On with the tale of how I got to where I am currently…
Aged about, 12 I read The Way of Weird, and purloined the rune set and instruction book my father had. It was the Ralph Blume book, which I later heard bad things about, but by then I’d got so used to, and adept at doing it that way, I couldn’t face trying to relearn. Through school fetes I discovered a knack for fortune telling.
In my early teens, I also started having premonitions. This did not come as a total surprise. Mother, grandmother and great grandmother all have their uncanny moments, with intuition being a big part of it. Nevertheless, it did scare me and took some adapting to.
Having had the wiccan influence in my childhood and not knowing about any other kinds of paganism, I assumed I was a witch. I had enough sense not to go round announcing this, however. During my teens I explored other forms of divination, including scrying. I had a few days of automatic writing, and then whatever had wanted to use me, moved on. I was grateful. I think her name was Harriet, and she’d been through some stuff. She taught me that interacting with the spirit world is hard, draining, mind bending and I never deliberately sought it as a consequence. No Ouija boards for me!
At fourteen, I started sitting out overnight in the hills with other less than perfectly sober teenagers. I discovered the joys of wild fire making, of nights under the stars, storytelling, waking up covered in dew, seeing the sunrise. I also learned that sleep deprivation causes me to hallucinate. Why buy drugs when your brain chemistry will get there all by itself? So while others did drop acid, I didn’t, and I still saw things. Although I wasn’t entirely conscious of it at the time, those hilltop nights went on to become part of my druidry. I think I was reaching for it even then, I just didn’t know what it was called.
In just the same way, I started exploring the trance potential of dance and drumming. Things that from the outside probably looked like normal teen excess, were taking me on spiritual journeys and opening my mind.
My father introduced me to the idea of astral projection, so I spent a lot of nights trying to do it, and getting nowhere. I had no formal teaching, and not much access to books. A school friend developed an enthusiasm for hypnotism. I learned that I could shape my voice in ways that encourage people into different levels of consciousness. A tool I later learned to use for guided meditation work. I also discovered that I’m really good at entering trance states. I could go quickly and easily. The problem has always been in finding someone calm and together enough to lead and guide me, and bring me back. The teenage explorers around me baulked at the heavier stuff, and I was on my own again.
My early teens also brought me into contact with ideas about lucid dreaming, and dream interpretation. I kept dream diaries, and tried to get a bit of control over my dreaming mind. I had a lot of very dark nightmares during several intense periods, and a desire to not be at the mercy of those. I still haven’t got that entirely sussed.
It was a strange time for me. Outside of school I devoted a lot of time to bands, boys, and general teen stuff. I knew I wanted more, and different. ‘Witch’ was the best word I had, and even then I knew it didn’t fit. At 18, I came into contact with some wiccans, went to a couple of their workshops – tarot, meditation, Quabala, and on some day trips. They put me in touch with The Pagan Federation and for the first time I started to realise how little I knew and how much there was to learn. It all seemed big, impressive and intimidating, but I read my Pagan Dawns each quarter, and became more conscious within my own life. College loomed, and with it the first hints of druidry crept into my life.