Tuesday, May 17th 2005 was a beautiful day.
I invited Mom go to my first class of witch school with me, so she could get any questions she may have had answered- have any myths she's heard dispelled. To sweeten the deal I said we should go to the beach as well, because Clearwater is known for it's beautiful beaches, and that just happened to be where my class was going to be held. Much to Mom's surprise I awoke early so we could start our day. By the time we got across the bridge to Clearwater we were starving and started scouting out possible places to nosh. The most promising prospect for our wallets and tummies was Shells, a new one, on the water with a view of the bay. Shells is a chain down here in the south and depending on where you go usually affects your dining experiences. This was the nicest and biggest Shells I have ever been to and the food was beyond amazing. We weren't thrilled about having to go to the beach with full stomachs, but opted to eat first to try and give the rain time to do it's thing (you see, it was raining on the way over).
After only a few minutes of being lost I guided Mom to the beach that Dawna and I had visited a couple weeks prior. I was amazed at how easy it was to find. By the time we got to the beach there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I knew there wouldn't be. Even driving through the rain and seeing the clouds, I knew that there would be none at the beach, today was too special for that. The little spot of beach we go to in Clearwater is somewhat off the beaten track and that is one of the reasons I love it so much. I've only been twice, but each time I have gone the beach has been peaceful without large loud crowds. Tuesday was no exception. Mom was so impressed she considered looking for a beach-house in the area to rent.
When Mom goes to the beach she usually spends most of her time sunning on the sand and watching over the children like a protective seal mother. If the waves are good she'll get in and body surf or just float and let the current take her. Whenever I go to the beach I'll sun for a little bit, but most of my time is spent in the salty and cool embrace of the sea. Being in the ocean is what I go to the beach for. A tan is nice, but secondary on my aqua-agenda.
I talk with the God and Goddess a lot in my head. I ask them to bless and protect me, and look out for my loved ones. I ask for guidance and insight. I thank them for these blessings and pray that I do well to honor them. I don't really pray out-loud, because I really feel there is no need to do so.
Wikipedia defines a religious experience, or sacred experience, as an experience where the believer comes in contact with transcendental reality. Habel defines religious experiences as the structured way in which a believer enters into a relationship with, or gains an awareness of, the sacred within the context of a particular religious tradition (Habel, O'Donoghue and Maddox: 1993).
After sharing some choice herbs with Mom, I left her basking in the rays of the sun and returned back to my watery lover. My senses were alive and finely tuned. I looked down into the shallows and watched tiny fish swim with and against the current. Without my glasses they were a blur of shape and color, but I could make them out well. Before long the water came up to my knees, then my thighs, then my chest, and in no time I was covered to the neck just touching the bottom with my tip-toes. In my mind I thanked the God and Goddess for blessing us with such a beautiful day to enjoy. I let them know how good I have felt and how right everything seemed to be since I have made my choice and set my feet on the Pagan Path.
I closed my eyes and pictured the Goddess, illuminated from behind by the shine of the God. I opened them and looked around, in my mind praying for some sort of sign, some proof that the Goddess and the God where here with me now, and they loved me. I asked for a ray to skirt by, a flying fish to cruise over a wave, or even, most unlikely, a dolphin to leap forth in my line of vision. Within less than a minute, about two feet in front of me a fish jumped up with a splash. The biggest smile came onto my face and I couldn't stop laughing. Not only had Mother Ocean heard me, but let me know she was there! I know what you are thinking what is so out of the ordinary about fish jumping in the ocean? I have visited this beach before and I have never seen fish jumping around. I have barely seen any sea-life at all. When I told Dawna about this, she thought it most peculiar, because she had never seen anything like that out there either. While I was in the water I saw no less than five more fish jump around me. I was humbled and felt so blessed. I felt like this was my initiation. I was (and am) the Sea's chosen and must do what I can to please her. Always stay close to her. My head had still not been wet because I was just floating above the water. I didn't have any goggles, so I wasn't diving beneath the water. In my mind I asked if I should cover my crown with the sea's grace and thus finish this private ceremony. Another fish jumped and I went under, rising up with a great smile and bright glow from within.
The salty brine runs through my veins. I am the Sea's and She loves me.
Witch School went very well. I was surprised that I was the very youngest in the group. I was really expecting folks about my age, but Pagans come in all shapes, all sizes, and all ages. I got to participate in my first circle, which was exciting. We did a group "Om" which was intese, and then did a "grounding" excercise. For grounding we imaged a white ball of light that was floating above us, and then that ball gave a thread which we slowly ran through our body, out our feet, and to the core of the Earth. Once there, the string brings back another of the color gold, from the Earth's core and this we bring up through our feet and up to our heart before sharing it desoil with the rest of the circle. I can't wait until next Tuesday's class, it,s on setting up the alter and consecrating the tools. We can bring in our own, so it will be a little like show-and-tell.