This was a nonfiction assignment my third year of college about a “turning point” in my life.  I wrote this from the heart, and I worked hard to imbue it with the essence of choosing an alternative religion and staying steadfast on the path without letting others influence me.  It was originally posted in my “pages” section, but I’m deleting it from there and posting it here since I’m not sure if anyone actually reads the “pages” section, lol.  Sometimes things happen that make me wish my heart didn’t lie with the god and goddess, because it’d be so much easier if I could just believe what everyone else believes.  But this piece reflects the love and affection I have for my deities, and the reason I’ve chosen this path.  No one has the right to hurt me here, and I’m proud to be a Witch.

Certain Times in Life
by h.adkins
It is understood that basic human nature and the true essence of our emotions leave us craving more than worldly life. Each and every person comes to a point in their all-too-short life existence when it becomes threatened by an unbearable need to live and breathe due to something and for something. Religion, of course, is such a controversial issue that few bring it up in any setting outside the comfort of their home. I’m not talking about the hardcore Christians who spend their lives trying to convert people. I’m talking about the rest of us. Numerous religions span the globe and here in America, all are nationally recognized. That doesn’t mean all are welcomed.

I knew a girl. She felt empty. Alone. Everything was beautiful—her family, her friends, her school, and her hobbies. Yet, she still felt only partially whole. That gnawing emptiness that kept her awake at night left her fearful. She was fearful of death and illness. Being alone forever invaded her waking thoughts, and she was determined it would never happen.

A woman bought books at the store she used to work in. Nice lady, though not overly chatty. One day, the girl had to know about the books the woman always bought. They looked alike, obviously a series, and the girl couldn’t help but wonder what was so wonderful the woman kept coming back for more.

You have to read them, she was told, a broad smile covering her customer’s face. It’s about a girl who doesn’t know she’s a witch and she discovers her heritage and goes through this and this and this…

Intrigued (and always a sucker for the paranormal), the young book store girl bought the first book. A few days later, she bought one more. Then another and then even more until the series was exhausted and her heart took on a strange beat, a fullness she’d never experienced.

She found what she had been searching for thanks to an angel in her bookshop line. Wicca. Paganism. An earth based religion of magic and love for all things. Think—Oz’s Glinda the Good Witch. A religion where you never stop learning or experiencing. It opens your heart to the world. You listen to the little things and you overlook the petty things.

You just live.

She studied. She learned. She began to adopt the religion and it adopted her as if it were a mother meeting her long lost daughter for the first time. It filled her nights and days, while taking any fear from her. She wore a pentacle from very early in her studies. A five pointed star encased in a circle—always right side up, because just as the cross, a pentacle upside down is not a sign of Wicca but a sign of evil. Earth, air, fire, water, and essence (soul or chi) are embodied in each point, surrounded by the ever going circle of life that connects all these things together. The same silver pentacle still hangs around her neck and always will.

She gets questioned. “Is that a Star of David? Are you Jewish?”

She chuckles. While being a recognized religion, Wicca isn’t widely known. She explains, “I worship nature. The sun and the moon are my god and goddess. I give to the earth as it gives to me. I love as you love and live as you live. I use magic only for me and never on others unless they ask, and only ever for good and not evil.”

Her heart pounds wildly in her chest when she faces persecution. “You must be evil!” Some say just short of spitting in her face. “Satanist! Devil worshipper!”

She’s sorry they don’t understand her religion has nothing remotely like the devil. She’s sorry her pleas for listening and understanding fall on deaf ears as they point and call witch with the surefire intensity of a Salem hell raiser. She’s sorry history and the Catholic Church has done all in their power to destroy a peaceful religion much older than they by painting evil pictures contradictory of the truth.

She’s sorry young people give her people a bad name.

“Do you wear black and chain necklaces, do you run around and curse people?”

“Never!” she cries, horrified. “Never in my life will I ever curse someone. It’s in our binding laws! What is black but a color devoid of all color? I like color, the raw energy of the rainbow as it lifts your spirits and sings in your soul. There is no dress code to be Pagan, no certain way to act, think, look, or feel. Many kids who fit that stereotype have no understanding of the religion itself and only do it to anger their parents and look ‘cool’ to their friends.”

She heard once from a friend of a girl who claimed to be Wiccan. That girl wore all black, acted like a vampire, did bad things, and performed a ritual on a grave, cutting her hand to use her blood. This girl was not Wiccan, very far from it.

As Wiccans it is in our laws to be kind and honest. We are taught early that we should be balanced. We do not curse, for it comes back to us threefold. We do not spill blood of our own, of others, or of other living life forms because it is dark magic that will mar your soul forever.

She’s cried before at people’s ignorance—the ignorance of people who call themselves Wiccan yet know nothing of the true faith and the ignorance of others who stereotype. She’s cried before at the history of the religion she loves, the hatred her ancestors have faced and the downfall of her faith as the ultimate to the scorned due to a Catholic uprising.

The other day her best friend told her how brave she was. How courageous it was for her to stand up and say who she is and face the distrust of others loyally and unflinchingly.

That was a turning point. It brought together all I’ve faced since I chose this path. Yes, that is correct, the girl in question is I. I am a witch. I’m proud to be a witch. I have naught with which to be ashamed. I’ve learned to be open, to embrace people from all corners regardless of religion, race, sexual orientation, or choice of ice cream…it’s life. We are who we are, beautiful in our separate ways. I stand as one who has been persecuted and who faces a life of being so—but I don’t care. I’m not afraid.