Another Pagan Blog
I hated learning how to read. I struggled and fought against it as long as I could. Reading meant sitting down with a book in hand, and who wanted to do that when the sun was shining outside and there were so many fun games to play. It was probably because of this that my mom always thought (and in later years I'm inclined to agree) that I'm a tad ADD.
But the older I got the more of a refuge my books became. In them I was able to escape the mundane, the complete ordinaryness of the world around me. So when I found two books with the feel of a fairy-tale but with something more...something fantastical, I fell in love.
I don't remember which of the two books was first. I do remember my first encounter with each of them.
The first was a series of books. The Chronicles of Narnia. Particularly the first book, "The Magician's Nephew" was the one that really struck a cord in my starved soul. Imagine, slipping on a ring and being transported to another world. Nevermind the depravity of a man expirementing on his own nephew and another young girl. I wanted to change places with those kids, to be able to walk the halls of a dieing world, wondering what it would feel like to have a sun beating down on me with the strength of ten suns, feeling my skin burn but knowing that I was somewhere Else, somewhere that was not, (as I would come to call it in High School) Mundane Earth. And then there was Narnia. A New World. A world that anything planted would grow, be it a seed or a light-post.
Magic called my name, and it spoke with a Lion's roar.
And the best part was, I couldn't get in trouble for falling in love with this series, for wanting to go back and read it again and again. It was a Biblical Analogy written by one of the most prominent Christian writers of his time.
The first time I stepped into Narnia was in my first experience with a school outside of Homeschooling.
My mom had started a job at the public library, and couldn't homeschool anymore. Some friends of ours owned a private school. It was a very small Christian school, just one step up from the old schools where every age of student would be taught by one teacher. In this school there was four or five grades taught by one teacher, and a T.A. once in awhile. We were given assignments and expected to sit quietly and work on them on our own. If we had questions we could ask, but the teacher rarely addressed the class as a whole.
After lunch was typically agonizing. After lunch was when the teacher would read to the whole class. I hated this because I've always had a problem following what someone else is saying if all they're doing is reading out of a book.
But I was lucky in the second semester. The books were of Narnia. And not only did they open a new world for my imagination, but they opened a new world for me spiritually. One I wasn't entirely aware of at the time, nor would I become aware of it for another 5 or 6 years.

The other book I discovered at the library. I've known the children's librarian there since my mom had worked there, in about sixth grade. She recommended a few books for me, which I take home, and get into reading. One of these I read in about a day, the first kind of book that I've read that I can't put down. (Not Harry Potter, that came out the following year). It's a book called Moorchild, about a changeling who grows up with human parents convinced she herself is human, except she never really fits in. Once she reaches 12 she starts to remember and to see the wee folk again. Basically it's a coming of age novel, but with fae instead of a person. It was a fantastic book, and stuck with me for-ever-after. For the first time I started to doubt the convictions that had been drilled into me that there was only one world, one direction. I began to think, in a fashion, like a Changeling.

Until next week I am Tasho WolfSpark. An ex-born again, bisexual, pagan!
So I wanted to make a brief announcement, even though it is out of colet me make a little announcement about the present day.
Next Sunday, Feb the 6th, my friends Wolf, Songbird, and I will be completing our Year and a Day and celebrating our "initiation."
I'm still not really sure what this means for me. For Wolf it's a sort of Priesthood. And the ceremony seems to be largely celebrating him anyway...but for me...for me it's just the first day of the rest of my years and years of learning.
For us initiates, in our group, the Year and a Day was supposed to be about learning, plain and simple. There's nothing regimental about our makeshift "coven" so it wasn't the typical Year and a Day by a long shot.
I learned a lot in my Year and a Day. But looking back on it, it wasn't anymore than I would've learned anyway. I think about it and I realize I didn't do anything special in my Year and a Day, or anything significant to make it stand out from any other year. Some pretty special things happened to me, but it wasn't because of anything that I did. Because I'm already learning. And I will always be learning. Just like in every other aspect of my life, there is no ultimate, no time when I will ever be done. I will continue to move forward, to study, and to learn.
So in a way, I don't really feel like my Year and a Day is over...because it never really had a set start, and it will certainly never have a set ending.
So next Sunday, Feb the 6th I will attend a bar-b-que in a park that will commemorate my choice to continue to learn about what it is to be a Pagan, a daughter of Cerridwen and a niece of Lugh.
Sorry for that long precursor to my birth much less my story, but to understand what kind of a family I come from one should know where my family is coming from. 
I grew up in a homeschooled house, my oldest sister L went to a public school, but until Jr. High my middle sister J and I both were homeschooled. Our textbooks were from a Christian provider, and taught us things about how Pocahontas was lucky because we brought her to God, and we learned our Language Arts lessons with Biblical scriptures. 
The first public activity, outside of Church that I was exposed to was a Bible Study type group called AWANA, a country-wide organization that separates children into their school grades and gives them books with verses in them to be memories, readings to study with questions to answer. There was a portion of the evening when a Leader would give the kids a Bible lesson, a portion where the kids would repeat their memorized verses to their Leaders, and a portion of games. I started in the Preschool grade and went all the way through the High School grades, memorizing over 1000 Bible verses. (Possibly more, what with 69 verses in the first three years alone, and 150 in the following four years.)
I was and still am very proud of my achievements in AWANA. Not every pagan can say they have a grasp of the Bible, much less have so many verses logged in random areas of their brainmatters. And aside from the verses I have memorized I was also to become familiar with many aspects of the Bible through church, and personal reading. While I have not read the entire Old and New Testament cover to cover I have read many of the books within start to finish. I have a pretty good grasp of my Biblical knowledge, and still keep a Bible on my bookshelf, in part to remind me of my start, and in part so I can pull it out whenever a Christian decides to challenge my learning.

I spent a lot of time searching for Faith between the leather covers of a book. But I was to find Faith from a very different book, or rather several books.
In the early years of my life I learned to read from Biblical stories written for children, or from morality stories written with a heavy Christian undertone (Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories for example)(Yes I'm only in my 20s, my parents liked those books). My sisters favorite series was the "Little House on the Prairie" books, by Laura Ingles Wilder, I loved them because the main character was also a little girl named Laura. Again, heavy Christian undertones. By my dad really brought it all together by reading "Little Pilgrim's Progress" which was a child-friendly adaptation of the John Bunyan "Pilgrim's Progress." (It was heavily edited because not even everything in that book was Christian enough). It is an allegorical bildingsroman (coming of age novel) about a young man who battles his vices, carries his cross, and is eventually saved by a "Prince" who shows him the path of safety (but if I remember correctly only shows up after a near-death experience).
But ironically I think it was that book that lead me to seek more books with a fantastical theme. Of course, even in a Christian household as mine fairy tales could not be entirely kept out. My dad was a huge fan of some of the original Walt Disney films, so I grew up with Snow White and Cinderella movies, sometimes those and the Looney Toons on film that we had were the only thing I would ever watch, as my parents couldn't always afford cable. The stories of princesses, and magic, and fairy godparents thrilled me. At the library I would pick up the picture books about the fairy tales. And a little later I would start picking up longer books, always reading the back and if it had a magical tone it was more likely to go in my bag than say, the next Boxcar Children's book. But there are two books in my youth that stand out as the ones that really had my ready to believe in fairies. But neither of them were to come into my life until the year I spent in a very small private school.

Until next week I am Tasho,
An Ex-born again, bi-sexual, pagan.
My parents hail from Washington and Idaho, having spent their youth moving around between the two states. My dad's family was a real country kind of family, they had built their own house when my dad was in middle school or high school, and they had some farmland. My mom's dad was a Protestant pastor, and she was the youngest of three children, with about 7 years between her and her closest-in-age sister. 
They both grew up, went to college and got married. Mom married a quiet athletic guy who fathered her first two daughters. Dad married...well all I really know about Dad's first wife is she was a waitress, and I just found that out recently...Dad's pretty closemouthed about the marriage.
I won't go into to many details about my Mom's divorce, but you should know that it was completely justified. My Mom kept her daughters, my big sisters and became a working single mother. At this point she was living in Washington. Her sister and her sister's husband had started attending a small, non-denominational church that had about 5 or 6 regular families at the time. And my aunt just knew she had to introduce her little sister to the trumpeter in the church. 
My parents courted, and I presume they fell in love, but they still kept their distance from one another. The church where they had met, where they were both now attending, taught that the old laws were not done away with, just because of the existence of the new laws in the New Testament.  The combed the Bible over, aware of the law that if a woman should be divorced from her husband that she may not remarry. My parents went over the laws with a fine toothed comb until they found the law that considered their marriage legal in the eyes of God. I couldn't tell you for sure, but if I remember the story right, I think it had something to do with the fact that he had also been divorced before. They were married in the summer of '86. Almost immediately they packed up the car and moved down to sunny California where Dad already had a job lined up.
I was born almost exactly one year later.