There was a time, probably toward the end of 1999, that I was having a real crisis of faith. You can kind of see it in my journals (as yet incomplete on the website), but more to the point, you can see it in something very specific I wrote in one of my notebooks on magic. It probably speaks for itself, but I'm going to introduce it anyway:
I was having issues contacting the Gods. It was like they weren't out there, or they weren't listening, or I wasn't doing something right. Everything was wrong. And I mean *everything*. Nothing seemed to be going right for me. Tina and I had a major fight at some point during that year (though it was quickly over and we were made up a couple nights later), the Pagan Student Association didn't feel right anymore, I was falling behind in classes, fencing was putting pressure on me, and I was kind of in a funk for most of the year.
And somewhere in the middle, I bordered on Atheism.
I didn't want to be an Atheist. I didn't like them much (admittedly, I still don't, but I take them on a case-by-case basis). Anytime the question of the Gods' existence would pop into my head, I would banish it rather angrily. The conversation often went like this:
Seed of Doubt: You're not getting anything out of this.
Seed of Hope: But I'm doing it.
SoD: But nothing you ask for happens.
SoH: That's not why I'm doing this.
SoD: Then why are you doing this?
SoH: I don't know. It feels right.
SoD: You don't know, but it feels right? Tell me, when's the last time you felt something? Anything? Even a tickle, like they were paying attention?
SoH: A few months.
SoD: I think you're deluding yourself. They don't exist.
SoH: I don't believe you.
SoD: Why not? The proof is in the pudding, and in case you didn't notice, there is no pudding!
SoH: I'm doing it because I have faith.
And thus the conversation would end. The Seed of Doubt, of course, could not ever counter my trump card: faith. I didn't need another reason, and that was a comforting thought. More comforting was the statement that "faith that is proven is useless". It was somewhat childish, but it prevented me from needing any sort of proof. And that was very, very comforting.
For a while, though, I began to look into alternatives to Druidry that I had not explored before I decided to embark on this path. One of the key religions that kept turning up when I had these thoughts was Catholicism. I had spent a full summer attending Mass in St. Peter's Cathedral in the Loop in Chicago in 1997, and had really enjoyed it. Druidry seemed similar to me, and I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could replace it with Catholicism.
But then I woke up one morning and wrote this little peace, and every so often, when my faith faltered, I would read this bit and remember why I was a Druid, not a Catholic or a Jew or a Moslem or a Protestant or any number of other religions. I was, perhaps, more attached to magic than I am now: it was central to my life, and now it sits at the outskirts, replaced with love and devotion to the Gods. But then, it was a powerful and wonderful thing to me.
So here were my thoughts that one day, the ones that then sustained me through the rest of that questioning time:
Why Not Catholicism?
Because I can't leave the Magic!
Maybe it's the Magic I truly love.
I pray it isn't.
My loves are simple now: Gods, Tina, Magic.
Any more complex is dangerous.
Or maybe I'm the danger?
Magic is not compatable with catholicism.
My Gods are.
Christ is a good Idea . . . But not for me.---
I can see the darkness.
My light shows the way.---
Worrying about evil gets us nowhere.
Doing something about it might kill us, but that's somewhere.