Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 9th. 2014 ...
Healing the Witch Within
Discovering Wicca as a Young Child
March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright
March 2nd. 2014 ...
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?
The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects
February 23rd. 2014 ...
Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless
The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community
What Makes Us What We Are
February 16th. 2014 ...
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence
Alternative Medicine – What Is It?
February 9th. 2014 ...
Words of Power!
The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse
Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings
February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
Building a Magick Mirror
The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)
13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed
Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected
January 19th. 2014 ...
Open Letter to the Goddess
A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality
Social Conventions and the Pagan World
January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression
January 5th. 2014 ...
Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age
Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey
2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!
Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Wiccan by Spirit - Adding Layers of Religion
Article ID: 12441
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,185
Times Read: 2,926
RSS Views: 42,525
Author: Artemisia Shira of Handfastings Magazine
Posted: March 16th. 2008
Times Viewed: 2,926
How does one come to be Wiccan? One’s spiritual path is guided by a number of things in life: ideas, experiences, needs, and passions. For each person, they are different. Finding one’s path is very personal and no two journeys are alike. The following is a brief account of my own personal exploration into Wicca and the awakening I experienced.
I was born into a Jewish family and raised by my parents in the Conservative Jewish movement. While I diligently did my Hebrew schoolwork and went to synagogue on a regular basis, I was always "different." I always felt like I was not part of the crowd. It was my perception that I was not getting something out of Jewish ritual what others seemed to be receiving.
But that is not the full reason of why I became Wiccan much later in life.
Even as a child, I loved Nature. I saw the magic of butterflies flitting about, heard the daffodils sing in the breeze in springtime, and noticed all the little details of each blade of grass and each Earthly plant. I understood the synergy between the honeybees as they gathered nectar from the flowers.
I heard the birds and squirrels whisper to me in their little chipper voices, alerting me to changes in the environment and weather. I saw colors as manifestations of life, each shade bringing me new information on what the colors were defining. These were the things that were important to me in life then, as they are now. These are Nature’s instruments, which would eventually bring me closer to the Goddess.
As I grew older, I discovered Paganism. I began reading a number of Women’s spirituality magazines. And then when I came across Margot Adler’s Drawing Down the Moon, I realized that there was actually a movement, or at least a group of people, who saw Divinity in Nature. Finally, I thought, people who think like me! I am Pagan!
I immersed myself into the world of Wicca and Paganism and read every book I could get my hands on. I eventually began differentiating the books – from those which were the real deal and were well-researched, to those that were well-meaning but lacked depth, to those that were disguised as books about the Craft but were written by someone who was actually trying the steer the reader clear of Wicca (for the author’s own variety of ignorant reasons).
Through my research, meditation, and eventually through meeting other like-minded and supportive individuals in person, I was able to unearth my Wiccan path. In Paganism and Wicca, there is no such thing as “conversion.” One can be initiated into a tradition, or one can dedicate herself to a Goddess, but conversion does not play a role in nurturing one’s spiritual path.
My evolution towards Wicca wasn't a conversion at all, but more of an awakening. It's something that I always have been, but never knew how to express it until I was about 24 (I’m 36 now). Even later on in life, I found that Wicca answered many of my needs in terms of using ritual to connect with the world.
In Judaism, there is a lot of ritual involved - yet as a child I never connected with any of it. But with Wicca, I am able to use ritual to express my passion of my love of Nature, and the Goddess in Nature.
Wicca supports my need for divine balance between male and female, or yin and yang. It supports my need for multiple sets of pantheons and it allows me diversity in invocation. As a woman, Wicca enables me to feel empowered by having a Goddess to worship instead of having only one divine male figure. And now ritual makes sense and has meaning for me.
I never looked at my spiritual progression as a conversion. Things are not so cut and dry like that. It’s more of an addition to the layers that make up my spirituality. It adds depth to my heritage. Humans cannot put personal religion in black and white; when they try to do that, fundamentalism happens, which can lead to intolerance, hatred, fear, war, and death.
Yet while I have grown into Wicca, I cannot deny my ancestors. Nor do I want to. I am very proud of coming from a Jewish family. It is my background, birthright, and my family history. I cannot deny my ancestry any more than can an African American deny hers. Ancestors are a very important part of Wiccan and Pagan culture, and a very important part of my life. I cannot divide myself into sections.
In Wicca, I have the freedom to call on my ancestors in a very tangible way by using the techniques and guidance handed down to me by my High Priestess, in addition to my own innate talents and intuition. I feel that I was never given any understandable divinatory tools in Hebrew school, even though a Rabbi might disagree. But nevertheless, it’s what I personally connect with that’s important. And the way that I connect with the Divine, with the Gods and Goddesses, and my ancestors, is by casting a circle and entering sacred space, even if it is only in my mind. For me, it is simple and practical.
This is the Wiccan way. And no one but myself can deny me the right to practice my religion as I see fit.
A Christian woman that I knew once told me, “We are all on different busses going to the same destination.” Ironically, she had been turned down as a nun by a convent because they felt she was just not educated enough. In their eyes, she didn’t fit the bill.
Just because I use the rituals of a Witch instead of Judaism, doesn’t mean I am any more or any less worthy of convening with the Divine.
While I am Jewish by ancestry and Wiccan by spirit, it is impossible to separate the two; I wish to remain whole. Sometimes I joke around and say I’m “Jew-Witch, ” which suits me just fine.
Artemisia Shira of Handfastings Magazine
Location: Stamford, Connecticut
Author's Profile: To learn more about Artemisia Shira of Handfastings Magazine - Click HERE
Bio: Shira, whose magical name is Artemisia Cybele, is a Witch in the Minoan Tradition, which is derivative of the Gardnerian path. While she has been Pagan all her life, she has been a "practicing" Wiccan for more than a decade, and has immersed herself in Minoan studies since 2002. In Beltane of 2004, Shira founded of Handfastings.org, a website that links people in the Pagan and Wiccan communities with ordained officiants. She is currently a member of Circle of the Crescent Moon (Initiation and Dedication) in New York.
Shira is currently affiliated with the Church of Spiritual Humanism for the purposes of ordination and is legally registered to perform handfastings in New York City. She is pursuing a Masters in Divinity at the Woolston-Steen Theological Seminary.
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