The Damascus Road

Author: Revelation Witch

“The good road and the road of difficulty you have made me cross. And where they cross the place is holy.” – Black Elk

My journey into the realms of Paganism is an interesting one to say the least. Born and raised a devout Protestant Christian, I dedicated my life to Christ at the age of six. By the time I reached my twenties I had already begun to preach the word of God from the pulpit and had two overseas mission trips under my belt, one of them into the heart of Africa. While I was never, I hope, an obnoxious Christian demanding others change to suit me, I was zealous in my own personal faith, believing that I must live my life to such a standard as would draw others to Christ. And while I was fully prepared to face the evils of the world, I was not prepared for those same evils to be present in the Church itself.

It was this lack of preparedness, my belief that the followers of Christ were, at their core, righteous people that led to my expulsion from Christianity. In a moment of crisis, I took a stand against a corrupt church elder and condemned him for his cruelty and immoral conduct. When the church leadership condemned my stance, I refused to yield, believing as it said in the book of First Corinthians “The immoral must be cast out from among you.” Unable to force my silence, the church cast me from the fellowship. As painful as this was, it was nothing compared to the pain of betrayal that followed. In the end I lost three fathers, a beloved pastor who turned his back on me, the corrupt elder, my mortal father who cherished his corruptions above his son and God himself who seemed deaf to my prayers.

Battered and broken in spirit, I found myself upon the side of a desolate road in life. Each of my brothers and sisters in Christ passed by me, either ignoring their fallen brother or else telling me it was the wickedness of my ways which had left me thus. It was here, in the moment of my greatest torment, that a good Samaritan appeared, several in fact and not a one of them Christian. A group of circus performers of which my brother was a part, reached out to my family during this time. Many of them were practicing Sufi; others practiced other forms of the Elder Ways, as I would come to call them. They knew of my family’s faith, of our devotion to God and cared not. They simply saw fellow human beings in need and reached out with no hesitation, no agenda.

As gracious as this gesture was it cut me to the core. For all my faith, for all my devotion to God it was a group of heathens who showed me the truest love of Christ. For three months I wrestled and prayed in spirit. And then, on a cold spring morning as the prairie winds swept across the rolling hills of my family’s ranch, I stood upon a knoll and while facing the risen sun I renounced my faith in God, Christ Jesus and his Church. I forged across the river forbidden to those of my faith and in the words of Caesar planted my banner upon the other side. “Here I abandoned peace and desecrated law, fortune it is you I follow. Farewell to treaties. From now on war is our judge!”

My journey into the world of the Craft began shortly after. Working as a newspaper reporter I covered a debate in a local school over whether a certain book should be banned. What fired my interest was when a local pastor stood up in the school board meeting and began to preach on the evils of the book and how it was teaching the children the corrupting influence of Wicca. Having never read the book, and in order to make an informed opinion of it, I checked it out of the local library and devoured in a day and a half. What was found was a poorly written children’s book that read like an inquisition novel on evil witches. If anything the book preached on the evils of witchcraft and did not extol it. At this point in my life I had never studied Wicca, while I had been an avid student of Christian apologetics in my youth, the bulk of my study had been in debunking other major religions. I had largely left the “New Age” movement, as I knew it then, to itself.

It was not without some trepidation that I logged onto my computer that fateful evening to begin my research of Wiccan beliefs for my article. More than once I had run afoul of witches who practiced a less than wholesome craft and had even seen my faithful dog die horribly from one of their curses. Yet, despite my fear, the overriding conviction of being a reporter who sought understanding and truth urged me to press on.

What I found left me speechless.

Far from being an evil art, the Craft spoke to me in a way my old faith never had. With its emphasis on peace and harmony, it challenged the remaining shackles of my Christianity with a velvet touch. The moment in which I first read the Wiccan Rede, “An in harm none, do as ye will, ” is still burned within my memory. Hour upon hour did I spend reading upon this new faith and when at last the data was collected and the article written, the Craft had a new initiate.

Four years now have I journeyed the pathway of the witches. It has not been an easy road, for the nails of Christ pierce more than flesh and it is not without pain that they are removed from body, mind and soul. In the beginning, my conversion was fueled, both, by a desire to know peace and a fiery hatred of everything Christian. But, in time, I came to understand my hatred was more directed at myself than those who called upon the name of Christ. I cursed my shortcomings and blindness to what the church was, condemned myself for ever believing what I had once believed. It is a feeling, perhaps, familiar to any cult survivor, for Christianity is a member of that wretched mob, no matter how hard they seek to disclaim it.

There have been times where it seemed the birth pains of spiritual growth would drown me in my quest. And more than once I found myself at the bottom of the mountain staring up at what seemed an impossible height. And yet, with each new start I left another piece of my old faith behind. Hatred gave way to regret, regret became grief and within the tears of my blindness I found peace.

It is an irony then that I now find myself working in a store, side by side with a Baptist Preacher. Had I found myself in such a situation even a year ago, I might have treated his efforts to re-convert me to the faith with open hostility. Yet now, perhaps better than ever, I understand these words that are ever engraved in my heart:

Beloved, let us love one another. For love is of God and anyone who loveth is born of God and knoweth him. He who loveth not, knoweth not God for God is love.” – Book of First John, chapter 4, verses 7 and 8 (KJV) .

The thing that gives us witches the greatest power is that we are, truly, ruled by a spirit of love. We are beholden to no god and while we do pay the Goddess and God our respect we are not slaves bound by their will. Rather it is our will, our strength of purpose that shapes our lives and destiny. The power to transform the world is in our body, mind and soul. Darts of our enemy may wound us, their swords may strike us down, but we shall endure long after they have turned to dust. For we know what it is to be rulers of ourselves and in this kingship we find true and everlasting freedom.

We do not judge another by their belief or lack there of, rather we see all men, women and children as our brothers and sisters in humanity. And while we recognize that evil exists and there are those who have rejected the Elder Ways and seek only their own advance over the lives of their brethren we hold to this truth; Evil exists, and Good shall prevail.

To those who have aided me in this, my Damascus road, I thank thee and ask the protection of the Divine upon thee.

For they who have set themselves up as mine enemy, I say Merry Met, for a true witch has no enemies.

And to all who share in the brotherhood of mankind, may we each find our way to the Creator, by whatever road and by whatever name. And may we never judge those whose path is different.

Blessed Be and So Mote it Be (Amen)

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause. Who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory, nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt