Hello all, I hope you are doing well! I felt like I needed to make a new entry regarding my spiritual path. Although I am a Shintoist and Shinto forms a great deal of my belief system, I have always identified as an eclectic pagan. My path currently consists of Shinto, Wicca and Druidry, though I also have interest in Konko, Buddhism, Taoism and Kemeticism.
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My Path – An Introduction
When I was about 16 years old I became very interested in the paranormal and psychic development through the popularity of TV shows such as Most Haunted. I was particularly interested in the psychic segments of these shows and I soon found myself looking up information online. I remember buying a book titled ‘Be Your Own Psychic’ by Sherron Mayes and god, I loved it.
The idea of opening up psychically was so amazing and I knew I could make my life better from that moment on. I started meditating and began to become a lot more sensitive to energy, as well as have my dreams explode into colour and meaning. Through this, I found Wicca.
A bit wary at first, I tentatively began researching Wicca and what it meant, primarily using the book ‘Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner’ by Scott Cunningham, which is a book that should be on every Wiccans bookshelf! I did a year and a day of study before purchasing my first ritual athame (and promptly having it confiscated by my close-minded step father). In this time I began to build an altar with tools from the internet, of my own creation and from a local pagan shop in Chester (sadly now closed). I began performing simple rituals with my bedroom door closed, including sabbats and esbats as well as simple candle magic. I also learned and began reading tarot, my first ever deck being the Dragon Tarot.
However, being at the age I was, school soon began taking over and my spiritual studies were lost in a flood of exam papers and University plans. I would still light candles and burn incense occasional, but other activities such as meditation were put on hold.
The University Years
I was in University studying Animation from 2004-2007. The first year was very hard emotionally but I did now have the opportunity to be open with my faith and to practice Wicca ‘full time’. At this time I also created a robe from a satin night dress and my own wand – a willow branch topped with an amethyst and carved with runes. I had fun creating other things too: a boline created from a fox jaw bone I had found and a knife blade, some runes created from pebbles as well as various pouches and amulets. I certainly enjoyed this part of the path!
Unfortunately, it just didn’t seem like it was time for me to ‘be’ Pagan at this time. Obviously being in University, I ended up swamped with coursework and my craft ended up on the back burner once again. I did, however, keep an altar and change it with the sabbats. This was something I was previously unable to do because of negativity from my mother and step-dad.
The second year was a lot more relaxed in terms of coursework and I had moved into a student house, instead of the small stuffy dorms I was previously in. I had a designated bedside table on which I kept my altar and even better, one of my housemates was also Wiccan! We enjoyed discussing the Goddess, creatures and other things, and we even held circle outside a few times. It was a good time to be Pagan!
This year I also enrolled on a psychic development course in which I developed a lot rapidly and became absolutely sure that my life path was Paganism. I read tarot more and more too, and gained some more decks as well as collecting some oracle cards. I held ritual in front of my then-girlfriend and became more confident.
The third and final year of University was one which was interesting in my craft. I began to research Shamanism, something I was always drawn to, and then Shinto. Shinto has obviously stuck with me for a long time, I knew of it previously, but I had never really looked into it. I got my information-hungry hands on a very excellent book titled ‘The Fox and The Jewel’ by Karen Symers, and it is still my go-to book on Inari.
Some of the books I got on Shamanism were from a good friend and excellent author, Lupa. The book I got initially was ‘Fang, Fur and Bone’ and this talks about using animal parts (furs, skulls, feathers etc) in order to work with animal totems. I ADORE this book to this day and it speaks about a rather primal way of connecting to Spirit. It spoke to me a lot and I soon began to incorporate neoshamanism into my practices – the beginning of my more eclectic path.
Also at this time I kept a small Inari altar in a corner of my room. I wasn’t too sure on how to worship Inari, but I knew they were calling me and so I made the space and effort. I was gifted some ceramic foxes off of eBay, and my kamidana was born.
After University – The Beginnings of My Kamidana
2008 was were I really began researching Shinto a lot more heavily. I also went back to my roots and started reading about Wicca and witchcraft again. I created a Shinto/Wicca hybrid altar and wrote my own prayers to Inari, as norito were not readily available at that time. I also started researching herbology and began to grow and dry herbs in my bedroom – the smell was wonderful! I also had an altar to Anpu/Anubis, though I do admit I lacked much knowledge about the Egyptian pantheon itself besides some interest in the culture I had as a child.
Finally, one Christmas I received a book I had been after for a while: ‘Shinto: A Book of Prayers’ by Ann Llewelyn Evans. This is a fantastic book which contains Shinto norito in kana, romaji and English, in the Tsubaki Grand Shrine tradition. Included is the ‘Inari Norito’, a norito that I use every time I make offerings to Inari. This is when I believe I really ‘became’ Shinto. And since then, Inari has been my patron.
The Dee Estuary and Druidry
In 2012 I moved to Bagillt, next to the Dee Estuary. Although I had my fair share of troubles living here to do with homo and transphobia, the land itself was beautiful. The estuary was an amazing place full of wildlife and that unforgettable feel of an underlying energy.
It was at this time that Druidry began calling to me. I found out about OBOD (The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids) and signed up to their Bard course. I have still to complete this course due to life getting in the way, but it is something I am studying and getting through slowly. I was amazed to learn about the Mabinogion and Welsh mythology that came from my home country. And for the first time in a long while I was proud to be Welsh. I discovered music from Damh the Bard and it just amplified my feelings of home when being in Wales, and my curiosity to learn about Wales’ history and folklore.
Of course I did not abandon Shinto though – whilst here, I had the space to dedicate the top of my bookshelf to Inari, and finally managed to get a wooden kamidana and ofuda. I really felt as though I had stepped up with my Shinto, and had the kamidana to prove it (of course, you do not need a kamidana to be Shinto, this was more for personal expression). I began to work with Inari much more closely and building a stronger and more personal relationship.
In With The New
And so finally, I moved to Leicestershire thanks to a very good and kind friend. I was able to get out of the bad situation and move to a small town called Wigston. Although I miss the estuary, I enjoy being here. It’s central to many places including Nottingham and Birmingham and Leicester.
I knew that we would move here, having worked so closely with Inari over the past few years. The reason? The symbol of the fox is everywhere here, from the council to the football club. Fox symbols watch me as I walk down the high street, they sell toys of them, mugs of them, not to mention the real foxes we have sighted wandering the streets at night. That’s how I know Inari was responsible for getting us here, and I am endlessly grateful.
Now, I have a full shelf kamidana dedicated to Inari. It is my pride and joy and I love sharing photos of my kamidana for all to see. As well as Inari, I also enshrine Amaterasu-Omikami, Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto and Ryujin in my bedroom. I have begun tarot reading again too and own 11 decks, including 2 oracle decks.
So what am I up to nowadays? I am getting back into my research and studying Wicca and Druidry again. Although I am still primarily Shinto at heart, I am still eclectic and aim to celebrate all the sabbats and esbats this following year. I am doing some online courses and continue to work through the Bardic grade at OBOD. Increasing my occult knowledge is something that is a hobby of mine and I am really enjoying it.
I hope you also enjoy the following images: My kamidana now, September 21st, 2016.
And so, I think I will post here about more personal things again. It seems to have turned into an information blog, but there are already so many great ones out there. I hope to blog about everything pagan-related here, from Wicca to Druidry to Shinto, and dreams to tarot. I’ll update you guys on my life here too and maybe even share my artwork.
I hope you enjoyed reading this entry on my path and what it consists of, and I hope you’ll be back again soon to read more of my rambling!