“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.
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._____________________________________________________________