I was a Lutheran (Christian) for the first 18 years of my life. Basically that meant that I paid my church tax from every salary I got, but I really didn’t go to the church every Sunday – luckily I would go once every several years, and usually those times were funerals (and sometimes weddings or christenings). So one could say that I wasn’t a religious person, but…
When I was in high school my religious studies (yeah, we had that subject) teacher sat me down after class and we had a long discussion about supernatural things, including ghosts and things like that, and she warned me to steer away from those things – especially if I wanted to become a priest. I still don’t understand why she mentioned that as I knew already then that I wasn’t exactly like the other guys in the class. Besides I felt like there was more in the world than being a priest.
When I was 18, I went to the local church office and told the clerk I wanted to not be a Christian anymore. She went to get a priest and I had a long talk about my reasons. He was very accommodating and understood why I needed to break away. Funny thing is that, even after 21 years, I remember him and his words: “You’ll come back if God leads you back”.
So I became a pagan. I read a lot about Wicca and was a solitary witch. At the time I was living in a flat that was haunted, in a bad way. That was when I tried my first warding and it seemed to work. Learning few things the hard way and some others in easier way, it made me realise that to understand the world, one needs to look at things from many different angles before acting out. Having good intentions and using them as a reason to meddle in people’s lives is not always a good thing. “These words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: As ye harm none, do as ye will.” If you take a look at the last lines of the Rede, it may look simple, but it is not. It was the hardest lesson to learn during the next 18 years of my life.
In 2011 things happened, that I have now come to understand that were meant to happen. It wasn’t a good year and it ended by me moving to Estonia in September. It was necessary and a good thing, and lead to a string of events that still give me goosebumps.
I had been talking to my hubby about the necessity for him to eat halal (him being a Muslim) and he said that he didn’t know any place in Tallinn where to get halal meat. And then my Mother came to visit and wanted a manicure. From the Internet we found a place and there we went. She stayed at the salon and we walked to a nearby mall. And there was a halal butcher.
Few visits later we met a man there, and got introduced to him by the butcher. Before long, he invited my hubby (and me, who politely said “thank you” and decided not to go) to the masjid. Apparently this man was the mufti of Estonia. Funny thing is that we never saw him again at the butcher’s..
My hubby went a few times to the masjid and always asked me to join him, but I refused – being a practising pagan I didn’t want to go to some church-like place where people would start to preach to me. That wasn’t my cup of tea, I had had enough trouble with the Jehova’s Witnesses before.
It was a Friday morning in February. I had come home from work and decided to wash the sauna. And all of the sudden, standing there, sweaty in the half-washed sauna, I just knew I had to go there, to the masjid. It was like a mental slap, like someone or something inside said “wake up idiot, this is where you need to be!”
I didn’t make it to the masjid then, but the next day I went to see the place. I was worried that people would ask questions and try to offer me things to read about everything. But no, they were polite and courteous. I got tea and wi-fi connection whilst they prayed. I was offered a chance to come to the prayer hall to see the prayers, but I declined – even though at that time I already knew what I must do.
Next Friday, I donned my “Sunday clothes” and went to the masjid. After participating to my first Friday prayers I walked to the mufti and said my Shahadah. I was so nervous.
Strangely, as the words tumbled out from my mouth, there was stillness and calmness inside me. It felt like I came home, like something that I had been missing, was there now.
I believe that everything happens for a reason. Had things not happened in 2011 I wouldn’t have been in Tallinn, when we met the mufti for the first time, I wouldn’t have been washing the sauna when I got a mental slap, and I wouldn’t have said my Shahadah.
In a way the priest that I talked to when I was 18 was right; I would come back to God when I was ready. I had to go away for 18 years to gain understanding, that kind of understanding that I wish many world leaders in modern world had.