May 12, 2011

Magaly's Witchy Roots: Innate, Unnamed...Natural

How did you find Witchcraft?”

I’ve been asked many different versions of that question, and I’ve always wanted to give the same lame response: “I didn’t know Witchcraft was lost!” and then wink at the person making the inquiry. But I’ve never replied with those words; instead, I think about the day I embraced the Witch label, and share that tale.

I was a 20-something-year-old woman the first time I called myself a Witch. Before that, I was just Magaly—a young Caribbean girl who felt a strong connection with plants, soil, moon, sun, the living, stones, the dead… herself. I grew up in a place and time where survival and happiness depended on ones connection with the land and with other neighboring creatures.

My family and I lived in a one bedroom cottage, sitting up on a hill, surrounded by mango, coconut, orange, avocado, wild cherry, cacao, coffee… and a bunch of greenery. We didn’t have electricity or plumbing, and our kitchen floor was packed dirt. Our drinking water came from the sky and we carried the rest from a water well, a few miles away from home. The river was a bit further. I loved bathing in it, right after we washed our clothes. Life wasn’t simple; it was natural and demanded hard work. But there were so many pleasures… For instance, waking up with the sun to feed the chickens was one of my secret joys. I used to pretend I hated the work, so I would always get stuck with it.

I talked to the animals while I fed them… and to the plants… and to the sun… and to everything around me. I used to tell them stories, and I was almost sure they listened every once in a while.

I attended Sunday evening bonfire dances. I used to fan my skirts from side to side. My bare feet followed the beat of tamboras and mimicking the steps of a dark happy lady who danced in the middle of our circle. I also repeated her words: 

I’m child of Fire; I burn hot with the sun!
I’m child of Earth, steady as a rock!
I’m child of Water, I sway with the river!
I’m child of Air, I fly with a thought!”

I did this for a long time, but I didn’t call it Witchcraft until I read Drawing Down the Moon:Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in AmericaToday by Margot Adler. To be honest, I had never called it anything, but that book described a lot of what I did. It was easier to use the label than to explain to people that I wasn’t religious, but that I loved and practiced many rituals that got me closer to Nature. My attraction to all living things came from within. Didn’t the land feed me? Didn’t the river cleanse my body and soul? Weren’t the plants and animals my magical playmates and accomplices?

Yes! Yes! Yes! I am a Witch, and my witchy roots are innate, unnamed… natural.
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Magaly Guerrero is “a writer who embraces the darker side of fiction.” She is the author of Pagan Culture, a blog about “everyday life through the eyes of a dark fiction writer.”

12 Comments:

Linda in New Mexico said...

You have picked the most natural witch I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Great pick, great read, great pagan....thanks.

Lilac SilverFox said...

A beautiful and wonderful story Magaly! It is always so great finding out a little more about the friends you'll never meet LOL
Myself, I was 12yrs old and had went through a phase of pretending the movie The Craft was real and as my friends got a little bored of it I went into research as the natural aspects of it intrigued me immensely.
Of course, I found out I couldn't walk on water or float up in the air as they did, but I found the thing that had me hooked and, in a way, found home in the real witchcraft within.

Green Witch said...

Linda, I have to agree with that! She is amazing.

Lilac, it is very interesting to learn about our online friends, especially when their experiences are so different from life we know in our own culture. I like your story too! ;)

Magaly Guerrero said...

Linda & Green Witch - You guys are too sweet ;-) Now my head barely fits through the door and I don't know how I'll manage getting into the train to get to school ;-)

Lilac - I think many of us have found our way through fiction. I think that is what I love most about writing stories, the fact that they have touched me deeply and I hope to write one (or a few) that help a few see themselves in the way they've always want. Or even in ways they didn't know they desired.

Life is a story waiting for our interpretation!

debrikasar said...

my first witchy book, I was 7 and it was called "The little left over Witch" by Florence Laughlin...I myself come from a highly spiritual culture. Its a part of who we are, and learning the different aspects from other Witches just magnifies what nature is calling me out to do. its your faith and when its your first lesson in life, you just never know anything else and just you grow with in it. Magaly I was anxious to read this, it was great, always love reading your work....can't wait to read more ;) have a great weekend.

Judy said...

Green Witch...you have a lot of pages on your website...I'm planning a good time reading...Magaly has such an interesting life story...and she is always coming up with more...

My story is so blah...I was christian for so many years just trying to make sense of it...not even realizing that there was anything else...then came the internet...YEEHHHAAA... so many people with so many wonderful ideas...there is actually a name for people who can't believe the popular christian teachings...I believe that Nature and the energies of Nature are all we have...work with them...

Lilac Wolf (Angie or Angela) said...

Wow - I'm stunned by your story.

My own? Never felt like I quite fit. It was a faith thing, and when I stumbled on websites describing modern paganism, wicca and witchcraft it felt like finding home.

I don't practice too much, or read too much, but it still has the feeling of comfort after over 10 years.

Green Witch said...

Hi Judy, I never tire of hearing how people come to the "witchy paths", even if the story seems "blah" :)

This blog is a little daunting at first, but all the posts are indexed on one page for easy reference (upper menu of Pages, fourth one down "Posts Index by Category").

Magaly Guerrero said...

Debrikasar - I just bookmarked The Little Leftover Witch and plan to add it to my wish list. I'm glad you enjoyed the reading, I kind of love telling the story because it takes me back... and I do love it there.

Judy - Your story doesn't sound blah, and I'm sure (not to sound condescending) that if you truly look at it, tell it around a bonfire, you and whoever is listening, will find amazing bits.

Green Witch - I LOVE your pages. I don't know if you remember this, but I once told you that I don't have to go anywhere to find Pagan dates and things of the sort, I just click on my trusty Pagan by Design link!

Lilac Wolf - "Stunned" the witchy writer in me is very flattered. And about the not practicing too much, I think most of my witchery is contained in the things I do every day. I love the rituals--they are fun--but what makes me a Witch is the way I do everyday things. Maybe the same applies to you...

Judy said...

Magaly and all...I was listening to a person tell me how blessed they were to have god in their life and how when they accepted him it was a weight off their shoulders...I told them the same thing...it was such a weight off my shoulders when I finally let him go and accepted that Paganism was for me...

Magaly Guerrero said...

Amén Judy! I always wonder why people who said to have found "glory" can't understand when others find Good Old Heart Filling Pagan Bliss. People are weird...

LJ said...

Love it!

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