A lot of times when an adolescent rebels against their parents, they may start dabbling with pagany stuff like Wicca and witchcraft, tarot cards, and the like. Me? I dabbled in Christianity when I reached my “I’m going to be my own person and make my own decisions” phase. I wasn’t raised in a Christian household, so when I was exposed to it, I was fascinated by the ritual of it all. Very little about it made the slightest bit of sense to me, and parts of it were downright terrifying and badass and prime pickings for a revolt against parental influence. Transubstantiation? Fuck yeah, I’m down for cannibalism! Angsty little thirteen-year-old goth me was stoked.
I was raised heathen-lite. Father was first generation Norwegian, and my grandfather didn’t want his children baptized, even though his mother insisted lest people think they were damn dirty heathens. “But we are!” was his response as it was told to me. My father loathed Christianity and didn’t actively practice any religion, but he believed in Valhalla and wore a valknut. He told me that when Mom and I left, he started wearing Mjolnir instead, and the last time I saw him, back in 2004, he showed me his valknut and hammer pendants. My mom isn’t Scandinavian, but she loves mythology and made sure I was educated in Nordic lore. Our barracks were decorated with a lot of things we got during our trips to my grandfather’s homeland, a lot of animal pelts and troll stuff. I played with antique Viking swords that were bigger than my little bitty self. I grew up knowing the gods, even if I was too young to really understand the scope of their presence and influence.
When my mom and I came back to the States, she sent me to Catholic school for 2 reasons: the quality of the education was better than what the local public school district offered, and she wanted me to learn about Christianity and Judaism and major religions since they influenced so much of society and she knew I needed to be able to understand other people. I was 10 years old, and I had NO IDEA what Christianity was – I honestly, genuinely thought “Jesus Christ” was a swear word because my parents would utter that when they were angry or frustrated, and I’d get yelled at if I said it. So just imagine how fucking weird my first day of Catholic school was for me, sitting in homeroom staring at an excruciatingly detailed, bloody crucifix while the principal cursed at us over the loudspeaker during morning prayer. That was neat. I ended up in the monsignor’s office that morning to get a crash course in Christianity so I wouldn’t have a nervous breakdown by the time we said prayer before lunch.