I’ve decided to offer something a little different.
My blogging has become more personal. I’ve been sharing more of my personal experiences and thoughts, and I’ve been thinking that perhaps a more thorough background might be appropriate. So, combining that with a little narcissistic indulgence, I’ve decided to write some blog posts on my personal path, as a magician and a pagan. To give some perspective on where I’ve come from and where I’m at.
So we start with St. Peter’s Basilica.
Yup, I’m a recovering Cathaholic.
When I was little, my mother did something that made me very angry. I don’t recall what. What I do recall was that it made me so angry that I wanted to hurt her, to make her angry as well.
I told her I didn’t believe in God. It did the trick. It was one of the few times my mother hit me.
In the first grade, I went to a Catholic school. The staff was abusive. Music teacher used to cuss at us. At the end of that year, I didn’t go back. It was my first major experience with religious hypocrisy. And with religious control.
I had my first communion. I was an altar boy. I was even confirmed.
As a young tween, I did not have many friends. There was a priest at church who reached out to me, made me feel welcome. He was a friend. Then one day he left, was transferred out. Seems he had been in some sort of trouble at a previous assignment. He had done some wrong things, and now he was starting to have the urge to do them again. To his credit, he told his superiors and asked them to have him moved someplace else. He was transferred to some kind of monastery. My mother explained why he left. I was about eleven, and that was how I learned about child molestation. I don’t like to think about how close I came to finding out more.
My faith in the church was not very strong. As a teenager, I made some friends in a local Baptist movement. Youth for Christ. Summer camps and tear-filled testimonials and calls to accept Jesus. They were very powerful experiences, and the camps remain a very positive memory from my youth. But the experiences were temporary — there wasn’t enough substance behind them to make them stick. Sure, I accepted Jesus into my heart in the heat of the moment in a room filled with emotionally volatile teenagers crying and begging for forgiveness. That didn’t translate too well to everyday life, especially once school set back in. I blame my Jewish friends.
So I settled into life as an agnostic. I had enough experiences of the unusual to know that something was there, but I was becoming increasingly convinced that Christianity did not have the answers.
Then three things happened.
1) I met a girl. I shall call her Jewel. She was younger than me, very pretty, and she said she could see auras and talk to spirits. I could do none of those things, but if that was what she was into, then that was what I was into. So I did what I could to learm
2) I made an unlikely friend. I’ll call him Jack. Jack was a friend of Jewel’s, and he made some money on the side selling drugs. He favored LSD (important plot point). He said he could see auras and talk to spirits too. And that the spirits taught him magic. And that he would teach me.
3) I got a book. For Christmas one year, Jack got me a copy of How to See and Read the Aura by Ted Andrews. I wanted to impress Jewel. I wanted to see auras. I read the book eagerly.
I met Ted Andrews once. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that his aura book didn’t work well for me insofar as seeing auras. But holy crap did it open the floodgates …