[NB: This was originally written in an edited form some time ago on my now defunct writers’ forum when a forum member, and dear friend, asked me why I became a follower of Wicca.]
“I could answer your questions with a simple, off-the-cuff explanation but have ended up writing this essay: the more I thought about what you’d asked, the more the I felt it warranted a fuller explanation so I will try to explain why I call myself a Wiccan and how I come to be following the Wicca Path. And apologies in advance for the length of this!
As well as my love of Literature, I love History with a similar passion. My degree was in English and History and although I specialised in Shakespearian and post-Shakespearian literature and Modern History, I have a long held fascination with Celtic and pre-Celtic history, beliefs and spirituality. It is the mysticism of the Old Religion that seemed to attract me most and I found myself drawn particularly to the Celtic and Welsh mythology and have read extensively about it: Cornwall and Wales (mid Wales in particular) are my two favourite places in the world. I have read a lot about Celtic and pre-Celtic history, beliefs and religion over the years, both fiction and non-fiction.
Although Jewish by birth, I was brought up by my father who was a confirmed atheist so I lost out on any formal religious influence as I was growing up. Perhaps because of his views, I developed a distrust of formal, mainstream religion. That’s not to say I felt I had no spiritual beliefs at all, it’s just they were untapped and unidentified; I felt I was reaching out for something but it never took on any tangible form, rather like in a dream when you cannot see clearly the faces or forms of the inhabitants of your dreams.
By the time I got into my forties, I realised there was something seriously lacking in the spiritual side of my life. These beliefs were compounded by three events:
- reading James Lovelock’s Gaia theory [which inspired me to write one of my favourite stories, Gaia’s Last];
- my discovery of Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children series of books , Clan of the Cave Bear, etc. which go into extraordinary detail of Cro-Magnon peoples’ belief in nature spirits, worship of The Mother and Shamanism;
- a sudden change in my circumstances that forced me to re-evaluate every aspect of my life and my existence.
It was at this time I began to research the Old Religion: paganism, nature-worship, whatever you want to call it, and this led me to discover Wicca.
The more I read about it, the more I realised it fitted in with my current state of mind and outlook on life. Maybe there is a sense of escapism inasmuch as the roots of Wicca look backward to a simpler time and as I was having difficulty coping with the complexities of the changed circumstances in my life at the time, Wicca seemed to offer exactly the spiritual needs I was lacking.
That is not to say that Wicca is old-fashioned and out of date. Rather the contrary in fact. Whilst its roots acknowledge the Old Religion, Wicca is relatively modern having been developed by a guy called Gerald Gardner who published a book called Witchcraft Today in the 1940s I believe which re-established in the public eye the old pagan beliefs that have been around since the dawn of man. These beliefs never really disappeared even through the worst of the atrocities perpetrated against followers of the Old Religion [The Burning Times ]. (And just to make an important point about the title of the book and Wicca in general, Witchcraft in the pagan and Wicca context is NOT Black Magic or Satanism as the tabloid press or mainstream religion would have you believe; it could not be further from them. It is simply an acknowledgement of the existence of natural forces that can be used or channelled by those who choose to learn these ancient skills).
I have seen Wicca [and other forms of Paganism] referred to as Green Magic and that seems the perfect definition; it is immensly comforting to work so closely with the natural world and to feel such a part of it.
So for me, Wicca is an ideal spiritual antidote for the impossibly fast-paced, self-serving lifestyles we all seem to be caught up in these days, often through no choice of our own. It is as valid a belief system as any other practised throughout the world and is nothing like the forms of Wicca popularised in the media with TV shows like Charmed and its ilk!
Wicca is it is not something to be taken on lightly – Wicca practices should be treated with the same reverence as those in any other belief system. It requires study, practice and dedication.’
I have to confess to have been lacking in all three since I originally wrote this so have vowed to myself to rectify these shortcomings. I feel excited about my rekindled sense of spirituality and more at peace with myself for making this decision.
Go in Love & Light!”