This is where it all began…
I was born in Emporia, Kansas (USA) back in 1966. I was the third of 4 children and the only girl. I lived in
Emporia for a few years; Gardner, Kansas a year; then in Lebo, Kansas for 7 years. At age 12 my mother remarried and we moved to Topeka, Kansas. Don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz later on all these place names.
I keep trying to pin down a time when I started questioning the beliefs of those around me and of myself. I was raised in the Methodist Church, but also spent some time when growing up going to a Baptist Church. Through my teen years, I popped in at various denominations, Nazarene, Lutheran, Catholic, Episcopalian. Even went so far as to read the bible from cover to cover. Still couldn’t find what I was looking for.
Okay, moving onward. I’ve always been one to take comfort from being out of doors. When I was rather young, on hot summer nights, I would crawl out my bedroom window and sit on the porch roof for a while just listening to the darkness. And in later years, I would go for long walks and sit amongst the trees just listening and talking to the things around me.
After reaching 18 (1984), I lived with a man and his two early teen-age children for a while. Through my relationship with him and the problems his children were going through, I was introduced to the 12 step programs. It was here that I learned that I did not have to accept the version of God and religion that had been shown to me all my life as being the only authentic version. Even here though, I did not find the answers I wanted, but I continued my searching.
I started reading about Edgar Cayce and the Spiritualist movement of the early 20th century. This was now starting to make a bit more sense, but it still didn’t feel right.
Gradually though, I was developing my own sense of spirituality and ethics that had nothing to do with religion. This would have been Spring, 1988.
Got a bit older, had a baby. No, didn’t get married. Moved away from the 12 step groups completely. But continued my reading and studying of different cultures and belief systems. I’ve always felt a special pull towards Buddhism and the Hindu beliefs, but wouldn’t want to practice them either. They too didn’t feel quite right to me.
Finally, back in 1991, I picked up a copy of “Witchcraft for the Solitary Practitioner” I read it. And I thought this is what I’ve been looking for. So I started reading everything I could find on Wicca and witchcraft and paganism. Not easy to do in Topeka, Kansas where even when they have a book on the subject in the public library, some well-meaning soul has permanently checked the book out to protect us poor misguided people who might wish to read it.
About a year later, I created my first ritual circle. I read up on all I could find on the subject, then just did my own thing. And it worked. I very quickly reached a point where I realised that I had learned all I was going to understand from books and I began seeking others who believed as I did. Plus, solitary or not, it’s just plain difficult to have a feast celebration by yourself.
Turns out one of the clerks at the New-Age-y 12- step-y bell, book and candle shop in Topeka was a Wiccan who ran her own coven group and she had been keeping an eye on me, subtly directing me towards books she thought might interest me over the previous year. It was she who suggested I take the first course in Reiki, and the second. And it was during one of these classes that I was invited to attend an upcoming circle. That was Samhain, 1993. I was able to attend 2 weeks later during the New Moon ritual.
I remained a part of that group until summer, 1998 when I moved from Kansas to London. I also continued my solitary practice. Before moving I was initiated as a priestess within that group and I wrote and initiated my coven mother, sister and friend as a High Priestess. Rather backwards, I know. But she had been running the group for 15 years and felt a need for some sort of recognition of what she had achieved.
So what am I today? I’m a plain old generic witch. I do a lot of work with energy healing and now been studying and working with Shamanic Healing techniques. I have a knack for being able to work well with those who are dying or are grieving. I am, first and foremost, a healer. That I have known from earliest memory.
My husband, Paul, began studying witchcraft after meeting me in early 1998 so he could better understand my beliefs. He has since taken them on as his own and he and I now practice together. My oldest son participates on very rare occasion but for the most part holds no interest in what it is we do. The younger two are still deciding what their beliefs will be.
My focus tends to be more on kitchen witchery and herbs these days, while Paul has a knack for stones and rocks.
I don’t follow any particular tradition; we are creating our own – a First Generation Family Tradition.
- I am a Pagan Woman (writingsofapaganwitch.wordpress.com)
- Creating a Pagan Social Identity (writingsofapaganwitch.wordpress.com)