How Did Your Find Your Path?
This post is going to a history lesson on my life, I suppose. Finding this path was not easy, and it was not overnight. Hell, it wasn’t even really finding the path, so much as romping back through the brush after trailblazing for a few years, trying to find where I had left the path in the first place.
I was born a Witch – I know there is a lot of controversy about saying that, witches aren’t born, anyone can be a witch. I believe that anyone can be a witch, just like anyone can repent and accept Jesus in their hearts to become a christian. But there are those of us, those that have an inherited predisposition for a certain faith. It was written, whether by destiny or the random convergence of stars, or by the past lives my soul has lived – I don’t know how it happened, but it did. My mother is a Witch, my grandmother a Witch, my great-grandmother was a Witch, and so on. Our knowledge and power is passed down through the women in my family. They are the teachers, the Elders of our tradition.
I was born in central California, in a tourist town where forests meet sandy beaches, celebrities play golf, and movie stars are the mayor of small seaside hamlets. I lived just a few hours away from Big Sur and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, nestled on Hwy 1 overlooking the churning ocean. When I think of my hometown, my mind goes hazy with morning fog, and all I can remember are the sights, smells, and the way my surroundings felt to my hands as a child.
My mother taught me that magic is everywhere. She was a lover of debating, and enjoyed conversations that had a lively back and forth quality. I was raised barefoot, naked, running through grass and along trails, sand getting everywhere, the salt air kissing my skin. My mother pointed out all the native plants, and as I grew older I was able to name them and tell her whether they were edible, poisonous, medicinal, or decorative. She taught me the properties of the plants, both physical and metaphysical. Her grandmother had taught her this information, and she felt it was time to pass it down.
My mother read to me from childrens books, the Bible, and her own stash of Witchcraft related books. My favorite was The Spiral Dance by Starhawk. My mother used that as a building block of her own book of shadows, and wrote in the margins, on napkins and scraps of paper that she stuck between the pages. She also wrote a lot in her diaries, where poetry was her forte. She wrote a poem titled The Tree before I was born, and it was about me – the poem spoke wonders about the child she would carry to full term and birth.
My birth was not easy – it was messy and filled with fear. My umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck and I nearly died. They saved me, of course, but know that I was so near death before I even took my first breath is both humbling and inspiring.
I chose to explore the different belief systems around me and spent some of the most formative years of my childhood attending church and Sunday School. I identified as a christian – I use the lower case because I was not born again, I had not repented, nor had I truly accepted the big JC in heart. One day, I questioned my mother “Mommy, why are you a Witch?” She didn’t really answer me, but I started to explain to her what I had learned the last session of Sunday School. “Mommy, teacher says if you don’t believe in God, you are going to Hell.”
“Then I guess I am going to Hell.” She laughed. I must have been eight years old. She sat me down and explained to me that there are different religions, some of which I had already learned about. She told me that each religion has a different belief about the Divine, but that they are all valid beliefs. She explained that some people didn’t accept that, but she was willing to be herself and believe what she felt was right.
From that day on, I went to church and Sunday School and questioned everything they said, everything they taught. I was lucky that the church we had finally settled into was open minded to other beliefs, but the Sunday School was different. They were rigid in their JC freak nature, and quashed any questions I had. The other kids started making fun of me, and when it came out that my mother was a Witch, they started shunning me. I didn’t feel like God had turned His back on me, yet.
There were things happening in my family that I was not very quiet about. Everyone knew my father was a drug addict, and that he had a volatile temper that was set off by the slightest ‘injustice’. I was terrified of my father, and prayed every day and every night that he would either go away for good, or find God’s light and become a better person. As a child, I didn’t understand why my prayers were never answered. My mother would lock him out, call the police for domestic violence, throw his belongings onto the porch – but he always came back. I learned later that the police had a deal with him, and when he would deliver, they would release him. They would release him to terrorize us once more.
It was at this time, when prayer and God seemed to fail me, that I began to question my faith. I had, for so many years (about 5, but for a 10 year old that was half of my life), identified and believed that I was christian – I knew that peoples faith wavered in times of severe upset and stress, but I did not understand why God would ignore me like this. I stopped attending Sunday school, but I still went to church with my mother every Sunday to get out of the house.
My mother had a mental break down in 2002, a month before I was going to start 7th grade. In retrospect, I learned that it was not just the stress of keeping so much of her life a secret, so much of the past having had a devastating effect on her psyche, but also karma for something she had done out of maliciousness toward another person.
That year, at Monterey Bay Charter School, I spent days doing art, painting, knitting, carving wood, as well as running outside, communing with the trees and the birds. It was a hippie school, no doubt about it! I loved it! I ended up failing though, because I was not used to doing Main Lesson books – essentially, we wrote our own text books, which was pretty awesome.
That was the year I first realized that I was a Witch. I continued to fight against it, I didn’t want to be different from my friends, even though I knew that I was. I knew I was different, and a part of me wanted to accept that and be the bright, amazing soul on the outside that I felt on the inside. Unfortunately, this would not be the last time I realized my path.
Because of my mothers breakdown, some drama went down and we ended up losing our home. We had no other choice – both of my parents’ credit was shot, our landlord put a rumor out there that we were terrible tenants, so no one would rent to us. We didn’t have the money to rent from a homeowner, nor did we have the friends or family to live with until we got back on our feet. We put everything except a few bags worth of items in storage, bought a camping setup, and started our journey to homelessness.
During the next 2 years, I learned a lot about Witchcraft, the Goddess, and how to manipulate energy – what most people call magic. I learned a lot about the Universe as well. I spent a lot of my time, when I wasn’t in school, wandering the hills. I came face to face with a mountain lion; I was given a Bobcat cub by its dying mother; I was surrounded what I swear was a pack of wolves one night during the full moon while I was on a walk. They could have been coyotes, which definitely makes more sense – I am not sure if there are even wolves in Monterey…
Either way, I had many spiritual experiences while I was homeless with my parents. I learned a lot about myself – but things were not alright. I was put into foster-care in 2004, at the end of 9th grade – I started highschool a year early. I lived with a friends family for one year and endured severe ups and downs, a few failed suicide attempts, and feeling like I was a whale being kept in a goldfish bowl. I continued to read about Witchcraft and Wicca, and even started identifying as a Witch at this point. I definitely lived up to the fashion concept of Witchcraft – tons of my peers thought Witches wore black, and I took it one step further and dressed in Gothic fashion. I felt more Witchy when I dressed that way, it felt like I was portraying my spirit on the outside. I still feel that way, though I rarely dress Gothic because of the desert heat.
When I went back to live with my mother, I was 15 but I felt like I was 20. My mother had pretty much stopped practicing save for a few rituals she did in the back yard, and some spells she did. We still discussed religion and magic, the God and the Goddess, but I felt alone in my search for what I believed. The year I spent in foster-care destroyed my sense of understanding where I stood spiritually.
I am going to fast forward a few years. Many things happened between age 14 and age 18, but I am not sure I want to get into the drama. Let’s just say, I dabbled in a very basic form of Satanism, suffered a mental breakdown of my own resulting in being diagnosed as Schizo-Effective, with borderline DID and Chronic Depression, as well as dealing with a very psychologically and emotionally stressful long distance relationship. When I moved here to Southern Arizona to keep my relationship with my highschool sweetheart alive, I immediately felt connected with this place. This desert was inviting, bright, and positive – every year there was a monsoon which brought severe rain and thunderstorms. During after this time period of a few months, the desert turned into an oasis. It was like seeing something dreadful turn into something amazing – the desert felt analogous to my own life.
In 2008 I found out I was pregnant with my son. That was the year I fully accepted my path. I accepted what I was after years of fighting against it, and finally accepted the role I would play. I began studying, on my own and with a few friends. Even though I had called myself a Witch when asked what I believed for 4 years before this, I had not fully committed to walking this Path because I was afraid of the workload.
So that, my friends, is How I Found My Path.