Week after week I field questions and comments about where I want to fit in in the Wiccan world. Many times, I am asked to offer guidance and input to someone's path and occasionally hear of their displeasure when I do not give them what they desire. I wanted to talk about what sort of Wiccan I am and how I manage to keep my spirituality intact in a world where it is becoming more and more difficult to NOT conform.
First of all, I am an everyday Wiccan. I was this long before anything else significant in my life: writer, mother, wife. As a very young woman, I was having a hard time understanding how people treated one another. It was the 80's, and kids my age were doing a LOT of recreational drugs, sex and spending vast amounts of time unsupervised because both parents worked to support the bloated lifestyle of excess that was expected of them.
When people my age were going off to college, I decided to drop out of life. I lived alone for two years without any of the modern comforts that we all take for granted: electricity, plumbing, heat, phone etc. In this time of my life, I was reviewing who I was and what in the world I felt was the matter with everyone else.
One day, I came out of my cabin in the woods and heard a noise. Turning towards the sound, I saw a deer standing about 10 yards away, just on the edge of my clearing. The sound I had heard was her actually snorting as I startled her. We stood there for a minute or two perhaps, just staring at each other. The air was cold enough that I could see her breath as she exhaled. The silence was broken only by the sound of my heart pounding in my ears. All I could think of was how I could see the individual hairs on her coat. I could see where she had brushed a wet branch and the water had darkened a smear on her side. After the moment or two, she simply turned and vanished into the woods.
The next day it was time to hike down the mountain to town for a couple gallons of kerosene for my lamps and more oats and coffee beans. Closer to town, I passed a woman gardening in front of her home. We began talking (I, in my hippie clothes and backpack-her in her preppie shirt and skort)and I mentioned the moment with the doe. She said "Isis must have been sending you a sign that you were welcome"!
You could have knocked me over with a feather! Isis? Like out of my Mythology book from high school? I was intrigued. Finishing my walk to town, I decided to go to the library and fill up on as many Mythological books as I could find there. Mythology led to religion and that led to Wicca. It seems simplistic now that I am writing it but that is the true path to the most important facet of who I am today.
I spent the rest of my many months alone,learning about spirituality vs doctrine and learning about traditions that were eerily familiar to things I already did without knowing there was a connection. I made an altar, watched the moon, learned all about herbs and their uses, studied trees, plants and animal movements-most of all I studied the world around me. When I began reading that other people did the same thing it was amazing! I wanted to know why and in doing so, learned more about myself. It was not that there was something wrong with everyone else, I just had to not be affected by their wants and expectations on such a personal level. This lesson changed who I was and allowed me to be who I am without needing acceptance from people around me.
As time passes, I continue to learn but also to teach. I do not often explain myself to anyone with the exception of my children. As they grow, they are curious to know why I do certain rituals. The help decorate my altar, play with my trinkets, my runes, my tuft of hair that is tied with a ribbon from my beloved Dakota. They smell the scents of my herbal smudge sticks and hear my soft chanting as I perform a ritual. My children see and hear me celebrate my religion as a way of life. They do not get lectured on how wrong everyone else is about their beliefs and they also do not blindly recite any sort of rules that have been memorized. They just absorb how my bliss, my spirituality feels around them.
I am an everyday Wiccan. I am the woman you ask how to divide your chives. You ask me if there is any tea that can help soothe your aching head. I smile at your babies and give them small, embroidered pillows that are stuffed with sweetly scented herbs. You sit with me at the library and you wonder who made my clothing. I in turn, do not defend myself because I do not feel at war with you.I make no mention of my religion and ask nothing about yours. I wear my pentacle toe rings and earrings but you only see something shiny. I am much more than you think and even if you do not notice, I am quite sure. It is not my purpose to draw you closer to what I believe in. I am an everyday Wiccan.