I’ve been thinking about this for some time, wondering how I could reclaim this “delicious” word for the aspects of my spirituality that touch on the ancient, the deeply mystical, the mysterious…the magickal. For about 30 years I wove my spiritual tapestry with the threads of “the Craft;” with lovely, earthy panels of Druidism, Wicca, and New Age Spirituality shot through with tones of Christianity, particularly the practical solids of Methodism. Methodism aside, I was a Witch, and I raised my children – especially the eldest – in the flickering light of candles and the warmth of bonfires and fragrant incenses.
I miss being a Witch, but it isn’t really the word I miss as much as the gatherings at the turn of the seasons, the circle dancing, the mead-horns and doumbeks and belly dancing just because we love the Earth upon which we live, the recognition that She is our home and a gift of Creation worthy of respect and love. I miss standing in a circle intoning prayers and invocations to Deity and the invitations to the Presence of elementals and Angels, friends and ancestors with others of similar mind. I miss the singing of songs ribald and rowdy; simple and sacred. I miss the recognition that ALL of Creation is sacred and worthy of love.
In all the years I was a Witch, I knew that for me, the life of Jesus was important, but found it difficult to reconcile the “Christian” life with the Wiccan life – not because they are mutually exclusive, but because often those who follow one path could not accept the other. When I became fully involved in the Methodist church, I sought ways to hold on to the Witch in me. I grasped the acronym W.I.T.C.H. for “Woman in Total Control of Herself.” Over time, I let it go.
Well, sort of, anyway. It was the Witch in me who could not continue to seek ordination in the UMC, in spite of my love for the Wesleyan way of being Christian as I understand it.
As a member of the Universal Anglican Church, I am free to find the places where Christianity and Neo-Paganism come together. As an Inter-Spiritual Priest(ess), I will be free to use the spiritual practices that best serve the purpose of the moment, calling upon the aspect(s) of Deity that speak to me at a given time. As long as I can remember, I have understood Deity to be One with many names and many faces. Our understanding of God is driven by culture, heritage, and experience.
Process Theology has given me a post-religious name for my understanding of “God,” an understanding that is described as “The Ten Thousand Things” by Lao Tzu. I think of a River, flowing through All That Is. We are all part of it. Everything is part of it. Such an understanding of the Universe recognizes the validity of all ways of being spiritual. It recognizes that Jesus taught that God is right here, right now. It accepts what Paul taught out of his Greco-Roman heritage, that “in God we live and move and have our being.” It understands that standing beneath a full moon chanting about the relationship of our spirits to the waters of the ocean is as true an experience as standing in a sanctuary singing about the relationship between the Christ and the Church.
The more I think about it, I realize that I don’t miss being a Witch. I am a Witch, and always will be. I am also a Pastor and will soon be a Priest. When St. Brigid in the Desert gathers as a congregation, we are more than a congregation. We are a Circle. We are in relationship with one another, with the community, with the Earth and the Sky. We are in relationship with the Divine. If you were to join us one day, you might find us reciting a version of Lord’s Prayer, celebrating the Eucharist, or holding hands singing “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” Then again, you just might find us standing in a circle, sharing Holy Cakes and Wine, or dancing to the rhythm of my doumbek.