How did you become involved with your devotional topic?
I was a very religious child. For as long as I can remember I’ve had a sense that Someone big, powerful, and ancient was with me in my life, loving me and supporting me when things became more than I felt able to cope with. When I was a child, I assumed that this Someone was God (it didn’t occur to me at the time that if it really were God, He would probably not disappear when I was in church), and so I happily went along with what I was taught in Sunday Schools and by my parents about Christianity – after all, God was obviously real since He was so often around me, and why would anyone lie to me about God? I was a rather credulous child.
I’d love to have been one of the non-conformist types, someone who noticed the logical flaws in Christianity, who felt all along that it couldn’t possibly be right. I suspect that would have made things a bit easier down the line. I wasn’t, though; I believed what I was told by people I trusted, I loved the Someone I called God, and I was ultimately a happy child.
I had some really horrible experiences as a teenager, which fact I mention only because it was those that led me to question the ideas about God that I’d been taught. I decided that God was not what Christianity claimed, that whatever love I thought I’d been experiencing was just a product of my imagination. I closed myself off to it, completely and utterly, and I still haven’t regained the degree of openness to Him that I had when I was young. I had decided that God hated me, and so there was no point in remaining open to Him. I had an impressive flare for melodrama around then.
Several months later, I started to read about Wicca. One of the books I’d read had a guided meditation thing to take you to meet the Goddess, and I missed having someone to believe in and pray to, someone to turn to when everything felt too much, so I decided to try it. I met a Goddess – I’m not sure Who as at the time I thought Her to be the Goddess – and She was perfectly nice, but She gestured me to a door. Go through there. He’s waiting.
There He was, majestic, glorious, and in that moment so very familiar. Cernunnos. I didn’t have that name for Him then – the book I’d been reading, whatever it was, had only talked about The Goddess and The God – but I knew Him in my bones, I knew the way He was and I knew that it was Him who I had known and loved as a child. I was so afraid. I hadn’t really let myself deal with the experiences that led me to shut Him off, I was scared of what would happen if I let Him in again and so I didn’t. I knew He was there, I knew He cared about me, but I was too afraid to let it be real so I told myself that it wasn’t.
The realisation that these things are real, whether I like it or not, came slowly. When I was sixteen, I gave up pretending that it wasn’t real and decided that worshipping other Gods would keep whatever was going on with Him at bay. I don’t know why I was so desperate for whatever it was with Him not to be real, nor why I ran away from Him for so long. When I was eighteen, I stopped running. It wasn’t as if He was asking me for anything, all He’d ever tried to do was be a loving and supportive presence in my life. It is truly baffling to me that I put up so much resistance for so long.
So there it is. I don’t know at what point in this narrative I can be said to have become involved with Him. I think that He’s always been there, but I haven’t always welcomed or recognised that. I welcome it now.