“Yahweh, I know you are near. Standing always at my side.
You guard me from the foe and lead me in ways everlasting.”
– Lord You Have Searched my Heart by Dan Schutte (communion hymn)
Yes, I was a Catholic at one point in my life… but left before confirmed. I knew Yahweh was not the one for me very early on. My mother likes to tell a story about when I was a toddler living in Hawaii. I almost remember the moment…. my memory can go back far. I came to my mother and told her “Mommy, God is knocking on my heart”. She asked me “So, what are you going to do?” I smiled and replied, “Let Him in”. There was a huge weight that fell on my chest; this I recall because it feels the same way even now.
I was always afraid of this moment coming, after hearing and seeing hippies speaking in tongues at the beach during some religious excursion my rebellious mother took me to. She was trying to run from her roots for a while (and still does), but I think this was the best thing my mother could have ever given me. I had witnessed people being ‘saved’, even traveled to Alaska with a church member without my parents when I was 4… I remember that too: the Anchorage Zoo, playing with kids, no snow was disappointing. The flight was long but the military airlines always took very good care of us kids. Even when I was older and much more skeptical, I reached outside the confines of my Neo-Gothic church built of red bricks. Our tiny town has this church with beautiful spires, flying buttresses, huge stained-glass windows, murals of the twelve apostles on all the ceiling panels with their names in Latin, and the high altar gilded in light, sliver and gold. You would never think a cowboy town in Northern California would have something so wonderful. I really loved the peacefulness of Jesus, the comfort of Mary, and the obscurity of Joseph… but was afraid of Yahweh. The Father God, the highest, creator and destroyer of the Universe on a whim. The Old testament was always rallied about in these other churches I visited with friends or paternal family members (Jehovah’s Witness, Pentecostal, Southern Baptist).
The problem was in realizing these were two different Gods. Almost like my own Father, Yahweh was firm in His love and very much a disciplinarian. Mom was the softness of Mary, but the purity and wholesomeness of Her is something every Catholic girl tries and fails at attaining. I asked the wrong questions, unsatisfied with answers: If God loves us so much, why does He keep destroying the world and His children? Why is ‘original sin’ all Eve’s fault? Why can we pray to saints and Jesus with it not being considered a broken commandment? After leaving home for college, I got my answers as I delved deeply into Religious Studies and doubled with Humanities, trying to answer these riddles. It never did make sense except that I wanted nothing to do with the lot of them.
Yahweh still knocks at my door, over and over, especially during the Christmas season. The Ancestors egg Him on, my blood screams to talk with Angels of the Highest Orders, but for reasons not fully understood I have taken control of these urges. It has been especially apparent since I have begun a regular routine of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (LBRP). Last year my experiments with Thelema, Crowley and Magick began with doing this most basic, and effective, ritual. At first I really fought the urge to stop, as the uncomfortable feelings surrounding the names of God from the Judeo-Christian lineage played with the childhood memories of the wrathful Jehovah. So many people come to witchcraft and Pagan religions with the Christian baggage they claim wanting to leave behind. Instead they intend on pigeon-holing mysticism and occult teachings into a religious organization comparable to the very ideologies they ‘left behind’. After doing the prayers backwards, know that the past is dead. (Our Father).
After weeks of daily LBRP, I meditated on the Archangels I was invoking to surround me. I wondered, how could I sense them when I didn’t believe? Re-examining this, I considered they were more like Buddhas: a strong presence there of intent. I had also been intoning the name of my Goddess, Hekate, at my heart in the beginning and end (instead of Crowley’s Aiwass) of each ritual. For me, no other presence was allowed to stay without Hekate’s permission, as She is the sentinel in all my workings and devotions these several years. With Her in my center, as the middle pillar I become Her axis mundi… Yahweh has no place here. His Angels, Saints, Prophets, Worshipers are all held in the same esteem as any religious person or entity I encounter; with caution and from a distance. With Hekate, I was able to face my fears of Yahweh and be firm in my choices with whom I share sacred space with.
There comes a point in our paths when we can make a choice in whom to serve. We have free will, no matter what our beliefs concerning destiny or pre-destination are in our personal philosophy. We are always given the decision of accepting friendship with a person, so why not a God? I don’t invite the Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons into my home, and so I “just say no” to Yahweh as well.