Hello to everyone who has managed to stumble upon my little piece of wordpress. I wanted to give you a little information about me, what I am, and why I have chosen to veil. I am normally a pretty open book about most things in my life so if there is something else that you would like to know please feel free to drop me a comment asking me!
Firstly a little information about who I am. My name is Ashley I am a 30 year old stay at home mother to two children of my own (a 2 year old and 1 year old boys) as well as my nephews (a 9 year old and a 7 year old). In addition to the kiddos I also live with my husband (we’re coming up on our 8 year anniversary), my sister-in-law, 2 dogs, and the king of the house, my cat. Things can get a little crazy around here since we are all crammed into a 4 bedroom house together!
I was raised by my mother until I was in my early teens, then I was in foster care, and eventually I ended up with my father. Religiously I didn’t grow up with any one religion. When I was around 14 or 15 years old I discovered Paganism. It was the first time a religion clicked with what I believed personally. Up to that point I was learning all that I could about religions in general. I had visited churches, synagogues, temples, and other holy places where I lived. Nothing really seemed to agree with the way I viewed my own spirituality like Paganism did.
I started off as I am sure many who follow this path did. The first book I got my hands on was about Wicca, a branch of Paganism that seemed to, at the time, be the easiest to gather any information on. At this time I was in a boarding school and the severely limited the information that we were allowed to see. There wasn’t even a newspaper allowed on campus in fear that we might get our hands on it and formulate our own opinions on things. I was actually attending this school when 9/11 happened and weren’t allowed to even watch the news or use the internet to learn more about the attacks.
I digress, due to the limited amount of information that I was able to get my hands on I was kind of at the mercy of one of the staff members who would bring me in books about the subject. (This staff member was like a sister to me and I later found out that she, herself, was Pagan.) The books she brought me formed my early practices as a Pagan.
After leaving the school I found a whole new appreciation for the Pagan religion. There were so many different ways to practice and I eventually found that just being an ol’ fashion kitchen witch was a better fit for me than Wicca was. Still it took me many years to actually reach this conclusion. Actually it wasn’t until a few years ago.
Now why am I telling you the story of how I found Paganism? I feel like it lays a ground work for the reason that I veil. In fact, like most people who find themselves drawn to a spiritual way of life, it is THE reason that I do what I do (in this case veil). Without my past, without my religion, without my veil, I am not me.
I found this new way of looking at Paganism about 3 years ago. My entire adult life I had worked. I was in the Army for 7 years. After the Army I went to nursing school in addition to working odd and end jobs like being a hostess and working at GameStop. I never knew what it wasn’t like to be working… or at least not work for a long period of time. I left my last job when I was 9 months pregnant with my first child. That was the start of a downward slope for me and I was NOT prepared for it.
After the birth of my son, I’ll call him H, both my husband and I decided that it would be best for the family if I was a stay at home mom. It had been a dream of mine to be there for my children as much as I could be. It seemed like this was the way to go and I was excited for the change.
What I didn’t take into account is how isolating being a stay at home mother can be. Especially when you move as much as my family does and we found ourselves in a new state where I knew no one and I had a 3 month old son that made me feel like I was chained to the house. I suffered from sever postpartum depression, and honestly I failed my husband, my son, and myself by not asking for help. In the end I kind of cracked.
My depression got so bad that I would hear H crying in his swing next to me and the only thing I could do was look at him because I honestly didn’t have the energy to get up and get him. I had started to suffer from optical migraines; a small blessing is that I felt no pain, but instead I would lose sight in one and on rare occasion both of my eyes. My husband finally convinced me to see my doctor and I was placed on meds to help me level out.
There was this period of clearing, this feeling of ‘I can handle this’. and everything was great. We even talked about having another child. And on H’s first birthday we found out that I was pregnant with our second. He was a boy as well, I’ll call him F.
Shortly after the birth of F things suddenly went down hill again. The postpartum was worse that it had been the first time. For months the house fell to the way side as it took everything in my power to take care of my boys. H is hyperactive, all over the place, all boy, loves to climb, yells really loud, and always wants to be on the go. F is a mama’s boy who only wants to be held and loved on all day and all hell breaks loose if he sees me and I don’t pick him up.
I began to pray a lot, I needed help. Sure I was medicated again… I am still medicated now… but I felt like I had lost who I was in the mist of becoming a parent twice over. I felt like I wasn’t myself. I felt like I needed a spiritual intervention. I had fallen out with practicing my religion. I felt disconnected to everything.
As I prayed more often I began to have dreams of a woman wearing a veil. She was beautiful and appeared to be tending to a fire always. She was warm and welcoming. She never spoke to me in words, but rather in flashed of images, parts of my life. She showed me that I am strong, that I am loved, that I have amazing children, and that it was time to try to get up and find some peace in this role that I have found myself in.
Through some more study I found out that the woman I had been seeing was Hestia, the Greek goddess of hearth and home. It seemed fitting that She would be the one that would call out to me when I felt like I was drowning in the daily tasks of household upkeep. She helped me to understand that I was looking at my situation in the wrong way.
Where I was seeing nothing but isolation and depression, there was a chance for me to invite people into my home. I needed to view my daily tasks not a mundane chores that HAD to be done, but a service to my family and an offering to Her. Once I started to see it in that light it was like things clicked and I was able to manage everything so much better. My depression lifted and I was whole and human again.
Hestia has always appeared to me in a veil and I felt a calling to begin veiling in Her honor. She has done so much for me and honestly saved my marriage and more than likely my whole life, that I felt the need to dedicate myself to her. To practice my religion through her. That is not to say that I abandon or forsaken any other Gods of Goddesses, just that she holds a very special place in my heart and my home. She has a dedicated altar that is near my stove. I offer her libations daily, and seek guidance from her more often than not.
My life wouldn’t be as fulfilling as it is now if Hestia had not chosen to show me the way. For that I owe Her so much and covering my hair as She has asked me to do is honestly just a small way that I can than Her.
Well that was a long introduction. Than you those who have stuck around to the end of it all. I hope that we can talk again soon, and don’t forget to comment a let me know if there is anything else that you would like to talk about. Honestly I am not always this long winded…. it all kind of just came out in a flood today!