So this years Nobel Peace Prize winner has dedicated his award to the memory of those who died in the June Fourth Incident, as the Tiananmen Square massacre is known inside China. It took me a while to decipher the reasons why this news stirred my heart. Since that time, the Chinese government has done what they can to block the incident or otherwise discredit the ceremony. When this news broke in early November, though, I was transported back in time….
21 years ago, 1989, the Summer between my Junior and Senior year of High School. Technically speaking I wasn’t really a Pagan or a Witch yet… and yet… from early childhood I had had a fascination with stories of magic and the occult and E.S.P. and folklore and mythology. From the time I got a couple of fill-in-the-blanks word/spelling workbooks with the stories of the Greek and Roman gods started my fascination with Ancient Greece, which was later aided and abetted by my passionate love of Wonder Woman tv show; I had immersed myself in mythology and folk-lore and stories of the unexplained and such, and if there had been a book in any of my school libraries on such topics I had read it.
My family didn’t go to Church or anything…. we prayed at the Holidays but I wasn’t Churched growing up except for a couple of Christian Summer School experiments that I think Mom and Dad tried out because they felt I should get some species of religious education. While I am sure that the Baptist Afternoon Bible Summer School must have spoken of God’s Love, all my A.D.D. blessed brain caught a hold of was the whole tow-the-line-or-go-directly-to-Hellfire-and-Brimstone-do-not-pass-go-do-not-collect-$200 part of the theology…; this left young Geoffrey with some issues with Christianity and organized Religion! I had begun skirting the barest edges of metaphysical and magickal practices from readings in the folklore and Mysteries of the Unexplained Woo Woo readings I had done over the years. It hadn’t really yet occurred to me that there were other games in town OTHER than Christianity/Judaism (which, since I didn’t know one could convert to, I considered myself wholly ineligible for)/Islam; I had yet to start reading any Daoist or Buddhist books, that would come later….
Like many people of my generation I found great hope and inspiration in the early days of the coverage of Tienanmen Square, people finding their voice and demanding redress of their grievances from their government…. as a young man born in 1972 and raised with all the patriotic fervor of the U.S. Bicentennial floating about and the (admittedly rose-colored and simplistic) emphasis on U.S. History and Americana and Democracy etc. etc… how could I not feel moved by the happenings across the Pacific from my homeland of Alaska U.S.A.?
Then, then I saw Her. It was not simply that they had raised a statue resembling Lady Liberty, although that did stir my soul, but that they outright named Her as Goddess… The Goddess of Democracy… I did not know then that Lady Liberty who stands beside the golden door is meant to represent Libertas… Yet, something about the fact that people all over the world were being enthralled and inspired by the struggle for freedom and inspired by the image of The Goddess of Democracy, stirred within my mind the idea that the ancient Gods and Godesses were still abroad in the world, stirred my senses and struck chord in my heart and soul and knocked upon the doors of my perception. It was a deep and abiding and everlasting and celestially symphonic chorus of…
“Yes! Yes, yes, oh Sweet, oh Divine, oh Glorious; Yes!!!”
…that rang forth from and within my every dancing atom and singing cell. The swift winged winds of change blowing through my soul, inspiring me and stirring a sea change deep within me. Even though I didn’t have the language for it at the time, and even though I did not formally start my studies or formally separate myself from the mainstream or from the presumed Judeo-Christian matrix of my late 20th Century U.S. upbringing until a few years later, I can honestly say THAT was the exact moment I truly became a Pagan.
What about you? When did you say YES?
Peace, and Curiosity,
PS- after this post was written and posted, a series of posts entitled “My life with (some of) The Holy Powers and The Spirits” started trickling out of me, and this post was too obviously a part of that NOT to be included… for ease of cross referencing Links to the other articles discussing the characters in my life’s Divine and semi-Divine Dramatis Personae will be included below as the posts are written…
Libertas (this post)
The Honored and Beloved Dead
Spirits of the World Around Us