affianced, Aleister Crowley, Amar, belly dancing, cauldrons, divination, druids, freaky thieving stalker dude, full moon, mead, Meditation, Mother Goddess, Pagan Summer Gathering, paganism, rituals, Runes, shamans, spiritual quest, the proverbial sponge, U2, witchcraft, witches, Woodford Folk Festival
I have kissed honey lips
Felt the healing fingertips
It burned like a fire
This burning desire
[Read part i, part ii, & part iii first]
In part iii, I gave y’all the bird’s eye view of my initial experience of Sydney’s pagans, witches, druids, shamans (and more) scene, oh my!
Those were heady times, my friends. Heady times, where I was busy soaking up knowledge and encounters like that sponge everyone’s always talking about (don’t think about it too much, its kinda gross).
And yet… the upshot (like the U2 song) was… I still hadn’t found what I was looking for (arf arf!). Despite some inner drive to do just that…
But along the way, I discovered the delights of mead, dressed in a lot of black and velvet (gotta blend in y’know) and learned quite a bit about working with energy, the elements, shamanic-inspired journeys, ancestral meditations , casting sacred spaces and tuning into the full moon and seasonal patterns.
I’d been worshipped as a representation of the mother goddess (which didn’t suck), danced ‘round fiery cauldrons, partook in shamanic rites, did a heck-load of drumming, and studied the works of Aleister Crowley (et al).
I also learned how to construct my own rituals, and divination became an interest – though it was much later before I learned how to read runes properly. For the record, I tend to think of oracles and divination as tools that reveal sub-conscious knowledge – i.e. stuff you already know somewhere deep down.
It was all good stuff, even if it was very early days.
The bit that wasn’t so good? When things ended with T (see part ii & part iii), I don’t think either of us realised he’d turn into a freaky thieving stalker dude, after throwing me out of the house we’d shared.
But I digress.
My interests in all things spiritual and dance continued. I explored ceremony, ritual, and meditation, and started performing as the bellydancer “Amar” (Arabic for moon).
This was a time of pseudo-homelessness – staying on a friend’s fold out sofa bed til I found a share house to move into, a new job (selling futons) and eventually, getting my own teensy tiny little unit.
Where T and I had run a small group for regular full moon ceremonies, I now did this alone, or with one or two others. By the time there was four or five of us, we were an unofficial ‘group’ of sorts… not that I wanted to run anything like that.
Little did I know, the aforementioned dress-up vampire night was attended by my future (and now) ex-fiancé, too (yes, he’s in the group photo, too). Our worlds began circling each other before we’d even met…
And I just kept hearing about this guy – J – and how we’d really hit it off.
Which of course, we did. It was kinda love at first sight.
J was part of sub-section of the pagan community, who attended some but not all of the same events.
Things with J moved so swiftly that within weeks of getting together, he’d moved into my tiny flat. Then, after our romantic UK holiday, we returned affianced.
J took me to different kinds of pagan events – the Pagan Summer Gathering, Rune Guild Winter Feasts (which I performed at, of course). Mash-up spiritual/music events like Woodford Folk Festival.
Slowly, I started to find a much less structured, more free-flowing kind of spirituality – a blend of dancing (which I’ve always considered to be very spiritual), that early knowledge I mentioned in part i, and a very strong intuition.
That intuition led me through events like the spontaneous healing I’ve written about before, and others I have yet to write…
Fate came knocking once more at the second Pagan Summer Gathering we attended, where I was teaching a unisex belly-dance workshop. It was J who discovered a runic workshop I had some interest in, but didn’t get to attend. J did though.
And right there, the path turned in yet another unexpected direction.
P.S. As mentioned before, I’m skimming over a lot of details in my life to write this series – keeping the two original questions in mind – more about my experiences as a young heathen girl, and more about that moment when knowledge descends… I’m getting there, I promise!