Religion: And How it Has Changed My Life Essay
Religion: And How it Has Changed My Life
After thinking about it, I thought Wicca hasn’t really changed my life that much, at least not in concrete ways. I’ve always loved the Earth and thought of it as being beautiful and precious. I’ve always been fascinated at the beauty and mystery of the Moon and the starry sky. I’ve always found Nature to be healing in an all inclusive way that encompasses the physical, mental and spiritual realms. I’ve always believed that our minds have the power to accomplish amazing things. I’ve always thought that there is much more to this Universe than what we can see with our eyes and grasp with our minds.
I rejected my family’s religion, Christianity, because despite many claims of it being filled with peace and love, I found their holy book to be filled with persecution and cruelty. I was certain that no single culture had a direct-line to the Divine, that there was no “One Truth”. I became interested in natural remedies. I celebrated the seasons in my own simple manner. In many ways, I am as I always was, and yet discovering Paganism has brought major changes to my life.
When I realized that there was an actual religion whose beliefs so closely matched my own, I was filled with happiness and enthusiasm. I literally spent about a year and a half utterly consumed in learning all I could get my hands on: the lore, mythology, magick and ritual. It was fascinating, and all my spare time was devoted to gathering knowledge and attempting to incorporate what seemed true into my life. I know that I will always be learning and growing in my chosen philosophy, but it is more subtle now. I know the “basics” at a basic level. I am branching out, studying mythology to an even greater depth, using meditation and divination to know myself with ever greater understanding.
I am certain that each individual’s path will be unique, but I consider Wicca to be a path more concerned with who I truly am and how I connect with this Universe. These are wonderful concepts to ponder, but how has Wicca actually affected my daily life? As I thought about the question I realized that it has affected me in subtle but myriad ways. It has become a deeply intertwined part of my life. I think it affects every aspect of my day to day existence.
The small rituals, that are such a part of my daily routine now, enhance my life and make it more more meaningful and fulfilling. When I wake in the morning I step outside and greet the Sun. I feel a moment of thanks for its warmth and life-giving rays. I read a poem or a meditation about a Goddess/God. My evening routine is similar. I go out and welcome the Night, the Moon and the Stars. I acknowledge the mystery and magic that I find intrinsic in their beauty. I try to spend as much time as possible out in Nature because I realize that such time is necessary for me. I light candles and whisper heartfelt thanks and love to my Goddess and God. But these actions, while important and meaningful to me, are things I’ve added to my life as a form of worship. How has Paganism changed my everyday, mundane existence?
As I mentioned earlier, I did not have much respect for Christianity when I was younger. Learning about many different religions has helped me to realize that Christianity can be a satisfying and fulfilling path for many people. It is only in the hands of extremists that it can become a path of hatred–just as with any other religion. Wicca has helped me to be tolerant of other people’s spirituality as long as they aren’t spewing prejudice and hatred for any other religion besides their own. This didn’t happen overnight. At first I was indignant about Christianity’s attempt to destroy Paganism, the cruelty of the “Burning Times” and the intolerance that some modern day Christians show toward other spiritual paths. As I read and learned and pondered the issues, I realized that even Christianity, with its horrible history and its modern day fanatics, is a valid and rewarding path for most of its adherents. For most it is a path of love and peace.
I never was too concerned about keeping my room “spotless”. I’m a bit of a pack rat, and things tend to pile up. I’m also a procrastinator, it’s easy for me to put things off until I’m in the mood to do them. Now I try to keep it less cluttered and more organized. This is a direct result of Wicca, because I don’t want negativity to gain a foothold in my home. I realize that messiness can affect the feeling of my home if only in subtle ways. I’m far from perfect, but much better than I used to be and improving with time.
I often had a terrible time making decisions, especially important ones, sometimes agonizing for days or even weeks over which choice to make. Now I’ve learned several different types of divination. These help me to know my own mind and make the best decision I can without second guessing myself or wondering if I should have chosen a different route.
I hardly ever prayed before becoming Wiccan. I connected it with Christianity. Now prayer has become an important part of my life. This was something I didn’t plan. It just developed naturally. Prayer gives me peace of mind at times, gives me an instantaneous response to stressors and lets me have a spontaneous and intimate relationship with Divinity.
I have always written poetry. I have become more prolific. Even if my words are only beautiful and meaningful to me, poetry adds a glorious dimension to my life. It is an amazing experience to begin writing and have the words flow onto the paper without any struggle, to realize that, in some very special moments, it is as if you are a conduit to Divinity and the words are a direct connection with God/Goddess.
While I don’t believe anyone can know for certain what happens after death, I have accepted reincarnation as my personal philosophy. It just makes sense to me, and it gives me comfort and peace when I am faced with the death of others or my own mortality.
I have become more calm and serene. I don’t let things bother me as much as I used to. I live more in the moment now than in worrying about the past or the future. I feel an even greater sense of gratitude for my life, the blessings that I have and the beauty and wonder of this amazing Universe. Meditation has given me much benefit, but the whole philosophy of life, that I’ve embraced in the past few years, gives my existence a deeper meaning and makes sense of things that I couldn’t understand before.
I have learned spellcraft and use it to improve my life. I believe that much, of the changes that magick makes, is within ones self. It gives me a confidence and a surety that affects my whole life. I believe that to make outward changes, a person must first change their inner self. That is what magick is to me, the ability to change myself for the better, to live in harmony with those that I love and the natural world around me. It also lets me communicate my desires to the Universe, and if it be for the greater good, I know my wishes will be granted. Perhaps in a way I hadn’t anticipated, but granted nonetheless. Of course I realize I must do the mundane work, and I never ask for more than I truly need.
I am not as shy as I used to be. I love writing, but just about 5 years ago, I would have been too reticent to submit my thoughts in this essay or any other something that other eyes might see. I’m in the process of created my own website, I have been for about 2 years. This was a gigantic step for me, but I felt an almost overwhelming urge to honor my Goddess and God in this way. I joined a Pagan message board about two years ago. That was another huge step for me. It took me several months of “lurking” to get up enough courage to join, but I wanted to be a part of a community of like minded people and join in on those discussions that I found so interesting. This would have been impossible for me without all the small steps I’ve taken in the last few years.
You could say that most of these things would have developed anyway as I gain the experience and wisdom that comes from living more than seventeen years. That may be true, but then again it might not. I know others my age who are torn by angst, whose lives seem filled with a steady stream of problems, who are anxious and unhappy and ever searching for what will bring them contentment and fulfillment. Perhaps it’s a matter of personality or temperament. I really don’t know, but I do know that Wicca has been a catalyst for changes that have greatly improved my personal life.
My spirituality gives me a satisfaction that I searched for and couldn’t find for a long time. Wicca is an intrinsic part of me now. It affects my every waking moment perhaps not consciously, but at a deeper, more profound level.
Wicca answers an abiding need deep within the very core of my being. Because I have accepted and embraced its philosophy, my entire life has been affected. I am a totally different person than I was 7 or 8 years ago, yet I am the same in many ways. I know that’s a contradiction, but I know that it’s true also. We all change subtly with the passing of time. Hopefully we change for the better. Wicca has changed my life in both great and small ways. I believe I am a better person for it.