I'm a witch; it's one of the many terms I use to describe my religious and spiritual nature. For me being a witch is inextricably connected to being a practitioner of magick and communing with spirits both great and small. I also identify as Pagan, a Polytheist, a Wiccan, a magician, and a whole list of other terms that is longer than is needed for the purpose of this blog. I'd like to talk about the reality of magick and of nonphysical beings. Rather than engage in debate about the terms, the tenets, or the tribulations of the various communities that are wrestling with these topics, I will speak from my direct experience of them. I've had many spiritual and overtly supernatural experiences. I have selected a few of them, that from my perspective, are all the proof that I need for myself. These vignettes are brief but I hope that they contain enough detail for you to understand why I considered them a confirmation of my sense of the universe.
When at 15 and decided that I need to join a religion, if I had not chosen to join the most mainstream branch of Christianity in Russia, if I had not read this famous protestant prayer too - “Jesus, be my Lord and Savior”… I would not be what I am today. I would be a totally different person. I remember these moments of “accepting Jesus” very well. I have read this prayer twice; I valued this experience as something indeed important and I remember very well my thoughts and feelings. Yes, I read the prayer of my own free will-- but did I want it with the whole of my heart? Did I have trust in Jesus-the-personal-savior 100%? Fortunately (or not very fortunately) I remember my religious experiences and adventures very brightly, just as in Dumbledore’s magical pensieve.
Religion is always a choice. There are people raised in particular religions (or lack of them) since childhood, and it’s very natural for them to accept the beliefs of their parents/family as part of their cultural identity- something that isn’t questioned. But as the kid becomes a teen and then an adult – there are points of maturation – there are moments when religion then becomes a choice, when one reaches a point where you can accept a religion whole-heartedly (either self-chosen, or in keeping with one’s cultural surroundings and expectations). And this is always a personal mystery and a turning point for a believer.
The breeze blew down from the top of the mountain pushing its way through the heat and humidity. It rushed through her kitchen window filling the small room with the smell of crisp cool air. Blowing her hair back off the tackiness of her face and neck as she stood there washing dishes. The room had a slight relief from the heaviness of the air.
She looked out the window and up thought the trees. There she saw the storm taking shape.
To this awakening goddess, celebrating holidays has more to do with personal history than traditional roots. Imbolc, the modern Pagan celebration of an ancient Gaelic festival, means so much more to me now than it did when I first started studying Wicca and Paganism thirteen years ago.
Thirteen years ago, I found a home in Paganism at my very first public ritual, which was a celebration of Imbolc conducted by popular Pagan writer Ann Moura and her Ladies Tea Circle. I entered my first circle at that festival, and won a raffle for the first time in my life – an amethyst earring and pendant set and an hour-long session with a psychic who would become my mentor on my path to developing my own metaphysical interests and abilities.
I have been thinking about the direction this blog should take; how best to illustrate how my spirituality is tied to my daily life and my relationship with my family--how can/will my spirituality see me through the present circumstances of my life. In short, how do I become the person I want to be, and who can guide me there?
I realized the best way to start was to ask. What do I need to know? I didn't ask anyone--I just presented the question and waited for an answer. The answer that came to me over the course of a few days amid dishes, laundry, library trips, preschool story hours, homework help and Play-Doh projects was simple, and yet so very complex.
“The journey to become a priestess…(even of the urban variety) remains a grueling task, not something capable of being conferred by a few weekend workshops or sweat lodges. The glibness with which such terms are used can be infuriating…” –Vivienne Vernon-Jones in Voices of the Goddess by Caitlin Matthews
“The Goddess is not only for the temple, she must be carried out into the world to wherever she is needed…” –Vivianne Crowley (in Voices of the Goddess edited by Caitlin Matthews)
I recently finished writing a paper for my The Role of the Priestess course at Ocean Seminary College. This course explores the three roles of a priestess in depth: counselor (mentor), ritualist, and teacher. The first paper was designed to explore the role of priestess as counselor and I found it very difficult to write. After some reflection, I realized the difficulty was due to three personal reasons: doubt that I “deserve” to call myself a priestess, doubt about my own ability to fulfill the counselor part of the role, and fear of not being “good enough” or “perfect” enough to fulfill this piece of the priestess role. I am fairly comfortable with the roles of ritualist-ceremonialist and of teacher and I also feel good about how well I already fulfill those roles. The Counselor though. She’s scary. Am I good enough? Can I really do this? Who do I think I am?