Twenty years after I first started exploring Wicca, Paganism, and Witchcraft it never ceases to amaze me that this is the reaction I get. It’s a little more recognized now but still there are some misconceptions out there about what I believe as a witch.
It is a religion. I may not show up to church every Sunday morning but I have my sacred days and times. Over the years, the way I celebrate those days has changed. I’m no longer a single witch in the city. I’m now a mama witch in the country. And as my life evolved so did my practices.
I do have multiple deities, mainly a God and a Goddess. Sometimes those deities are called by specific names: Diana, Cernunnos, Pan, Spider Woman, Bridge, etc. Other times they are simply referred to as the Mother and Father.
Because the moon is associated with the feminine aspect of deity, the moon phases represent different aspects of the feminine nature. The full moon stands as one of the most prominent symbols of the Mother Goddess. That is when she is at the height of power. And the ways to celebrate this time are just as varied as the many aspects of the Goddess herself. Some get together in groups and dance and sing in the light of the moon. Some choose a small ritual by themselves involving their altar set up on a desk in their office, so innocuous no one would even know it’s a even religious in nature. I choose to sit outside and meditate. And that’s only if it’s not too hot or cold or mosquito infested. Seriously, I could never do the dance naked under the full moon deal because I would have Shakespeare in braille all over me. There are eight times of year, marked by astronomical events, that are sacred days for me. Equinoxes, solstices, and cross quarter days break the year up in to eight sections. In fact we call it the wheel of the year.
Samhain, aka Halloween, is my favorite. Shocking, I know. This is when the veil between our world and the spirit world is the thinnest. We honor our ancestors and welcome them to visit and share their wisdom with us. In my house we eat fried chicken, and mashed potatoes in honor of my grandfather and my father in law. And yes, we go trick or treating. When it’s late and everyone is asleep I thank the ancestors for what they have taught us. I write down aspects of myself I would like to give up or sacrifice so I may grow better as a person, mom, wife, witch.
Yule, aka Christmas, is the winter solstic. We celebrate the birth of the Sun God and the return of light and warmth to the world. And much to the chagrin of any neighbor who has had the fortune of living near me, i stand outside at sunrise and yell things like, “Push” and “You can do it.” After the sun comes up, i meditate on what I would like to give birth to in my life.
Imbolc is the feast of Bridget; she happens to be one of my most worked with deities. I share a guiness with her. I celebrate by writing, reading, and pretty much all creative ventures I’m capable of. I bake a bread that’s actually three breads braided together. It’s pretty awesome.
Ostara, aka Easter, is the celebration of life and birth. I bless seeds and garden plots. I meditate on what I want to continue growing in my life. And yes, we dye and hunt for eggs.
Beltane, is the celebration of the union of the Goddess and God. The trees and flowers are in full bloom and celebrate by weeding out that which does not serve in my life so that the fruit can grow.
Midsummer solstice is the first day of summer. The sun is at it’s strongest. It’s the longest day. We usually do lots of nighttime outside things. Glowsticks, firefly catching, glow in the dark paint and bubbles, even led poi spinning.
Lammas is the first of the harvest festivals. And I make a stupid amount of bread. Rolls, biscuits, bread. You name it. I meditate on what I’ve harvested in my life so far and I say thank you.
Mabon, the autumn equinox, is our Thanksgiving. Lots of good things from the garden to eat. It’s the second harvest and again I do a check in my life to see what I have sown and harvested.
And that brings us back to Samhain.
As you see, I’m not a very complicated witch. And not everyone does it like me. And that’s ok. I do what works for me. I’ve been at this for twenty years. The best piece of advice I could give someone is this: you can read and research all the rites and rituals, have all the candles and statues and herbs, but if it’s not in your heart it won’t mean a thing. You’ll find what feels right to you. And as long as it has meaning and substance to you that’s all that matters. Whether you pick an hour a day to sit and chant to Tibetan bells or bake bread with symbols scratched into the dough, if it works for you then rock it. Brightest blessings, my witches.