the pathway I have stepped onto, I must first travel back into time. To understand how I came to be here, a Dedicant learning the winding roads of Druidry, one must first see where I had been before I stumbled upon this strange world of wonder and magic.
I was born in 1993, in Dunkirk, New York, during the early days of April. I cannot recall much of my childhood, let alone the days when I was born. Few people can. I do know, however, that by the time I was one year old, I was (and still am) living in Missouri with my grandmother. My parents divorced, went their separate ways. My sister and I were taken in by our father’s mother who is now our mother, for all intents and purposes. It was those days that paved the path of my upbringing, a child who grew up wondering why her parents were never around or why her father never showed up for her birthday or for the holidays after he said he would be there.
My mom (grandmother) was looking after her mother during the young years of our life. Like many children, and most in our community, we were raised as Baptist Christians. It wasn’t a decision we made. It was made for us. Like many children through our culture, we weren’t really exposed to other religions and faiths and beliefs outside the one we were raised in. Despite this fact, my sister and I both ended up being pagans (though my sister is now a Catholic).
My own journey from being Christian to pagan is one that is a rather difficult one to recall. I remember being Saved in church, the other kids supporting me on their arms as they tilted me back like I was being submerged in imaginary waters in some unnamed, unknown river. I remember how I felt, during that troubling time of my life.
The pressure bearing down on my, the sound of roaring in my ears, my heart beating furiously, a sense of nausea — the ordeal made me sick to my stomach in a way I could only describe as being wrong in every sense of the word. A part of me rebelled against what was happening to the point I nearly blacked out.
After that moment, I refused to go back to church. I refused to be a part of that, to be forced back into a place which seemed to cut into me and drain me dry. In the same moment, I was confused. I was a Christian, a Child of God, but yet…I felt as if I was an outsider, that being Saved was stripping me of a vital piece that made me ‘Me.’
I went from being Christian to being agnostic to borderline atheist.
That’s quite a shift, is it not? For me, that’s how it went. In a matter of a year, my entire life turned around. I went from being a good, Christian girl who didn’t question God or the Bible to being a conflicted child who wondered why I felt at odds with the faith I was raised in. I went from believing in God to being unsure what I believed into thinking there might not be anything out there.
That we live and die for no reason, without a purpose in ours lives.
However, over all of those years, there were some things I couldn’t deny. These were the things that kept me from becoming an atheist. I believed in ghosts and spirits. I still do, to this day. I always felt a deep connection with the moon and the stars and the night sky. I always had a deep fascination with fire and candles and hypnotic, trance-like music.
It wasn’t until I was older that I realized what this was. It wasn’t until I hit my pre-teen years that I stumbled upon paganism. It was junior high. I was in the 7th or 8th grade and I had to write a short-story based on some historical event. I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what I wanted to do, trying to find something that the others wouldn’t be doing.
That’s when I found Joan of Arc.
A woman of steel sentenced to death due to the suspicion of her being a witch. Though she is a Roman Catholic saint of France, Joan was said to have had visions throughout her life that led her to end a war. I recall her being put into a soldier’s prison instead of the church’s prison, threatened with beatings and rape on a near-daily basis. It was this story that caught my eye. The term ‘witch’ drew my eye and I turned my attention towards that route, looking through articles and online sites about anything I could find.
From there, my interest in paganism hit. It has carried onto until this day.
And, shy of two years ago, I came across Ár nDraíocht Féin. It was that day I decided to become a member of the organization. It was then I decided I would pursue knowledge of paganism and, by doing so, an understanding of the past. It was through this that I began to truly embrace what it means to be pagan.
Because the truth is simple:
I denied what I truly believed, I turned away from what my soul yearned for. I tried to ignore the call of the Old Ones. They were always whispering to me in some way, their words carrying through the winds and rain, through heat and stone and dream.
I learned one valuable lesson, however: they cannot be ignored.
When They speak, we will hear. When They speak, we choose to answer or to turn away. That choice is, and always will be, ours to make. The path I walk on is a long one, one that is varied and diverse and as old as time itself. ‘A Druid’s Journey’ is my way of putting down my experiences, my understanding, of my path.
What I learn and believe is something others may not agree with. Some might turn away in disgust, others may tell me I’ll burn in hell. I’ve been subjected to both. I’m not afraid, not anymore. The Old Ones have called out to me, as they have done for many years.
Now I choose to stop and listen.
Now I choose to act.