Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Finding Wicca

Ms. Kitty wants to hear from those of us with Pagan experiences.

It is because of Wicca that I have sympathy for and can understand the “born again” experience of religious ecstasy.

I was in my early 20’s when I discovered Wicca. I had faintly heard of it before, something about “real witches!” mixed up with “white witchcraft” and Stevie Nicks and a vague sense that this was something some women did in New England. It was certainly nothing I’d heard about in Texas. (Oh the irony … I was living in Austin at the time, a haven for pagans.)

A couple of years earlier, I’d purchased Mists of Avalon for The Husband, who’d expressed interest. I’d picked it up and gotten hooked. Hmm … female deity … priestesses … magic … it exposed me to a whole new world.

So, a couple of years after that, I picked up a romance at the library -- Charmed, by Nora Roberts, about the shy Anastasia. It used the word “Wicca” and talked about magic. Hmmm. Interesting.

It was at this time that the Internet, as we know it, was growing. No World Wide Web … you paid for your membership in Prodigy, and there you stayed.

But the Pagans were a) smart and b) lonely. Feeling they were all alone in the world, they created online communities. Anyone visiting the Wicca/Druid/Pagan board was greeted with warmth and generosity. They would happily answer the newbies’ questions again and again. Really lovely people.

The world that had been slightly opened to me with Mists of Avalon, exploded. On my new friends’ advice, I went to the mall bookstore (no back then!) and bought Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner. I stayed up all night reading it, occasionally waking up The Husband to excitedly read him a passage. (The Husband is not even remotely pagan, but he has always been uncommonly supportive in my spiritual pursuits.)

What I felt … it was as if I had been living locked up in a single house, and suddenly the front door was opened wide. Concepts that I had felt in my heart, had a name here, and were affirmed. Magick! A power given to all! A duality of female/male energy! Goddess! Seasons! A connection to the earth. A lack of judgment. A universal impetus to do good, not harm. Karma.

Wicca was a part of my journey and parts of it remain with me still. And ultimately, it has given me a deeper appreciation for Unitarian Universalism. I was born and raised UU and so it was something that I could take for granted. But now, when someone walks in our doors and after their first UU worship experience, with glowing eyes, they say, “This is my religion, that I never knew existed” … I know what they mean. I’ve had that moment, too. Through Wicca.


ms. kitty said...

This is so cool, LE! Thanks so much for your thoughts.

jess said...

I had a very similar experience with Wicca, though not online as I was in high school and didn't have access until college. The first book I and two of my close friends read was "Celtic Magic," and we went from there through everything by Scott Cunningham, and Silver RavenWolf when she first published, and Buckland's "complete" guide. We tried a ritual at one point, realized that none of us really believed in what we were doing "fer real" and kind of gave up from there.

It was, quite honestly, a rather severe reaction against the fundamentalist Christianity that was all around us rather than a real religious conversion. What was important about the experience, for me, was to see that there were other worlds out there -- it wasn't Christianity vs. Atheism with nothing in between.

I came back to Wicca later in my life when I was in a searching phase, but it still didn't quite fit. Then I found my first UU church and realized I could take the ideas that *did* resonate for me, leave the rest, and keep going.

Tracie the Red said...

Yes, Wicca has been part of my spiritual walk too.

My man is Asatru. The runes still inform my spiritual life.