Gwydion, High Priest
Though I'm not one of the founding members of Sylvan Circle, I DO currently hold the distinction of being the oldest member in the coven. So what I lack in knowledge or experience, I like to think I make up for with my "you kids get off my lawn!" attitude ;-).
I began my spiritual quest at an early age, like I think most of us do. It seems to me that children often question and explore the nature of Deity with an openness and frankness that often sadly gets lost as we grow older.
I was born into a fundamentalist Southern Baptist family and raised on a steady diet of hellfire and damnation. No, not exactly what you'd call an upbringing conducive to open-minded questioning or acceptance of other beliefs. I grew up attending church an average of 4 times a week, hearing constantly that human nature is inherently sinful and runs counter to spiritual fulfillment. But I was also an avid reader. So at the same time, I devoured a steady diet of mythology, literature, history, art, music, and science... exploring all kinds of human experience, expression, and thought.
So to say that spiritually I was quite bipolar as a child is probably a bit of an understatement ;-).
Again, like many others, when I left home and went to college, new experiences opened my eyes to new possibilities... and I finally shrugged off what felt like shackles I believed that the church and Christianity had imprisoned me with. (I eventually came to understand that we are only as spiritually burdened as we allow oursleves to be.) But at the time and as part of my catharsis, I felt extremely bitter about Christianity -- as well as religion in general -- and embraced atheism.
At that point in my life, I saw little spiritual difference between people or animals or trees or streams -- and since I didn't see ANY of these entities as possessing spirit -- I concluded that spirituality was a pleasant self-delusion. A fabrication of the weak and desperate unable or unwilling to accept the harsher realities of existence. I preferred stark truth over what seemed to me a warm and fuzzy lie.
But after a decade or so, my bitterness eventually thawed. I was surprised one day to discover myself considering exploring spirituality again. Because at this point it occurred to me that maybe I had things turned around -- not that NOTHING possessed spirit, but what if EVERYTHING possessed spirit?
So as I picked up the threads of my spiritual quest again, I remembered how much I enjoyed the Greek and Norse myths as a kid... and was delighted to discover the extremely diverse paths of the Neo-Pagan movement. While I tried to remain open to as many paths as possible, Wicca spoke to me strongly and immediately. I began inhaling books as rapidly as I could find them and spent a great deal of time visiting Wiccan and Witchy web sites.
I quickly learned, however, that books and web sites could really only take me so far. I felt I needed guidance -- a teacher or a mentor or a group that I could work with and ask questions. Upon looking for covens in my area that taught classes and were open to new members, it was my great good fortune that friendly spirits led me to discover Sylvan Circle.
I've been studying with Sylvan Circle since 1999 and have been blessed enough with the support of my mentors and fellow coven members to rise to the level of High Priest. (That's a third degree in our Tradition). My specific areas of interest tend to be, um, "varied" (translated: "ultra-flightly" -- I become genuinely engrossed with whatever idea happens to pique my interest at that particular moment :-).
At THIS particular moment, for example, I'm most interested in exploring the kind of magickal energy associated with the creativite arts -- such as creating little statues honoring various Goddesses or Gods. I'm also interested in herbology and specifically enjoy making incenses.
But enough about me. Let's talk about YOU...
Next: (Did I also mention I'm very long-winded?...) ;-)