Thursday, 1 July 2010
She's a witch........
I have always been drawn to witchy/wizardy images and items, I guess being born on Samhain (Halloween) helped! Even as a child I loved books about witches and faeries. My father is very much nature based, he loves to walk and has had an organic allotment since before it was even fashionable to be organic. He can name all the plants, trees and birds, and I believe a lot of that rubbed off on me. My mother too, although swayed by fashion and sparkly things (LOL) is a wonderful cook and always served us homemade from scratch beautiful meals. My father is also interested in history and mythology, as a child there were always books lying around about the Celts, the Saxons and such like. As children we regularly visited Avebury and Stonehenge.
I dabbled in Christianity in my youth, belonging to Girls Brigade for several years, until I found boys and then Young Farmers LOL! Then I just floated for a while with no real beliefs as such. I also discovered Terry Pratchett and the Discworld books some years ago – these all fuelled my love of witches!
Then about 11 or 12 years ago I picked up a book in a discount store entitled ‘The illustrated guide to Wtichcraft’, I bought it….and after reading it realized that I had come home. Everything made sense, everything fell into place.
I did lots of research on the internet, purchased all the Silver Ravenwolf books, then the Rae Beth books, then the Elen Hawke ones.
I found an online witchcraft ‘school’ and signed up, I finished my first degree with them in just over a year. It was a pretty average school. The course information was quite interesting but the homework/tests were of the multiple choice format and so didn’t require a lot of thought. When I finished the first degree I decided to look for something else. I didn’t want to belong to a coven, I didn’t want to meet people and perform ritual. I didn’t want to socialize, I just wanted a structured format to learn from.
What I found was Sacred Mists (http://www.workingwitches.com). That was nearly six years ago. It took me eighteen months to pass my first degree, and a lot longer to pass second degree as mundane life got in the way so much! Although I am glad I took my time, it allowed me to digest and absorb the information, and take several extension classes at the same time. I am now studying my third degree.
I also initiated into the Sacred Mists tradition in 2006 – the initiation ritual was one of the most emotional and moving rituals I have ever attended. When the second degree initiation is offered, I shall be dedicating without hesitation.
What I have found with Sacred Mists is a whole lot more than I had ever imagined. I have learnt – yes. But I have also found a sacred place, support, friends, love and laughter and special people that have had an enormous impact on my life. I have grown both spiritually and mentally beyond any of my expectations. Along with now being in third degree I have written and teach a class on animal totems/spirit guides. I am the Study Hall Administrator. I facilitate three boards within the forums. I co-host a weekly online chat. I have written and lead study halls and esbat rituals. I am a mentor to both first degree students and a second degree student. I belong to two committees. And next month I lead my first sabbat ritual.
Being part of Sacred Mists also allowed me to take a Herbalist course which was fantastic. I also trained in Reiki I and II which was amazing. And I am currently studying the Progressive Magick course run by Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone which is incredibly interesting.
All of this has been so immensely rewarding, challenging sometimes yes, but rewarding.
When I started on this path I was embarrassed to tell anyone that I was a witch, it felt silly. I always loved the floaty ‘Stevie Nicks’ outfits of course, along with all the silver bangles and rings (I still do!). I felt stupid casting a circle or working a spell. I didn’t know anyone else on the same path, I was on my own. But I had the love and support of my wonderful husband and my family although they didn’t really know what it was all about. My dad still maintains that I do whatever I can NOT to be normal… I am inclined to agree with him!
But that was a long while ago, and now? Now I am proud to be a witch – it is what I am, it is who I am. It is not my hobby or something I play at – it is how I live my life.
Where next? What next? One of the wonderful things about this path is that you are always learning. There is a lot of third degree I still have to work through, then to decide what elder path I wish to take…
But for now I am happy studying and learning more myself and guiding others when I can.
My next immediate challenge is meeting up with a group of Sacred Mists witches (and a druid ;-)) in Glastonbury. I was asked if I would write and lead a ritual. My initial reaction was one of sheer panic! But then I realized it was an honour and a challenge I needed to take on. I am happy with the ritual I have written, I am not so happy that I still haven’t learnt it off by heart LOL! I have prompt cards! But I am really looking forward to the experience, especially in such a spiritual place as Glastonbury and with such special Sacred Mists people.
(The picture I have used here is drawn by Paul Kidby and shows centre Granny Weatherwax with Magrat to the left and Nanny Ogg to the right, from the Terry Pratchett Discworld books)