I am a 29 year old Software Engineer with a firm background in applied mathematics. After being raised as an Episcopalian (with five years of Roman Catholic education and religion classes on top of that) I converted to a variation of Solitary Wicca in 1998. I mostly treated this as an abstract theoretical framework, and viewed magic as a psychological framework. To quote Aleister Crowley in his Initiated Interpretation of Ceremonial Magic: 'The spirits of the Goetia are portions of the human brain.' He goes on to say:
If, then, I say, with Solomon:
"The Spirit Cimieries teaches logic," what I mean is:
"Those portions of my brain which subserve the logical faculty may be stimulated and developed by following out the processes called 'The Invocation of Cimieries.'"
And this is a purely materialistic rational statement; it is independent of any objective hierarchy at all. Philosophy has nothing to say; and Science can only suspend judgment, pending a proper and methodical investigation of the facts alleged.
I practiced with a friend of mine, and we had some interesting--and some rather powerful--experiences, but nothing I considered definitive at the time. Then, while i was home visiting my parents in New Orleans, I saw something glowing. It was hovering about a foot off of the wall, and there was no mistaking it for a trick of light. I slept in the next room and, the next day, wrote an email to a friend of mine who I knew was very experienced with these kinds of things. She checked in remotely, explained that it was probably a house boullie--a kind of benign entity--and the mere fact of being able to name and identify it was very comforting. I asked her to teach me.
After that she brought on other students and we formed a small teaching coven that was separate from her primary Celtic Trad coven. We had Celtic Trad members, a Wiccan, a shamanic practitioner, a student of Christian Mysticism, and one other individual of uncertain leanings in our mix. I learned a great deal with them, and started what would turn into a very longstanding relationship with Coyote and Grandfather Raven. Toward the end of my work with them, I started to be drawn more into the Norse worldview, and was practicing something along the lines of Norse Wicca.
Then I moved away. From there I continued my study, taking Daven's High Magic course, but for the most part started to fade.
Then after Katrina They stepped in and helped me out of a bad situation, and so I pledged myself and so at their request began moving farther into the Northern Tradition Paganism and Ásatrú. I found that whatever it was I was looking for was not in Ásatrú proper, but I didn't have a term for it yet. They wanted me to do something, but I had trouble ascertaining exactly where they wanted that path to lead.
So after about a year, when I had managed to settle down into a better living situation, I talked with a friend of mine about it and she indicated that one of her friends was on that path and was starting to look for students. Thus formed the group I have been training with ever since. In this time my relationship and signal clarity have both improved, and I believe that I am a better person for it.
That is a rough outline of how I got to the path I am on now. I am now training in Northern Tradition Spirit Work and am a follower of Odin, though I have developed relationships with many others along the way. My focus at the moment is on Shamanic States of Consciousness, on Faring Forth, and on other things along those lines, though I know the time for me to study galdr is coming up...
In Their Service.