I am an ordained non-denominational cleric (priest, priestess, reverend, minister, whatever you feel the need to insert here is fine with me – for now). I have been for more than twenty years now, although that is 1 not my first ordination nor is it 2 my only ordination.
I have been studying religion since I was at least five years old…maybe a little younger, maybe a little older…but about the time my parents divorced and I started school…and for some reason, I have always had it in my head that I started school later than other kids…but…don’t quote me on that—it’s always just how I felt.
How does a five-year-old study religion? By memorizing books of the Bible and whatever else the Reverend and/or Sunday school teacher tells you to study/etc. And by thinking about God and the like, a lot. That was my deal as a kid.
Later, my father started to bring me books on all sorts of subjects. He gave me my first witchcraft books. Other than the image of the battered green old lady with the broken nose and broken fingers that we all seem to associate with Halloween, I’d never really thought or heard much about witches before.
Oddly enough, my religion has not actually changed in my entire life. Some things get new names. Some concepts have been expanded upon. Much like the Druids, I find my religions I’ve been told I am a part of to be compatible because I have spent so much of my life (since I was 9 or 10) comparing all the religions I could get my hands on…and seeing how comparable they all are to one another. Are there basic differences? Yes. The matter of semantics. No meat here. No pork there. Cleaner here. More focused there.
From the beginning, I looked for/at the commonalities. I never sought to raise one above the other. I never sought to cut one down in order to make one seem better. Because of how I was taught originally, I always saw all paths as valid. All paths are good. Not every path is the right one for every single person. It is up to the person to find the path that is right for them.
I learned fear, terror even, before I was ten, but I didn’t learn hatred until I was in my twenties. This does not mean I did not dislike people. I simply didn’t have it in me to look down on others—not bullies, not geeks, no outcasts, not nerds. What did I care? Everyone is who they are and that is always what makes a person different, special. That is the best part of people, the part of them that is unique to them as an individual. I have always like individual people. It’s ‘Mankind’ as a whole I have struggled to accept – but that is an entirely different conversation, that.
I learned how to hate the stupid, the ignorant, the entitled, once I became an adult and had to work as a telephone operator.
Decades later, I am finally casting off that. Once enveloped by a hatred, by a disgust caused by distrust, it is difficult to release and let go of. Don’t get me wrong. The more people I meet, or read about, or see online, or watch in real life—the more I love my pets. I mean that with all seriousness.
What about you? How did you grow up? How did you see people, or religions, or whatever else? Do you still feel/believe the way you did then? Let me know in the comments.
Questions? Comments? Go ahead and leave them below.