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June 13th. 2016 ...
Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality
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Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
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May 15th. 2016 ...
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April 2nd. 2016 ...
An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity
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Magic in Sentences
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
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January 22nd. 2016 ...
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December 20th. 2015 ...
Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
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October 24th. 2015 ...
Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self
Native American Spirituality Myopia
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
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October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
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June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
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May 6th. 2015 ...
Sex, Lies, and Witches: Love in a Time of Wiccans and Atheists
Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism
I Claim Cronehood
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
My Concept Of Grey
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
The Gods of My Heart
January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
Pagans All Around Us
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
A Microcosmic View of Ma'at
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
Abandoning Expectations and Remembering Your Roots
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
September 20th. 2014 ...
GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)
September 7th. 2014 ...
Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
A Strange Waking Dream
August 24th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
The Pagan Cleric
A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
August 17th. 2014 ...
To Know, to Will, to Dare...
On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows
August 10th. 2014 ...
As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?
The Power of the Gorgon
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Natural Witch for Life. Always Have Been; Always Will Be.
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I believe that we are all natural Witches, but especially those of us who have chosen to walk this path at this time. Before we lost our innocence, the unseen was visible to us. There was a time we were all visited by Fairies, Gnomes, Unicorns, and various deities in whatever form they chose or were celebrated. We had our own private rituals, and we were especially drawn to the moon in all her wondrous phases. We were drawn to various animals and picked up special rocks and crystals that had meaning for us (although we didn't recognize it as such at the time). We had our "treasure box" under the bed that was full of magical items: totems, amulets, and various other meaningful items. As we grew older, we grew out of our ability to be sensitive to the energy of the Universe and became increasingly concerned with the social mores and rituals shared by our family and by the rest of the world. We ceased to believe in the magical and therefore lost our connection to the Universe. We ceased to feel the energy that drives us. We lost our vision of the magical world.
I had the luxury of religious freedom (freedom from religion) when I was growing up. In fact, we didn't talk about religion (or God) at all. I can remember the two times we went to religious services (other than weddings and funerals); both in response to invitations from family members when we visited them.
I (like most children) was fascinated with Witchcraft and magic, as well as archaeology and mythology. We used to camp often during my childhood, and I had a special bond with nature and Spirit. My best friends were dogs and cats and all manner of winged and footed familiars, and of course, I brought as many of them home as I could. I just never identified this impulse as spirituality (I was only 10); I just knew what needed to be done and thought nothing of doing it. It just was. I also was a very sensitive child, which I've now come to identify as clairsentience, which made me the butt of many a joke and made my childhood somewhat miserable and my adulthood rich and wonderful.
As I was growing up in a Hispanic neighborhood, "magic" was practiced all around me all the time. Little things, like being touched by strangers to prevent the evil eye; holy water, salt, and various powders and potions were sprinkled in and around the house to bless and protect it; older women who bore the scent of Florida Water. Curandero/Curanderas were just normal and respected members of the community. The stories of good or bad spirits visiting people in human form and malevolent spells being cast on unwary men and women were told often, usually over a cup of coffee.
My mother, who's German, also had her ways of healing illnesses or injuries (or even mundane issues) by using herbs and concoctions, as well as spell casting, which she never identified as Witchcraft or magic—it was just things she learned from her Oma, as I, in turn, learned them from her. Mother would tell me of the "May Day" celebrations in her hometown, and dancing around the Maypole as a youngster. I decided this activity was just a cultural celebration and remembered it fondly as such. Little did I know! (But God[s] forbid I should ever point out to my mother it was a Pagan celebration!)
As I grew into a teenager, I started on my own spiritual quest, trying to find my place in society. I started attending Catholic, Baptist, and Christian services, read the Bible, tried to find some sort of connection to "God" as presented by the churches. None of the services or practices moved me at all. People were telling me what the scripture said (as if they knew) and how I should act and behave. All I saw and experienced was blatant hypocrisy on the parts of the members of the various congregations and parishes, people who would shake your hand in church, but turn around and gossip, compare, complain, and belittle you. Church rules were very strict (not having anything to do with worship of "God," as far as I'm concerned). Prayers were said by rote, without any meaning. I even tried to be "born again,” but it felt so wrong because I didn't need to invite the holy spirit within; it was there all along, just waiting to be recognized. It was not the "holy spirit" of organized religion; it was honest, true, and powerful Spirit within me, the power of the God and Goddess. Born of the Universe and manifested through Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Try telling that to the next person who tries to save your soul!
As I became an adult, the closest thing I could identify with was the "New Age movement.” This went on for years. But I was always wary of telling anyone because of the hippy-dippy, air-headed connotations attached to it. There was a wealth of information available, however, and I availed myself of every book, studied every discipline and belief system, trying to find the "TRUTH" on their printed pages. I knew there were multiple deities, but I didn't want someone else to tell me who they were supposed to be—I already had a relationship with them, although I didn't know their names.
At this point, my gift of being able to channel energy to heal began to emerge, and I began to practice it on a regular basis, as well as study every resource there was, trying to hone and polish my ability. This gift was identified by my ex-husband (born again) as being of "Satan" and therefore evil. He told me that I would go to hell if I don't repent and renounce the demon inside me. Go figure! He would have a cow if he realized just how deeply ingrained in me (and his daughter!) Witchcraft and Wicca are.
In '97, after my father died, a study of family genealogy revealed that I have a very strong Native American background. In fact, I am Ľ to ˝ Native American. Learning this about my heritage, I immersed myself in Native American spirituality and beliefs and realized that many of the things my father had taught me while I was growing up had a strong basis in the beliefs and practices of his childhood. Again, no one ever really "taught" him that these things were spiritual beliefs; they just were—as I, in turn, learned them from him.
As I began to participate in the Native American community here in town, I approached all ceremonies, circles, and such with complete reverence, and it just came naturally. I could feel the connection to the Great Spirits very deeply in my soul. But still something was missing. There was still hypocrisy and back-biting going on, in which it became more important that you had your BIA identification card or if your particular tribe practiced certain rituals than whether or not you were approaching ceremony in the "right" way (walking in beauty, perfect love and perfect trust, connected to Spirit). The lack of cohesion in the community was detracting from the worship and experience of the Spirits. There was infighting between the different tribes represented instead of a spirit of inclusion and community that is so desperately needed in any belief system.
I remember the wonder and magic surrounding out-of-doors ceremony, the connection of each person to Spirit and the Spirit in one another; the homage to the moon, to the unseen "little people,” to the fire and smoke. Because many of these ceremonies were conducted on the same property as that of a wolf-rescue operation, the magic was especially evident, especially when the wolves would join in on the ceremony with their wondrous song. The results of these ceremonies were as profound as I imagine a formal Wiccan ritual is. A rose by any other name smells just as sweet.
I am older now, and I have begun a new search for my identity. I have begun to actively study Wicca and Paganism, again reading tons of books (I was not aware of any groups here IRL). It wasn't until I began doing the research that I recognized that my inherent beliefs and the practices I grew up with were detailed in the pages of many a grimoire, how-to guide, and encyclopedia on the Craft. I have learned about Spirit "the right way" for me (naturally; not being "taught" by one person or group of people as the only way to believe or worship). I am learning ceremony and ritual, but to me, that learning not as important as experiencing Spirit every day in everything I do. I look forward to someday finding a coven (or even just a Pagan group) to belong to so that I might participate and learn ritual and ceremony, but a group in which I won't be considered an outcast because I do not follow one strict discipline or school of Wicca or a certain Pantheon of deities. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking, since I seem to be identifying a pattern in Wicca, as well, that seems to be gearing up to be a full-blown holy war.
Who's to say a natural Witch is not a Wiccan? Who's to say that the Spirit within me is not real nor "right” because I don't practice an "accepted" form or schedule of ritual? Can't we all just get along and let Spirit move us in the direction of inclusion for all? Who gave us the right to judge others, as we as a community are being judged? With that mindset, what makes us any different from any other religious belief system? We all follow the path that is natural to us, and each path is different while leading to the same end. Who are we (or any other religion) to decide that we follow the "One True Path” and that all others are not only wrong, but will not enjoy Summerland, Heaven, Valhalla, Happy Hunting Ground, or any other ideal of an afterlife (or even get there) when we pass through the veil? We are all of one Spirit, no matter what the road. We should begin to act as such.
Copyright: wolfbait, 2006
Location: San Antonio, Texas
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