I had just started my task in the barn of loading old, bad hay into the truck to use as a ground barrier in my garden when a burgundy mini-van pulled up my driveway and parked near me. Unexpected visitors are rare for us, given that the risk of a long drive to find an empty house is not really something our friends are interested in! In the 10 years since we’ve moved to the area of Elizabeth we can count the number of surprise visits on one hand. So, I was curious if this was a new neighbor from somewhere nearby or someone trying to sell me something.
Two middle-aged ladies exited the mini-van, smiling and telling me how they were admiring my beautiful horses from the road. Then I saw the Bible tucked under an arm and realized these ladies were followers of Jesus and the Bible. Let me state here that I am simply a very private person, I hate being ‘up-sold’ by salespeople (it NEVER works on me) and I don’t like my privacy invaded by them either. I figure if there is something I need or want, I will use my energy to research and locate it myself, thank you very much. But, those who dare attempt to spread their personal view of Religion and Spirituality door-to-door have a very special place in most people’s resentment. When I began telling people this story, I was not even passed the part of realizing who was visiting me before the groans begin. “Oh, THOSE people!”
Personally I have to admit a fascination towards the ability of some people to continually be turned away and told “No thanks” (at the least and possibly quite rude responses as well) that outnumber welcoming responses from anyone who is not already of their faith. But, upon realizing their mission I simply took a deep, calming breath and silently formed my intention. I was going to be as gracious as possible while being completely open and honest with these women and if they didn’t like what I had to say, they were welcome to leave. They came uninvited onto my property and I figured the least of my rights was to speak my personal Truth.
I thanked them for the compliments in regards to my horses (if you’ve read even a few of my articles you already know how much I adore my horses myself!) and stopped loading hay for the moment, returning their friendly smiles. The woman with the Bible under her arm asked me if I follow any of the Events unfolding around the world today and if the state of it all worries me. I didn’t waste a moment. I plunged in and told them as a Pagan I was fairly In-Tune with our Earth Mother and that yes there are some wild energies flowing right now, but No, I don’t worry. I suppose I half expected them to hear the word Pagan and run for the hills.
“Well, are you interested in learning more about the Bible?”
It was not easy to hide my surprise; I think I did a good job of not allowing my jaw to hit the floor. Well, okay, they aren’t easily frightened away so I may as well continue with my Truth. I then told them I must be honest and that it has taken me a lifetime to forgive the Church: I believe in reincarnation and in the heart of my soul I KNOW I have died for my beliefs in past lives. I was so in the moment of speaking my Truth to them, I began to get emotional. I was near tears as I told them they may never understand how deeply I value my ability in this life to speak my Truth, to live by my beliefs without worry of being tortured, raped or murdered because of them. I smiled and added, “Well, hopefully you DO”.
You see, I have never understood the fact that all Religions have somewhere in their history a violent and bloody attempt to kill the fire of Spiritual Passion and yet there are those remaining today who carry within their heart a belief that anything different than their own beliefs have no right to exist. Because they believe so strongly that their way is the ONE true way, they fail to see our common bonds in Spirituality. Why can they not take lessons from the past and realize that no one Human has the right to deny another Human their personal Path to Oneness.
The silver haired woman with the Bible under her arm nodded in response to my obvious passion and emotion in my answer. The attractive, motherly-looking black woman with her appeared to have tears in the corners of her eyes: I can only hope what I said resonated within her soul and she agreed that the violence shed in the name of God really must stop. I looked them both straight in the face and told them how sad it makes me that so many Christians I’ve met seem to think our paths are completely different. After all, I asked them, aren’t we all searching for the peace in our hearts & souls that is the comfort of Spirituality in response to the eternal mystery that is Death? Are we not all looking for comfort in regards to the question of ‘Where were we before we were born? Where will we be after we die?” They continued nodding and allowed me to finish my thought un-interrupted. Can’t we agree that we all come from the same source and return to it as well? There is no room in spirituality to believe you have ALL the answers: some things are designed by nature to remain unknown while we are in our Human Incarnations.
“I think you will agree with me when I say that we come here to learn from our human experience and the biggest lesson we are here to learn is Love-in all its many forms!”
Yes, yes, yes, they nodded enthusiastically: “There is too much hate in the world today!” I agreed and continued my explanation that in my eyes what we needed to do was search for that which we hold in common and still honor our differences. It is key to understand there are many paths to God, to Oneness…but none are wrong if you follow your heart, your soul, your inner guidance and never purposefully cause harm to another. Whether they actually heard any wisdom in my words I cannot say. However, I smiled upon them and gave them my Blessing for the hard work they do, saying that surely they reach those who are meant to be reached, who will feel a bond with their teachings. The Bible, Jesus and Church have given many people unconditional love and support when they’ve needed it most; I have no doubt of this fact. It is just not my way and there is nothing wrong with that.
I explained that someday I hoped to do similar work as them, but for me it comes in the form of my celebration of the Divine Feminine: the Goddess that holds our hearts in her hands. I hope one day to inspire other women to explore the Divine connection we have as women to the Divine Feminine. It was then they smiled and told me they had really enjoyed talking with me and went on down the road. It was a short visit, maybe 10 minutes at the most, but I was genuinely proud of myself for not backing down and speaking my Truth. Even more so, I was pleased with their responses, not once did they shudder or demand my soul must be saved as only Jesus could do. They actually respected my rights to celebrate my love of the Universal Mystery that is Religion & Spirituality in my own unique ways.
I will admit, there is a part of me that hopes something of what I spoke of may have opened a little doorway in their minds to allow a new thought or idea to make itself at home. Perhaps they will go forward with a new idea about Pagans, maybe they won’t believe the vicious rumors spread over the ages about Pagans & Witches. Who knows if they have met other Pagans who were as welcoming and friendly while speaking their minds? Most of all I am so proud of the progress I have made towards Christianity in general. Don’t get me wrong; I will always see within it the worst kind of twisting a pure message of love into one of fear and manipulation as history can easily prove. I don’t care what name you give your Religion or Spirituality Practices, I only care that you live your life from a center of love and gratitude and allow me my own right to do the same.
On a lighter note, I had not really realized or thought about the fact that the whole time we spoke I was holding red, pointy hay hooks in my hands. More than one person has laughed and suggested perhaps they were scared for their life and that’s why they nodded so much and then left quietly. When I shared the experience with my mom, she reminded me of how Ron would invite these types of people into his home and spend hours discussing their beliefs and sharing his own. Perhaps he was witness, or even had a guiding hand in this visit…and I think he was proud of his Sis.
To all who do not understand Paganism, Witchcraft or any other style of celebrating a connection to the Divine: please remember that those like myself have no wish to prove you ‘wrong’, to break your ‘faith’…we simply wish for those who live with the illusion that their way is the ONLY way to realize there is not wrong way to God, to One, to Divinity. There are many ways to celebrate Religion & Spirituality (including the right to choose neither). The human race needs to open their hearts to the idea that while we may have different ideas, most Religions believe we are here to learn, to grow in spirit & wisdom, to open our souls wide to the healing power of love. If you can only find one common thread with another persons’ religion-focus on that common bond and open your heart to love. Let the rest be of no consequence and see how much more peaceful you will feel as you walk through life. It has taken me a very long time to reach this point with Christianity, but I am a better person for it: I promise you.
Namaste, Blessed Be & Mitakuye Oyasin