What is your witchy story?
I was a strange and alienated child, with a strong connection to the spirit world and to psychic gifts from birth. I spent a lot of time alone throughout my troubled childhood, and feel that the isolation was good for the cultivation & protection of my natural-born gifts.
Like so often in life, my challenges in one area were a blessing in another.
I feel that I carried gifts forward from past lives & was provided with an environment where I could be left alone to experience, develop and nurture my gifts. I was fortunate to maintain my psychic, spiritual & magickal connection throughout my life, rather than lose the connection like so many do after childhood.
Why are you a witch?
I am a witch because I was born a witch.
I had my connection, my practices, my beliefs.. on my own, in the woods of rural Michigan. My dominate, local ancestry is mostly Mennonite, Amish & Irish Catholic. This is a conservative Christian, farming community. Although my immediate family was not actively religious at the time of my upbringing, they were still rather limited in their beliefs & lack of exposure to outsider views.
As a teenager, I began to develop my ideas more cohesively. I knew that I was experiencing something larger than myself. I knew that I was experiencing something timeless, something beyond just human minds, something ...more. I didn't have the internet, I didn't have mentors or teachers, I didn't have philosophical or theological frameworks.
What I did have was the woods, and my direct experience. I saw spirits, had precognitive dreams, I had a divination system I intuitively created with rocks, I had memories of past life experiences, and I knew things about people, places and situations that I wasn't supposed to know.
I would spend hours in nature practicing my gifts and allowing myself to connect to something greater than myself.
What attracted you to the ancient ways?
When I returned to school after summer break in 9th grade, I encountered a girl who had learned to read playing cards over the summer. She gave me a Reading & it was amazing! Very shortly after that I was given a book called "The Black Arts" by Richard Cavendish. These things were the beginning of my education on magick, occultism & witchcraft.
"The Black Arts" is a book which gives a brief overview of varied topics within mostly Cabalistic practices as adopted by European males in their created traditions of "High Magic". However, it was a great summary introduction to a young novice.
In my HighSchool career I was an aid to a brilliant & lovely librarian who entrusted me with the keys to the "secret" book room. These were the books that were kept in the school's collection, but were not deemed appropriate for all age groups or individuals. This is where my true studies began! I devoured everything from mythology, to poetry, to accounts of popular occultism in the 60's & 70's.
Through my informal education I was delighted to know that I was not alone in the world! There were others like me & there were names & formalized practices we could adopt.
Shortly after this the witchcraft trend of the 1990's began.
For may years I traversed the world of "High Magick" mostly as a solo practitioner. In my early 20's I joined a Goddess driven Coven which I remained in for around 15 years. Recent years have brought me to Spiritualism, Esperitismo & finally, back to basics.
Just like the cliche old adage says, sometimes you have to get lost in order to find yourself.
These days I'm once again at home with my own direct experience, valuing personal experience with, and connection to, the Divine above any specific path; emphasizing the journey of the mystic somewhat above the practices of the occultist.
Do you have any words of wisdom?
All that you seek is within you.
If you want to learn divination, focus mostly on your intuition & psychic development. If you want to practice magick, focus mostly on mastering your energy & your mind, if you want to cast spells, focus mostly on raising, directing, and channeling energy. It is your connection and your experience, rather than your knowledge, which will determine your development and skill.
Focus within & know that it will change without.