Finally confirming to myself that I am a Wiccan has made me so much happier than I’ve been in a long time. I became interested in Wicca when I was a young teenager, after I read The Mists of Avalon. I wanted to go to Avalon and live among the other girls studying to be priestesses. The library copy that I read almost 20 years ago listed The Spiral Dance as a source of some of the information about pagan religions in ancient Britain. So of course I read that next and I had the same almost giddy feeling that I have now . . . but I was at private school, and my choice of reading material did not go over well with the school. And my mother was not cool with Wicca at the time, so I didn’t feel free. After I graduated from high school, in my twenties, I still didn’t feel free. I couldn’t have a real altar. An altar is important to me. I had to try to observe the holy days in secret. I hid my books about Wicca and paganism with my fantasy novels. The few people who knew about my beliefs mocked them. Every Wiccan has heard the “oh, can you wiggle your nose and turn me into a toad?” thing . . . well, every Wiccan of a certain age.
I got interested in Buddhism in my late 20s and early 30s. I met my ex-husband on a Buddhism forum. After we started living together, it became clear that his idea of Zen Buddhism and my interest in Kwan Yin did not mesh. I got lost. I felt like the mocked teenager again. His family was Christian and I started thinking about my first years of school at Catholic school and how I felt safe there as opposed to home because home was chaos, and I became interested in the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene again. His family accepted that. They never really accepted his Buddhist beliefs. I got a Miraculous Medal and wore it 24/7 the last two years of my marriage. I felt protected. I know now that I was always looking for the Goddess, first in Kwan Yin and then in the two Marys.
The Miraculous Medal, the prayer specific to the medal, and the Hail Mary helped keep me sane while my marriage deteriorated. I still think that my nephew (by marriage) who was born with a normally deadly bowel obstruction recovered due to a miracle. My sister-in-law told us that when the surgeon came out of the operating room after my nephew’s second surgery she said “we didn’t do this. This was a miracle.” Maybe it was. Maybe I was just mistaken about who was responsible for the miracle.
After I moved home, I gradually began to feel . . . unfulfilled. I had no desire to go to church. I talked to my mother. Although she is a Christian, she told me that she no longer had a problem with Wicca. She’s actually interested in Celtic mythology now. She’s interested in the ancient Irish goddesses because our heritage is predominantly Irish. I set up a beautiful altar. I sit outside and watch the leaves fall and the birds and squirrels eating the sunflower seeds I put out and I feel a visceral connection to the earth and the animals and the changing of the seasons. I’m rereading all the books I had to hide so long ago. I mentioned in a post a couple of days ago that a friend got me really interested in Tarot cards. Actually, this post is a lot like the one I wrote a few days ago, but I was so struck with happiness today sitting outside, feeling the chill of autumn finally after a long summer, picking the last of my basil, deciding which plants to try to overwinter inside that I had to write about it again. I don’t expect to ever be part of a group. That’s not my thing. I like talking to other Wiccans online, but other than that, I prefer to be solitary. You can find dogma in Wicca too, and people who insist their way is the only acceptable way.
Most of the people I know are Christians and they’re not the sort to try to push their beliefs on anyone. They respect my beliefs. It’s really wonderful and I’m lucky. And my friends are kind and charitable and have a genuine desire to help others and I respect their beliefs.
My life is still uncertain and stressful. It didn’t magically change when I made the decision this is what I am. But my beliefs help me deal with the problems in my life. I’m starting to look at people and situations differently. In some cases, I look at people with a kinder eye. In other cases, I realize that some people don’t have my best interests at heart and I feel now that I have the fortitude to deal with them instead of being a doormat.
That is what the Goddess gives women. She gives us our self-esteem back. She gives us our power back, if we’ve relinquished it. She gives us a different way to look at the situations in our lives, and we’re able to deal with problems if we can’t solve them.
This has happened to me very fast after a year of agonizing over which path is right for me. It’s like being a teenager again and discovering Wicca but having an adult’s freedom.
It’s like waking up from a half-existence and being fully alive.
Rhiannon by Stevie Nicks-1982