Okay, so it was a bad pun. Sue me. :)
I was raised with no religion. My paternal grandmother was Catholic, and I was forced to attend church with her when I visited her (probably why I disliked going to visit her too often, or overnight), so I learned a little there. Mostly, though, religion and spirituality were completely foreign to me until my late teens.
Having nowhere to turn, I began exploring Christianity. I read Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume, and tried to learn what I could. My mother, the anti-religious bigot that she is, worked hard to make certain I got next to nowhere. I delved into the occult almost to spite her, and I found my calling.
I found Wicca, to begin with. For a long time, I immersed myself in Wicca, learning what I could. I learned all the correspondences, the different ways to cast Circles, the lists of Gods and Goddesses that could be called upon. I spent thousands of hours doing everything I could to be a good Priestess. For a while, it felt right. It felt good. And then I ran out of things to study.
Somewhere around 1999 or so, I began an exploration of other pagan paths. I started with herblore, then folk tales, followed by a bit of ceremonial magick. I delved into the various conspiracy theories and Mysteries surrounding the Grail, and the Goddess, the Sacred Marriage, etc. And then, somewhere around there, I got lost.
I wasn't upset about it. I don't even think I really knew I was lost. It wasn't until this year, 2007, that I finally began to realize that I needed direction. Random studying was not enough. And I felt this gentle... push... from Dionysus. But Dionysus was a Greek God, and Hecate, my matron from my Wiccan days, was Thracian. But wait! It turns out that many people theorize that Dionysus began his early days in Thrace! Suddenly, things began to fall together.
Then life fell apart. This summer has been one of exploration and growth, and like all growth, it's been painful. Unfortunately, the summer also reads rather like A Series of Unfortunate Events, because of all the mess that has happened. Let's see...
First, Gray lost his job. Then it was too late for sis to get a job, but she managed to scrape up one that was only a couple of hours a week. Then the job I'd had lined up for the summer became moot, because the restaurant was closed for structural repairs, and hasn't yet opened. I finally got in to see the gynecologist, only to be told that my hormones are screwey (as if I hadn't noticed that), and that one way to fix it is to take the pill. That would have been okay if it hadn't started a "monthly cycle" that has now lasted 8 weeks, and is still going strong. Add to all that, sis's bio sister was just diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer, and her grandmother just died this morning, and you will agree with me that the summer just OUGHT to be over.
I looked over this disaster movie of a summer, and realized it had all the hallmarks of an initiation. See, around the time when someone receives a formal initiation into Wicca (the BritTrad Wicca, or "real" Wicca, as opposed to the neo-Wicca, which has no initiations), there's a huge flux of energy. This tends to leave their life a wee bit chaotic for a month or two. That's just what all this seems to be!
So I'm going to take it as an omen. We had our horrible summer as a preparation for my reaching a new stage in my religious and spiritual development. Now I am studying Greek religion and mythology, as well as their history. I find it fascinating, and much of it is being incorporated into my personal rituals. It's a complete turn-around from Wicca, though. Wow...