Suffice it to say I was not very good at following religious dogma, and as often happens with people born into strict religious communities, I now consider myself some version of pagan. Sometimes I call myself a witch. While the word and its various connotations are highly debated amongst pagans, I consider it shorthand for a student of nature, its cyclical representations, and the various levels of consciousness present in all things.

 

By Miranda Chop

Spiritually speaking, I’ve always felt pretty connected to something deeper.

Since childhood, communicating with the world around me as one might with an old friend felt natural to me. The way I saw it, if you couldn’t talk to god like your best friend, why talk at all?

I knew god as “Jehovah” back then, and I talked to “him” all the time. My mother told me god was nothing but love and held me in the highest regard as one of his creations. I believed her. Of course I did. I had no other evidence to weigh against it. I felt loved, listened to and mutually respected by my god.

Later, I found out how different my god was from the religious God of southern Christianity and the various sects.

Little explanation is needed. Suffice it to say I was not very good at following religious dogma, and as often happens with people born into strict religious communities, I now consider myself some version of pagan. Sometimes I call myself a witch. While the word and its various connotations are highly debated amongst pagans, I consider it shorthand for a student of nature, its cyclical representations, and the various levels of consciousness present in all things.

It may all sound pretty vague, but in my chose religion I know exactly what I’m doing and why. I still talk to god in an easy-going and receptive way. There’s just one problem: I am not a very good witch.

Wait! Please, no pitchforks yet! I do not mean I am a person who casts about looking to harm others with their witchery. I mean just as I was not good at following Christian dogma, so too have I failed to maintain any regular practice with my pagan spirituality.

Every moon phase, every season or half season is an opportunity to devote to spirit. Sometimes I manage to show up for worship around Halloween, which is largely regarded as the pagan New Year. Much like a Christian who only goes to church on Easter or Christmas, I simply can’t be bothered. I prefer tuning in to all-that-is intuitively rather than on cue. Why, even some goddess-worshipping pagan religions were created and organized by men who set up rigorous hierarchical pathways to so-called “enlightenment,’’ which is readily available to all who seek it-no tithing required. When I do choose to parlay with god, certainly it is not at the behest of any man, living or dead. (Sorry, Jesus!)

As a child I knew where to find god. My god, the liminal space linking our humanity to our divinity, truly is everywhere, in everyone. I carried this knowledge then as I do now, with lightness and the feeling of deep friendship. God responds in kind by showing me the natural ease of bumblebees, sated and fat, lounging on bright yellow esperanza blooms, oblivious to their perfect “‘grammability.” A rainbow that appears suddenly in the middle of an anxious or worrying thought can shift my perspective in a microsecond. What a wonder!

As it turns out, I am as bad at being a witch as I was at being a Christian. I take no pride or shame in this fact.

In the house, my altar is dusty and ancestors remain unsummoned; but outside god still calls. The flowers bloom, the Texas sun shines relentlessly, and the trees remember my name. Late-blooming jasmine fades into the heat.

I am here, and so is god. Yes, the altar inside might be dusty, but I am having too much fun entertaining god to notice.

 

Miranda Chop is a lifelong writer, art lover, and activist for transformation through self-exploration. Currently residing in Fort Worth, Texas.  Follow her on Medium.  for more of her work, including feminist horror poetry, flash non-fiction, and memoir.

 

 

Previously published on Medium

 

 

Photo: Pixabay

Editor: Dana Gornall

 

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