It is both fascinating and inspiring to read each story related to Weekly Witchy CHALLENGE - Your Magickal Roots . I am happily amazed at how many of us found paganism through random chance or through others we knew. Why is this a big deal? If we live in a nation impacted by western culture, we live in Christianized countries. Although many sects within Christianity would have us believe paganism is wrong, we can see that isn’t actually true. We are able to follow our own paths thanks to brave people that started journeys before us and we continue to widen and clear those paths for others to follow.
Um, this is terribly long. The TLDR is I was a terrible person, the walls of my old faith had to come down so I could embrace my secret faith of Wicca. I embraced it last year, had some awesome experiences, and now I both learn from and teach others about magical things because of wonderful people like you.
Anything blurred is full of triggers.
From Religious Radicalization To Cracks In The Walls
I have talked much about where I came from and how I got here. I would link to all of that but this is going to be long enough.
I was raised in a fairly conservative, evangelical branch of Christianity. This laid the groundwork for me becoming radicalized as a late teen and an early adult. I was to the extreme right in the faith:
Terrible Beliefs I Held And Am Ashamed Of Now - Lots Of Horrible Triggers
LGBTQ were going to hell, so were people that lusted after others and watched porn or engaged in sex outside of a loving man/wife marriage, the other faiths were created by demons and the people that didn’t worship Jesus were ignorant because they chose to be that way so they could go on sinning, people that didn’t read their bible every day and hand out gospel tracts and participate in church weren’t real Christians, persecution and martyrdom were the ultimate ways to live for Christ, evolution and the big bang were lies from Satan, Muslims were trying to kill every one and needed to be stopped, indigenous tribes needed to be converted or wiped out, abortionists and the women that got abortions needed to go to jail for murder, the mentally ill didn’t have enough faith in Christ to be better, Halloween was Satanic, and anything magical (Harry Potter, Willow, Dungeons and Dragons) was evil, etc.
Even though I had these beliefs, I was a giant hypocrite. I loved fantasy and magic in books, tv, and movies. I learned about witchery as an early teen, set up my first altar in my closet so I wouldn’t be punished, and fell in love with the moon. Magical things began to happen around me and I knew there was more than what was being taught to me but I kept it to myself.
As an early adult, I started going through a major depression. That was when I tried my first suicide attempt which woke me up that I was living a massive lie and needed to rethink things. It was the moon that helped me get through the long nights as I got better. The first cracks in the my faith began to happen.
You have to understand, the walls of my extreme faith had to fall for me to embrace the freedom I found as an early teenager. In 2009 those cracks widened as I started to really study the book of Revelation. I was teaching a 12 week course in 2010 on it because it was always my favorite book in the bible. I came across a debate in what it was all about and I followed the rabbit trail into a more liberal branch of Christianity concerning last things - not just the end times but the afterlife, too. The one link I will share is Easing the Transition From Another Faith. This includes many of the resources that led me away from such an extreme form of faith. Next, ideas about evolution, the big bang, the devil, and evil all changed. I lost a lot of friends and was forced out of two churches from two different denominations.
(As an aside, the actions by those churches led my wife to completely abandon her faith. She found love and acceptance in the LGBTQ community and came out as a lesbian within the last few years - something her family always suspected. We’re both polyamorous but want monogamous relationships so we’ve attempted a divorce already and may still try again. We love each other deeply but she wants to be married to her girlfriend and I have a girlfriend I want to live with so…)
The Wall Comes Down As I Embrace Wicca And My Identity
Last year, I was leading a liberal bible study when I met someone. I decided to quit church altogether but to continue to lead this study over Zoom. (Funnily enough, she went to the loving church I left the first week I wasn’t there. I fell in love. I can’t speak for her because she’s my ex now. ) We dated from July to September and during that time
- we watched the clouds part for the moon to shine on us.
- there were two telepathic experiences - confirmed by other witnesses.
- while taking care of her daughter one day while my ex took a nap, I told a story of a long walk around the neighborhood. Meanwhile she dreamed of the same walk - taking the same path as what I told her daughter in the story.
- blue orbs would appear to my ex whenever she was around me and I would always see a white glow around her. The blue orbs were replaced one day, the same day my meditation moved from visualizing an orb in my mind during meditation to visualizing fire. She saw the fire instead.
My ex was there when I did the self-initialization into Wicca. I found Spells8 in May 2020 and devoured everything I could find. I met incredible people like @Rowan, @Siofra, @Amethyst, @TheTravelWitch, @MeganB, @Francisco, and @berta. Through their posts, and their loving guidance, I was able to embrace something that began in me when I was a young teen - something that was able to sneak through the cracks in my wall as it came down for completely different reasons.
My candle magic began to have real power and I could see its effects on my friends lives. I picked up tarot , again, which I tried as a young adult, (Remember the hypocrisy?) That became insanely accurate and I am starting a side job with it now because it takes so much of my time. A friend, who I had nicknamed Moon at one point in our relationship, saved me from myself - she saw what I was doing from the other side of town and reached out to me on the phone. (I was not so lucky on my second attempt. No one knew what I was doing. But The Divine had other plans and even though I took a deadly combination of 95 pills across 7 medicines I was still alive. I had a second round of the same 95 pills ready to go but I blacked out and ended up in the shower with my cell phone calling people to get help. My cell phone still works and it’s not rated for water protection.)
A Strange Message And Hidden Secret Lead To Thankfulness
None of this is me. It’s my embracing of the magic of the universe, of The Divine that I worship through my understanding of The Lady. And it’s my embrace of questions, mystery, understanding of different ways of thinking, and love instead of hate.
Finally, I know this is long enough , I had an experience on Facebook that was confirmation of the direction I am heading. A random stranger messaged me and told me to look to my West-African heritage. The account was closed/deleted the next day. I didn’t know what that was about but looking into the geneology my mother has been doing and the DNA tests she and her cousins have taken, we found freed slaves in her side of the family - people that pretended to be American Indian because of their skin color because it was easier to be that instead of African American at the time.
Those slaves came from Western Africa and the region they are from embraced a supreme deity that was mostly unknowable but who could be worshiped through intermediate spirits. Life force is found in every thing in the universe and magic is a neutral force that can be used for chaos or to bring order. These are all ideas I thought I embraced from modern Wicca but I have roots to in my ancestry. They believed the spirits of the dead influence our lives and can guide us and I now believe that as I opened to infinite possibilities they helped guide me to where I am today.
I am thankful for my ancestors. I am thankful for people that cleared the way for Wicca to be a named religion in the United States. I am thankful for Spells8 and all of it’s wonderful resources. I am thankful for friends - and for the people that came along with me for a season - that walked with me as I embraced paganism. I am thankful for all of you being so kind and warm and welcoming.