Friday, June 3rd, 2011
“I consider myself a Wiccan, a witch, and a pagan. I am also a druid, but that’s another story. For me, paganism is a term of solidarity. I use it to describe our earth-centered belief system that tries to honor and restore our basic human roots when we lived by the land, and the cycles of the sun and moon were very important.
“I started studying Wicca in high school in Ohio. Someone handed me a book and it talked about the mother goddess, the divine feminine, and the divine in nature. I had just been confirmed as Lutheran, but that book really shook me. Before, I had no idea that the divine could be feminine or how important nature was to spirituality. The book questioned the core of everything I believed as a Lutheran.
“I had an internal struggle because the church says that witchcraft is bad, and I got told I was going to hell a lot, but I still decided to pursue Wicca. Once I read its words I knew that I had to keep going. My family was amazingly supportive and I started to meet other people in the pagan community. We would gather to do ceremonies and rituals while I went through the self-conversion process.
“When I tell people about Wicca, the first question I usually get is, “Are you a witch and do you cast spells?” Yes, I am a witch and cast spells, but we have a strict code of ethics. We don’t do magic that harms people. People think magic is a big deal, but it is just the willed movement of energy. For me, it is akin to prayer, but more active. Rather than will someone or something to intervene on your behalf, with magic you seek out the action yourself. The hard thing about spells is that you can never really know if things happening can be attributed to your work, but I don’t believe in coincidences and sometimes the gods like you and may work in your favor.
“I try and keep this side of my life separate from my life in the workplace. Once you get to know me, you will know that I work really hard and will give away my last dollar to someone in need. That is all that matters. Still, people find out. I work in news, and during the whole Lebron James moving to Miami news, a morning news show in Cleveland hired a witch doctor to cast a spell on Lebron to break a limb before his first game. Our sports department wanted to talk to a real witch about hexes and spells. They Googled ‘DC witch” and found me. I ended up outing myself to the entire sports department. I’m fine with it, but it was a little scandalous for people in my office to know that I am also a a witch.
“I find that people are really open-minded here. D.C. has over 50 pagan groups and just as this city is diverse and multicultural, it also represents the diversity of the pagan community. Now, I am working through The Open Hearth Foundation to build a community center for pagans in Washington, D.C. We want to give pagans in the D.C. region the opportunity to gather and celebrate our traditions in a safe space. We want to have a place where we can be outdoors, engage in community service, use candles, and dress in garb with no one looking at us funny.”
Learn more about pagan groups and events in the area through Witchvox.