It was a hot late-October night when the shift started. I sat in a friend’s dorm room, my head on her lap and in tears. I felt lost, alone, and confused. I had just been demoted from the job I had grown to love, and my family were treating less than ideally, which is and will always be the norm, but this time it was worse. It was as if they blamed me for getting demoted and not finding another job quickly enough, for not making the choices with my life that they would have made for me. So, being of the religious/spiritual sort, I had prayed. And prayed. And prayed. I received nothing from the Christian god that I had worshiped for the majority of my life. This also was not abnormal. I had grown very accustomed to the benign neglect I had received from this god. However, this time, when I was at the start of what would become one of my all time lows, I knew something had to change.
So, as I looked up at my friend with teary eyes and a puffy nose, I asked her for the millionth time that night, “What should I do?”
My friend, with her knowledge of me and my struggles with all things, suggested gently that perhaps I should try to find a new deity to worship. She even had one in mind: the Orisha Oshun, the Goddess of beauty, love, and wealth. “What you need most right now is love, and who better to provide it than a Goddess of love. Will you at least try it?” Her honest query was all at once preposterous and enlightening. I had never tried this approach before, and seeing as I had never had any luck with the god I was currently serving, I figured, “what do I have to lose?”
Thus, the start of the shift.
I drove home that night reluctantly, in tears, but having nothing left to lose, in my mind, I called to Oshun and poured my heart out to her for the entirety of the hour and a half it took to get home. I felt a little better, but not completely. I had done my sobbing for the night and my begging, and having been blessed with not crashing my car or having to stop on the side of the road to use the bathroom, I felt a measure of comfort that perhaps Oshun really had listened to me, that for the first time, I really had been heard.
There was guilt. A lot of it. I felt like I was abandoning the iron rod and the course I had so stubbornly fought for, but there was also this sense of being freed from the restraints that my former religion had imposed on me, restraints that I had willingly (at one point) put on myself. There was paranoia that the people around me, my family and my friends, would find out that I had ‘fallen away’ from the Church and became a pagan. But, desperation came and pushed all of these feelings to the back of my mind, strengthening my resolve that I should continue on this new path in hopes that it would finally help me.
It took some time before I fully took on Oshun as my Patron. I do not trust easily, my past having taught me that I could not even trust myself, so I am slow to warm up to anyone or anything new. But, Oshun grew on me, filled me with love. She gave me tasks to start doing everyday that helped start to pull me out of the depressive funk I had fallen in to. Eventually, She asked for an alter, and it was when I gave it to Her, filling what little space I could clear for her with all the pretty things I owned, that I realized that I was never going back. I was never going to be Christian again, and to my surprise, I was very happy with this decision.
After getting comfortable with Mama-Oshun, I felt the pull to look for other Deities. Again, my friend was quick to point out a few Deities that she thought might be appropriate for me, naming off Bastet, Loki, and Baron Samedi as three she thought would help me the most. So, I did my research. I spent days looking all I could on these three Deities and several others. I learned new terms and read many blogs of those who worship the Deities in present times. I was overwhelmed with everything I was learning, from godspousery to discernment, UPG to spirit workers. There was so much to learn and so many thoughts t reshape within my own mind about all of this. It was evident from the very beginning that I was in for a whirlwind of a ride, for better or worse.
With Mama-Oshun by my side, this is how I became a baby pagan, and this is only the beginning of the story.