I have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. I used to spend all of my free time lying down on the floor at the back of our local small-town library, pulling books off the shelf and reading them. If I wasn’t reading there, I was reading at home or at school. Invariably getting into trouble as well for keeping my light on well past bedtime just so I could read one more
paragraph page chapter book.
My personal story in what led me to the Pagan religion and witchcraft can be traced in the books I read. For today’s Talking Point, I am going to take you with me to look at some of those books that most influenced me as a Pagan and as a witch.
My first inkling that there were other options than Christianity when it came to religion was when, as a young adult, I became involved in 12-step programs through a man I was dating. In the midst of the steps, is one that says “I came to believe in a power greater than myself.”
This told me that it was okay to reject the vision of God I had been brought up with, an image of God as a masculine far-off figure, smiting those who pissed Him off left, right, and center. And so I began to actually think about what sort of God I could believe in, and would want to believe in.
This inevitably led to rethinking everything I had grown up believing about death and the afterlife, and I began to realise that I really did believe that we live multiple lives, learning lessons in each lifetime.
It was at this time, after speaking to a friend about some of these ideas I was coming up with, that I was given a book about Edgar Cayce.
I continued to read, and pull in information from many sources, and I went through my “feminist stage”. Suddenly, I realised that God didn’t have to be male! God could be Goddess!
When God Was a Woman US Link
Somewhat by chance at this time, I found and read a book about Wicca. And I realised that this is what had been missing. Everything that thus far I had pulled together and was realising about how and what I believed at that time fit in with what I read in that book. Finally, I had a name to put to what I believed.
My growth and development as a Pagan witch wasn’t restricted though to these books. A lot of my personal ethics and how I work has been influenced by what I have read the realm of fiction.
I absolutely have to mention Terry Pratchett here. His Discworld series is filled with all sorts of magical creatures, but the ones I like reading about by far are the witches of the Ramtops. I talked about this a while back when I wrote of how I want to be like Granny Weatherwax.
Mistress Weatherwax taught me the important of finding the magical in the mundane – Anyone can be a witch with a knife, it takes skill to be one with an apple corer. And always wear your hat, even if no one else can see it.
Wyrd Sisters: A Discworld Novel UK Link
Another author, David Eddings wrote another book series, called The Belgariad and it was here that I learned about cause and effect in magic, and about the importance of cleaning up your messes when you do a bit of magic that doesn’t quite turn out like you expect. Remember the fluttering butterfly in chaos theory that causes a hurricane on the other side of the world? Same principle.
I also learned here that while it is possible to read possibilities in the future via means such as Amulets and tarot cards, nothing can give absolutes. The future is not set in stone, and even if it was you can always break the stone.
I tell clients today, my reading shows what can happen based upon what is going on currently. If you don’t like what you see coming up in your future, make changes in your present. Break that stone.
Of course, the hard part is knowing which stone to break…
I continue to read, as you will know having read some of my recent posts. How I practised and what I believed as a newly fledged witch way back in 1993 is nothing at all like how I practise and believe today. And in 20 years time, I expect my beliefs will have continued to evolve and change. At least I hope so.
If something does not evolve and change and grow, it dies. Keep that in mind the next time you come across someone who tells you their own religion has been handed down to them unchanged over the previous 500 years, or 50, or 5,000.
What books have influenced your spiritual growth and development over time?