It’s a good question, isn’t it? Why Wicca and not Buddhism, or literally any other religion? Well, while Wicca may be a religion, it is also a faith you can tailor to your own beliefs and it’s that kind of fluidity that I need in my life.
I’ve always been searching for something like a faith to believe in. While I’ve never believed in God in the traditional sense, I’ve always had the feeling that there’s a higher power at play. I went to Roman Catholic schools but was one of the very few not from a Catholic family. My mum was brought up Church of England but we never went to church and she always said that when the time came, we’d be able to pick our own faith, and that she wouldn’t choose for us.
The RC thing came about because in her opinion these just happened to be the schools she thought would give us the best education, although my brother ended up in the High School which wasn’t affiliated with any religion. So I grew up with a healthy respect for religion and a mild obsession with its imagery. Our primary school had a nunnery attached and weekly, on the way to mass, we’d have to walk through it. The nuns were spooky to a young child with a healthy imagination and they can have some of the credit for my love of the oogly boogly now.
I’m hoping this post doesn’t offend anyone, I’m just trying to paint a picture. So there I was an over-imaginative kid in a place she didn’t really understand, surrounded by massive religious tableaus, feeling left out because I couldn’t take communion with everybody else. I always felt I didn’t belong but I was still pleased to be there. That’s how I grew up thinking about religion, I didn’t necessarily agree with a lot of it but I respected it – and I think that’s a good position to be in.
But I’ve always thought something was missing, even if I didn’t know what it was. I was searching secretly for meaning. My mother is Buddhist now and a lot of its teachings make sense. It’s non-judgemental – “Whoever judges others digs a pit for themselves” – and about what you put out in the world. Although I love that philosophy, I still didn’t feel like Buddhism was ‘the one’.
Then Wicca came into view and that was that – for quite some time I was interested in it but didn’t do anything about it until a course popped up. I borrowed the money from my mum for the diploma and a year later, this is it. I’ve found it. And it’s more than just wanting to be like Nancy in The Craft, though that movie is and always will be a total banger.
For a start it’s about white magic and not doing harm – not unlike Buddhism at its core. When I talk to Mum about certain elements, it feels like we’re on the same page but practising our own separate faiths – and I love that. I’m not an expert and I know that two diplomas doesn’t make me one – all the learning is in the practical ritual and I’ve let that slip over lock-down. I’m back on it now though and it’s exactly what I need to keep me focused and less anxious. More on that later.
A little intro into Wicca via Wikipedia:
Wicca (English: /ˈwɪkə/), also termed Pagan Witchcraft, is a modern Pagan religion. Scholars of religion categorise it as both a new religious movement and as part of the occultist stream of Western esotericism. It was developed in England during the first half of the 20th century and was introduced to the public in 1954 by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant. Wicca draws upon a diverse set of ancient pagan and 20th-century hermetic motifs for its theological structure and ritual practices.
History.com adds this:
Wicca is considered a modern interpretation of pre-Christian traditions, though some involved claim a direct line to ancient practices. It may be practiced by individuals or members of groups (sometimes known as covens).
Wicca also has some commonalities with Druidism in its environmental component, and is considered the inspiration of the goddess movement in spirituality.
There is great diversity among individuals and groups that practice a Wiccan religion, but many are duotheistic, worshiping both a female goddess and a male god (sometimes referred to as a Mother Goddess and a Horned God).
Other Wiccan practices are atheist, pantheist, polytheist or respectful of gods and goddesses as archetypal symbols rather than as actual or supernatural beings. Rituals in Wicca often include holidays centered around phases of the moon; solar equinoxes and solstices; elements such as fire, water, earth and air; and initiation ceremonies.
There are so many threads, so many elements of magic to explore, I feel like it will keep me occupied for the rest of my days.
I’m just pottering along at my own pace with the spells, starting small with a little bit of candle magic and learning the properties of crystals. I’ve got a really nice collection coming together, courtesy of some lovely Wiccans on Etsy.
I’ve been focusing on my Book of Shadows and reading as much as I can by other witches. I’m definitely not ready to join a coven and I don’t know if I ever will be but that’s okay, right now I’m just happy in my own space. And I know that all my success will come from what I’m willing to put in – and I do want to do it all. But I feel I have all the time just to savour it properly.
I love Wicca because it grounds me to the earth and reminds me that I’m a miniscule part of it but I’m as important as the smallest creature. Nature’s energy is there for the taking as long as you respect it and use it for good. Wicca is a generous faith that encourages sharing that energy with others and that’s important to me too.
So far I’ve found that having this foundation almost makes me forget some of my anxieties – which admittedly is sometimes a bad thing when I start forgetting to take my medication. Being part of this makes me believe that I can manifest a better future, one that doesn’t involve every worst case scenario. Or maybe it’s that finding my faith has given me better tools to cope with whatever the world has to offer, good and bad.