Ashley Nicole Hunter

Editor, Author, Priestess

Being Authentic

Free-spirit-and-authentic-to-be-yourselfBeing public about my religious beliefs and sharing them in such an open manner has been a source of anxiety for me. Not because I feel as if what I’m saying is wrong, but because I wonder if I’m the right person to be saying it. I worry that what I feel is a good and fulfilling path may not be adequately expressed or favorably received, coming as it does from a plump white woman in her late 20’s with no children and a career goal that simply states “write”. I also get embarrassed very easily and have trouble hiding it, tending to blush an unattractive mottled pink when doing so. And yet? I feel like this is important. I feel like I have to be true, be authentic. I feel like sharing this is “what I’m supposed to do”.

Venacia isn’t something that happened overnight for me, or because I got angry at the faith I was raised in. In actuality I found my way to it because I was searching for God. I felt that the way my church presented Him was too limiting and rigid for a being that was supposed to be mostly beyond our comprehension. It seemed to make the most sense to me that in order to know and grow closer to God you had to spend time getting to know His creation, so I went looking for Him in the people and places around me. It wasn’t long before I discovered His wife, the Goddess, and all the myriad of Deities that I’d known since infancy from stories but never really known…and from there things began clicking rapidly into place. It felt like following a trail of breadcrumbs to find my way home.

Over the years I’ve been fortunate to have understanding friends that I could talk to about the things I was discovering and feeling. Many of these friends were Christians who, although not of the same views, still supported my spiritual quest and offered understanding. This has been all the more remarkable because though I feel we share a common God, I view Venacia as being a decidedly Pagan faith. The Pagans friends I have met, especially in recent years, have also been largely supportive of my beliefs and ideas concerning the formation of Venacia. Talking about belief amongst friends, however, is different from sharing them with strangers, especially in an exposed setting like the internet.

I can only trust that, scary and embarrassing and uncomfortable as this is…something beautiful and wonderful will come from it. I have faith.

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"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination."

***Oscar Wilde

“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it's always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.”

***Neil Gaiman

“Stand at the crossroads if you will, but if you'll not choose, I'll move on without you.”

***Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel's Dart

"The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery."

***Anais Nin

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