Ten years ago, I discovered paganism and gave it a shot. Being thirteen, completely inept at any sort of serious research, and without any kind of guidance ended the attempt after only a few months, but I did eventually return to the path. I started afresh with more information at my fingertips, thanks to websites like The Cauldron and Henadology. I stumbled along, more or less.
We all start somewhere.
After three years of serious study and practice, I have a tiny bit of knowledge and experience under my belt. I’m nowhere near worthy of considering myself a mentor, teacher, or elder, but I offer what I can. It’s fortuitous, then, that within a week of each other, some close friends of mine expressed interest in paganism. For their privacy, I will keep details to a minimum in this post.
Of course, the first order of business was providing as many resources as possible so they could read at their own leisure and make their own decisions. But there are certain aspects of being a new or seeking pagan that books and articles and blog posts don’t always address: questioning your own sanity. It took me a year and a half to finally overcome that hurdle because, for the most part, I was doing everything by myself. Though I had support from an ex-boyfriend, he never experienced what I experienced. It made me feel all the lonelier. Kierkegaard’s observation below resonates with me so strongly:
The consequence of having seen God is madness, not in the sense that one becomes mentally ill, no, but that a kind of madness is set between you and others: people cannot nor will not understand you. —Provocations 388
As a new pagan, having people–especially friends–who have experienced what you’re experiencing and can remind you gently that everything is normal and all right is a huge relief. I’m overjoyed that I can share paganism with my friends, but I’m more pleased that I can provide them with a certain level of support that I never had when I first started.