To: Quaker Pagans
Subject: Christians in My Meeting Made Me Pagan
I just joined the listserv so I thought I'd introduce myself. I'm a bit of a storyteller so I'll tell you the story of
how I started using this word pagan to describe what Spirit is doing with me.
By the by, I've been around a bit at the last two FGC Gatherings, and attended both the "interest group" discussion
last year and the Quaker Pagan Meeting for Worship this year. I'm a member of Northside Friends Meeting, and I've been sucked
into the community of Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns (it's not just a bunch of words;
it's a bunch of people!).
And I talk a lot.
But about that conversion experience:
I was in Meeting for Worship at Northside nearly two years ago when this devout Christian stood to speak. She's a good
friend of mine; she and I had talked about how uncomfortable she had felt speaking from her faith simply and truly since Northside,
like many liberal Friends meetings, has in it many who are recovering or traumatized from various religions which I call Christian
supremacist. Trembling, she stood to minister. As in all good ministry, as in all good religious experience, I was brought
into the experience of the Light right there and then. I was not just listening to her ministry intellectually. I was allowing
myself to be brought into the Spirit she was bringing to us. I recognized this experience. I recognized this Spirit. I
thought it was the same old Christian experience I had had before, but suddenly I realized that what I was experiencing right
then and there was what I had always experienced with trees. I grew up in the woods of eastern Massachusetts. In the Meeting
for Worship, I was gently told the truth about my own experience. I found myself in unity with this Christian minister; only
her experience was with Christ and my experience was with ... what? ... trees?
By then a committed Quaker I decided to follow Quaker practice. Open to this Light. Seek to confirm it by seeking out
others who have had this experience and sacred literature that speaks of this experience.
Well, two words: way opened. Yeah, like a collapsed star way opened. I call myself a Pagan, just in my own head mind
you, not like anyone could hear me right? And boom, boom, boom: people, books, strange coincidences. Old dreams got tied
together. I was drawn to a book about the Green Man, and suddenly remembered a dream I had in kindergarten where his face
had looked up at me from the earth and rotting leaves. Right in my own meeting I run into Pat M., who has written something
like thirty books, including quite a lot on the Goddess and Ireland (and who now is She Who Cannot Be Fired, i.e. she finally
got tenure). We started a Friends Gathering in Nature meeting for worship close aligned with the solstices, equinoxes, &c.
(I'm still learning the lingo that describes the experiences I've always been having). I run into witches at FLGC. O Friends,
I am not in control but I'm having a good good time.
That's where I'm at right now. I'll write in another email how I see the future opening up before me. But for right
now, I'm really curious to read other folks spiritual journeys, either on this listserv or in books. I've been reading a
lot of Starhawk, of course, and I was blessed to be led to _The Flowering Rod_ by Kenny Klein. I say blessed because books
that talk about our experience rather than our ideas or history are especially nurturing.
In our Quaker Pagan Meeting for Worship recently at FGC Gathering, it struck me how shy and somewhat defended I felt
we were. It felt a lot to me like queer people who are so accustomed to remaining hidden about our experience that even when
we get together we're shy to reveal that simple human experience even to each other. When I sat down in the circle I knew
Stasa and Oolon (sp?) were Pagan cause I'd met them before but I was certain everybody else was a tourist. What a shocking
pleasure surprise after rise of meeting to see and hear how alike I am to others!