Finding The Craft
Author: Siryn Dolphinsong
While some might say they were not satisfied with the Christian life, I cannot really relate. Exposure to the mainstream religion of Christianity was not an option as my father had a severe distaste for their beliefs. I will not say I had the opportunity to become a Witch right away either though.
I guess spirituality was just not an importance in my growing years as far as my family was concerned, or they felt it was a decision only to be decided as an adult. My father was in the zone of reality and fact. My Mother on the other hand was a people pleaser and refused to discuss religion with anyone except to nod in agreement to avoid discussions.
As long as I can remember my Father instilled upon me that harm to myself or anything else living which included nature would be an act not forgiven and punishable by repayment that I would never want to see. Growing up and learning about all living things reminded me of attending science class yet the teachers would never change. I have lived with everything from monkeys to gerbils and those experiences taught me an appreciation for creation in which I have never forgotten. This experience was fact and my Father pushed for me to see the world good and bad. They used to call my Father Dr. Dolittle because he talked to the animals and plants as well.
I had always felt an empty space for spirituality and so as I got older, I spoke with my father whom I was closest to and I finally asked, “What religion do we practice or believe in?” I will never forget that day. My Father stated very seriously, if any one asks let them know we are animists.
Looking very confused, my Father began to explain. We are not Native American although they are the true people of this North America and I am ashamed of what the supposed Christians did to these people. We are of Irish and French descent carried over many years by boat, we had terrible times including the great potato famine. My Father continued to say he worshipped silently and believed every woman needed a man and every man needed a woman, just like there are the same aspects in most of nature to continue life. Religion he stated was how you lived your life and that if he did right his life would not stop by death. I left that conversation feeling almost complete. Even though I had my share of fallbacks and sometimes harmed my self by entering bad relationships and wrong decisions, I kept most of what we discussed close to my heart.
At fifteen, I fit in more with the drug crowd at school everyone else I thought were to righteous and stuck up. I had friends reading Aleister Crowley and dabbling in some sort of occult activity. I borrowed their books and felt curious but it was still too dark for me.
In 1984, when I turned eighteen I moved to Lewiston, Maine with my wild boyfriend. There was Witchcraft, white and black all around. Old shut down churches homesteaded by occult activity and it was in the papers daily. I met a white Witch who was very kind and told me I had a gift but not to follow through until I was ready to be serious. Just apartments down from us a guy sacrificed his girlfriend’s youngest child in the oven propping a chair at the door and made the other two older children watch while listening to some dark music, the neighbors call the fire dept. to report smoke. This incident was in the media and scared the wits out of me. I did not want accusations for such happenings so I stayed silent about my interest in the occult. I was also scared of introductions to weirdos who were into such acts of violence.
In 1990 when I moved in with my sister in St.Augustine, FL., everything seemed to have changed including the outlook on the occult. There were New Age shops opening everywhere. I found a metaphysical bookstore called “Dreamstreet” to which as soon as I opened the door all my stresses seem to leave my body. I felt addicted in a sense and I visited often sitting in their hammock reading about Goddess worship and alternatives to the mainstream religions. The smell of Nag-Champa in the air, the sweet acoustical music and the soothing voices of the merchants made me feel welcome and at home. I purchased my first “Green Egg” magazine there and my first bumper sticker that read, “God is coming back and she is pissed”.
I guess that is my first real connection with Witchcraft. I studied solitaire and eclectic, reading Buddhist and Hindu cultures to really be sure of what was right for me. I was very intrigued by Tarot cards; Runes and I would by smudge bundles for cleansing just to feel I was on my way to what would soon by my path.
I transferred in 1992 to Georgia where I reside now and it seemed right away rude awakenings were coming. No one ever asked if I went to church, it was always where do you attend church. I felt alienated until meeting my soul mate. I met my now husband who had previously been brought up Salvationist until he was eighteen and made the decision Christianity was not his path either.
Together we went to major bookstores and purchased books like Buckland’s big blue book and several Celtic related Witchcraft books. I often hear Witches condemn Llewelyn publications for being too commercial but without them Witchcraft would not have been as open to us as it is today. Our library has grown and we still travel every year to St. Augustine to fill my void of my bookstore and I still buy and stockpile smudge bundles for later use. This year we weren’t able to make the trip and Dreamstreet’s Web site is gone and the number is disconnected, to which makes me very sad. I hope it is just an incident where the names changed or they have just moved. My husband was an intern after college and was a computer guru so when the Internet became available we started networking and trying to find as many resources as possible. We followed The Witches’ Voice when they were in Massachusetts and kept with them during their move to Florida. Not to be biased but they have always seemed to be the most thorough in helping find others and keeping updated with Pagan news.
Today we worship together and offer a small study group to help people in this area that of our same lifestyle. We started “The Southern Circle of the Willow Moon” in 1997 with six members and although the members have changed, the beliefs and teachings are still the same. We learn from each other, we are not experts as Witchcraft is a lifelong path of learning and experiences. There are severe persecutions still existing in our area and no doubt in other strong Baptist areas as well. We will continue to travel to places where we can be free with our religious beliefs, find people who feel the same as we do and try and educate people on what Witchcraft really is.
I recommend anyone starting out on this path begin by study. I know it can be boring but some knowledge is better especially when seeking teachers. When I go to a bookstore and a teen comes up and starts telling me how long the have been into Witchcraft and what books I should or should not get makes me believe they are going through a self-esteem and identity crisis. I want no part of the person playing games with their spirituality.