My Religion

The Beginning

I was born into a Catholic household and family. My mother’s side of the family is a bit more religious than my dad’s side, but both consider themselves Catholic. I was baptized as an infant and upon reaching the appropriate age, I was put in Sunday School/Catechism where I learned about the Lord Jesus Christ, the Almighty Father, and the Holy Ghost. Throughout my years in Sunday School I had my first confession, my first communion, and finally my confirmation. By this time which was approximately age 11 or 12, I had already decided that I did not really want to go to church anymore, and I was given the liberty of choosing not to attend church on Sundays any longer. I had a very strong spiritual connection with God and felt I could speak with Him from within my heart. My parents respected my decision.

All throughout my youth I wondered about certain conversations or things I observed such as my dad’s ‘collares’ or elekes, why he put apples or pennies in front of a St. Barbara statue we had and even wondered how the saints fit into the ‘church’ beliefs. On both sides of my family, there has always existed special or ‘magickal’ home remedies, superstitions, and several aspects that also seemed odd for me when comparing them to what I was taught in Catholic Sunday School. However, I never questioned them, but rather tossed them up as ‘cultural’ learning. I didn’t understand why I could see spirits. I didn’t question how I saw an image of my late grandmother before ever seeing a photograph of her. These were all just part of my life, just like all other things were.

I now know that my dad was a spiritualist and had joined the masons in his youth. He is a medium and has always been an open portal for the dead to speak through. His father, my grandfather, was a seer, and was a Rosicrucian.
My mother’s mom, my grandmother, and several of my great aunts were into the occult, and were sought out for readings, fortune telling and healing magic.

Fast-forwarding to age 15

My interest in witchcraft peeked when I had to write a research paper for English Composition class in high school. My selection of topics lead me to write about Witchcraft. I didn’t know anything about it, aside from what I had seen in movies, and unfortunately there wasn’t such a great selection in our school library. I did find 2 or 3 books on the subject and wrote a fantastic paper where I got one of the best grades I’d received. I’m certain that looking back now, those books are as accurate as putting a square peg in a round hole, but the images and illustrations in the books are what truly captured me. I remember getting lost in the illustrations, almost like a trans-state, where the images almost began to move. This exposure stayed with me, embedded like a seed in a very subtle but steady growth, hidden from the light of day, but felt within the core of my soul.

Fast-forward to 1997 age 22 (because it was some time before my 23rd birthday)

My first experience with the craft. I was invited to hang out at a friend of a friend’s house for a party that I vaguely remember being for a birthday or something. At approximately 11:30pm I was asked if I would like to participate in a Wiccan full moon ritual that was going to be held in the backyard. I was so excited and a little bit scared at the same time, but mostly just vibrating with elation that I was going to witness and be part of something that I had had a secret interest in for such a long time. Needless to say, it was everything I expected and more. At the end of the night, the high priestess gifted me a book called: The Way of the Goddess-A Manual for Wiccan Initiation by Ly Warren Clarke. My very first pagan book. Sadly I never saw that high priestess again because I’d truly love to find her and thank her.

After this, I began going to book stores like Barnes N Noble to look for all sorts of pagan related books. I acquired a few over the years by authors like Scott Cunningham, Gerina Dunwich, Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone, and Phyllis Curott among others, all which have guided or helped me develop into the witch I am today.

Transition from Christianity to Paganism

In the beginning of my transition into the occult, I had a very difficult time letting go of the concept of Christianity and embracing mythology gods and goddesses, so I decided I didn’t need to do that. *(see note)* This is when I began identifying myself as a Christian Witch (not a very easy thing to do), and not accepted by almost all Pagan folk. The years went by, I read more and more, and slowly I found myself transitioning, evolving.

Note *Part of the reason, or the main reason, I had such a difficult time “letting go” of Christianity was because I had a very strong spiritual connection with God (Jesus Christ) because of health problems, among other problems, I had to face throughout my life, like being sexually abused early in life, and later going through a miscarriage and at the same time undergoing renal failure at the very young age of 18. It is my faith in God that got me through everything, and I felt that I was betraying Him if I turned to other Gods. I thought, “What if I am wrong about paganism and turn my back on Jesus, but then end up needing him, and he might not be able to forgive me?” A thought that lingered with me for a very, very, VERY long time.*

Transition from Christianity to Paganism Cont’d

I found myself wanting to trust that other Gods and Goddesses existed, but how could I when my Christian beliefs were so strong? This is when I made a conscious decision to trust my gut, trust that intuition, that little voice from way inside and fully embrace the idea of other deities. A clear confirmation of their existence came to me in physical form (an undeniable series of what to me is concrete evidence that someone or rather, several someone’s where out there listening to me). One of the divine experiences I had, came about after my very first Tarot reading with the Tarot Maven of the Meetup.com pagan group I am a member of. I had not been out to the ocean/beach in a very long time. I knew I needed to reconnect with the ocean, but there were many obstacles, some physical, others emotional, that kept me away, but a message in the reading said I had to do this for myself, and sooner rather than later. So I selected a day and packed up my things and went out to the beach (Bill Baggs Cape Florida Park beach), on a week day, all by myself. I set up my chair and stuff near the lighthouse and did a little ritual without props and when the right time came, I walked into the water. Words will not do justice to explain the magick I felt when the water touched my skin. It was like the softest caresses of satin sheets barely brushing my legs. I walked in, to waist deep water, making my way to the rocks and the base of the lighthouse when suddenly I was surrounded by a ring of tiny little fish that created a circle around me immediately after I had requested confirmation from Amphitrite, the beautiful deity I had reached out to, to help me return to the ocean.

I decided then that I was going to put my Christian beliefs on a shelf for now and fully embrace polytheism. I began learning about Wicca at first. Mainly because it is what is most common and readily available, but in time I learned about other pagan practices like Neo-Druidism, Greco-Roman, and Celtic. During the last two and a half years I have grown and learned a great deal in occult practices, carefully balancing how the divine choses to manifest itself before me, around me, and within. I do not put barriers around my spiritual self with the thought that I can only communicate with a certain pantheon or type of religion. I allow the divine to reach me in any way.

It is only recently that I have delved into other pagan branches such as Thelema and Voudon, and have opened myself up to a ‘come what may’ mentality. Meaning that I am not closing myself off to any one particular pantheon or belief. I am open and accepting of a multitude of ways of communication with the divine. I accept all religions and I respect everyone and their choice of belief, because ultimately I accept and love myself completely.

My religion is that which consists of being a good person. Not intentionally hurting anyone or anything, but absolutely defending oneself if need be. I live in harmony with my surroundings and I am accepting and respectful of others.

I am spiritual, I am divine, and I am a Witch.

flying witch

 

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Return to the Ocean: A journey with Amphitrite

“We are tied to the ocean, and when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.” ~ John F. Kennedy
My relationship with the ocean began in my first month of life, and for more than three decades since, that relationship that began as a friendship, blossomed into a passionate love affair. Several years ago, during a very difficult time in my life, I withdrew. I pulled away from everyone and everything, the ocean included. As an only child, I learned that during difficult situations, I needed to cope with everything on my own. What I didn’t expect was what happened this time around. Not visiting the ocean created a void in my soul. There was an emptiness that could not be filled and I had no idea why I was feeling this way. It wasn’t until July of 2011, when I had my very first Tarot reading, that the messages of the ocean came out and brushed the surface of my heart, allowing me to see clearly what I had been missing. This Tarot reading was a true wake up call in so many ways, but more specifically, it questioned why I had not visited the ocean. A direct question came from the cards and the Tarot Maven spoke, “I don’t know why I must ask you this, but why haven’t you been to the ocean?” I was stunned.
MEETING AMPHITRITE
Amphitrite (Αμφιτρίτη in Ancient Greek) is the immortal wife of Poseidon and Queen of the Sea, she is ancient Greek goddess of salt water. She is sometimes listed among the Oceanids,  but more often said to be one of the fifty Nereids, daughters of the Sea god, Nereus and the Oceanid, Doris. By Poseidon, she is the mother of Triton; her offspring also includes seals and dolphins. Her Roman counterpart is Salacia.
Back to my story . . .
I was advised to call upon Yemaya, the Yoruban Orisha or Goddess of the living Ocean, considered the Mother of All, but I knew this wasn’t the goddess I needed to seek to help me with reconnecting with the ocean. I did my share of research, looking high and low, within and without. It was Amphitrite. She would be the one to help me with this painful task. It was difficult for me because of the deep-rooted love I had for the ocean, and how I had turned my back on her. I had no good reason to do so, and I feared her wrath upon my return.
The day arrived when I was ready. I prepared myself physically and spiritually and began the long road to one of my favorite beaches. As I pulled into the state park, an overwhelming feeling came over me. It wasn’t overpowering nor drowning, but a peaceful and warm sensation.
Amphitrite was here!
She was allowing me to feel comfort upon my arrival to the beach. I gathered my belongings, and made my way down the soft white sand in the early morning sun. I sat for a while, and I read my book. I enjoyed the ocean breeze and the smell of beach filled me up. Then the moment arrived. I knew I must enter the water.
The moments that followed were magickal but I dare not speak of them out loud. They are for me and me alone, or rather they are between Amphitrite, the Ocean and myself. Let’s just say that the ocean accepted my return, for she missed me as I had missed her. Amphitrite welcomed me to her home with open arms, and her gift to me was one that touched my soul. Standing in waist deep water, next to the rocks by the lighthouse, a school of minnows surrounded me in a perfect circle. This was Amphitrite’s clear message. Her way of welcoming me back. Her embrace.