Last week, I talked about my childhood background in Christianity and how I ended up drifting away from that, because there wasn’t much of an anchor there to begin with. Something I’ve learned through my years of searching is that spiritual connection, regardless of your religious belief, needs to be cultivated. I was never taught how to cultivate a relationship with Christianity, so it never truly developed.
So, when I began my search for religions, I wrote off all the majors as not for me. This left me not a lot of options. In fact, the only option left that I knew existed (but, by far, not the true only option left), was Wicca.
My mother began practicing Wicca when my parents got divorced. I was about eight or ten when that happened and, in my childish wonder, was fascinated with her altar. It was so shiny! There were statues and incense and pretty stone boxes and a tiny, jewel-encrusted knife! I thought it was the coolest thing.
As I mentioned, I’d first learned about Wicca by reading my mother’s books in middle school. Now that I was in high school, I decided I wanted to do my own research and get my own books. The first book I read was “Simple Wicca” by Michele Morgan. It was a good little introductory book and I’m kind of disappointed I don’t have it, anymore. It had a lot of useful reference information.
I was really starting to get into feminism and Wicca is a very matriarchal religion. I was very private and Wicca could be practiced solitarily (so I didn’t have to go to church). I was a bit of an outcast and Wicca was what was referred to at the time as a “fringe” religion, so there was a shared sense of being misunderstood. It was exactly what I needed at the time when I found it.
I did a lot of research, a lot of studying, a lot of note-taking. But, when I look back, I very rarely “practiced” Wicca. I never cast circles or did Wiccan rituals. I’d occasionally ask the Goddess for help, but that was about it. Wicca fit into my life very well on paper, but when it came to actual practice, I just felt a little off. It was like wearing a sweater that was just one size too small—yea, it could fit me, but it wasn’t comfortable. I went on in that discomfort into my late teens, thinking that eventually I would get used to it.
Wicca has this tenant: “An’ it harm none, do what ye will.” The idea is that you don’t want to cause harm, because that’s shitty and also you’ll probably hurt yourself, too. Some people also tie this with the law of threes, so if you cause someone harm, you’ll receive three times as much harm. I found a lot of pressure to be totally pure and goodhearted (which, if you’ve ever met a teenager, you know they’re spiteful little monsters; no offense to any teenagers reading, but that age range isn’t known for not getting angry).
I saw a lot of judgement towards new people from people who’d been practicing for a long time. If someone had a question, I saw more mockery than assistance, because apparently they should just innately know everything about the practice. It was absolutely possible to not be Wiccan enough.
Of course, I know that all Wiccans and Wicca in general isn’t like that. Unfortunately, when I first began my journey into Wicca there weren’t many resources and I was too young to know where to look to find people who weren’t assholes. Again, another problem I’d had with Christianity—running into a lot of holier-than-thou people.
There was also the issue of the common pantheons. In my research, I found that the most commonly worshiped pantheon is the Greek pantheon (Zeus, Hera, Athena, et al.). Now, of course, I know you don’t have to be Greek to relate to and worship these gods and goddesses. But, I’m not Greek and I just couldn’t connect with them, no matter how hard I tried. They didn’t feel like my gods and goddesses. I thought maybe the Roman pantheon might fit me better, because I have Italian heritage, but I didn’t connect with them, either.
I do find some connection with the Celtic pantheon, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Around the time I turned eighteen, I started realizing that Wicca’s wholesome nature wasn’t quite for me. Part of this, I feel, probably had to do with there still not being a lot of available resources for Wicca (or other Pagan religions) at the time. It seemed like “this is the way it’s done and if you don’t do it like this, you’re wrong,” and there weren’t many other resources around to tell me, “Actually, you should just do whatever works for you; this is more of a guideline, really.”
So, I began shifting again, away from “harm none” Wicca, to a more generalized Pagan witchcraft.
To be continued…
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