When I was a little girl, if you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have had a straight answer for you from the age of five on. I wanted to be a Catholic priest. Not a nun, mind you; a priest. Leaving my other issues with mainstream Catholicism aside for the moment, obviously that was never going to happen. But it did not stop me from my aspirations; I was five, very idealistic, and amidst my post Civil Rights Era upbringing, the idea that God was actually that sexist struck me as impossible. (It still does. The Church, on the other hand...but that's a whole other rant.) What drew me to priesthood?
Love of God was the big reason; a deep sense of devotion, a desire for a life of service, and a desire to help and advise people in ways that could really change their lives. I wasn't thinking about power, social position or influence. Even then, my heart at least was in the right place.
Then came the beginning of my spiritual search; leaving the church and exploring religion after philosophy after spiritual path in the search for one that rang true for me. I learned a great deal; the number one lesson was the fact that there are many paths that have value and can be very fulfilling for the right adherents. But for me, the right fit just never seemed to come. I know now that this is because I am supposed to take a primarily shamanic path. But meanwhile I spent a lot of time stumbling around, meeting people horrid and wonderful, and more wonderful spirits than horrid. My longing to act as a spiritual servant and counselor never wavered, but my faith in divinity and human organizations certainly did.
The search ended for me not that long ago, and my shamanic practice is again a significant part of my life. The difference is that now there is beginning to be a public side to my practice. I am no longer simply working to learn and advance my understanding and strengthen my ties with my spirits. Now, I have people coming to me for help and instruction. The old aspirations are stirring again. And sometimes it gives me pause. Am I really ready to act as confidant, counselor and spiritual channel for others, even on a small one-on-one basis?
The people I have helped so far seem to think so; the spirits seem to think so. And I am again facing the fact that work like that is, aside from my writing and art, really all I ever wanted to do with my life. Yes, I'll be doing it as shaman--and sometimes witch or medium--instead of as a priest or pastor to a congregation, but I'll be doing it. Am doing it. In small ways, thus far, but I have the feeling that that is going to change. And it feels good. It feels that I am finally, if in small ways thus far, doing what I am supposed to be doing with my life.