Let me start off by saying I know how self-serving and egotistical it is to have this section on my website. It’s incredibly presumptuous of me to assume that you would be interested in reading anything of this length about the life of someone you’ve never met, nor probably will ever meet. That having been said, I’m still going to put it here. For one thing, I really like to write, and have been told that I write stories in a much more interesting way than I tell them verbally. For another thing, it will be interesting for me to finally have the story of my witchitude in writing. I have told it many times, but with the exception of my mirror book (which is the journal half of my Book of Shadows), I haven’t written the story down. I flatter myself to think it’s interesting to anyone but me, but then again, it is my website, and I can do what I want with it.
It would be terribly romantic of me to say that I have always been a witch, but didn't discover it until it was almost my 18th birthday, when I discovered my powers and found that I was descended from a long line of witches with phenomenal abilities and have lived happily ever after ever since. This is a good story, but it’s not true.
What IS true is that I have always been drawn to witches, and with the exception of when I was 4 and went trick-or-treating dressed as a black cat, I have never been anything else for Halloween. I always thought it would be cool to be a witch…to be able to stay up late and hang out under the light of a huge full moon, cast spells, shoot sparks from your fingertips and fly through the air on your broom. As I grew up a little bit, I realized that those last two were going to be tricky, but casting spells was totally possible, never mind the coolness factor of hanging out under the moon. There were lots of nights that my best friend and I would stay up watching movies like Teen Witch and the Witches of Eastwick and pretend that we could do all the things those witches did. When I was about 11, I can remember asking my mother why our family didn’t go to church, and she told me flat out that she wanted my sister and me to decide for ourselves what we believe. Shortly after that, I wrote the tenants of a “new religion” that I was going to start. I called it the “Religion of Love” and the only restriction was that you couldn’t hurt another person. Sound familiar? It was almost another 7 years before I would discover that somebody else had beaten me to the punch with my “new” religious principles.
I grew up in a very small town in the mountains of North Carolina, and it was about 15 years ago that we’re talking about, so there were no Goth kids for me to be an outcast with. I played happily with the band geeks and the kids in all the AP classes, and helped develop the drama program at my high school (something that hadn’t existed until I was there and helped fight for it). I graduated and went off to college in the same state, but as close to the ocean as possible to pursue my goal of being a high school music teacher. The summer I went off to college was the summer the movie “The Craft” was released in theaters. I don’t remember seeing it until I went to school in the fall, in fact I don’t even remember going to the theater to see it at all, but I know I did, because it was what made me think there may be something realistic about witches that I hadn’t considered before. Say what you will about the plotline, the main characters, and the overall message of the movie, but there were a couple of things about the film that grabbed me. Specifically, the woman who ran the shop where the main characters went shopping was of interest to me. The way she moved her hands over the candle she was blessing was interesting, and the message she gave the girls about true magic not being black or white, but both because nature is both and magic is natural really struck me. There was also a point at which the girls perform their initiation ceremony on the top of a hill under a tree, and the ritual itself seemed too authentic to me to be pure Hollywood imagination. The night I saw the film, I went straight to the local Barnes and Noble store in the town where I was going to school and searched in vein for the books about witches. It took me forever to find them, crammed into a bottom shelf in the religion section, surrounded with bibles and the like, lumped in with the books on tarot, angels, and how to be psychic. Keep in mind; this was 1996, so there weren't that many books on any of those topics that your average B&N store would keep in stock, especially in North Carolina. One shelf was it. I glanced at the covers and didn’t think I had found anything special. My eyes eventually fell on a book that was titled simply Wicca, but the subtitle said something about the solitary practitioner and from the spine of the book, it looked interesting, so I picked it up. On the cover was a person (I still don’t know if it’s supposed to be a man or a woman) in a long robe carrying a bowl of incense towards an altar that looked like it had many of the same elements on it that were in the movie. I flipped it over and read the back. I knew I had hit on something interesting by the description on the back, and it said it was about witchcraft, so I bought it (heart racing) and took it back to my dorm room to look through it.
Four hours later, I put the book down, my mind racing. Not only was there actually a religion that made sense to me, but there were actually people who were practicing it! I think I probably laid on my bed for about an hour just marveling that I had actually discovered this amazing fact. Everything I had thought about faith and magick had come together into something amazing that I didn’t have to develop for myself! I had a guide book to perfect my own theories that only cost me $10.95 plus tax! I dove in. I have always been the kind of person who once I get hooked on something, that’s the end. I’m incredibly enthusiastic and I use whatever resources, time or energy I need to get as involved as I possibly can. Over the next few weeks, I reread the book several times, and started accumulating more books on this amazing topic and devouring them, too. I would frequently hop in my car and drive the hour and a half to the closest major city to visit their bookstores, since they had a better selection. I got a blank book, and started what would become my mirror book, and started poking around for shops that catered to a more eclectic crowd. Every time I found something new, I got excited all over again. I started celebrating sabbats and a few esbats, although this got a lot easier once I truly had my own place. Once I had my own apartment about a year after I discovered this wondrous path, I started expressing my newly found interest at home. Ever since then, I’ve enjoyed having a witchy house, and intend to for the rest of this existence. My book collection continued to grow, as did my need for additional bookshelves (something I still struggle with now). I love my books. For a long time they were my only source of information, the only things that provoked my thoughts about life and faith, ethics and the limits of magic. And I read everything: the good books, the crap, the silly spellbooks that were designed for 5th grade girls, and the lofty, scholarly works that I only grasped a fraction of. Somewhere along the line, one of my aunts who is very interested in genealogy discovered that my dad’s side of the family goes back to the Mayflower, making a pit stop in Salem, Massachusetts just long enough for one of my ancestors to have been hung there. I will be the first to tell you that I feel a bit silly telling people that I found Wicca after seeing the movie “The Craft” and am related to one of the women killed for being a witch in Salem. But it's the truth, and sometimes the truth is odd. I had already wanted to visit Salem, and this upped the ante, but it was going to be several years before I finally got there.
About two years after I first discovered the path, I finally felt I was ready to dedicate myself to it. I did it on my 20th birthday, figuring it made sense, since I didn’t remember the exact day I started studying, but I knew it had been well over a year and a day, and it was a special day for me. It also just so happened that another witchy movie was in the theaters then. This time it was Practical Magic. As part of my dedication day, I took myself to a matinee of the film, then went home and made myself a moonstone beaded necklace to wear during rituals, took my bath, and performed the ritual that I had written myself.
And then I was a Witch.
I went on about my life, celebrating holidays when they arose and continuing to accumulate books and magickal accoutrements. Eventually, I ended up moving to Nebraska, and have been landlocked now for about 13 years. I don't mean to gloss over so much of my witchy life, but nothing of great importance happened during that time, so I'll skip ahead a bit...
(The rest of this scintillating story is coming soon..Stay tuned to this channel for the story of my trips to Salem and Stonehenge!)