It’s not a new story. I’m sure. I was brought up in Lincolnshire in a vaguely Christian context and for much of my childhood I didn’t question anything. We went to church (C of E) at Christmas for the Christingle service, went to Methodist Sunday School and generally stuck to family tradition, It was normal, at least at my primary school, to go to church or chapel and the school had some sort of arrangement with the local churches . As with every other school child in England and Wales we had daily religious elements in the school assembly. I can still recite the Lord’s Prayer and correct the ‘modern’ version, which I have an aversion to. It looked as if I’d potter through life vaguely Anglican, just like everyone else in my family.
Life sometimes throws snowballs at you. Some sting but shatter in to harmless fluff. Some hurt and leave lasting bruises – the ones made of compacted ice. My snowballs? My grandparents died when I was on the cusp of puberty, it messed up my family and turned upside down every stable element in my life. For four years I found a new stability, the church I’d been brought up in and had sporadically attended as a child. For four years I was a regular, involved in church and community events.
The initial sting wore off but the bruises remained, and I slowly pulled back and started to disagree with the church, its theology and actions, past and present. I won’t deny it, I was influenced by a series of novels by Bernard Cornwall about King Arthur. I started to really look at the history of Christianity and became appalled. At the time I was also beginning my lifelong love affair with mythology and fantasy fiction; many fantasy books have a vaguely pagan religious atmosphere, where any religion is mentioned. I was a dedicated atheist for a while. Something in my reading of various mythology books and fantasy novels must have influenced me because by the time I left for university in 2001 I was reading basic pagan books, introductions to Wicca, that sort of thing.
And it went from there. Fourteen years later I have a personal practice that has a Northern European flavour about it, having found a couple of Asatruar books in a charity shop while at University and then going back to my old fascination with history and mythology. I found much of Asatru as I read about it in the various books I acquired and early blogs and websites I read, to be a bit formulaic and irrelevant to my circumstances (I live in temperate Lincolnshire not Arctic Iceland, we have our own mythology and traditions etc.)
But it did help me find the Gods, and formed the early foundations for my current practice.