About the Author
I have moved many times in my life. So many times, in fact, that I have lost count. I believe it is currently in the 60's or possibly 70's, but can't be sure. On average during my youth I moved an average of every 3 months. My father was not in the military, he was and still is, a musician. I am a child of divorce, so on top of my father's transient nature, I was also shipped back and forth between my parents for much of my young life. Currently, at age 34, I still have not quite settled down.
Far from being a burden, this constant motion has given me a unique perspective on life, and a distinct lack of materialism. I have lost everything I own so many times over, that it has become a ritual to unencumber myself periodically of all things that exist in the physical realm, so that I might focus on the spiritual.
Because of this lack of encumbrances, and the fact that I acquired epilepsy at age 10, I have one luxury in life, which is my ability to focus inward which far too few people enjoy, and that I wish to encourage in others. My life has been fraught with many difficulties, many things to overcome, and yet I am able to decipher my own failings and talents in a way that allows me to help those who are like me to discover themselves.
This is why I write, this is why I reach out to people, because I feel this intense desire to make my suffering count for something. To give others light where for so many there is only darkness.
Path of a Pagan
I can tell you about the exact moment I became a Pagan. I was raised Irish Catholic, and confirmed at age 13 into the Episcopal Church. The Church I attended was St. Mary Anne's, and the Priest was a good and decent man. However, upon turning fourteen, concurrent with feeling puberty burgeoning in my loins, a series of events took place that altered my life forever. Due to my family being one of the rare few that were poor and actually received donations from the Church food bank, we were put in a position one day where our financial status was put on public display. The other Church members began to summarily shun our family after an incident with my father and the Church secretary, who accused us, erroneously, of theft, and demanded we leave Church property. The details are not important, but over the next few weekends, I noticed a distinct change in people's attitudes toward me. My best friend in the world was the Minister's daughter, and she also turned her back to me.
The picture below is symbolic of my revelation about my own true beliefs. I was staring at the Nicene Creed behind the altar during services, as the congregation began to recite the words, I choked up after the first declaration, "I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and Earth, of all things seen and unseen..." I spoke those words, but could not bring myself to continue. For those of you who do not know this Creed, the next precept is as follows: "We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made. ..." etc etc. I realized in that moment, with my heart in my throat, that I could not speak those words, because I did not believe them. I felt a profound weight lift off of me in that moment, because I knew that the confines of the Church had been man-made in the image of a man, and not of the true Creator, the True Source of all that we are. I knew in that moment, that I was free of man's dominion over my heart, my soul, and my true faith.
I left the Church that very moment, never to return, with the newfound freedom of my beliefs coursing through my veins, and the knowledge that I was doing the right thing settled firmly upon my breast. This photo is the exact place that it happened, in the upper balcony of St Mary Anne's Church in North East, Maryland. The moment that I stepped outside, under the canopy of trees in the graveyard, and breathed the outside air upon my departure from this Church, was the moment I knew that now, and forevermore, I was a Pagan.