I guess you could say I was your average child and teen, as far as the amount of excuses and untruths I told to keep myself “safe”. Yes, I got into trouble. Yes, I did things that probably would have turned the average parents hair white. I think that’s all part and parcel of growing up and exploring your world.
As I look back to that time, I would say that part of it was that I just didn’t understand why I couldn’t make more of my own decisions and just do what I wanted. That, too, I imagine is part of being young. I think part of my thinking was that if I wasn’t hurting anyone, what was the big deal? You know?
Being a Taurus with Aquarius rising made me respect rules but want to stretch and expand them to their limits. Yes, I rebelled against authority to some extent. Aquarius wants independence and freedom after all.
Finding Wicca, with it’s One Law: “An’ ye harm none, do what thou wilt.”, was a God/Goddess-send for me. It also brought a lesson with it – how do you judge when you are actually harming someone? I mean, there’s the obvious. Punch someone in anger and you’re doing harm. However, what if you say something to someone, with no intent of being harmful, and they get their feeling hurt or get angry? Did this mean I had to stop and analyze every word or deed before I took action? Ooh, this would be no fun, if that was the case!
I bring this up for several reasons. First, there’s all that programming we got since we were old enough to understand. Second, there’s the doctrine of karma, and, third, there’s the realization that thoughts are things and words have power. In other words, what I think, say and do manipulates the energies that surround me and create my reality which can and does have an affect on other people.
Back in the day, when I had just barely put my foot on the Wiccan path, there was much of this that I didn’t know yet. What I did know quite well was what it was like to be hurt, both intentionally and unintentionally. Understanding this was important, especially if I was going to be a follower of this spiritual tradition.
The key word here is intention. The first definition in the dictionary says it all: Purpose, either ultimate or immediate; aim; goal. So, if my “intention” is benign – I intend no harm by what I say or do, am I still responsible if someone else gets their feelings hurt or becomes angry because of my actions or words? This was really a tough one and it took me quite a while to work it out.
My conclusion was that if I honestly could say to myself that I mean no harm, knowing that I only live inside my own head and no one else’s and only have my own life experiences and not someone else’s to gauge things by, then I couldn’t accept responsibility for someone else’s happiness or lack thereof.
By now, you must be asking yourself, “Where the heck is she taking us with all this?” Well, you see, even before I had read any books about being authentic in presenting yourself to the rest of the world, there was a natural inner instinct in me that said, “You can’t be anyone but who you are.” I resisted that for years. In grade school, junior high and high school, I wanted to “fit in”. I wanted to be liked. So, I often tried being someone else, someone I thought would be liked and approved of. It really didn’t work and I was miserable because I wasn’t being ME.
So now I’m in my mid-twenties, about to embark on a spiritual journey that had all kinds of possibilities. The last thing I was going to do was play games. No more masks, no more acting. Something told me, this is important and it’s time to get serious. Little did I realize what that really meant nor did I realize the many lessons that would be attached to this particular journey.
So what does it mean to be authentic? The dictionary defines authentic as:
1. Entitled to belief; trustworthy; reliable.
2. Of undisputed origin; genuine.
3. (Law) Duly executed before the proper officer.
And that lesson about authenticity? Well, it was the first one that came rushing down the path at us. Although we had been avidly reading, Lady Morganna was our sole contact with a real Witch so we took a great deal on faith. After all, in the early 1970s most Witches were still in the broom closet.
To make a long story short and keep to the point I’m trying to make here, there were a series of events that caused me to question the authenticity of what we were experiencing. Let me enumerate the highlights of those events:
After only attending one ritual, and with only our reading under our belts, we were initiated into Wicca.
After about a year, with few classes (and one of those classes being repeated for three weeks in a row), we were given our Second Degree because the only real requirement was to read The Witches’ Bible by Gavin and Yvonne Frost!
That same night, after asking what the requirements were for the next Degree, we were given our Third Degree. (It was Summer Solstice, but a Full Moon occurred after midnight. We were told this made it okay.)
That Third Degree rite consisted of us both basically being “knighted” with her Sword and being pronounced Third Degrees!
Are you seeing a picture beginning to form here? Well, you know me and my puzzles. The pieces just weren’t adding up and I was feeling very uncomfortable.
It would be much later before we found out why that initiation didn‘t feel right. You see, although Lady Morganna had taken her first two degrees from a well-known Witch, she never took her Third from her. She was given her Third Degree by a Satanic Priest!
By that time, I was already teaching classes and presenting myself as a High Priestess, as was Dee. All I had wanted to do was find a spiritual path and be who I claimed to be and now I find that because my “teacher” was a fraud, it was entirely possible that people would view me as one too! Even more important than what other people thought though was the fact that I felt like a fraud. I was depressed and angry all at the same time…and then, I became determined…
Oh, this looks like a good place to rest! I’ve taken you on quite the trip – up, down and around. So have a seat. Will continue this journey shortly.