Like the majority of the things in my life that end up coming to have the most meaning to me, I got into witchcraft for all the wrong reasons. I was in middle school, I didn’t fit in very well (no matter how hard I tried) and I figured if people were going to treat me like a freak I would give them a reason to. I wanted them to fear me, but without going so far as to commit any kind of crime that might actually make them fear me (this was only a couple years after Columbine, so I wanted people to be afraid of me, but not be questioned by anyone in authority on any potentially violent ideas I might have had).
My mother had started practicing Wicca a few years earlier, after my dad left, so I snuck a few of her books on witchcraft into my backpack to take with me. I “accidentally” dropped these books and feigned rushing to pick them up in an effort to make it seem like I was a “secret witch” and didn’t want everyone to know.
Preteen logic, right?
People didn’t seem any more afraid of me, but they did think I was weird for intentionally throwing my books on the floor and then acting extremely paranoid about it. I figured, I needed to step up my game. It was one thing to be carrying books on witchcraft; it was something else to be reading them.
So, I sat at the lunch tables and read them in plain sight of all passerby. I read them.
I read them.
Eventually, I figured my mom would wonder where her books had gone, so I stuck them back on her shelf and went to buy my own.
And I read them. At home. In my room.
I took notes. I did research.
I thought, “Hey, this actually seems pretty interesting.”
I was “raised Christian,” which is code for, “My parents don’t really practice any religion, but my grandmother is Baptist and I guess religion is genetic so that’s what I’m going with.” Like I said, my parents didn’t really practice anything, so my brother and I didn’t really practice anything. My brother did once claim to convert to Judaism because he though he could open his Christmas presents early (for Hanukkah) and my grandmother just about had heart-failure when I blurted out, “Brother says he’s Jewish, now!” during a holiday visit.
Obviously, religion never meant a whole lot to me, growing up. It wasn’t interesting. I knew I believed in… something… but I never really could tell much difference between the different Judaeo-Christian religions. I always held the belief that you just need to be a good person and I didn’t trust a God who would send me to Hell for not wasting half my weekend in what amounted to “school, but without my friends.” Saturday and Sunday were sacred Barbie and Lego time.
So, the idea of solitary practice and, for lack of a better term, a flexible worship schedule seemed right up my alley.
I liked the idea of Karma and reincarnation (not inherently witchy, but they’ve always been something I’ve incorporated into my craft), which made more cosmic sense than, “This is your chance. Don’t fuck up or you’ll be tortured for eternity!” Eternity is a long sentence for just 80-90 years of failure. You can’t learn an eternity’s worth of lessons in 90 years. That’s like spending a half hour studying to become a doctor. There’s a big time discrepancy there.
I was also getting into feminism then and the idea of a matriarchal religion really appealed to me. The boys I knew could barely even do their own laundry without help. How was I supposed to believe that a boy ran the entire universe on his own? Which may sound sacrilegious, and it probably is, but it was my thought process. Boys couldn’t be trusted to do shit, no matter how powerful they were.
Like so many others, I started out with Wicca. Harm none, Law of Threes… I had the Wiccan Rede tacked up on my bedroom wall. I bought all the supplies the books told me I should have. I set up a little altar and screeched at anyone foolish enough to touch it (with their dirty, disrespectful, thoughtless hands). If you’re familiar with the term “fluffy bunny,” that was totally me. I was just kind of blindly going along with what “intro to Wicca” books told me because I thought it was nifty.
Eventually, I shifted more towards a more general polytheistic Paganism. Old Age had jaded me (I was, like, 19) and I wanted to move away from the idealism of Wicca’s “harm none” mentality. Some fools just need to be cursed, you know?
I never did curse anyone, by the way. I wouldn’t say I believe in the “Law of Threes” but I do believe in Karma and that the energy we put out eventually comes back to us. You’d have to really tick me off to get me to risk cursing you.
These days, I consider myself an agnostic witch. I do believe in a higher power, but I’m not sure I would call that higher power “God[dess]” or “a god[dess].” I like the ideas of gods and goddesses, but more as a focal point than as actual deities. Like, if I want to channel the higher power’s affinity for wisdom, I might pray to “Athena,” who wouldn’t necessarily be a goddess, but a personification or symbol of this aspect of the higher power.
If that makes sense. This has all been kind of long and rambling, but I think that’s fitting, since my road down this path has also been long and rambling.
I love you all.