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What does it mean to you to be a witch?
At the very least, it means the practice of folk magic. In my life, Witchcraft sits within contemporary Paganism. So, it also means consciously connecting to forces seen and unseen, and is part of a broader practice that includes numinousness and animism.
What are your earliest memories of having awareness or sensations or feelings or knowledge you now know are part of being a witch?
As a child, I assumed there was a spiritual world and I never stopped believing in magic. As a teenager, I devoured Greek mythology, I read work by Edgar Cayce, and became fascinated by tarot. Then I found a copy of Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft in a thrift store. I convinced my mother to buy it for me. I took it home, began reading it, and that’s when I had a big aha moment; I was a Witch.
If you have a craft or skill or an area of knowledge that is part of being a witch could you tell me about that?
I don’t have a single craft that I’m particularly devoted to. I’m not a Hedgewitch or a Kitchen Witch, for example. Incense, oils, herbs and roots, bones, dirt, waters, and tarot are all part of my Witch’s toolbox. The foundation of my spiritual practice has become ancestor work and I love ritual as well.
Have you ever experienced negative attitudes from people who became aware you’re a witch?
I’m very fortunate to have grown up in a religiously diverse city. Miami has a vibrant religious community that includes African diasporic religions such as Santeria and Vodou as well as a diverse Pagan and Witch community. I’ve always been out of the broom closet and I’ve never felt discriminated against or been harassed.
Could you tell me about witches who have influenced you?
I’ve been influenced and inspired by many people along the way. My earliest influence was my high school English teacher; she is a witch at heart. The works of Starhawk and Z. Budapest were tremendously influential when I first got on the path.
Since then, the biggest influences have been the members of my community: my very good friend Chloe, who circled with me for years before we found our spiritual home and family in Beachfyre Coven; my High Priest Canu Nodiad and High Priestess Rayna Templebee, and all my former coven-mates; Lady Bridget of Witch & Famous Coven, who is a font of knowledge; Coyote Morningstar, a beautiful and inspired Witch; my Georgian Wicca Elder Marla Roberson; and OmiLekun, my godfather in Santeria. These are the people that have taught and inspired me the most, and continue to do so.
There are a few friends and acquaintances in the broader U.S. Pagan community that have influenced and inspire me: Andras and Deirdre Arthen are incredible ritualists and community builders; and Selena Fox, who works tirelessly and never complains. In Melbourne, where I live now, I admire the community builders. They face so many obstacles, but they just keep at it.
Many witches use ritual to approach the sacred and or achieve particular goals, could you tell me about your approach to and use of ritual?
Ritual is the vehicle for how I express my spirituality. It’s how I connect. My rituals may be prescribed, of my own design, or spontaneous. I use ritual for worship, purification, rites of passage, commemoration, devotion and communion. Sometimes it’s very simple and others times it is formal and elaborate. My practice is about equal parts high and low magick.
Have you been through a formal training process or initiation into a tradition?
I was initiated into the Georgian Wicca tradition in 2007 and elevated to 2nd and 3rd degree in years following. Georgian Wicca is an American tradition founded in 1970 by George “Pat” Patterson in California. I love it because it takes a traditional approach, but Pat also taught that we should scrutinise everything and only use what really works for us. We have Georgian rituals, but we also write new ones. The Georgian community is friendly, supportive, and tight-knit, but we don’t get in each other’s way. It strikes the perfect balance for me.
There are a lot of myths and stereotypes about witches, are there any that hold any truth for you?
I do meet with other Witches on the Sabbats. Occasionally, I wear a pointy hat. The major myth that I’m happy to embrace is that Witches are dangerous. We’re not dangerous in a murderous way, of course. But most Witches I know are “other” – social justice, political, or environmental activists, GLBTIQ, feminists, radicals, mystics. They’re outside the mainstream. They challenge the status quo and that is dangerous.
What advice would you give to people finding their ways as witches?
Take a cold, hard look at why you want to be a Witch. I’ve met some young people who think Witchcraft is what they see on TV or in movies, and they’re often looking to fill some void. Witchcraft is exciting, dangerous, and cool, and it can help you lead a more fulfilling and connected life, but it doesn’t come easily. It takes dedication, hard work, and it’s a process that never ends.
If you’re really serious about learning, don’t give up. People, including Pagans and Witches, may reject you, but don’t give up. Keep learning, keep trying to meet like-minded people, and if you still can’t find the right path or place, then create it for yourself. "Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid."
Content on this page is written and coordinated by Cara. Last updated November 2015.