A Pagan Testimony

A Pagan Testimony November 10, 2010

If you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, I’d like you to take a deep breath. Draw in the sense of the sacred. T. Thorn Coyle begins dialogue in this way and I have found it useful.

Breath deep. Think about your God. Think about that holy love embracing you. Think of the joy and strength you find in G-d, Jesus or Allah. Bask in that presence. Give thanks for your joy. Give thanks for your blessings. Breathe deep. Pay close attention to that connection to all that which is Divine.

Andreas Tille via Wikimedia CC license

Now understand what I am about to say. Listen closely. Take it seriously. I have just as deep a holy and sacred connection to my Gods. Think about that. What you feel for your God I feel for mine.

That sacred love, that holy protection, that joy lives in my heart as well. Sometimes the love overwhelms me. My Gods came and saved me when I was lost, cast adrift and friendless. They placed my feet on the right paths and illuminated my journey. They give to me a strict morality, a lofty purpose and the seemingly impossible task of making myself worthy of this life I have been given.

Alongside my earthly family I have a holy family. They are noble, strong and wise. They are beautiful, even when they are blemished. They watch over me, teach me and set me to tasks to purify my soul. They have high standards for me and sometimes I do not think I am equal to the tasks they set before me.

I am never alone. My Gods are everywhere. In the trees and dawning sun. In the nourishing food I eat. In the stars and moon. In the eyes of the people in my life. In the stillness of my heart. My Gods are everywhere. I am never alone.

My Gods were there at the Beginning. They crafted the Universe from the Void. They created humankind, endowed us with reason, gave us tools to survive and still take great interest in our progress. Why should I not praise those who gave fire to my hearth and fire to my soul? It is right and proper to love my Gods with all my heart and soul.

Let’s take a deep breath. Meditate on this. What you feel for your God I feel for mine. Feel that love coming from your God. Know I feel deep love coming from my Gods. Know we both bask in the love of all that which is Divine.

There are stories in the Bible, the Torah and the Qu’ran illustrating your God as petty, violent, venal and jealous. By your own holy books your God does not have clean hands. He does all that is despicable and atrocious. Not one of us would condone killing a child, mass murder, genocide, destruction of the earth, condone abuse, condone lying, offer our children to rapists, abandon women and children in the wilderness, or dozens of other acts committed in Genesis alone.

Yet despite this history I know your God loves you, and you love him. I know that you strive to be a good person who is worthy of his love. I do my best to respect that. I do not characterize your God as an atrocious demon whose influence you must be saved from. I rejoice in your spiritual joy. I celebrate your religious rites of passage.

So, knowing the love I bear for my Gods and the love they bear for me, you can understand how much it hurts when people say they aren’t real. When people call them capricious. When people attribute them with all that is unpardonable and unworthy. When they are treated with a disrespect that would never be applied to G-d, Jesus or Allah.

Let’s take a deep breath. We are beloved of our Gods. We do holy work. We wrestle with improving our souls. We strive to improve our world. We try to be more loving. We try to defend that which is holy and sacred. We study, we strive, we pray, we sing and we dance. We started in different places and we are going in different directions but our journey is filled with the same struggle, joy, wonder and love.

As people of faith we have so much in common. If nothing else, we both have a deep connection to that which we worship and call holy. If there is one thing I wish I could share with those of other faith’s it’s that we have the same connection and even though we are on different paths, we are equally committed to faiths. Neither of us are playing pretend. Neither of us just goofing off or trying to be contrary.

I attended a workshop with Orion Foxwood where he said something that I think is rather profound. He said we don’t choose to be gay or straight. Why choose to be gay? Why choose to make your life more difficult? In the same way we don’t choose our spiritual path. He said you are born a Witch. You have no choice in the matter.

I didn’t choose to be Pagan. I didn’t choose to be Wiccan. It’s just who I am. Some days I wish I could be more mainstream, more “normal”. But the Gods who speak to me, who love me, guide me, protect me and teach me how to live aren’t found in cathedrals, in mosques or in shul. Just as your God has claimed you and challenged you to live a holy life, so have my Gods claimed me from birth. I’m not playing at religion. This is real. My Gods are real. My faith is real.

Let’s take a deep breath. We each embrace a holy path full of challenge and joy. Our journey’s do not share the same starting point and they do not share the same destination. Yet our paths will cross and when they do I hope we can embrace each other. We each carry within us a sacred joy. If that’s the only thing we have in common, it’s enough.


Browse Our Archives

TRENDING AT PATHEOS Pagan
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Absolutely beautiful. I’ve tweeted it and shared it on my FB page. Well done.

  • Cara

    Lovely and thoughtful. Calming. Just what I needed to read this morning.

  • Blessed be. And thank you.

  • Excellent post and very nicely written. I’m interested in this paragraph:

    As people of faith we have so much in common. If nothing else, we both have a deep connection to that which we worship and call holy. If there is one thing I wish I could share with those of other faith’s it’s that we have the same connection and even though we are on different paths, we are equally committed to faiths.

    Most Wiccans would not characterize their religion as faith-based. Rather, we would say that our religion is based in experience. Are you using the word “faith” here to mean “religion”? Would it make just as much sense to say:

    As religious people we have so much in common. If nothing else, we both have a deep connection to that which we worship and call holy. If there is one thing I wish I could share with members of other religions, it’s that we have the same connection and even though we are on different paths, we are equally committed to our religions?

    When we use the word “faith” to mean “religion,” we imply that, unless a religion is based upon faith, it isn’t “really” a “real religion.”

    Just something to think about when we communicate among ourselves and with members of other religions.

  • I’m glad people enjoyed this.

    As far as the faith vs religion thing… eh… I’m not most Wiccans. But then who is?

  • Well thought out, and I must point out to some of our Pagan grammar police that when speaking to members of traditions dissimilar to our own, it is best to use the words that they will understand, rather than the more precise language that we use amongst ourselves.

    We could no more turn our backs upon the loving faces of the gods who have touched, taught, and tested us than the Christian, Muslim, or Jewish true believer could turn their back on the loving embrace and teachings of their lord.

    We are all fellow seekers on the path, and this unites us far more than the differences in our guides and destinations does.

  • Re. the word “faith”: in most discussions of comparative religion it is not used as a synonym for “belief system.” Rather, it refers to our response to our experience of immanent Divinity. While it may, in some traditions, be expressed in the form of belief systems, it is not necessarily so. It may, for example, be expressed in the form of ritual. Some scholars believe that, historically, ritual has usually preceded the develolpment of corresponding belief systems.

    One author has written, “It is the intuitive contact with, the grasping and being grasped by, the ultimate; it generally takes shape in an act of trust by which we feel ourselves to be part of a larger reality, whether this reality is felt to be personal or impersonal. . . . Faith has a noetic content; it tells us something. But what it tells is ever more than we can fully know or clearly state—the ‘known unknown.'”

    Another has written (in another context), “It is the life-altering experience of connecting to the divinity that dwells within yourself and in the world. It is all of the extraordinary events and manifestations that flow from your union with a real and present divinity.”

    One of these authors is a Witch, and the other a Christian; but, in my reading, they are not all that far apart.

  • Very well written Star. Hope it’s ok but I have shared you and this with everyone I know…)O( Brightest Blessings..DarkStar (the chick from Alabama that’s been riding piggyback! :D)

  • Excellent article! Well said, understandable from those of other belief systems due to the wording.

    And yes, there are MANY Pagan belief systems, many which use the word faith as you did.

    Your writing touched my soul, and I am keeping a copy (always crediting you!) as well as sharing it on facebook.

    Many blessings my soul friend,
    GreenLady

  • Gutter

    This was all good up to the point about choice….Religion is totally a choice….You choose to follow a path of enlightenment or not….Some people have an affinity to more than one spirituality.

  • Greenman

    I loved this and find no fault in it…i too am posting it on my Facebook Page and sending it to a couple of friends. Blessed Be

  • A truly beautiful and wonderful piece! As a blogger I appreciate seeing other work that is so well done! Bright Blessings! :)<3 )O(

  • Velvet

    soul touching Love your post and thank you ..
    Namaste’
    in love and light we are ONE.

  • SUMMERLAND
    (words and music by Arthur Hinds. Band: Emerald Rose)

    They say the road to heaven is straight and narrow
    They say the road to hell is smooth and wide
    Well, the path I follow is long and winding
    But it surely leads to the other side

    I’ve walked the maze of shadow and the the paths of light
    And I’ve seen myself in Rebel gray and Celtic woad
    I’ll trace the sacred spiral of the Mysteries’ flight
    Till the final turning of the road

    Chorus:
    Summerland, the Wheel is spinning
    Womb of change and rebeginning
    From one to the Many and from the Many to the One
    Well of rest and deep reflection
    Seeing Truth and new direction
    Till Summerland is done
    Summerland

    I’m forced to admit I’m far from a perfect man
    And I guess I confess I’m a sinner as they’d say
    But the Pagan life’s not about single-dose redemption
    It’s a reaffirmation every day

    And they’ll ask you, “Brother, have you been saved?
    “Don’t you worry ’bout burning for eternity?”
    Well, I’m in no danger; and, no, I’m not afraid
    For the Goddess speaks with certainty

    Chorus

    They say the road to heaven is straight and narrow
    They say the road to hell is smooth and wide
    Well, the path I follow is long and winding
    But it surely leads to the other side

    I could not say it better. My love is with you, My Sister. MJ

  • SUMMERLAND
    (words and music by Arthur Hinds)

    They say the road to heaven is straight and narrow
    They say the road to hell is smooth and wide
    Well, the path I follow is long and winding
    But it surely leads to the other side

    I’ve walked the maze of shadow and the the paths of light
    And I’ve seen myself in Rebel gray and Celtic woad
    I’ll trace the sacred spiral of the Mysteries’ flight
    Till the final turning of the road

    Chorus:
    Summerland, the Wheel is spinning
    Womb of change and rebeginning
    From one to the Many and from the Many to the One
    Well of rest and deep reflection
    Seeing Truth and new direction
    Till Summerland is done
    Summerland

    I’m forced to admit I’m far from a perfect man
    And I guess I confess I’m a sinner as they’d say
    But the Pagan life’s not about single-dose redemption
    It’s a reaffirmation every day

    And they’ll ask you, “Brother, have you been saved?
    “Don’t you worry ’bout burning for eternity?”
    Well, I’m in no danger; and, no, I’m not afraid
    For the Goddess speaks with certainty

    Chorus

    They say the road to heaven is straight and narrow
    They say the road to hell is smooth and wide
    Well, the path I follow is long and winding
    But it surely leads to the other side

  • this has touched me in very deep and wonderful way i want to share it with the world. if i could hand out a copy to everyone who i see thank you very much. there are many people who ask me what my religion is however there are not very many people who share it with me and there are so many that think it is not real or it is a joke. they are the people that i would want to read this the most. thank you very much for sharing this with me