1. On the whole, I can honestly say that my spiritual exploration hasn’t been bad – no negative experiences (i.e. like growing up in an IFB cult or anything). I haven’t had any negative experiences with Catholicism (well, except for my First Confession…that was a little scary and intimidating…). Nothing bad in the Methodist church. My experience with the Episcopalian church was wonderful – one could not ask for a better reverend. The reverend at the Episcopalian church was an amazing and an intelligent person whom I respected very much and still look back on with fondness in my heart. In fact, his wife was a reverend too and occasionally made a guest appearance there to lead service. That rocked! The only thing I found lacking was a deity that I could relate to. That’s what sent me back to the Catholic church – in search of the Feminine Divine that I thought I would find in Mother Mary.
I had been a solitary Pagan for a little while before I came out and started participating in rituals and classes with the the first “Wiccan-based eclectic Pagan” coven I found in Central TX . That was positive…until around Mabon/Samhain 2007. There were some internal issues going on, some personality conflicts and personal struggles going on that led to an almost complete breakdown of the coven. I still remained friends with some of my coven mates and consider one of them to be a Sister. Did some things with the Fort Hood Open Circle. A really great group of people and I’m thankful for them and other circles like them for being there, but it just wasn’t for me. Again, very eclectic, a lot of people coming from different traditions and again, some internal issues and drama. I am a Virgo – you’ll have to forgive me. I very much like organization and order.
2. My first experience with the local CUUPS in Anchorage was back at Lughnasadh 2009. It was a Discordian/Chaos Magic open ritual. Again, think about that for a minute and then think about what I said in the previous paragraph. Virgo – perfectionist, loves organization and order…Well, life got a little hectic for me as I was pregnant with my second child with a 10 month old at home. It wouldn’t be until Imbolc 2011 that I would finally venture back out again into the Anchorage Pagan community. I knew from my previous experience that there were a great group of people there, though I still a little nervous. The Imbolc open ritual was a full out ADF Druid High Day Ritual and that rocked my world! I met a very awesome woman who organized a Goddess Circle for women that was totally awesome – just what I needed at the time – time away with some rockin’ women who shared my love of the Goddess…how I miss them…
With Christianity, my problem wasn’t so much with the people as it was with the institution. I remember as a little girl, laying in bed at night listening to the Christian station, crying my eyes out begging God to forgive me for my sins, to make me a better person, not send me to burn eternally in Hell and to love me. After all, we all know how sinful 8 year olds little girls can be. As I got older, it was the utter lack of recognizing a feminine deity that I knew deep down in the very essence of my being was there. She was just no where to be found in Christianity. As for the beginnings of my Pagan path in a group setting – it was awesome at first until the personality and internal issues and conflicts arose. FHOC was very eclectic; it had to be as there were people from all different traditions and levels or points on their paths. My Anchorage CUUPS experience was great because it was a bit more organized and my first experience with Druidry just really really called to me.
3. If I had to choose one thing to call G-d, I’d call G-d “Goddess”. I have been known to use “The Divine”, “Creator”, and “Great Spirit” when I’d been asked to say blessings for meals during my time as a Chaplain’s Assistant in the Army. I guess it would depend on the situation and the company I was in. I kind of have a problem with the word “God” because it just reminds me too much of Christianity. I also like the term Godde (singular) or Goddes (plural) – a little something I picked up from the Tuatha de Brighid Druid group as it includes both the God(s) and Goddess(es). But I truly prefer Goddess because I can connect and relate better to Her. She is closer than the “Ultimate Being” (not really sure what else to call it) that I feel is out there, somewhere…composed of both male and female energies – a continuum of spiritual energy if you will; just pure energy that is completely and utterly intangible.
4. I have experienced Deity from everything from little feelings, inner voices and nudges (not physical), to overwhelming feelings of complete and utter rage to divine love that made my heart swell and bring me to tears. I have had “physical” contact with Deity (the Goddess) in a few dreams which I experienced pure unadulterated love – every cell of my body was filled and resonated with light, love and pure ecstatic joy. Since I’ve learned what I’ve needed to learn so far in Ereshkigal’s realm, I’ve not felt the rage anymore.
Was it the Goddess in the rage? Part of me wants to say no, but part of me knows that She was – lest we forget about the warrior Goddesses who are associated with such emotions…
The least I would need on my altar would be my statue of Brighid, a candle, incense holder and well to hold water. The other added little trinkets (i.e. bell, amethyst, Brighid’s cross, etc.) are added bonuses because they are associated with Her, were given to me or I made them.