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Dancing Beyond the Circle | My Pagan Past

My pagan past hasn’t been all bad, in fact it has been amazing. I have pushed myself to go beyond places I always heard were bad. Thelema and the occult being two examples. We are conditioned from a young age, to what is correct and what isn’t. If you analyse the impact the New Age has had on people, you will find a pool of mixed experiences, but a lot of those experiences seem to follow the trend of conforming, and to another degree “aesthetic purposes”. These days I look at myself and feel good just being myself. Being free, being open and being proud of how far I have pushed myself. Things that seemed hard to begin with are now second nature, and I’ve benefitted hugely. Hard work is one area I found easy, and it also played a big part in the decision of leaving my Wicca days behind.

I used to fight with myself, when conversing with other Wiccans or Pagan practitioners, about how they chose to study. They studied the same things I did, but they never had the same annoying thoughts. They never questioned how or why. They didn’t need to worry about any of that stuff. Neither did a few folks I knew understand the concept of becoming aware of your inner voice; that gut feeling. That voice would insist on particular subjects, when I browsed books shops. Other times, like now, I would be writing something about my day, or the ritual I had performed and the words would just flow from my mind, as if being put there by Muses. Why hadn’t anybody else ever come forward about these experiences too? I started to meet other folks who said they understood me, but unfortunately they hadn’t. On those grounds alone I would say it was the individuals that annoyed me, not the religion. These people gave the religion a bad name in my eyes. I just had to get used to the idea that the only solid friend I could trust with my personal education was that gut feeling aka the HGA. (Have I Known All Along?)

So I put in the hard work, whoop! Where was it all going to lead me? Was there an end sight? Actually, for the first time in my life I found that goal, and now I have a new one. On top of that, I know there is so much more for me to discover. Below are excerpts from Equinox Vol. 4 No. 1, which detail the importance of study. Now don’t get me wrong, not everyone likes the study, nor do they see the point in studying, but that is just down to their individual preferences. I love to study, and I love to share my experiences – like I said, I’m a hard worker, and I strive for the absolute best. I hope in some way that this text will give you a slightly different insight into your own magickal study, but if it doesn’t then at least you have the knowledge:

Essay on Occultism - Equinox Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 1-4

Essay on Occultism – Equinox Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 1-4

 

Essay on Occultism - Equinox Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 1-4

Essay on Occultism – Equinox Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 1-4

I must admit, I choices I made were based on ideals I hadn’t really thought about. As time went on, with my spirituality deepening, I found a sense of realism and understanding, in fact a whole lot more than what was available. Around the time I went back to practising general witchcraft, I noticed the bigger picture. It was as if I had seen a tiny rip in the fabric, just flapping in the wind, as if beckoning me to rip it apart. Let’s just say I ripped at it, and slowly the world it revealed was full of beauty, power and knowledge – a kind of Eden. Amongst the thorny bushes, there would be a cornucopia of rare flowers, and I knew I would have to work my way through the thorns with bare hands. I didn’t mind. I’m a hard worker, with a keen soul and devoted heart. This is what I feel is missing from underdeveloped practices like Wicca – there aren’t goals to work toward. From my own experiences, I was running around in circles, just spending my time bowing down for the sake of habit. Then there would be days when I read the exact same thing, just written by another person, and quite happily digested it without question. It was a case of the blind leading the blind.

I remember reading my old books and coming across passages dedicated to slamming the occult, and things beyond the circle. At the same time, I came across these attitudes on the internet. All kinds of people would slam the serious practitioners for thinking differently. These days I get the odd comment, or email from someone who has read my blog or watched one of videos who will try to put me down for following a system that is thousands of years old, but only made available in the last century by Crowley. People want a quick fix, so they find false teachers and follow them, only to realise after a lot of energy has gone, that they were duped. They eventually find their way back to the people they originally thought less of, or look at spiritual subjects with a new eye. Everyone must follow a path set for them, but how they choose to follow it is a choice only they can make.

When I joined the YouTube community, I had experiences with socialising I had never gone through. I won’t go into too much detail, as I have done a lot in the past! I had worked out what the trends were, and stayed well away. I looked up to people, who I considered to be normal humans like me, but with better understanding on certain subjects. I also found a lot of others, who unfortunately continue to gas, who did a lot of talking, and never shared their own experiences – considering half of the folks who vlogged after a well-known vlogger went on a huge break, were only there for subscriber numbers, and not quality. I saw the shallowness of these people and quickly decided to just keep doing my thing, regardless of how boring my videos were. I didn’t care about the quantity, I only cared about documenting my progress for my own memory. Even today, I haven’t vlogged in ages because I’m busy being a university student, and being a Thelema student. I hate the idea of ever becoming an armchair magician, which is why I don’t vlog or write unless I have successfully experimented, or experienced something. Sadly, people like me are ignored and often over-looked due to our raw love of magick. We don’t like quick fixes, we love to endure the hard work and ordeals, because we know exactly what we will gain – truth, balance and another step on the ladder of transcendence. Those are qualities you can only find outside the New Age phenomenon. Then again, that’s just my opinion.

The amount of people I have met who left Wicca and other New Age formations behind for something deeper, truer and purer is astonishing! They learnt what they needed to, and moved up a class. I’m doing that too; experimenting, and increasing my knowledge pool. I needed to go through those days, in order to find out what I do not want in my future. It was one ordeal after another, but they have been worth it. In some big way, I feel great knowing my hard work paid off, and my persistence to stay afloat meant I was able to find absolute balance. I’m more confident because of it, and I can look in the mirror and smile at myself. It’s great.

Mourning is over (for now).

LVX 93s


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Where There Shouldn’t Be Walls | My Pagan Past

“In the true religion there is no sect, therefore take heed that thou blaspheme not the name by which another knoweth his God; for if thou do this thing in Jupiter thou wilt blaspheme יהוה and in Osiris יהשוה. Ask and ye shall have! Seek, and ye shall find! Knock, and it shall be opened unto you!” – Verse 21, Liber Librae sub figura XXX

As I mentioned before, in my last post, I did not like the idea of white-washing other spiritual and cultural practices. When I was much younger, I didn’t mind reading about how to make other practices conform to the ideal that was set out. Bear in mind, this was at a time when Wicca or Neo-Wicca was mixed with an awful lot of theories and ideas, without much reference to the original roots – as if it was the inventor of such ideas. Writers’ would just write up their own experiences, which was fine, without letting the reader know where they learnt particular practices. You had to really dig to find authors who lead you to reputable sources like Cunningham, Valiente or Buckland. It still didn’t give me enough insight into how I would incorporate the other philosophical practices I was trying to study at the time.

Buddhism and yoga became the physical aspects of my practices, if you will. With Buddhism I didn’t need to buy a Westernised version of a mantra, or a Westernised Buddha statue in order to have him within the circle with me. The other aspect of Buddhism which did not fit, surrounded the notion that Buddha was a man, merely a teacher. He wasn’t a deity of any kind, so he wouldn’t be allowed to sit on the male side of the pillar, but he could sit somewhere at the side for aesthetic purposes. [Note: – Actually, now that I’m writing this, I’m honestly quite shocked – “aesthetic purposes”. Yes, as some nice people are aware, I am beating myself up, but I need to in order to feel purified. I ask myself, “to what end?” Why did I do this?] I was lucky in some way, knowing that I could listen to my gut feeling and research outside of the given texts. Why had I felt so keen on only celebrating the finer symbols in life? Why didn’t I just ignore the inner feelings of wanting to follow the trends? If they weren’t going to benefit my spiritual growth in any way, then I would just enjoy the knowledge and reap those benefits instead.

I delved deeper into unknown territory, but I felt safe in the knowledge that it was a place I was supposed to go. I had to learn about breathing techniques, yoga, effective circle casting, daily regimens, divination, history and the like outside of the Wiccan world. Wicca is a great place to start a life of study, but only if you have the intent of learning one form of magick without staying too long. If you want a lifelong process of soul working, and the ability to become enlightened then stick with witchcraft. Like I’ve said over and over, witchcraft is a practice, not a religion, so it become a big part of your personal life; you live it, it lives with you, and the benefit of just being a witch is knowing you don’t have restrictions. I felt, being different, I could love myself more by not conforming to one ideal. I had always been drawn to the Classical pantheons, and knowing their history, there wasn’t much if any discrimination on the grounds of your sexual orientation or colour. Back in those days, they didn’t pay much mind to it. I stuck with those paths and immediately felt a sense of relief, plus I could put all of my occult knowledge to good use and formulate a spiritual life of my own – which I later realised to be Thelema! Who knew?!

The purpose of living a spiritual life is to discover new things, but if one path seems to run out of road, what do you do? Do you go back and start all over again? Do you decide on setting up a homestead where the track has stopped? Or do you become a traveller, intent on finding other sources to bring back? For me, I was and still am a traveller, but I follow my heart’s desire with respect and awe, remembering to learn what I can and following the most important aspects. I won’t go out of my way to white-wash other religions because they don’t suit my own, I will respect them as they are and leave it there. If it doesn’t feel right, I listen to my gut. At the same time, as a blogger and vlogger I feel obliged to let young and impressionable people know what experiences I have gone through so they don’t end up chasing their own tails like I did.

An example of doing your thing comes from a friend of mine, who followed Wicca religiously like I did. He practises a form of Hellenism, but found in his early days he often had to view his deities the way Wiccan teachers and books had taught him. He felt his deities were being supressed in some way, being limited to particular functions within the practice and theoretical circle. He didn’t like the idea of limiting Aphrodite to the label of “Goddess of love”, as she had shown him things beyond that. Nor did he fully understand the logic behind mixing pantheons based on those limitations and stereotypes. Being Greek himself, he found Wicca incompatible with his culture, history and practices so he gave up after three years. Maybe Wicca is just limited to mostly one cultural ideal?

I’ve spoken to a few Thelemites, but mostly Mr Vamp about how the word “Obeah” is mentioned in the Book of the Law, and he quickly showed me other sources. For those of you aren’t aware Obeah is a form of magick practice in the Caribbean, mostly Jamaica. Last time I checked, Crowley had never been to the Caribbean, nor did he know much about it, but his guide Aiwass knew all there was to know about magick and the New Aeon, while giving Crowley his vision – but the thing that really stood out was the fact that there is a great emphasis on the human condition, and the freedom of being an individual without judgement. I wasn’t about to force myself to keep my soul from singing, just to suit my old books and later the YouTube community, like it says in Liber AL vel Legis, verse 41 “The word of Sin is Restriction!” – Mr Vamp reminded me of Calypso from the Pirates of the Caribbean films, she is an Obeah woman.

Most of the areas of my path were centuries old, with thousands of years of knowledge and freedom. Old thoughts and ideas have been developed and practised since, with a few key figures making this seemingly secret knowledge more accessible in their time, and ours. A lot of this life changing knowledge unfortunately falls outside of Wicca, and it takes one in a hundred to brave it outside the circle – and realise they haven’t fallen into some treacherous pit of annihilation, but a world full of incomprehensible beauty. I have found areas within this path of mine to follow even most basic of common sense, and a rigid back bone. It doesn’t matter where you come from, or the Gods you choose to work with, there is always plenty of space, essays and love for them. Like Crowley said above, “Ask and ye shall have! Seek, and ye shall find! Knock, and it shall be opened unto you!” Crowley is a prime example of this technical ideal, as he and friends put together one of the ultimate’s in correspondence charts for magick, Liber 777. Whatever deity, herb, Thoth card or I Ching etc. that you want to use with your own personal magick, you will find other effective tools within it. Whatever it is you want to explore, be aware that magick is a science, you are supposed to theories and experiment, whilst deciding what is important for you as an individual. If it doesn’t make sense, don’t do it. If there is something you want to try and learn, without practising, then that’s totally down to you. Thankfully, I’m able to just pick where I left off as far as occult magick and study is concerned, as there is more than enough room within Thelema. Don’t take any less than what you are.

Would you tell her to keep the get up, but limit things to particular ideals? Or would you just let her be the free witch she is?

Calypso, from the Pirates of the Caribbean films. An Obeah woman.

Calypso, from the Pirates of the Caribbean films. An Obeah woman.

In LVX


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My Pagan Past | To What End?

The post I wrote titled ‘Mourning My Pagan Past is Making Me Angry’ was tough for me to write. At the same time it brought back feelings of anger toward my personal experiences as a lone student behind a glass wall. Sadly, a lot of people who had read it felt I had offended them because my experiences were valid to me and not them. Somehow they felt I was being incredibly horrid because I have chosen a well-deserved path for myself. Let me make myself a little clearer, it’s MY path, and I need to do what is true for ME; I am not trying to convert anyone, just sharing my experiences and promulgating the Law.

I have written this post over and over, trying to figure out how to put my discoveries across. Obviously there are an awful lot of sensitive people out there, and they don’t stop and think about what it is they could be saying to me. Yes, I learnt witchcraft, and in some ways I still see myself using witchcraft in the future, and yes I finally graduated from the field of Wicca and I’m much happier. That is something people cannot seem to understand. Folks genuinely believe there is no existence beyond Wicca, nor do they feel that anything outside Wicca is right. The sad thing is, a lot of Neo-pagans today left Christianity for that same judgemental attitude. I also try to be one of the few occult practitioners who is trying to put the importance of words on the map, for example, witchcraft is a craft, and Wicca is a religion. Witchcraft is used by any religion or non-religious person(s).

If you found a better cooking method, based on methods from a bygone era, wouldn’t you follow those methods? Like keeping the tradition of cooking with your grandmothers recipe, rather than following a popular trend based on cooking from a box?

Folks have moaned in the past that Thelema is a new concept, sure. Aleister Crowley merely made it accessible for magick students. If you research Thelema itself, the philosophy goes as far back as ‘Gargantuan’ by Rabelais – at least from what I have read. It’s probably a whole lot older. The thing that I love most about my path is that I’m learning new things, having more physical experiences and I’m able to put all the amazing lessons I’ve learnt from witchcraft and the occult to good use.

I don’t feel like a stranger or someone who is odd. I still follow ancient Egyptian ideals with a Qabalah flow, whereas when I was practising Egyptian Wicca I had to make sure I turned Egyptian symbols into Wiccan ones. I would celebrate Wiccan holidays every year, with Wiccan symbols, but remember to make the Egyptian symbols comply. I didn’t feel comfortable. Why only two deities when all are a part of your very being? Why frown on things outside the circle when I hadn’t explored them? I was always a curious child, and I’ve always listened to my gut.

Why hadn’t there been more emphasis on modern ideals set on old symbols outside of western new age practices? It was a learning curve, and I was happy to do all the research and conversions for my own practices, which eventually lead me to just doing my own thing. When I would research particular symbols, the idea of the Universe, ascension and a solid philosophy with goal, I couldn’t find very much. Like most religions Wicca was based on much older practices, but unlike most, Wicca was diluted. The idea of casting a circle wasn’t a Wiccan concept, but when I researched various ways it could be done, I found them to be more in-depth, and they held symbols that I could never find within the confines of Wicca or Neo-Wicca. I didn’t mind. It annoyed me that I preached so highly about this path, yet in the long run it wouldn’t serve anything for my soul. I did my daily devotions – to what end? Discipline? I already had that. I wasn’t sure. I just didn’t fit the mould.

I recently tried to Wiccan-ise Thelemic holidays and failed. I just felt I wasn’t meant to. I have recently decided on not doing that anymore. A few people have stepped forward and given me their ideas and tips of how to combine Wicca with Thelema, but I prefer not to. If Wicca is based on Thelema, minus the other colours (other cultures and their practices) and sexuality freedoms (orientation and freedom), then I personally don’t feel the need to mix the two. I will happily practice witchcraft and the occult, but to my own ends, with a goal to work toward.

I experience and understand things unique to me, and others like me. I’m quite happy on my path. Lonely, but quite happy. If the universe wants me to grieve the process of moving onto the next chapter, then I will. It’s a process I have come to realise as life. I feel safe going into something considered the unknown, because it’s known to me and that’s all that counts. If I were to teach my child magick, I would teach them witchcraft and allow them to find the religious or spiritual path they choose to combine with it themselves.

I choose to live my life this way, and if it upsets you or you think terribly about me then that’s your prerogative. I’m working toward my True Will, and it’s a one seated vehicle. These feelings will not cease.

93s

In LVX 93, 93/93


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Why Only Wicca?

Questions:
Why only Wicca?
Do you not feel you could step outside for a while, if yes why? If no, why?
What scares you about being outside of that comfort zone?
If you have stepped out, how is it now? Scary, bad or a great experience?
If you came into the world of magick through other portals, how and why?

Video here!

I wonder what it is that stops people from gaining a little more knowledge or potential. Wicca has done a lot for the majority of pagans out there. It created a safe haven and a solid religious structure, taught a lot of people how to honour the male and female deities, the heavens and our bodies. I like that, but there is so much more out there. Golden Dawn anyone? Thelema? Witchcraft? Those are part of the greater world of magickal insight that I have been part of for years, and without them I could never have reached the point I am at now. So what is it that makes people feel the need to snatch bits from them and run back to the circle if they aren’t going to try researching and learning properly?

I am ranting a little, and I don’t mean to offend anyone. I am just wondering is all…

Sy, x

The Magick of Books (photo)

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20120823-194339.jpg

Via AussieWitch90 and a bunch of other folks on FaceBook. This instruction is simple, clear and precise. Though I have to point out, not just wiccans do what is stated. Occultists, pagans of all kinds, magickal geeks and witches too. Share the love people!


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Being Pagan Is So Trendy… Unless You Are Learned

What inspired you to vlog? How do I become a Youtube vlogger in the pagan community? Can you teach me how to read tarot so I can vlog too? Can you teach me how to be a wiccan/witch like you? Oh, did you know [insert something obvious here], because you did or said it wrong. – this is just a tiny sample of the questions I am asked daily from viewers on Youtube. I am lucky that honesty comes easily and I will be honest and assertive where needed, but it is increasing day by day. The one thing a lot of people have in common is a lack of understanding and theory when it comes to magick. They assume that Wicca is just a hobby, and it is not. Others don’t see that Wicca is a tiny proportion of pagan practices, religious theology and witchcraft. A lack of proper study gets on my nerves, especially when they have access to so much and refuse to look it up. This is not a quick fix.

Growing up I had a lot of religious freedom to a point, so long as I didn’t venture out into the ‘real world’ too much. I still adhere to particular customs from my Adventist and Jewish upbringing, but I was open to other Christian paths, especially that of the Anglican Church and the old customs of magick from Jamaica from family members. To a child it was all fun and superstition, but as I got older and started my pagan path officially I realised there was truth to a lot of what I was taught. I used to make potions from mud and various flowers. I casted magick circles without realising they were a part of some pagan practices, I was told all I had to do was pray to God whilst walking a circle three times – at age 6! By the time I was well into my second year as a student witch I had collected around five or six folders full of information, lessons, spells, glossaries, rituals and alphabets. I read up on them. I bought books of all kinds, mainly from olde and new age titles, as well as academic history books to reaffirm the practices and my personal identity.

For me, witchcraft is a big part of my life, my beliefs are what help me focus in life. I didn’t meet any formal practitioners until I was around 18/19 years old. I met a lovely Buddhist monk who introduced me to lots of monks, old friends, nuns and books. I met a ton of Wiccans, Witches and Pagan folks on social networking websites and Youtube. I am glad to know men within the OTO, various Hermetic Orders and other magick systems (all non-Wiccan) who in the last few months have been helping me out by viewing my videos and emailing me later to say if my message was okay or not. Thanks to the internet I taught myself a lot. The reason I vlog is to hopefully inspire and help at least one person in a way that I never had. I know I’m not the fun type, my videos are pretty monotone and full of the theory that people just don’t care about, but what I grumble on about is the stuff that separates true practitioners from the ones who will practice a little and become born again Christians in later life. I cannot help you, I can only help myself, regardless of how sad, lonely or fulfilling it is. I just hope that at least someone other than my fabulous friends will say I helped them understand the jargon, or a life lesson in magick.

The facts, theory and history side of things help shape my identity as I mentioned briefly before, because I’m lucky I can retrace my ancestors steps and reaffirm to those unlearned pagans out there that I have just as much right to practice what I want, when I want with proof. I’m a very deep rooted nerd =P If you don’t put in the effort, how far do you expect to go? The lessons you can learn can be found in book shops, Youtube and on the internet. Learn the little things first, like authors names, how to pronounce the Sabbats, learn the meanings of words in various glossaries and learn the basics of astrology. Once you have that, move onto writing up your own spells according to the method you are most happy with. You folks of today have so much at your fingertips, so learn as much as you can; sift the good from the bad and you will go so far.

Another thing which I take huge pride in is the fact that I extended beyond the circle of Wicca and embraced a witchy lifestyle instead which rewards me with freedom. People who watch one of two of my videos assume I’m a Wiccan and I am not. I haven’t been Wiccan for a little while now. I have kept my eyes open to the things around me, taught myself to not only understand what it is like to have an open mind, but to have one regardless. Once I started vlogging my thoughts and theories on subjects, I had opened a doorway to lots of people are there to seek a strangers’ opinion. I get things wrong, but I’m not afraid to admit it, as I’m human and I make mistakes. Be wary that whatever you learn over the years will have effects on your practice, fingers crossed in a nice way, but if you open these customs up to the world there are some individuals who will put you down, or worse expect you to personally teach them when you know you can’t. I’m not a teacher in any way, just a vlogger airing lessons I’ve learnt and making friends. My practice and beliefs come first in all things; Youtube comes much later down the line. Live for now, live for yourself and be smart.

This post is very odd, I apologise, it is 3am and I haven’t planned it out well… hopefully it is okay!

Sy x

Post script… I was chatting with Uni Witch and he agreed with me on the religious front that Paganism is not a religion, just an umbrella term, so why do people call Paganism a religion? Thoughts people!


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Spiritual Interview | Erriender Ravenheart

Enjoy the words of this beautiful Wiccan lady, I tell you, she is awesome! =P

http://www.youtube.com/user/ErrienderRavenheart

What gave you the idea for your username?
My username is also my spiritual name, Erriender Ravenheart. I chose this name when I committed myself to following Wicca. It is how I identify myself as a spiritual and magickal being. I use this name in spiritual circles and to sign any spiritual journaling that I do.
I took a long time to pick the name. I am very connected with my star sign and element (Libra/Air) and so I started there. The first part of the name is meant to sound like the word ‘air’ but it looked better overall when spelt with an E! The latter part of the word comes from ‘lavender’ as it has always been a plant that I work closely with, even before I started down my spiritual path. When you put the whole thing together, it brings to mind the scent of lavender on a cool spring breeze. Or at least it does to me!
The second name is more straightforward but it has a significant meaning to me. I picked the raven as a sign of the magickal path. It is a bird that is thought to be able to cross the boundaries of the physical plane and the spiritual plane. That is how I felt at the time, like I was exploring the spiritual realms. Discovering Wicca filled me with a religious and spiritual passion that I never saw myself finding. It felt like the raven had been awoken in my heart and was bursting out to carry my forward on my spiritual path and to assure a safe journey. Hence the second name of Ravenheart.

Have you always been magickal?
Growing up, looking back on it now, I used to practise what I now think might have been ‘sympathetic magick’ and the concept that like attracts like. I used to concoct ‘love potions’ to attract a guy by combining sweet smelling bath scents in a bottle and tying a ribbon around it. Obviously as a kid, you don’t really know what you’re doing and I don’t think I honestly took any of it seriously. But maybe it was a sign that I was destined to learn about real magick.
When I was a little older, in secondary school, I was still attracted to the idea of spells and potions but again, never really taking any of it seriously and sometimes even laughing at myself for trying. A friend came in to school one day and she had burned her arm on her straighteners. She asked if there was a ‘spell’ to help her. I did some kind of elemental spell by combining a leaf, a feather, some sand from the long jump pitch *cringe* and some bottled water. I can’t remember the exact of it but I just know that my friend swore that it helped speed the healing process.
So who knows? Maybe I was just messing around in the way kids do when they are growing up, but maybe it was a sign that I was always meant to find this path.

What got you started, and why?
A friend of a friend, a little older than myself, told me about it in school one day. I had always thought she was a little bit weird and eccentric and I was so completely sceptic when she called herself a ‘Witch’. But for some reason I couldn’t get it out of my mind. For the next few weeks I just did some internet research on Wicca and Witchcraft and I was captivated. The ‘magickal’ side of it all was the last thing on my mind though. It was the lifestyle that it evokes and the moral guidelines that I loved. Combined with the freedom of ‘do what thou will’ I knew this was something I wanted to learn more about. I studied intensely for a year or more, buying books on the craft and working up the courage to ask this girl more questions. In the end I just couldn’t deny it anymore. I was a Wiccan and I wanted to admit it to myself and to my family.
Then I came out to my Mom and Dad, I did a small ‘self-dedication’ ritual and I have been a whole new person since then.

Do you see it as something you’ll continue to develop in 5 years or so?
I know now that this path is a huge part of who I am. And I have always believed that you can never stop learning about anything. I learn more about my path and more about myself every day. The people that I have met through the various online communities have played a huge part in that. Sharing their experiences and my own, I know that I will always have the opportunity to expand what I already know and enjoy the journey through other’s experiences of the craft. As long as I live, I know that my path and therefore everything that I am will continue to evolve.

If your path didn’t exist, what would you follow?
I don’t know where I would be now if I had never found a name for what it is that I believe in. I didn’t know that there was a kind of religion that didn’t follow a strict set of rules that had already been laid out in a holy book of some kind. The freedom to choose how to practise and how to express your love of life and the divine is a huge part of why I consider myself to be a Wiccan. I’m not sure that I would have found a way to channel my spiritual self and maybe, had I not turned down this path, I would now be an unsatisfied agnostic. I would hope that I could have found a way of being spiritual at the very least, without finding a specific religious alignment.
As it stands, I do use teachings and mythological stories from several religions and ancient religions, to teach me more about life and myself. Perhaps some sort of collaborative religion with a lengthy confusing title would form that I could fit under!

What is your secret to staying spiritual?
To be honest, I find myself drifting from time to time and getting the feeling of being disconnected. But I guess that to stay spiritual, you have to realise that the divine is all around you and that you are a manifestation of that same divine force. It’s not as simple as just saying it or reading it, but really knowing that and feeling it inside you. It’s easy to forget that we are all Gods and Goddesses. But by believing in ourselves and knowing – and I mean really knowing – that we have the power to overcome any obstacle and to carve out our own destinies, that we will always be spiritual beings.
Also, one thing that I’ve noticed recently, is how much more I get out of life by taking time just to observe the world going by. Catching the gaze of a bird when I’m walking down the street, or appreciating the silence when it’s too early for people to be up – they are very enlightening moments. I get a very uplifting feeling from noticing these sacred moments every day that I can’t put into words.

What do you think of labels in a general sense?
They have their ups and downs. I am very much split down the middle on this one. On one hand, it’s great to have a sense of community and to feel like you have something in common with others when you go by the same ‘label’. However, ‘labels’ can be associated with so much prejudice that they are often just as likely to evoke hate and cause segregation. Whether it’s football teams or religious views, they either bring you together or drive you apart.

And do you think labels such as ‘fluffy bunny’ or ‘flaming pagan’ are okay or harsh? (Fluffy bunny is used to describe new people to the craft, and flaming pagan is used for over the top pagans):
I dislike it when the term ‘fluffy bunny’ is used to describe solely new people. It evokes a sense of willful ignorance and someone whose intentions are not in the right place. New people to the craft should be embraced and helped wholeheartedly to find their own path and sense of belonging. However, I do use the term myself but under different circumstances. I think that there are people who get interested in paths such as Wicca and Witchcraft for very wrong reasons and I’ve seen it up close and personal one too many times. There are people who use it just to look mysterious or intimidate people, for attention or to be unique. It infuriates me that they have such little respect for the religion. And it is these people that I refer to as ‘bunnies’ because they just can’t be taken seriously as they themselves don’t take this path seriously. I think these people earn that title.

I’ll put you in a scenario. If someone sent you negative energy or went out their way to upset/hurt you, what would you do, and why?
In an ideal situation, the way to handle that kind of incident is to rise above it. I haven’t always dealt with life in this way though. For a long time I was incredibly sensitive and prone to drama-queen style strops if someone upset me. But it was embarrassing! It really is cringe worthy to think how childish it was to use techniques like ‘the silent treatment’ to make a statement about how it was affecting me. Acting out like that though, only causes you to feel worse in yourself. By reflecting negative energy, you actively fill your surroundings with negative vibes that maintain your bad mood. These days, I’m pretty good at just shaking things off. If something really gets to me, I like to vent with a good friend over coffee and then laugh it off later. Sometimes it takes meditation or a combination until I put myself at ease. The main thing though, is not to reflect. You just have to move away from the situation as soon as you can. Things only get to you if you let them! ‘Rise above’ is my official mission statement these days. I can’t say I manage it every time – no one is perfect! I certainly try though.