31 December 2012

Why I'm a Witch

The holidays are interesting.  Being with my family is always a double-edged sword.  I love them dearly, but it makes me sad that I can't be open with them about my religion.  My parents and sister know (though they're not terribly comfortable with it), and my in-laws know (they're super cool that way), but my extended family do not because I'm afraid they'd either disown me or try to convert me all day.  No fun.  All the bother reminds me of just why I do this in the first place.

Way back in my very first post to this blog I told the story of how I came to Witchcraft.  When I reach one of those rough points where it's hard to blend my magickal and mundane lives I like to think back to that first real experience of owning my spirituality.  However, that was an awfully long time ago.  I've had some profound spiritual experiences since then (particularly back when I was an undergrad), but only a few points really stand out as moments when everything fit so perfectly.

Oddly enough, all of my most profound spiritual experiences have been either when I was alone or when I've been in a group and buggered off to do my own thing.  Perhaps that's just the nature of personal gnosis - it's yours and yours alone; or maybe it's just because my deity doesn't play very well with others ;) 

I'm reminded of my first trip to Pantheacon in 2010.  I went to a lot of amazing workshops and attended several rituals.  Most of the rituals were...well..fine.  There was a lot of pomp and circumstance and very little actual energy being moved.  It's hard to do a public ritual where everyone is really involved (I know because I've tried - even succeeded a few times), but a lot of them could have been better. 

Then I had the great fortune of actually making it in the door to T. Thorn Coyle's big Morrighan ritual.  Now that was a ritual!  I've been to plenty of rituals where someone "drew down" a deity and approximately zilch actually happened.  But in this ritual, when that gal called down the Morrighan she was there with us, palpably so.  You could actually feel the room swell in an effort to contain her.  It was an ecstatic experience that I would be hard pressed to describe.  Of course, for me the most profound moment was when I stepped back from the circle and the Morrighan actually spoke to me directly.  At that moment I was both part of the ritual and outside it.  I was physically there participating, but my spirit was totally engaged in this amazing one on one experience just adjacent the ritual.  I know that the ritual facilitated the experience; it got the Morrighan's attention and opened me to where I could listen to her properly.  I've had that kind of experience several times as a solitary, but only rarely before in a group and never in something public.

It's moments like that one than remind me of why I do this.  Being a witch is hard, particularly a shadow practitioner - anyone who says otherwise is doing it wrong, but the rewards are great.  Being able to have profound personal experiences with deity is a reward without peer.  If you've never stood in the full sight of your god then you cannot understand just how powerful it is.  That is why I do this.  It's something anyone can do.  You don't need fancy robes or tools, you don't need a big coven or a renowned teacher.  All you need is the willingness to open yourself to deity and to do your best to align yourself to it, to make yourself beautiful in it's sight - however that works for your deity.  It's not an easy path, but it's worth it. 

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