I've been thinking of this a lot lately. Not questioning myself, but trying to put it into words that others might be able to accept. I really believe in every positive religion. I don't think it's important to have the "right" take on God because I don't believe that as humans we're supposed to understand exactly what God is. That's why it's called faith. So considering that any one could be correct but probably none are, I started to explore. I was raised Catholic but not strictly so. I found some of the things I was taught hard to swallow. Catholics talk a lot about God being angry and jealous, I just didn't buy it. That was not my experience when I prayed. I also remember wondering and eventually asking when we were going to learn about "that lady spirit in the planet" in Catechism. I have to believe that what I knew then was closer to the truth than anything I could ever read in a book. That's not to say that as children we have the ultimate truth, only that in remembering what I believed then, I've found those beliefs to be true for me now.
I remember being intrigued by magic as a child. As a teen I was aware that there were people who called themselves witches but I assumed they were into something dangerous or dark, because that's what we're taught by our parents or churches if Hollywood hasn't done the job. I went to a few Baptist churches and they were more laid-back in some ways. Their language was more accessible but there were still holes in the logic- at least to my mind.
In my early twenties I went to Arizona to work at a Renaissance Festival and there were some real, live witches there. I observed them and found that there was no "evil" feeling around them. They didn't appear dark or menacing. There was a kind of peace and grace about them that I found interesting. I didn't make any decisions then but I knew something inside me- the way I viewed the world- had changed.
Years later, when my daughter was not yet a year old, I was at a book sale at the library near my house. I was very drawn to a Magical Almanac but felt such guilt at that interest. I found myself picking it up and then putting it down and walking away, only to return again. Finally I thought, "This is ridiculous!" and opened the book. I looked through the titles of the articles. There was nothing dark to be seen. No hexes or recipes for Neighbor's Cat Stew. It seemed to be mostly about self-transformation, personal growth, and honoring the seasons. I bought the book. I read the whole thing and found some of it strange and foreign and other parts really beautiful. It wasn't long before other books started to make their way into my life. I am a firm believer that if you need to learn something, that lesson will come forth in one way or another.
I work at a library and some books were being discarded. I couldn't let that happen so I took them home and most of them went to Salvation Army. In the pile was, what else, a beginners guide to "Wicca". It was "Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner" by Scott Cunningham. I read that book cover to cover three times. It was like coming home. The Goddess was such a strange concept to me yet at the same time, felt so right. Finally, deity had balance! There was such a profound peace and comfort in meeting the Goddess. That was my first "ritual", if you could call it that. I went outside with a little crystal point I had, held it up to the moon and introduced myself to Goddess. I explained that I had only just learned about her and apologized for having gone so long without knowing. (What a Catholic, assuming my ignorance would hurt Her feelings.) The response I got was an overwhelming feeling of joy. The kind of joy we feel as kids running outside to play, with a whole summer day ahead of us and only lunch to get in the way. In this case lunch was probably my own misgivings and trepidation borne of a lifetime of being taught there was only one "right" way. Lunch did not last long.
This was only the beginning of a love story about me finding love for myself and finding peace in my relationship with Deity. As I've been a practicing witch now for about eight years, I'm on much more solid ground than I have ever been. I know that it's okay to question. Most importantly, it's okay for me to question myself and my beliefs and ways of doing things. So if I'm willing to question myself, and certainly willing to question others, I need to make myself available to the questions of others. I want to start, in my own little way, to make it more acceptable to be a witch. As a way to start discussion and sort my thoughts so that they can be shared, I offer this post and many more to come, exploring the ideas I have about my faith. I have to say (and will continue to say) that every witch does things differently. We have different ways of viewing God and different ways of celebrating. I am not an authority on the Craft or Wicca. I am just one little witch - trying.