Witchy Wednesday – Week 1 – What’s Your Background?

So, the first topic of Witchy Wednesday or the 44 Weeks of Witchery Project is: What’s your Witchy background?

Well, let’s see – it’s been a long time since I’ve written this out.  It’s been a long time since I’ve really even thought about it.

I don’t tend to buy into the idea that the longer you’ve been a pagan always makes you more learned than those who have only been at it a few years.  Don’t get me wrong, if you’re new, there is always something to be learned from those who have been at this a while, but I’ve also run across my fair share of people who learned everything they know about Paganism in the first 6 months.  If I remember correctly, we used to call them Shampoo Pagans (lather, rinse, repeat).

At any rate, I began my foray into Paganism somewhere in the mid-90s.  I’m going to say 1996, because I can’t remember for sure, and that sounds about right.  I’d left the Baptist church my mom thought we kids should go to 4 years earlier, and I had had a stint of hardcore atheism.

The problem I developed was that atheism was just as forced and incorrect feeling as Baptist dogma.  To me, atheism was just fundy science dogma wrapped in snide remarks and hipster glasses.

I’m of Irish descent.  Both sides of my family tree trace back to Northern Ireland.  I’ve always loved genealogy and this was also about the time that being Irish became cool (Riverdance had hit the big time, and people were learning that the word celtic was not pronounced like the basketball team).

I began studying Ireland, her myths and legends, and I found my way to a LOTD fan forum, which bizarrely enough put me in contact with a woman who introduced me to Celtic Paganism (I believe at the time she called it Celtic Wicca).

These terms gave me new things to learn about and research (remember that back in those days, the internet wasn’t like it is today – it was blinky, scrolled on forever, had no concept of layout or colour coordination, and most of it played really awful midi music).  I lost track of the woman after a few weeks.  I think her handle had something to do with tree frogs, but I can’t remember.

I spent the next few years embracing my heritage, learning to meditate, and contemplating the idea that the gods of myth could be as real as Christianity’s god.  This was a big deal for me.  In those days, ancient gods were presented as stories and superstition held by backward people who didn’t know any better until the Christian church came along to ‘show them the way’.

My first introduction to the idea that there were people who believed that they were witches came one October when I was watching a documentary on the pagan origins of Halloween.  From there it was straight to the library and the ‘New Age’ section to learn all I could about real Witches and their Craft.

I seem to have had good timing all around in the early days of my journey, because Witchcraft soon became the next big thing with the release of Practical Magic, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, etc etc.

Being a Witch seemed to become cool overnight.  While this did provide me some protection in the early years, it was also a hindrance as every Tom, Dick and Raven crawled out of the woodwork looking to make a buck on those at the beginning of a spiritual journey.

I had learned a lot of little tricks from my mom as a kid, and it was only in my studying Witchcraft that I realized their significance.  I still have my first pendulum that I made with my mom when I was about 10 or 11.

I continued to learn and study and practise through the early 2000’s, and my good luck continued as I happened upon a group of great people of diverse Pagan faiths in an old online forum called A Witches Thicket.  I still keep in touch with a lot of these people to this day.

Life wasn’t always easy.  Life never is.  In 2009, I stumbled unprepared into a Shadow Journey that caused me eventually to walk away from my path.  I have weathered a lot of changes in the last 3 years, and towards the end of 2011, I began to ache for the part of my life and myself that I had lost.  As I’ve mentioned in other posts, 2012 is the year of returning to my path.

16 years Pagan. 13 years a Witch.  What sort of Witch?  My path doesn’t have a name.  If I had to describe it, it would be Celtic sorta-Wicca.  My Craft is organic.  My practises are common to Kitchen Craft, Reclaiming and Outer Court Wicca, among other things.  My folklore is mostly Irish.  My beliefs are Druidic, Feri, Wiccan and Discordian in their way.

You could say I’m Eclectic, but I’ve never liked that word for my path.  In my mind, to be Eclectic is to build something deliberately.  And I never really have.  As a friend of mine is fond of saying, “Your path is under your feet.”

3 thoughts on “Witchy Wednesday – Week 1 – What’s Your Background?”

  1. Reblogged this on A Less Travelled Path and commented:

    Since I’m not really a youtubey person, I doubt I will be participating in the Pagan Youtube Challenge, but I did write a blog post about the first topic a few years back: ‘How Did You Find Your Path?’

    I still don’t really do labels so far as my path goes. Maybe with everyone doing these videos, I’ll finally finish my own list of Witchy Questions. Maybe update it a bit so it goes to 52 weeks instead of 44.

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