My mind has been wandering an awful lot the past few days, but luckily I have had my little brothers around to distract me. I love them… each of them are vastly different from one another, yet so similar to me. They both take care of me when my brain is unwell… and unfortunately my battle with manic depression coupled with my contempt of my living situation, I need all of the care I can get from them. In efforts to get me out of the house and smiling, they both took turns taking me to my favorite sandwich shop and walking me around my favorite parts of town, stopping for coffee here and there.
Yesterday, while we were out walking, one of my brother’s stopped dead in his tracks and said, “D, I gotta ask you something. Are you doing paganism?”
The question startled me for two reasons. The first, he phrased it as if he were an old man accusing me of smoking “the wacky weeds,” which I found quite humorous. The second, it never really dawned on me before that I have never had this conversation with my family. It wasn’t that I was actually hiding it from them, but I guess I wasn’t telling them. They knew about my massive crystal and herb collection, I wear “pagan” themed jewelry often and visibly, I have a Buddha altar that I keep in plain site… But I have never actually said, “Hey, I’m a pagan,” much less told them I identified as a witch.
Knowing that my brother (who is very Christian and has a mild form of autism) would more than likely have a hard time processing the truth, opted for a milder version of it. “Well, I can certainly identify with many aspects of paganism, but you don’t need to worry about me… I have a great relationship with God.”
I guess I don’t need to throw in that I also have a great relationship with the Goddess as well… at least not right now. He seemed to accept my answer and changed the subject.
As small as the interaction was, it made me thing about my path and how I came to be where I am now. So, if you are at all interested, this is my story.
As long as I can remember, even as a young child, I would tell everyone that I was a witch. I don’t know why I felt I needed everyone to know or how I came to the conclusion that I was a witch… It was just something I felt in me. I would practice “casting spells” or “making potions” as a part of playground fun, which I’m sure was somewhat distressing to my very religious preschool teachers. My teachers were, thankfully, kind enough to look past the odd behavior and accept it as imaginative play. However, I would often get scolded for saying so because my father felt it was “the devil in me,” so I eventually stopped… but I never really quit believing it.
I grew up in a strong Southern Baptist family, and for a long time I really liked going to church. I had always accepted that there was a God and that he had sent his only son to save us… I accepted that Eve was created from Adam’s rib. I accepted it all as the truth… and did so until I was about 12 or 13. One day, after hearing a lesson on the importance of marriage and how man and women were meant to be together, I decided that God must have a wife as well… It can’t just be him up there. The following Sunday I shared my thoughts with the class… My teacher was not amused and informed me that that is NOT how the bible goes and that I was to sit down and be quiet, that I was wrong. The Sunday after that, we were taught that all people who are in same sex relationships were evil and would burn in hell. That didn’t sit well in my mind, so I raised my hand and asked, “If gay people are evil, then why does god still create gay people? No one chooses to be gay, right?” Again, I was told to sit down and be quiet.
The older I got, the more I lost my connection to the church. My heart told me that there was something out there, someone who created and looks after us, but I wasn’t so sure it was just one big man upstairs. I was lost, and didn’t know what I believed anymore.
As I was entering my freshman year of high school, I fell into a deep depression that rocked me to my core. I felt like I had lost my religion, my father and I were always fighting, my grades were slipping… I was losing touch with myself. I had confided in a favorite teacher of mine about how upset I was, and she had simply said, “Oh honey… You need to get back to nature and you will feel much better.” She suggested that I get a small notebook and sit outside with it for a few minutes every day. She told me not to go back inside until I was able to write down at least three beautiful things that I saw or felt.
This would become the beginning of my path.
My journaling did make me feel a little better. It helped me to make a connection with nature, and in turn myself. After about three months of doing this everyday, I was slowly feeling better… I was making better grades and had made a few friends.
One day at lunch, a new found friend was sitting next to me while I was writing in my journal. She had asked me if I was writing in my “book of shadows,” a term that I had only ever heard of while watching charmed. I suppose she notice the confused look on my face, so she dug through her book bag and pulled out a book from Scott Cunningham and said, “here… I have another copy at home… I thought you were into Wicca and thought it would be fun to have somone to talk to.”
I took the book home, skeptical, but interested. I was confused and intrigued by the information in the book; half of it I could completely relate to, the other half was bizarre to me. However, one thing stood out in my mind… “He ALSO believes that God has a wife.” I read and researched Wicca and Witchcraft until I was blue in the face, eager to jump in and learn, not so sure where to start, wondering if this is a good fit for me or if I am just crazy… It was exciting.
After a few short weeks of reading around the internet, I had made a decision. I was a Wiccan Witch.
Looking back on it, it is almost comical. I had gone from “I’m lost in life,” to “I like nature,” to “don’t cross me, I have lots of gods and can cast spells and such,” within a matter of a few weeks… and I was very immature about it. I never took the time I should have to learn about this new found religion of mine. In fact, I think I began to like the shock factor it held when I told other’s that I was into witchcraft (a cringe worthy memory for me…)
I was soon met with frustration… A year into “practicing,” and I was still clueless. I didn’t know how to celebrate any holidays, I didn’t have any resources to gain the tools that I “needed,” I couldn’t sneak out of the house to have a full moon ritual in an open field while naked… I wanted to do everything right, so I was frustrated when I couldn’t follow my books exactly. After about a year of practicing, I never gave up the idea of magic or the god and goddess… but I did give up. The boy I was dating made fun of me for it and I just couldn’t get anything right.
Fast forward to the year after I graduated high school, I was sitting on a bench in a park, reading a book, and something hit me… I suddenly felt a need to lay in the grass and close my eyes. I stayed there for a moment, feeling the wind blowing over my skin. I could here kids laughing as their parents pushed them on the swings. I could smell fresh cut grass and wet soil in the distance. I’m sure I looked insane to the people walking by, but for a moment, I was oblivious.
After a moment, I sat up and counted three beautiful things I saw around me- a little girl with wild, curly blonde hair, a lone dandelion among freshly cute grass, and the periwinkle color of the sky.
I was back to finding myself once again.
I began spending more time outside, saying what I was thankful for out loud, creating strong bonds with all animals, planting flowers just for the sake of beauty… after sometime I began to pray to both a god and a goddess… to this day I have not named them, I just feel them in my heart. I began learning about herbs and crystals and how I could use them in everyday life. I began to learn the art of mediation. I fell in love with tarot cards.
One day, after a year of being myself and learning about all the things I was interested in, had an epiphany: I am a witch.
I am a witch. I am a pagan. I don’t always subscribe to Wicca, but I can draw parallels to it and what I believe to be true. I love to be in nature. I love to be with animals. I feel powerful when I cast spells. I have a god and a goddess who love every single creation on this earth. I am my good days and my bad days. I am a pale skinned, barefooted, crunchy, silly, happy, manic depressive, freckled and curly headed freak… and I am okay with that.
I gave up on telling people that I was a witch. I gave up on following my Scott Cunningham books to the letter. I gave up on trying to do it all perfectly.
The moment I gave up the idea of what was correct was the moment I was able to find myself, what I believed to be true.
I still don’t think I am completely ready to have the conversation with my family about my beliefs, but I’m okay with them just thinking that I am a tree hugging animal lover… Cause I am . I love the path I’m on, and the weird way I got there… from journaling in nature, to having a fall out with Wicca, to submersing myself in nature, to one day waking up and saying “Huh… I always knew I was a witch.”
Glancing back up at this, I didn’t realize how long this pots was actually getting to be… oh well.
Blessings to you and yours,