Welcome to our new weekly segment with L.A. Maciel and The Witch’s Corner! Here, you’ll find answer to questions about witchcraft you never thought about before!
A Witch’s Introduction
There’s a common phrase amongst writers that are writing about ourselves is difficult. I would have to agree. And it’s not just the concept of feeling narcissistic in this case.
It’s about self-preservation. You see, I am a witch. Well, I’m a pantheist pagan with animistic leanings, but I still practice witchcraft in one of its many forms. And this reality can cause problems.
The Fear Of The New Age
In recent news, a woman was fired from a Panera Bread restaurant because she was pagan. Many shops worldwide, which cater to the “New Age” crowd and witches, have been vandalized.
People living in the Bible Belt of the US fear that they will be harassed if anyone finds out that they practice witchcraft. These are just a few things that have happened, but the fear of ridicule and harassment is genuine. And constant.
I spent a good chunk of my childhood going to a Catholic Church. My mother is a devout Catholic, but she never said I had to stick with it. In fact, the way my mother taught me about God was so different from that of the Church. My mother told me that God loves all.
That we, as humans, should never judge—that’s God’s job. That God would never want a parent to disown a child for being LGBTQ+ or for marrying outside their faith or race. Or that science is wrong. So naturally, I left the Church.
The Big Religions Factor
Ever since I was a child, I have always found paganism, the occult, and other fascinating things. They all spoke to me on a personal level. I felt more in control of who I am and my way of thinking when I started down the path of paganism, but I still had religious trauma.
And my brain, which never truly believed in the concept of Heaven or Hell, couldn’t shake the fear of the possibility of burning in the fiery pit that I didn’t believe in.
I felt lost and afraid because I just couldn’t believe in the teachings of the Big 3—Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—and I feared things I didn’t believe in. So, I tried to move away from it. Most books on paganism are Wiccan-based, but I didn’t believe in the Wiccan teachings either.
So, I continued my search. Going from Christopaganism to Catholic folk magic to some esoteric teachings. Still, I couldn’t find that spark. I would get the feeling of awe by hiking in the woods, visiting the ocean, or reading fairy tales. I wasn’t an atheist, and I didn’t fully believe everything had a spirit like animism does.
But then I found out about pantheism and how it can go hand-in-hand with paganism. The sense of awe hit me. That spark I was looking for was there.
Paganism Comes With Homework
There are many different paths and ways of looking at religion. And it takes a while to find that place, that awe-inducing feeling. It’s not a lie when pagans say that paganism is a religion with homework. It involves lots of reading and internal introspection.
But I feel like it’s worth it. Religion is like a living organism. It’s constantly growing and changing. And you never know where you’ll end up. I found that pantheism and paganism are the closest I can get to what I find divine. Many others find other paths and other ways of using words to explain their perspectives.
And all of it is valid. No one religion, no one faith, is better than another. There is no such thing as “one true religion.” And it’s okay to change your mind.
I still suffer from RTS, Religious Trauma Syndrome, but I am getting better.
I’m L.A. Maciel, writer and trier of weird things, and I am a pantheist pagan witch. It’s a pleasure to meet you. Welcome to The Witch’s Corner.