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manimatr0n says:

I was raised Presbyterian and went to a small school run by the Episcopal church, so even living out in West Texas I was never really immersed in the Bible Belt culture of Baptists, Pentecostals, and other evangelical/charismatic churches. It also helps that at my Episcopal school, there were more than a few Catholic, Hindu, and Muslim kids in those classes, so from an early age I was exposed to people of other faiths who did not at all act they way your run of the mill charismatic preacher says the "unsaved" acts. And my mother and her parents are/were teachers, so questioning and seeking knowledge has always been a core family value.

  And even being raised Christian, I also have an extremely strong history of liturgical Protestants, Quakers, and French Huguenots on the ol' family tree (thanks to years of dedicated genealogical work done by my maternal grandmother when she retired the first time). And my maternal grandfather, when he was in his teens and early 20s, would more or less convert to whatever his current girlfriend was at the time. His dog-tag even has a stamp-out from M for Methodist to C for Catholic (which itself involves a long but hilarious story about him finagling a favor from a guy he knew in the local diocese).

  The tl;dr on my family religious history is a lot of easygoing liturgical protestants and my grandfather (who was instrumental as an authority figure for my sister and myself through our parents' divorce) really considering a church, really any church, as nothing more than set dressing. The religious motto of my family has always been about placing private faith and family above any structure, building or dogma.

  Now, flash forward to me in high school: I've quit going to church because we tried attending a local Baptist joint for about 6 months and I left after getting into an argument with a Sunday School teacher fed up with me telling the class about how Catholics aren't Satanists and radiometric dating isn't a scam. My very best friend, who I've known for years, is Hindu, and invites me every year to the local Diwali celebration. And I attend a Hindu Puja with him and his family, and he and they are always more than gracious to field the prying religious questions from his nosy friend over the years. And instead of leading me to Hinduism, it led me to a greater era of questioning and seeking, which I think was their goal. Not conversion, but just understanding.

  I've always had a thing for languages, taking French, Spanish, Russian and Uzbek classes either in high school or college, and I realized (like so many do) that after 2000 years, the bible as we learn it now probably isn't excessively accurate. So my first goal was to become as honest a Christian as possible, dabbling in some odd beliefs that never sat right with me. Then, because I'd also loved mythology, spent some time online wondering if people still believed in the old Greek gods, since so much was written down there might still be some around. That opened my eyes to reconstructive paganism around 2004-2005 or so.

  With that new knowledge, in secret I'd decided after a ton of reading, that if I was going to believe in, venerate, and pray to any god that had hung from a tree in self-sacrifice to help mankind, it would be Odin, the one who did it for nine days instead of 6 hours, and walked away from it. But I never made any attempts to reach out to local Heathen or Asatru groups either in person or online because the footing I had then was still fairly unstable, in my mind. And for a number of years, from about 2007-2013, I told people, and they thought, that I was Quaker, because there's a local Friends group out here, and as mentioned above, it runs in the family. And saying Quaker kind of raises an eyebrow, but most evangelical/charismatic Christians are weirded out enough by hearing Quakers still exist they stop asking questions, hahaha.

  As a funny side note, a memorable, actual quote from an ex that I had been pretty serious with in 2008-2009, after seeing a post I made in a private Facebook group that she belonged to when I got into an (idiotic) fight online about politics, is offered here context-free: "You know, I'd have liked to have found out my boyfriend was a bisexual viking from him instead of reading it on Facebook at 3 AM!"

  So now, after worshipping, but not feeling entirely right with, Odin as a solitary god, I realized that I couldn't just half-ass the paganism thing, especially since I truly believe Odin is real and deserves more than just solo worship from a confused dork. I spent more time reading up on various pantheons, and then had a series of UPG dreams in which (I believe) I was visited by Belatucadros, calling me home. And the more I looked into the Insular Celt pantheons, especially the Scots/Caledonians, the more sense they made to me, and my worldview.

  And now I'm carving an altar out of a tree stump I found, and my wife, who can best be described as an eclectic wiccan/solitary witch, had this gem when I told her about my dreams after I'd been having them for a solid 2 weeks: "It's about time you came to terms with it. I've been waiting for you to realize you're a polytheist since we got married, you nerd."






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