So, I’m still fairly young, but that’s obvious from my “About” page. I’ve always loved magic, mythology, gods & goddesses…pretty much anything along those lines. This is just the story of how I’ve come into my still-evolving path.
Now, this next part might sound really like a “fluffy bunny”. Do pardon that, and do please not get offended or think that I’m a fluffy bunny. I read the first Harry Potter book, British edition, when I was 6. My school’s librarian had family in Great Britain and they had sent her a copy, thinking she’d like it. She let me borrow it and read it at school, and I was hooked. When the American edition came out the next year, I immediately read that one, and then had to wait for the next one. So why does that matter? I was fascinated by the magic in the book. I knew that magic like that wasn’t real, but I wanted to know about real magic, if that existed and what that looked like. I’d already read books about the Greek gods and I really had a fascination with Athena and Poseidon at the time. But I wondered if there were other books about other gods, and if I could learn about real-life magic.
I knew that Harry Potter magic wasn’t real. I didn’t want to learn how to do any of that stuff (beyond a normal kid’s wanting to be able to do something so magical). I wanted to know real-world, practical, actual magic, or at least beliefs. So I went to the library. I was an unusual child, I’ve always loved reading far more than I’ve liked being outdoors or really any other hobby I’ve acquired over the years. And since I was never prone to looking up inappropriate things, my parents never much cared what I checked out from the library. So I started taking out books on Celtic mythology, actual Greek legends (Odyssey, Iliad), a bit on Egyptian mythology…and I even read a bit on the Roman gods and goddesses. I took out dozens of books on pre-Christian British history, Welsh, Irish as well, books on Caesar and his campaigns in Gaul, the history of Carthage and Rome. Well, that’s just example of me going full-fledged into the historical part of it all. So that was about 4 or so years, from when I was 7 to about 11, almost 12. I still look up these things, and I’m always reading more, even into a pantheon or two that I know very little about, beliefs, and ideas.
When I was 12 I came across a Llewellyn book in Borders or maybe it was Barnes & Noble (I really can’t remember anymore). I don’t even remember what the book was called. I still have it sitting in a box in my grandma’s garage, she’s wonderful enough to let me store my stuff there until I’m out and into my own place. I haven’t read that book in probably nearly 6 years, but I will admit that I found it highly fascinating when I got it originally. It was a book on what I think the title had something to do with Celtic witchcraft. Well, I’m Irish/Scottish and Welsh, so the whole “Celtic” angle on the title definitely drew me in. I never used anything out of it, beyond the fact that it told me the names of the sabbats, which I hadn’t come across before, or perhaps I had just not taken them into my mind. In any case, the book was more curiosity for me than anything else, and I’m sure that my parents thought I was crazy for buying it. I never used the spells, but I did want to learn more about it all. The book still is sitting in a box. I know very well that most of it is inaccurate, subsequent research told me that, and I definitely would not ever use it as a valid source. I am going to keep it though. There’s a bit of nostalgia to the fact that it does remain the first “witchcraft” book I bought with my own money, even if I never use it and keep it merely as a curiosity.
Around the same time I was first seeing Llewellyn books, I read an article about Wicca online. I think it was an article about a high school kid in Michigan (my memory is fuzzy here and I can’t find the original article), but I do remember that it was a kid who was suspended for wearing their pentacle necklace to school. A Wiccan teenager. So I wanted to learn more about why that would happen, and what exactly Wicca was. Of course, you can’t really learn traditional, lineaged Wicca online, or in books. That I learned pretty fast. But…there were loads of books on Wicca, perhaps not all the lineage secrets, but basic stuff. So I researched that, and I felt like I’d found something I really believed in. Respect for life, nature, a “law” that I could actually believe (Wiccan Rede), respect for everyone equally, no dogma that had sanctioned oppression of women, other races, sexualities….it seemed perfect at the time. Of course, I know now that everything is more complex than my black & white view of how things should be that I had at 12. I still sometimes think in a bit of black and white, let everyone believe as they do, respect their beliefs, respect yourself, equality for everyone, no matter what…I still hope that this comes about. But back to 12-year-old me – I read more Llewellyn books, I think I even got a few Silver Ravenwolf books, among others. I bought a few books, all touting the mastery/expertise in Wicca. Ate them up too. I didn’t believe every word, or think that these authors were untouchable experts. If more than one author agreed, say 2 or 3 of them, I would consider it a valid, ‘mainstream’ opinion in Wicca.
So by about this time I’m entering high school, and in my history course my freshman year we were put into groups of 3 or 4 and because it was a world history class, we were each assigned a major religion to do a short project on. It consisted of explaining where the religion was founded/based, how many practitioners, any main tenants/books/laws, short history of the religion, and then a particular story/legend/idea that the group found interesting. Religions covered were: Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shinto, Confucianism and Sikhism. My group got Shinto. Well, I knew nothing about it at that time, but after the project I was very interested. So of course I did research. But my small group found out I was “Wiccan”, because they were discussing how the Shinto beliefs contrasted with the Bible (Protestant version), and I had to admit that I’d never read the Bible and I had no clue what they were talking about. Somehow me being Wiccan came out. Neither one of the kids cared, just thought it was cool to meet someone with a different understanding of spirituality. Sophomore year it never really came up, even though I was still researching and learning, mostly by reading online articles, blogs, and sites about Wicca.
So this is part one. I’m going to cut here. Because starting with junior year of high school my path, beliefs and really whole outlook on paganism/witchcraft and who I am began to drastically change. Therefore, this seems a good place to cut. I’ll post the next half tomorrow.∗