I’ve been asked many times how I became a witch, or why did I choose witchcraft. I never have been able to explain it. I just don’t have a nice, concise, cookie cutter answer. In fact I didn’t choose it, there was no becoming. I just was. To me being a witch wasn’t a choice, it is not a religion to me. It is just what I am. I am witch.
I’ve tried to explain by sharing pieces of my history with people. When I do, when I explain just a little of my background to Pagans, they are never surprised that I am now a witch.
So here it is, my complete witchy background. I warn you it is long, and I would love it if more people would explain their background. To me it is fascinating.
In the beginning…
God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters…
Oh wait, I guess that is a little too far back…
What I really want to tell you about is my beginning; kinda of the story of my life with a strong emphasis on the magical.
Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale…
A tale of a fateful trip. That started from this tropic port. Aboard this tiny ship…
Oh wait, that’s the wrong story too.
I do have a story to tell, and this story begins with my grandparents.
Let’s start first with my paternal grandparents. My grandmother was of Spanish decent, and my grandfather of Irish. This of course makes me a quarter Spanish and a quarter Irish. My great-grandmother was one of my most favorite relations of all time. She was an industrious little Irish woman, under 5 feet tall, whose name was Fay. She had a love affair with pansies and an artistic streak a mile wide. When not in her pansy garden she could be found in her art studio painting or using her kiln or even doing a variety of handicrafts including embroidery and crochet. This part of my family was not religious. There was no praying, no talk of God or sin, and no church gatherings. They were simple people with a few acres between 4 family members who all lived next to one another and they had a walnut orchard that I would play in for hours as a child.
My maternal grandparents were Portuguese, making me half. My grandfather died before I was born, and my grandmother came to America with her family when she was a little girl and is a hateful bitter woman. She was so much so that when my mother asked my great-grandmother why my grandmother was that way, my great-grandmother replied that she had been possessed my demons when she was pregnant with her. This part of my family is Catholic. I even have a lesbian aunt who was a Nun at one time. I also had a gay uncle, this aunts’ brother, although when I was little I thought they were married. How was I suppose to know?
My mom was forced to attend Catholic school, and as a result, has never been interested in organized religion. She is sort-of Christian, although she really doesn’t like to use that word. She feels that all religions are aiming for the same thing and as long as a person is good and believes in a higher power that they are on the right path. The entirety of my religious education from her was her asking me randomly one year, post Santa Claus, if I knew why we celebrated Christmas and then plainly stating that it was to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. My father wasn’t a big part of my life; my parents divorced when I was 5 and my father died when I was 12. He wasn’t religious, in fact he refused to have me baptized. Even though he wasn’t a big part of my life, he shaped my entire future.
I was conceived on or near Halloween in 1976. During her pregnancy my mother read a lot about the occult. Now she thinks this is why I am a witch, although I wonder if the reason she was briefly interested in the occult was because she was pregnant with me. In the morning of July 24th of the following year, during a heat wave (can’t imagine why I love warm weather), my mom thought she might be having light contractions. They went to the doctor to get her checked out and she was fully effaced and dilated to 10. I was in such a hurry to be born that the doctor barely had time to get into the room, and my father had to watch through the window while he tried to put his gown and mask on. It was literally one push and the doctor caught me catcher style.
Unfortunately I was a fussy baby. It really wasn’t my fault though. I couldn’t tolerate my milk-based formula, so I didn’t do anything but cry. When they finally found a formula I could tolerate, it was made of ground up beef liver (can’t imagine why I love meat). I still didn’t like napping though. I was also a very precocious child. I would flip through magazines before I could walk or talk like I was reading them, I decided to start walking on my first birthday – after everyone left, and I didn’t have a first word because when I started talking I spoke in sentences with a Boston accent. No I was never normal and my mother knew it, she calls me an old soul.
I also developed certain psychic skills early on. I don’t know if I was born that way or if they came out so early as a defense mechanism because of my environment. At this very young age I became quiet, contemplative, observant, and empathic. I had night terrors of dragons chasing me and I would occasionally have “waking dreams.” Although I know I use to see things that would scare the crap out of me, my mother was sure I was just dreaming. When I was about 2 years old I developed contact with my first totem/animal ally. It came to me in the disguise of a stuffed animal, however I was fiercely attached to it. Now I had a billion stuffed animals. If I did name them I gave them silly names like Puppy Puddles, however this particular stuffed animal I gave a real name to, a name that is older and uncommon and one I had never heard. My mom was perplexed by this. This animal was my guardian, and when I was scared I wanted him with me.
The cause of all of my psychic development at this age was my father. He was a coke-head and an alcoholic and was physically abusive to my mom (but never me). When he was good he was very good, and when he was bad he was very bad. In fact we think the night terrors were directly caused by his behaviors with the dragons representing him. Being quiet, observant, and empathic were highly important in our house because you had to be able to gauge his mood. I had to know if it was safe to leave my bedroom. And I am sure I needed a guardian and teacher to do all this. Sometimes during this time I would say things that would make my moms jaw drop. I told her once, after my father smashed through the sliding glass door destroyed the dining room table (which held my birthday cake) chased my mom through the living area while splattering blood on the walls pinning her to the floor and choking her before he passed out, that she shouldn’t worry I would be the daddy now. Another time my father called and demanded to talk to me. He was pissed at my mom because he was sure she was telling me not to see him, which was not true, she always left the choice to me. Well she put me on the phone and I have no idea what he said to me, but what I told him was that he made his decision and he couldn’t have it both ways and then I thrust the phone at my mom. Mind you I said all this when I was around 5.
In the early part of elementary school I started dabbling in magic. I would do things like trying to make the school bus stop working, trying to move things with my mind, turning helium balloons into friends who would follow me, or pretending I was a witch and combining different plants in a large cooking pot to make my magical concoctions. I also started reading about magic. Unfortunately all the books I read came from my elementary school library and dealt with stage magic. I remember thinking to myself that this wasn’t real magic. One year I started being interested in numbers. I would add numbers together to see what numbers they would create. For example, I learned that if you added up the numbers in my street address you would get 13, and if you added up the numbers of my phone number you got 9. I decided to apply this to my birthday as well. Then I had this crazy idea. I came up with the idea to assign each letter in the alphabet with a single numerical value and repeat the numbers 1 – 9 through the alphabet. By doing this I could then take the letters in my name, assign them their number and add up those numbers. About a year later I discovered numerology.
When I was 10 my mom started letting go some places on my own. One of the places I loved to go was the library. I loved books. One day I was brave enough to use the computer in the library to scan the card catalog. I decided that I would search for books on witchcraft. Jackpot! Magic. Real magic. A whole section on it! I was hooked. I would sneak books on astrology, tarot, demonology and anything else home with me. Of course most were beyond my understanding, but I found subjects of interest that I could understand. My psychic experiments expanded and I took notes on tarot, astrology, and other forms of divination among other subjects. This lasted until Junior High. I think I ran out of books. But I started practicing simple forms of divination, used homemade spirit boards, and even bought my first deck of tarot cards by finding a shop that carried them using the phone book then sneaking out of the library to the local head shop.
In Junior High I had my first boyfriends, and one of them shoplifted a book one day when we were downtown. It was a book on witchcraft. I was so excited! I went back to that same store on a following day to try to find the same book. I couldn’t, but I found another one, Secrets of a Witch’s Coven by Morwyn. It was really too advanced for me, but I used some of the symbols in it to show him I was interested in witchcraft too. He laughed at me. Eventually we broke up, and he would make fun of me at school and would call me a witch. It made me mad, but I ignored him. I continued my research and experiments. I could control a candle flame, use a pendulum with ease, astral project myself, and predict with 90% accuracy when my mom would let me go to the mall. Hey I was 13!
Eventually I got another boyfriend and eventually we broke up. He started hanging out with my previous boyfriend, and took up making fun of me alongside him. I was heartbroken and mad, and decided to curse him to die. I made a human-shaped form out of black candle wax, named it after him, and then destroyed it. The next day at school he wasn’t there. Nor was he there the next week, or the week after that. I was both amazed and horrified. I was honestly upset. Three weeks after my spell he was back at school. All I know is he got really sick and I was never made fun of again by them. I learned a very big lesson from this. Don’t play at magic, it’s not a toy. Sometime after this my mom discovered my book and candles and freaked out. She forbade me from practicing magic. She didn’t want me to accidentally open a portal of evil in the house. So I stopped. I continued with divination and psychic experiments though. I even set up a nature altar in my bedroom that I changed during the seasons. She was okay with my explanation of the altar and allowed it since I was just honoring the seasonal tide.
This continued on through High School, and when I was 19 I moved out on my own and got on the internet for the first time. Want to guess what my first search was on? I found a gold mine of information and ran out the next day to buy my first real witchcraft book (the first was more ceremonial magic oriented) Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham. I was home! Everything about my childhood started making sense. I started crafting and working magic and rituals and researching like a mad woman. If I didn’t have the proper ingredients I changed them, if I didn’t like a particular wording I changed it and I kept doing this until I was creating my own spells and rituals. I honestly don’t even know when I exactly dedicated myself, I know it was before Halloween that year, so I have taken Halloween as my Pagan anniversary although I had been a witch long before. That was almost 12 years ago and I have never once looked back.