The formalization of Witchcraft was brought about only very recently through Wicca. Wiccans seek to preserve traditions, oral practices, and to knowledge that was lost earlier through centuries of persecution. The history and rituals of Wicca are much more modern than traditional Witchcraft (which is okay because there are many ways in which to be a witch!) I am not Wiccan, and I disapprove of rule books. I believe that one must exist live in the middle of light and dark. Rather than right or left handed paths, find your center. It is there that I believe the truth resides. When I say truth, I mean not only your personal truth but the truth of the world. It is unrealistic to think that anyone is truly “light” or “dark.” We all exist in the gray area, that is what makes our mutual experiences so vital in shaping us as people.
I am not taught in my path. I’ve had no formal training and I did not apprentice under some old, broken down crone. I did not study for a year and a day. I am not a hereditary witch, although, I suppose my children will be. For me, it’s very plain how I came to be a witch: I simply always knew I was. I have come to my knowledge due to a great lot of observation, reading, and practice.
I was raised Catholic — a religion focused very intensely on ritual. The act of ritual has aways come naturally to me. An innate understanding of its nature and its power is part of me. I did not fall into line within the Catholic church or creed because I could not accept the systems of beliefs, the rules, or the way men dominated the culture. Rejecting the faith from a very young age (let’s say…eight years old), I began to study other religions and practices. To be honest, I’ve never believed in God, not in a Christian sense. I believe everything is God, in it’s own way.
I’ve been blessed by that fact that my catholic mom was not so strict that I couldn’t pave my way. That said, I was blacklisted from checking out books on Paganism from the library: my parents put some parental lock on my library card, which was impressive in the mid-nineties. Despite their misguided efforts to keep me from my calling, over the past fifteen years or so I’ve managed to gain knowledge and insight into what I had always known I believed. Something I only very recently understood that there both was and was not a name for.
My perspective is animistic as well as pantheistic. I am an emotional pagan and an intellectual atheist. Put simply, I am the earth, and so are you. I have borrowed what I wanted from many traditions and discarded that which didn’t serve me.
What drove me away from Catholicism to begin with, was the strict necessity to adhere to customs that didn’t serve my belief system or purpose. If God means ‘truth’ and you are following a different version of ‘truth’ than your own, are you following God? Do you even know Him/Her/Them/It? Our relationships with our very own lives and existence can not be reduced down and shoved into a box with millions of other people. We are so abundant in our differences and as such how we interact with the world should be distinct, diverse, and uncontrived.
I am not a member of any particular path or tradition, but I do borrow some of their practices or rituals because it serves me in getting closer to my truth, divinity, and path. I use ceremonial magic and practices throughout my life with an objective to enhance the energy and unity I feel within myself. Spirituality is a very personal thing, and as such sometimes it’s uncomfortable to bring up or to talk about. I hope that within this space, you feel the freedom to speak your truth with respect to yourself and those around you.
What do you believe and how does it serve and enhance your life as a female today? Do the books you read pertaining to your faith or spirituality speak highly of women? What are their positions within that system?
Share your story in the comments.