So apparently I got nominated for this thing, The Witchy Blog awards, by Catriona. I hadn’t heard of it, and I’m not entirely sure why I got it, but it makes the otherwise dreary, extra-long workday I had last Friday much better. And inspires me to get off my butt and do some more blogging. (Thanks Catriona! Glad you’re back from vacation. )
The Witchy Blog Award comes with seven questions for me to answer:
- How did you “discover” Wicca/witchcraft/Neo-Paganism?
- Do you grow herbs?
- Are you “in the broom closet”? If not, share your coming out experience
- What tradition do you follow, if any?
- Do you consider yourself a witch, Wiccan or Pagan (or maybe something else?)
- How much of witchcraft/Wicca are you able to incorporate into your everyday life?
- Do you have a familiar? If you do, tell us how you meet him/her and how s/he takes part in your practice (if at all)
Then we were tasked with tagging five others. I don’t have a lot of “witchy” blogs on my feed, so I’ll throw up some bloggers that personally I’d like to hear answer these questions.
and Aedicula Antinoi (should you have the time to do it)
Here are my answers:
How did you “discover” Wicca/witchcraft/Neo-Paganism?
I started becoming pagan when I was in third grade and was tasked with doing a report on something that started with a “T”. (To this day, I don’t remember what.) My mom and I went to the library and dutifully looked up this thing, whatever it was, in the encyclopedia, and in the process came across an entry on the Tarot. It was an impressive entry, containing miniature pictures of the entire Rider-Waite deck, Major and Minor Arcana. I asked my Mom what tarot was; she briefly explained it, and then made me get back to work. Before we left the library, though, I convinced her to make a photocopy of the entire Tarot entry, and when I got home, I cut out each dime-sized card and made myself a little tarot deck. It inspired me, later on in middle school, to pick up a real deck (The Sacred Rose, still my favorite deck–not that I do readings much anymore.)
My paganism really kicked off, though, when I went to college. I had come back for Christmas that first year and attended by childhood church’s (Protestant denomination) Special Midnight Christmas service, and felt nothing. Nada. I didn’t know what I should be feeling, but “nothing” was not it. I went back to college, and the first week back I saw a flyer promoting a talk on “Druidry! Wicca! Magick! Spiriutalism!”. Of course I went, and found out that Druids still existed. I can’t begin to describe how ludicrously happy this made me. (It’ll make for a great post later on.) I joined their Eclectic Wiccan group, and was happily Wiccan for several years.
Then I went to grad school in the South. The only pagan group I could find—three hours and one time zone away, by the way—was an Asatru Kindred, of all things. Which, given my huge interest in my ancestors and their heritage, ended up being the perfect place for me to settle, spiritually speaking. I joined Asatru my second year of grad school and have been active in the Heathen community ever since.
Do you grow herbs?
Not anymore. I’m the only Taurus I know who doesn’t have a green thumb. (It’s hard to admit, but it’s true.) Also, I’ve moved quite a lot, so it’s been hard to maintain a garden of any sort. In college, though, I used to make all of my own herbal teas, often with ingredients from my mother’s garden.
Are you “in the broom closet”? If not, share your coming out experience.
Hmm, I guess it depends. I’m out to all of my closest friends, my immediate family, and anyone else whom I’ve deemed worthy and open-minded enough to handle it. Of course most of my friends are also pagans, so that’s pretty much everyone. I’m not out at work, even though I no longer work in the field of education and have to worry so much about it. It’s just habit at this point, I think.
What tradition do you follow, if any?
I consider myself a recon-inspired, mostly-hard-polytheist Heathen. I do miss the witchiness and earth-centeredness of my early days as a Wiccan, though, and I do attend Wiccan rituals pretty regularly, along with other interfaith work. The Greeks tapped me last year, so I’m a Hellene on the DL as well.
Do you consider yourself a witch, Wiccan or Pagan (or maybe something else?)
I’m a Heathen. (A strongly feminist friend/Wiccan high priestess friend gets the giggles whenever I introduce myself as such. I guess it does sound kind of usual: “Hi, I’m Cara. I’m a Heathen.” shrug)
How much of witchcraft/Wicca are you able to incorporate into your everyday life?
Hmm. Well, I honor my ancestors and my gods every day. My bedroom is filled with altars to them. (Not a practice I recommend, mind you; I’m just limited on space.) I call on them for help with one thing or another almost every day. My Goddess, Freya, and Her brother, Freyr, whose names literally mean “Lady” and “Lord”, are often seen as the basis for the Wiccan God and Goddess. So you could argue that Heathens—at least those who work with Freya and Freya—are the Ur-Wiccans. 😉
Do you have a familiar? If you do, tell us how you meet him/her and how s/he takes part in your practice (if at all)
I don’t have a familiar but I do have a fylgia, which is a complex spiritual concept from old Norse/Germanic culture that later evolved into the concept of the “witch’s familiar”. A fylgia is, literally, “the one who follows”; it’s a part of a person soul that can go “faring forth” from the body. It’s attached to you but also somewhat independent. Often it takes the shape of the animal; kind of like a totem animal that was attached to a family or an individual. (A good example is the berserkers: those who had a bear as their fylgia, and shapeshifted into bear-form in battle.)
Mine was a stag. I knew the moment that I got him that it wasn’t some kind of Native American totem animal or whatever sent to teach me its mysteries. I knew he was me, just in animal form, and that when I traveled I took the shape of a stag. (Stags and people with antlers has long been an obsession of mine, so stag makes a lot of sense.) I had my stag fylgia for over ten years, and then he changed. Right before my initiation with Freya last year, he morphed into a man. And thanks Gods that he did, because I would not have gotten through my initiation without his support!) Human-shaped fylgias are rare, but not unheard of. In the Lore, a human fylgia is portrayed as some kind of amalgamation of a dis (female ancestor) and a swanwife, and they warded, warned, and protected heroes. They tend to be the opposite gender from the human who has them; nowadays, male fylgias have popped up as well.