Without witchcraft, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. For years, witches have remained in what we call “the broom closet” for fear of metaphorical burnings at our jobs, from our friends and even by our loved ones. I dedicated myself to witchcraft at the age of 13 and have continued to practice aspects of it my entire life. The study of Wicca and Paganism led me to be a happier, more balanced, empowered and grounded woman.
I was raised Catholic but by the age of 10, I was questioning whether or not it was the path for me. The doubt began in my Catechism class after my beloved black cat passed away. I asked my teacher if he would be in Heaven waiting for me and she told me that animals had no souls and so he couldn’t go to Heaven. Now, this was a shock and planted the first seed of doubt in my life. Prior to this conversation, I wanted to be a priest (then learned I couldn’t because I was a woman so I settled on being a nun). I prayed every day, I loved being close to God and never once doubted that we were souls that would one day return to our creator.
Then at the age of thirteen, I met a friend who told me she was a witch. Now, this was the 90s, I didn’t have the internet at home, let alone on my phone. Witches seemed mysterious, scary but also possibly very cool. I began studying where I think everyone should begin with a book by Scott Cunningham, Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. Just reading the first few pages, I suddenly felt a peace come over me. My whole life, I was desperate to be as close to God as possible and now I was learning that I could be. I didn’t need a priest or a church, all I needed was a calm space and maybe some incense. This shift was incredibly empowering.
From there, I met more and more witches. I read and studied book after book. I started my own journal of spells, poetry, and discoveries. In college, I even found a Pagan club. On my Wiccan path, I have participated in group singing bowl meditations. I had the sublime experience of meeting my spirit animal in the flesh at a wolf sanctuary. I have gone “ghost hunting” and actually have proof of ghosts. I memorized the names of ancient Goddesses and Gods. I celebrated the Pagan Wheel of the Year for over twenty years and it helps me stay connected to the earth and her seasons. I learned about the chakras, mudras and even picked up belly dancing. I learned about using herbs and crystals for healing. I learned about the phases of the moon and how the mirror that of the woman, which made me unafraid to age. I manifested good change in my life over and over again. I used my knowledge of the tarot to help myself and others make better decisions and even in one case saved someone’s life. I have used my knowledge of astrology to work better with others by understanding them on a different level.
Not once did I kill or hurt an animal, I never talked to the devil and I didn’t do strange acts with anyone in the name of witchcraft. Witchcraft made me a whole person and opened me up to a deeper spiritual path. I came from a childhood of poverty and emotional abuse. Witchcraft opened the door out of my sadness. I used spells to shift my life, meditation to deepen my calm and charms to help me feel safe. Being a witch empowered me and gave me confidence in my femaleness.
As I continued to study and grow older, I expanded my readings to include Buddhism, other religions and spiritual paths. I first read Eckhart Tolle when Oprah added his book to her list. Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose writes, “The suppression of the feminine principle, especially over the past two thousand years has enabled the ego to gain absolute supremacy in the collective human psyche.” Tolle goes on to explain that the mass killings of women created a shift in the world that led it to be unbalanced and allowed the collective ego to grow stronger. This passage explains to me why women need witchcraft or aspects of it in their lives. Women who have the opportunity to learn parts of witchcraft can help restore the balance in themselves. In fact, I love seeing an increased interest in herbs for healing, essential oils, manifesting, astrology and crystal healing. These aspects of The Craft are no longer resigned to little mystical shops scattered here and there but can be accessed by anyone interested.
These are the five most important things I learned as a witch:
- I am not lesser because I am a woman. In fact, in studying witchcraft, I learned about the burnings and the history of the silencing of women. Then I continued to learn about female history, which only empowered me to incite the change I want to see.
- It taught me to care for the earth. I was already recycling and making posters to save the Rainforest but being a witch showed me how connected we truly our to the earth and animals. This connection contributes to my decisions in all aspects of my life from buying food storage containers to travel.
- Witchcraft taught me about Karma. In Wicca, there is the belief in three-fold. Anything you put out there comes back three times. This idea was more powerful to me than any Commandment.
- Healing with herbs led me to use diet changes, supplements and exercise to cure myself of an autoimmune disorder. The Craft showed me how to care for my body but also not be focused on its form.
- Finally, I gained confidence. There is nothing like manifesting for something and then receiving it to give you confidence. Witchcraft gave me the tools for change that I needed for myself. I also learned to trust myself and tap into my intuition.
Witchcraft restored balance back to my life. It made be proud to be a woman. Wicca taught me that I am a spiritual being and can have a spiritual experience anywhere. It opened me up to realize that I was my “own lamp,” as the Buddha taught. I am in control of myself and my life. I do not currently adhere to any religion so I wouldn’t call myself a witch anymore but I needed to be one to learn how to be whole.