Since turning 30 a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been thinking a lot about my life. You know choices I made, risks I took, fuck ups, successes, and my life up-to-now as a Witch. I came to realize that for nearly all my damn life, I have identified as a Witch.
I remember as a child being completely and utterly obsessed with witches in some or another. I would watch Sabrina’s wacky antics of copping with being a mystical creature during her teens, Practical Magic was my go-to movie for years, Buffy came along in my early teens, and of course (I’m a total 90’s kid) The Craft. All of these characters were outcasts in someway, they didn’t fit in to normal society, much I like I felt even as a youngin’. I was popular enough, didn’t bully or get bullied, and my parents were married and from good families. But still, I didn’t quite fit in.
Religion was never shoved down my throat as a youth. My sister and I were un-churched for the most part and free to roam about wildly with little or no rules. I only attended church on ‘special’ days with my insisting (maternal) grandmother. She, in her own right, was a witch, though a good Methodist lady would never admit to such, and taught me a great deal of herbalism, how to look for signs, and a plethora of old wives’s tales. My grandmother was full-blooded Native American (Poarch Creek Indian, Wind Clan) and she would haul us grandkids to the “stomp grounds” to attend Green Corn as well as other religious ceremonies (still strange for a good Christian). I suppose looking back she wanted us to find our own relationship with the Divine(s). She bought me my first book on herbalism as well as various incenses, stones, and other books on my vested interests. She always accepted it, would call me her little witch, and would even let me perform small spells for her or whip up herbal teas I would read about in my book. She even consoled me and said that it would be alright when the Sunday School teach (on one of the rare days I attended church) said it would be best for me not to return to class since I caused distress to the other kids by arguing that why couldn’t god be a woman. She was truly my best supporter and when I would see spirits, or have a dream and it come true, she would just hug me and tell me that people wouldn’t understand it, but to keep my head up and embrace it as a gift and not a bad thing. I miss that old woman more than anything in this world.
My paternal grandfather taught me about the wild, about how to tell animal’s patterns, how to look at the sky to predict the weather, and how to call wind. We would walk for hours and miles in the woods surrounding his simple country home. I cherished those walks and I learned more about the world by being in nature than I ever could in a book. I learned how to survived, to respect all living things, and to take only what I needed and to thank the Earth for what she gave to me.
I also learned little bits of folk magick from my aunts and my mom. If a bad storm comes up you can bet your bottom dollar that my momma is gonna have her bible opened to Proverbs and facing the storm, a trick her grandmother taught her. We grew up knowing that seeing a shooting star and hearing the hoot of an owl foretold of the death of a loved one. That saying the Lord’s Prayer over a wound would stop the bleeding and if you wanted to know what the sex of a baby was, a needle on a piece of thread over the stomach of the expected mother would tell you. A circle for a girl, and swinging line for a boy.
I remember my momma telling me that I was born with a caul over my heard, a sure indicator of the Sight. For the longest time we never discussed that I could see things. My mother said that it was best not to talk about it, even though she has the gift herself. Finally within the last few years, she understands it a little more and even invites her friends over on occasion to have me read for them. It’s funny how the witch or fortune teller is something “proper people” do not associate with or recognize until they are in need. Even though my family accepts and understands that I “see” or “know” things, they still have a hard time using the word witch. Only a few recognize me as a Witch. And that is fine with me.
So it’s no wonder I turned out to be a Witch. My first encounter with ‘real’ witches came in the form of a childhood friend. She and another girl had got their hands on a book of spells. A real-life, honest book of magick! Naturally being curious kids, we dove right in! We performed the simple little spells and were surprised when they actually worked. My friends decided that magick was too freaky for them and they drifted away, but I was hooked. I started reading everything I could get my hands on (that’s around the time my precious grandmother bought my first books) and did as much magick and I could. I stumbled upon Wicca and read a few books, learned the wheel, celebrated the sabbats, and honored the Lord and Lady. I even identified as a Wiccan for a number of years, but it never felt right. I liked the other Wiccans I met just fine, and I thought some of the Wiccan rites were beautiful and poetic, but still something never sat well with me. I could never fully buy into the Wiccan Rede or the Law of Three and the robes were not my thing. I yearned for something wilder, something more untamed.
Even though I didn’t feel complete with Wicca, I kept with. Simply because that’s all I knew at that point. My favorite cousin was a practicing Witch and eventually became my teacher. I was initiated at that point by her during a wonderful ceremony, of which I won’t talk about. After initiation I was encouraged to branch out and find what witchcraft was to me. It took me years to finally find Traditional Craft. Once I found it, I had one of those earth-shaking, fiddles playing, and demons singing moments. It was like coming home again, and I knew I had found my true calling as a Witch.
I’m still learning, ever-changing, ever-evolving as a Witch. I think that once you stop learning and stop searching, then the magick fades and you start to cover in dust.
Never let the dust settle chickens, always keep it stirred up!