Coexisting: I’m a witch. Are you okay with that?

I have taken a leap; A leap of faith, if you will.

Not to try a new faith, a new path, but rather to risk that dreadful conversation with a potential new relationship. What I mean is, I decided to join an online dating site. I suppose I could have joined a dating site that caters to people of the same faith, like christianmingle.com caters to Christians or Pagandatingservice.com is specifically for heathens, but I chose not to. Instead, I joined a dating site that supports diversity. They do not let you restrict possible matches with things like race or religion because they believe what all of us should believe, and that is, learning to coexist.

I am almost 40 years old and alone. All my friends from high school have married and formed families, and yes, some have ended in divorce, but that’s a different topic all together. My current friends, most of which happen to be pagan, are more like a family, and thus I do not view them as a possible romantic match, with one or two exceptions. I was married, now divorced and not by choice. I never had any children, and I’ve gone through many ups and downs regarding my health. I felt it was time to do something different. I knew that I was not going to meet anyone new if I kept hanging out with the same people and going to the same places, so I made a change.

I’ve been going to new places, like art events and other local activities happening in this huge metropolitan city I live in, and I also joined an online dating website. I joined less than one week ago. I immediately had over 20 messages and faced the task of how to proceed. I’m a nice person, so I didn’t want to just delete those I didn’t find attractive, so I began with my personally developed process of elimination. Eventually, there was one man. I liked his message and no doubt I think he’s cute, so I responded, and we’ve been talking every since. This brings me to why I’m writing this blog entry. I foresee going on a date with mystery man in the near future, as we seem to be hitting it off quite nicely. The topic of religion is going to come up. I’m fairly certain that it’s one of the first things people who start dating discuss (by the way, I’ve never dated, much less online).

What will I say if/when he asks me what my faith is? The truth, of course.

Will there be silence?

An awkward pause?

A shocked, blank stare?

However he responds, I’ll still be proud of who I am. Proud that I am a good person. Proud that I am not evil and I do not worship the devil. Proud that I have a deep connection with the divine and have embraced the beautiful soul that is me. I am proud to be a witch.

If he doesn’t like what he hears, if he doesn’t receive the response he expected and walks away, then I’ll just know he wasn’t the right one, but wouldn’t it be great if he or anyone who finds themselves in this situation or a similar one, could just be okay with it? I mean, I do not judge people who tell me they’re Jewish or practice Buddhism or if they’re Muslim. I accept them and I respect their beliefs. After all, what is important is that they have a pure heart, a good head on their shoulders.

If there is one thing that I can tell the world I learned from paganism, from Wicca, from being a witch, is that I have learned to coexist.

coexist

 Acceptance is not love. You love a person because he or she has lovable traits, but you accept everybody just because they are alive and human.  ~ Albert Ellis

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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