I am a Pagan, a Priestess and a Witch. What, exactly, does this mean?
I am Pagan because I honor and respect this Earth and all that lives upon Her, because this is where I make my home. I find all of Nature worth my reverence, because without it, where would we be? The cosmos is the cradle of the galaxy, which is the cradle of our solar system, which is the cradle of our planet—Terra, which finally is the cradle of our own existence. Without this nurturing connection between all of these entities, we would not be. What better reason to show respect to where we came from? We owe our continued existence—as people, as species, as Life itself, both conscious and unconscious—to Nature.
And is there anything that is not of Nature? Just because something is uncommon or unusual, or that we don’t immediately perceive how or why a thing occurs, doesn’t mean it isn’t natural. Since there is nothing that is not of Nature, then so-called “supernatural” or “unnatural” things are de facto natural. The results of magic that appear to go against the “natural” order of things are therefore natural after all. There is a place for such unusual outcomes in the grand scheme of things: Nature made it so.
I am also Pagan because I follow the spiritual path of my ancestors, those who lived close to the land and were intimately connected with it: country-dwellers, farmers and cowboys, hunters and gatherers. And who were they? —My ancestors came from all over this planet; also, I was born in New York City, in the U.S., the great “melting pot” of the Western World. So, who are the Gods of this place? —This country is fairly new, in relation to other countries. The Native tribes were here long before my ancestors reached these shores; there is even some Native blood in my family tree. But, are all their Gods my Gods, too?
I came to realize, through living in this gigantic melting pot of cultures, races and beliefs, that there is a divine essence that is universal, that permeates all of life and winds an endless thread through all of this diversity. That is who I connect with; that is the “face” of the Divine with whom I am most comfortable interacting, whose essence I revere, draw down and embody when I engage in rituals and celebrations.
I am a Priestess because, through my experiences with Nature, its cycles and processes and the knowledge and wisdom which I have accumulated from them, I have reached a point of “mastery” whereby I can construct rites which mirror the ebb and flow of Nature; I can create and match up symbols—metaphors, analogies—which can help others to understand and attune to the workings of Nature.
I recognize the Divine within myself, myself within the Divine; therefore I can, in my own personal way, represent another face of Divinity to those who have not yet made that realization, yet who wish to connect with the Divine and have it bear witness to their works. In other words, I can create and lead rites and rituals for events which require Divine acknowledgment to be considered “official”, empowered and complete, such as weddings, seasonal celebrations and rites of passage: birth rites, death rites, flowering and croning, coming of age and anything else that marks a transition from one state to another. We as humans need these acknowledgments in some form or other, for they are a way of marking Time, the measure of our existence. That has ever been the role of the Shaman, Priest, Clergy, Witch: to imbue these transitions with meaning, with sacredness, framing them in the larger context of Nature.
I am a Witch because I practice magic on a regular basis, magic which is not necessarily confined to one particular “organized” dogma or set of correspondences. Many different definitions of magic have been formulated throughout history; my personal definition is, “any symbolic action performed with intent to achieve a specific result.” I add the caveat that magic should be followed up by acting in accordance with one’s goals, in order to open up channels for the energy to flow, to make what the symbols represent into manifest “reality” in the World of Form.
What is the World of Form? It is that which we perceive with our physical senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch. All else is in the Unseen Realm, where reside our sixth (and other) senses, our minds, souls, feelings…and the symbols we use, as well as the thoughtforms that are the intermediate state of being between concept and execution, between the beginning of the process of making magic and its result.
All of these things combined make me what and who I am in this time and place. I am a Pagan, a Priestess and a Witch—and I greet you all with love. Blessed Be!