I grew up Catholic, it was the only religion that I knew even existed for a long time. See, I went to Catholic school for most of elementary, middle school and two years of high school. I also grew up in the eighties in Denver. Not much to say for diversity, we had (in order of majority) Whites, Latinos, and Blacks. Things are a lot different here now, different all over the U.S., I am sure.
I was the kid that all the teachers loved, except in religion class. I always seemed to ask the questions that irked and unnerved the nuns and teachers. There were things that just didn't make sense to me, and I wanted an explanation. Why weren't there any female priests? What happened to people who never heard of Jesus, and therefore couldn't accept him as their Lord and Savior? Were they all going to hell for their ignorance? How do we really know Mary was a virgin? Maybe she just didn't want to tell the truth cuz she knew they would stone her. Did God really make the whole world in seven days?
The questions went on and on.
I received feeble answers that did nothing to satisfy my need for understanding. Blind faith eluded me. I continued to make an effort to follow the commandments, went to church, and prayed to the loving, yet fearful God who lived somewhere out there.
Imagine my shock, at the tender age of 19, when I discovered the Goddess."The WHAT??" I asked myself, as I pulled the heavy volume from the shelf at the library. I had just moved to San Diego with a couple of girlfriends a few weeks prior, freshly out from under the thumb of my religious community in Denver. It was a day I will never forget, etched clearly in my mind. I found myself meandering among the isles, looking for feminine images for some drawings I was working on, and there she was, a female God who predated my God.
I hurriedly gathered as many books on the subject that I could carry. Over the next few weeks I poured through them, absorbing ancient lore about this Goddess. The Earth Goddess.
I learned that the pagans, that are looked upon so poorly by Catholics, were the followers of the Goddess, and that the word witch meant wise woman. So much.
I then began reading books about other religions, there were so many belief systems out there. Ancient belief systems, and I knew in my heart that a loving God wouldn't condemn someone for their beliefs.
I was mad at the Catholic God, and Jesus too, for awhile. I felt like I had been tricked.
Then sometinhg real beautiful happened, I started to realize that God was in me, not out there.
That everything was God, and that the word God didn't even cover it. Life, all life animate/inanimate, seen/unseen, was divine.