People don’t go and find witchcraft, it comes and finds them.
– Terry Pratchett (Wyrd Sisters)
I have started this post with a quote by the wonderful Terry Pratchett because I feel that it sums up rather well the point I wish to make.
The reason I chose that particular line is because it resonates quite deeply with me and from conversations with other witches, with them too. Witchcraft isn’t usually something people (and this includes myself) actively get involved with. By that, I mean that it is quite unusual to meet someone who has made a choice to become a witch. Most of us feel something within ourselves for some time, and cannot put a name to it until the world of witchcraft is opened to us.
I have found that for a lot of us, our paths begin when we stumble upon a book or an article of some kind and as we read, our eyes grow wide with wonder and our hearts begin beating a little faster as a sense of belonging and oft homecoming fills our beings. Our eyes scan the lines quicker and quicker and every bit of intrigue is amplified as we absorb everything and anything that we can.
Some witches are born into witchcraft or magickal practises and they’re known as hereditary witches as the path they walk is one long established by their families. I love that and I think it is a wonderful thing to create a tradition that can be adopted by generations to come. How lovely, no?
Even so, hereditary witches take time to discover themselves and their chosen path because no one comes pre-programmed with the knowledge of their craft. Throughout our entire lives, we learn. We take some information in and discard other pieces; we weed out problematic authors and beliefs and we form our own opinions as we go.
When we find our craft, we find our home.
Of course, that article or mysterious book is merely the beginning of a lifelong journey and that sense of something bigger than us; that,… awe, never really abates. Every new tidbit brings us joy and excitement, no matter how small it may be.
Onto My Journey into Witchcraft:
My journey into witchcraft is one that I assume many witches can identify with and it begins with my Mama. Her name, is Victoria and she is the daughter of a devout Catholic – my Grandma, Mary.
My Mama is a Kemetic pagan and used to practise witchcraft when she was younger, before I was born and when I was very young. She used to hang sachets on the front door to protect us, and on the night before our (my younger sister and I) first day in the latter half of primary school, she placed a small rose quartz crystal beneath our pillows to draw love and friendship to us.
I was exposed to witchcraft at a young age, and thus it has never been something that I have feared. Instead, it has always intrigued me and I have always had a love of the occult; of paganism and magick and the supernatural, – of all things strange and dark and wonderful.
Years and years ago, I found a box with a red folder and some little packets in it under my Mama’s bed. The packets were herbal sachets and within the folder, was absolutely lots of pieces of paper with spells on them! Love spells, protection spells and potions galore! There were instructions on how to astral project and how to mix and use flying ointments. Mama told me that I could take the folder and read through it, so I did. Well actually, the first thing I did was organise all of the papers. My Mother has terrible document keeping skills, let me tell you that much. It was a mess.
Not long after pilfering the folder and retiring to my bedroom to scour through it all, did something start within me. I know it sounds melodramatic, but it’s almost as if something woke up. I can’t really explain it without it sounding like either poetic drivel or a badly written scene out of a YA novel.
My Mama gave up practising and settled on soft paganism instead. She is still a Kemetic pagan, and has charms and beliefs pertaining to that, she just chose not to practise witchcraft anymore. I understand why. She had myself and my sister to care for full-time, as I developed type 1 diabetes at 3 years old and spending time and money on magick was no longer an option.
She did, however, encourage me when my interest piqued during my early teens as did my Grandma. I thought she would be somewhat disapproving of the whole venture as she was a devout lifelong Catholic but,… she wasn’t. She pushed me to read up on anything and everything I could find and she would stay up until the early hours of the morning discussing it with me. She would quiz me on crystals and ask me about herbal remedies and teas. She watched me do simple candle magick by the fire and she pushed me to be the best witch I could be.
During high school was when I discovered Wicca. I read up on it, liked it and investigated it further. For a while, it seemed to be my thing but… soon afterwards, I realised that Wicca is quite a strict religious system and as I got a little older, the constraints appealed to me less and less. It didn’t feel right just having a God and Goddess (at this time I hadn’t truly figured out my pagan path) and trying to find a coven seemed like something I didn’t want. I also didn’t like the hierarchical mechanics of it either, as strange as it sounds.
After some soul searching, I came to the conclusion that I am not Wiccan, nor am I a specific type of witch. I am an eclectic solitary secular witch. I practise a craft that I have forged as my own and I do it alone and without the inclusion of any deities. Once I decided this, all seemed to fall into place. My love for all things strange and magickal made sense; a feeling of being incomplete dissipated. My love for the darkness and for stormy skies and dense forests made sense; my affinity for learning became relevant and significant and I had found myself. I have found the best and truest version of who I am and this version is my favourite so far.
Wicca served as a gateway into the craft I love and practise to this day and although I no longer am Wiccan, or really ever was, and there are some things I don’t agree with within the faith, I’ll always be grateful for the world it opened up to me
Witchcraft has brought happiness, confidence and belonging into my life and filled a void that I never thought could be rectified.
As the late and great Terry Pratchett said it would, witchcraft found me.