Life is Love: The Power of Happiness
I am faced, every day, with an interesting prospect. Whether or not it’s right or wrong to even have the thought, I awake every morning to the idea that I am not going to die today. And every day, there is a little more certainty to my voice when I say it out loud.
It isn’t a medical condition that forces me to think positively, it’s just the ghosts of things passed. Ages ago, I would have called it “depression.” Now, though, I call it “achievement.” I am still facing my demons, I am still terrified of certain situations, and I am still battling to reach some level of normal human behavior. But through it all I’m still fighting, and I’m still winning. And, right at the heart of it all, there’s a little star with a circle around it.
Years ago when I was still a different person, a lot of things happened that forced me into a near catatonic state. I was completely mute, and so shy that looking at a person’s eyes made me shake. And it was around this time that I was introduced to Paganism. How wonderful it was to retreat into meditation, or watch incense smoke for hours; I wasn’t really ‘into’ it, but the practice of it made me peaceful. I started to enjoy the company of other people, holding circles in small groups and learning to trust what we called our “mini coven.” I was coming out of my shell, slowly.
It wasn’t until later that the full force of what Paganism meant to me practically hit me in the face. I was sitting on a public bus, coming home from school, when some impish need to giggle came over me. And I started to laugh, first into my hand, then into my fist, and then I didn’t bother to smuggle it anymore.
I was laughing, hard, tears streaming down my face. Because here I was, sitting on a bus, and for no particular reason I had just realized that I was absolutely, undeniably, contentedly happy. I had no more reason to worry. Everything I was afraid of was over; I was meeting people, I was doing well, I was still alive. I had conquered something.
So here I was, I thought, sitting on a bus, and I could feel my life force crackling merrily like fire in a chimney. All the energy, all that essence we’d been trying to put into our magick, it existed. And here it was, bubbling out of me, overflowing me, and filling me with something wonderful.
By the next year, I had formally decided to become Wiccan. Although I couldn’t really practice anything with my parents around, I decided I could at least honor the principals. I started to absorb the wisdom of the Lord and Lady, as well as be mindful to everyone and everything around me.
Now, I’m on my own for the first time, living in a tiny dorm room in the middle of an unfamiliar big city. I am, for the most part, your typical university student. I get good grades, do my laundry, and have the occasional childish snowball fight with a group of friends that I cherish more dearly than they can imagine.
My room reflects that, for the most part; there’s doodles taped to my wall, big name tags stuck to my door, fluttering pages of homework littering my desk, and walls of textbooks along every shelf. Yet, in the corner and clearly visible to anyone who comes in, there is a white cloth that proudly supports a silver and gold candle, a bowl of water, a dish of salt, and a small cauldron. Next to the textbooks on the shelves is a binder I use as my Book of Shadows.
My room is my sanctuary, filled with little bits of me; here there is an altar, sitting right next to a Starbucks mocha frappuccino. While other students go to church, I practice my faith right in this room, every night.
These students sometimes ask me why. Why am I a Wiccan? They aren’t offensive in any way, they just want to know. My answer is always the same: because I owe it to myself. I spent so many years as a frightened person, terrified of my own voice.
My involvement with Wicca helped me get my voice back; in the end, the biggest thing I learned from practicing Wicca was that the only thing that could save me from myself was myself. It gave me power; not magickal power, but pure life force, something raw and untamable that felt like a physical fire in me. My soul was set aflame, and as a phoenix is reborn from the ashes, so I came to be an entirely new person.
I am a joker now. I wear my inner child on my sleeve. I am cynical and sarcastic, but also full of joy. And that is the key: Wicca taught me boundless joy, that even the darker side of life must be celebrated, because without shadows then light has no context. I’ve finally realized that life is beautiful. I don’t need to hold elaborate rituals to see that.
Spring to summer, autumn to winter. The changing of seasons is a huge concept; so much mythology and meaning behind it. And all of it is contained in the life and death of a single leaf.
The Lord and Lady. The basic grounds on which Wicca is based. Their entire dance re-enacted every night by the simple rise and set of the sun and moon.
Untamable love, burning passions and innocence lost. It happens every day between two squirrels in the tree outside my window.
Everything is simple. The biggest of ideas can be reflected in the smallest drop of water. And that’s what amazes me, that’s why I’m so in love with Wicca. It can go both ways; perhaps the smallest drop of water teaches some amazing concept, or perhaps the droplet itself is too complex for me to ever understand.
In any case, here I am. This is me. And for the first time, I’m in love with this Earth. So when I have my daily ritual of waking up, splashing myself with water and reminding myself that I’m whole and wonderful and full of life, I’m determined. I want other people to see me, want them to know what it feels like for someone so sad to become someone so happy. It’s been a long journey from point A to point B. I’m still travelling. But if I put a hand to my chest and close my eyes, I can hear how far I’ve come, because I feel the proof that I am still fully alive.
My entire journey thus far repeats itself in song with every beat of my heart.