Disclaimer:

This blog does not represent the views, beliefs, traditions, etc. of all Pagans. This blog does not claim to be 100% correct, nor does it claim to have every answer. This blog represents the personal views, beliefs, and morals of one Pagan. This blog represents the belief system and spiritual journey of one Pagan. The blogger in charge of this blog is not looking for followers or others with the same outlook on life. The blogger believes that every individual is exactly that, an "individual;" with individual beliefs, individual paths, and individual outlooks on life. The blogger stresses how important it is for people to discover their own spiritual paths, their own system of beliefs, and their own morals.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Jesus The Magician, Overactive Auras, and Litha Spells

This morning I was dragged to church with my parents. I was born and raised Roman Catholic, and went through all the Catholic sacraments, went to Catholic elementary, middle, and high school, and am currently attending a Catholic college. I have the whole Catholic thing down packed. Keep in mind, I discovered Wicca and began practicing somewhere around 7th or 8th grade.

But Catholicism is my parents' thing, and I respect them about it despite how little religious respect I get back. Every once in a while, I allow them to drag me to church, and I go through the motions, sing the songs, and listen to the sermons quietly.

Today's sermon was about the Last Supper, and the Eucharist. The Last Supper is the last sabbath meal that Jesus shared with his disciples. It was at this meal that Jesus, instead of reciting the traditional sabbath prayers, held up a piece of bread, broke it in half, and said "take this all of you and eat it. This is my body, which will be given up for you" (loosely translated). He passed the bread around, and the disciples each ate a piece of it. Jesus then picked up a cup of wine and said "take this all of you and drink from it. This is my blood, which will be given up for you" (loosely translated again). Again, he passed it around, and the disciples all drank from the cup.

The Last Supper is reenacted during the mass, and bread (Eucharist) is given to each person who has gone through the Sacrament of First Holy Communion. Then the members are offered a sip of wine. The idea is that the bread and wine are ACTUALLY the body and blood of Jesus. Not just symbols.

The priest, during his sermon, said that the foundation of the Catholic beliefs is Communion (the whole eating bread and drinking wine thing), and that it is truly the body and blood of Jesus. He said, and I quote: "there is no negotiation on this." To be a good Catholic, you must believe whole-heartedly, without question, that you are basically committing an act of cannibalism.

There are a few things I have issues with here. One: flesh is meat, not bread. Wine is made of grapes and alcohol, not blood. They don't resemble flesh and blood in any way (I guess it would be a bit morbid if they did). Two: we cannot question this Catholic cannibalism. Questioning is how we learn. It is how we grow and evolve. It also helps us think for ourselves, so we aren't simply a societal robot.

The final thing I had an issue with was that there is no scientifically physical way a person can turn bread and wine into flesh and blood. Jesus doing so, is called among Christians, a miracle. A miracle, by definition, is "a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences," or "a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency." So let's face it. Miracles are just glorified magick. Magick exists everywhere, if one were only to look. Only when we glorify it, we consider it a miracle.

So Jesus was a witch. Or at least a magician. I don't think the priest would like me very much right now.

Speaking of magick...

Two nights ago, the night before Litha, I cast a spell. It was a protection spell for my child, which I thought, due to current personal events, was a necessity to do. The spell was a simple spell, found on a website called Spells Of Magic. All I needed was a white candle. The majority of the spell was a chant.

So for the first time, I actually casted a circle. Since my bedroom, where I perform my magick, is carpeted, I used white chalk to draw my circle. I pulled up the spell on my computer, and put it outside of the circle. My hope was that the circle would control my energies, and not harm my computer. It was my hope at least...

I entered the circle and closed it. And then things got weird.

I silently called the corners and then went to light my candle. Three matches later, it still wouldn't light. In fact, it was just putting the flame completely out. I decided to turn off my fan, which was set to a low setting to keep smoke at bay. The fan's chain was hanging just inside my circle, so I reached up and tugged it to turn it off. The chain broke. I had to open the circle back up, fix the chain, turn off the fan, then enter the circle again and close it. Fourth match finally lit my candle.

I knelt down and began to recite the chant:

"I call upon the four corners,
North, South, East, and West,
To craft this spell in the fire,
Craft it well weave it higher,
Weave it now of shining flame,
None shall come to hurt or maim,
None shall pass no none at all,
Protect this child I ask of thee,
Protect (him/her) now till (he/she) can see,
As I ask, so mote it be!"

While chanting, I felt a strange tingling sensation in the bottoms of my feet. Not like my feet were falling asleep, but almost like a vibration...a hum entering my body. If I wasn't on the second floor of my house, I would have guessed I was Earthing (connecting to the Earth through the feet, usually achieved by walking outside barefoot). But like I said, I was on the second floor.

I finished the chant and stared into the flame, visualizing my child protected by a glowing orangish white orb of protective energy. The same color as the flame.


After the spell was complete, I released the corners, thanked the Goddess and the God, and opened the circle. I then cleaned up. 

Once everything was clean, I sat down with my computer and got on Skype for a while. Then I closed my computer and went to bed.

The next morning, Litha, I ran some errands. Took the dogs (my familiar and my child's familiar) to the vet for their heartworm shot, then stopped by the bank.

When I got home, I set up my painting things to work on a commissioned painting. I opened my computer to look at some inspiration and turn on some soothing meditative music, but my computer froze. And it was really frozen, so I turned it off. When I turned it back on, a nightmare began.

To say I had computer problems would be an understatement. After spending over an hour on the phone with Apple's techs, and having four different techs trying to figure out how to fix my computer. We realized my hard drive was completely gone, and my operating system just disappeared. I couldn't even log into my computer. And it had been a hot minute since I had backed up my data. Around 3:00 pm, I found myself at the Apple store with yet another Apple tech. She managed to hook my laptop up to my older laptop, and get my data off of it, thank Goddess. About an hour later, I was saying my goodbyes to my 6 month old MacBook Pro, while clutching my 4 year old, hanging-on-by-a-thread-of-life (it has no battery, so it must be plugged in to a power source to operate, and has a trackpad that won't left click) MacBook Pro, and the $80 external hard drive I had to buy to hold my data from my poor broken laptop. None of the technicians have managed to figure out why my laptop would all of the sudden act this way. 

I have always had issues with electronics. Whether its my phone, iPod, laptop, or whatever else. Electronics hate me. I once went through 3 different cell phones over the course of one week. Even stranger, a few months back, I managed to charge my phone without plugging it in to a power source. The phone was plugged to the charger, but the charger wasn't plugged into the outlet. Needless to say, I watched in amazement as my phone charged itself in my own hands...or I charged it. I know what you're thinking, and I'm just as skeptical as you about it, and if it hadn't of happened right there in my own two hands, I wouldn't believe it either. But I'm telling you, it did. 

I think it would be safe to assume that I have a high energy field around me, or an overactive aura. It's possible that Litha's powerful solar fields added to my energy when performing the spell, and in turn, attacked my computer. 

Anyways, I should get my computer back in 3-5 days.

Oh, I bought a plate for offerings and sacrifices. It's now sitting on my altar. Below is my altar for Litha:






Here is a template view of my altar. The top of the image faces west:



Friday, June 20, 2014

Litha - Knowledge, Plans, and Preparations

Litha is one of four solar holidays, and is also known as "Midsummer." It is when the sun is at it's highest, and shines the longest, making a longer day. Thus it also acts as a turning point or corner stone, in the year.

Tomorrow, June 21st, is Litha, and the sun will seem to hang in the sky without moving. This day is when the sun is the strongest, but also marks the day that the sun will begin to weaken. Traditionally, Litha is a time to celebrate and honor the space between Earth and Sky/Heaven. In some traditions, Litha acts as a battle between light and dark.

Although there is controversy as to whether ancient pagans celebrated Litha or not, many modern Wiccans, Pagans, and Neo-Pagans celebrate Litha. For contemporary Pagans, Litha is a day for inner power and brightness.

Litha marks the Earth as being its most fertile, fruitful, and generally full.

Below is an infographic with some basic Litha knowledge and correspondences.



Some favorite activities for Litha celebrations:

  • Watch the sunrise
  • Leave milk out for fae, fairies, and other fairfolk
  • Decorate the house in reds and oranges
  • Make decorations from dried oranges
  • Make sun-catchers
  • Deck the house with birch, fennel, and St. John's Wort
  • Make a pledge to the Goddess of something that you will do to improve the environment
  • Have a meal outside
  • Wear green or warm colored gemstones like tigers eye or malachite
  • Make solar water by leaving a bowl of spring water under the midday sun for a few hours
  • Leave items you would like to imbue with the sun's energy out in the sun for a few hours
  • Watch the sunset

My plan is to redo my altar tonight, and tomorrow make an offering to the Goddess and God, thanking them for blessing the Earth with the same fertility they created it from. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

More Escapades

Again, more great photographs I took during yesterday's walk through the woods. It's my sanctuary, my mediation, my balance, my grounding. It is here that I find peace.














Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Altars

Altars act as a key during pagan worship. They are the foundation that spell casting and preparation take place on, as well as the place of worship. Altars can hold sacrifices, or gifts to deities, representation of deities, store pagan ritual tools or spell ingredients, or even books. Altars can also be helpful during prayer and meditation, by acting as a reference point for energy and focus.

There are many different ways a pagan can set up their altar. For beginners, a quick google image search can bring up some template ideas for altar set up. These are a few common ones:







All of these are great to help you get started, but when it comes down to it, you can set up your altar any way you want. Whatever works for you is what you should do.

Some common things found on pagan altars are:

  • An altar cloth, used to cover the top of the area
  • A statue or symbol of deities
  • A pentacle, usually flat, almost like a plate
  • Some representation of the four elements, whether its by candles, or actual elements
  • An athame*, wand, or both
  • Bowls for offerings or spell ingredients
  • Candles, incense, or both
  • A chalice
  • A cauldron
  • A Book of Shadows
*Note: athames, although they are knives, are not intended to be used as such. They are used to direct energy, NOT for cutting. Many pagans prefer to use a wand to direct energy. Some use both interchangeably. When it comes to cutting, many pagans use other knives (usually a boline). These knives are NEVER intended to be used for killing. Sacrifices or gifts to deities are usually foods, not human/animal sacrifice. Some pagans still practice human/animal sacrifice, I do not, and the majority of pagans I know do not.

So after 8 some years, I was finally able to put together my altar, only to take it down a few months later for personal reasons. However, I have now reassembled my altar.

Here are some pictures:





You'll notice some differences in my altar, and some similarities. My altar is still evolving, but it eventually have a representation of all the elements, as well as my deities. But for now, this is what it is:








Friday, June 6, 2014

Today's Escapades - The Park

Today my family and I went to the park for some quality family fun away from the TV and other mindless electronics. We spent a lot of time at the playground, but did take a brief walk around the park. I captured some great scenes that I'd love to share with you:







And this one I didn't take on this adventure, but the prior summer. I still love it, so I figured I'd share:



Religion Salad - My Goddess and God

When I first created this blog, I explained that I am an Eclectic Pagan.

Eclectic meaning:

a person who derives ideas, styles, or taste from a broad and divers range of sources.

I recently heard Eclectic Paganism described as the "salad bar" of Paganism. However true the metaphor may be, it did irk me a bit. Yes, I pick and choose parts of multiple religions in order to create my own, but that is, quite frankly, how all organized religions start. To hear a fellow Pagan refer to my beliefs as a mere "salad bar," felt like I was being judged by one of my own. Pagan paths have all been formed by other paths.

The term Paganism covers a wide range of different paths. I list a few of them in my infographic, found here. That's only a short few of the numerous different forms of paganism. I try to explain it by comparing Paganism to Christianity. Stick with me while I explain.

Christianity is the general term used to describe religions and those who believe in a Christ figure. It includes:

·      Catholicism
o   Catholic Church
§  The Latin Church
§  Eastern Catholic Churches
o   Other churches and movements
§  Independent (self-identified as Catholic)
·      Eastern Orthodox
o   Eastern Orthodox Church
o   Other churches
·      Oriental Orthodoxy
o   Other Churches
·      Church of the East
·      Other early Christians
·      Medieval sects
·      Protestantism
o   Lutheranism
o   Anglicanism
§  Anglican Communion
§  Other Anglican Churches
o   Calvinism
§  Continental Reformed churches
§  Presbyterianism
§  Congregationalist Churches
o   Anabaptists and Schwarzenau Brethren
o   Plymouth Brethren and Free Evangelical Churches
o   Methodists
o   Pietists and Holiness Churches
o   Baptists
§  Spiritual Baptists
o   Apostolic Churches – Irvingites
o   Pentecostalism
o   Charismatics
§  Neo-Charismatic Churches
o   African Initiated Churches
o   Messianic Judaism / Jewish Christians
o   United and uniting churches
o   Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
o   Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement
o   Southcottites
o   Millerites and comparable groups
§  Adventist (Sunday observing)
§  Adventist (Seventh Day Sabbath/Saturday observing)
§  Church of God movements (Sunday observing)
§  Church of God movements (Seventh Day Sabbath/Saturday observing)
§  Sabbath-Keeping Movements, Separated from Adventists
§  Sacred Name groups
§  Movements not related to the Millerites but comparable to them
·      Sabbath-Keeping movements, predating the Millerites
o   Other
·      Nontrinitarian groups
o   Latter Day Saints
o   Oneness Pentecostalism
o   Unitarianism and Universalism
o   Bible Student groups
o   Swedenborgianism
o   Christian Science
o   Other non-Trinitarians
·      New Thought
·      Esoteric Christianity
·      Racialist groups
·      Syncretistic religions incorporating elements of Christianity
·      Other
o   Christian Movements
o   Mormon
o   Internet Churches
o   LGBT-affirming Christian denominations
o   Interdenominational (ecumenical) churches and organizations
o   Non-denominational churches and organizations
§  Revivals

This reminds me quite a bit of Eddie Izzard. Check out this video for some good laughs on this subject.

Anyways...

The term "Christianity" covers ALL of those. It's like an umbrella. The term "Paganism" is an umbrella-term as well, covering many different religions. Each religion has broken off from another, for various reasons. Generally, one person did not agree with the teachings of one religion, so they set off and start their own religion, using foundations that they like from previous religions. The whole concept of religion is eclectic!

So to call my beliefs a "salad bar" is quite hypocritical. 

Anyway, my rant of religious salad was not the intent of this blog posting.

My point in this blog was actually to discuss my Goddess and my God. 

In my very first blog post, I talk about what exactly I believe. You can read it here, but basically the spark notes version of the post is this:
  • I believe in 1 God and 1 Goddess
  • I believe the world was created through their sexual union
  • I believe my Goddess' domain is over nature, creativity, inspiration, the sense, and the general right side of the brain
  • I believe my God's domain is over logic, reason, mathematics, morals and the general left side of the brain
  • I believe people can have a closer relationship/connection to my Goddess or my God
  • I believe some people can have an equal relationship to both my Goddess and my God
It seems simple enough. But it has it rough spots. One of the rough spots I'm still trying to work out is my Goddess' and God's name, shape, form, etc. Many people have statues of their deities that help them focus their prayer and meditation. I don't, and I want it. I believe a visual reminder of my deities' presence will help me spiritually. Yes, I have my pentagram, and I can always use general goddess/god forms. Some examples below:





But even those are difficult for me to use... I know the foundations of my Goddess and my God, and what they are and what they reign over. But I don't know who they are. 

It sparked some interest and research on the subject, which has uncovered some interesting possibilities: 

  • Aluluei - an oceanic god, reign over knowledge and navigation. He has two heads, one to see where he is going, one to see where he has been.
  • Brighid - a celtic goddess, reign over healing and craftsmanship, patron of learning and poetry
  • Cernunnos - a celtic horned god, typical god among Wiccans and Druids, reigns over virility 
  • Lug - a celtic god of the sun, master of all arts and skill and crafts
  • Sucellus - a celtic guardian of the forests
  • Kupula - a slavic goddess of water, sorcery, and herbal lore
  • Mati Syra Zemlia - a slavic term translated to "moist mother earth," earth goddess
  • Orula - a santerian god of human destiny
  • Anshar and Kishu - mesopotamian god and goddess, parents to all other gods/goddesses, Anshar is god of the sky, Kishu is goddess of earth
  • Kingu - mesopotamian god, keeps the tablets of human destiny
  • Nabu - mesopotamian god of writing and speech, keeps records of human's actions and presents them at judgment time
  • Maat - mesopotamian goddess, earth mother, 
  • Atira - a northern native american goddess of earth
  • Thoume - a northern native american god, supposedly taught humans how to make love, clothes, and fire
  • Apollo - a greek god of light, prophecy, music, medicine, herbs,
  • Artemis - a greek goddess of childbirth, maidens, fertility
  • Gaia - a greek goddess, mother of all things, earth mother
  • Moros - a greek god of destiny, all other gods/goddesses are subject to him
  • Flora - a roman goddess of flowers and blooming plants
  • Janus - a roman god with two heads, represents past and future wisdom
  • Tellus Mater - a roman goddess of earth
  • Han Hsiang-Tzu - a chinese god, a scholar who studied magic most
  • Bast - an egyptian goddess of music, joy, and dancing, takes form of a cat
  • Thoth - an engyptian god of wisdom, music, magic, medicine, astronomy, geometry, surveying, art, and writing
  • Ganesh - a hindu god, depicted with an elephant head, reign over obstacles, beginnings, art, science, intelligence, and wisdom
  • Odin - a norse god of wisdom, wealth, inspiration, poetry, battle, hunting, magic, and prophecy
  • Pan - a greek nature god
These are just some of the many ancient pagan gods/goddess. I thought these were most similar to my Goddess, and my God. More can be found on this webpage.

Many of them sound very similar to one another, but none of them are exactly my Goddess, and my God. It is something I will have to discover for myself it seems.

Oh, and by the way. In honor of my religious Eclectic salad, here's a pretty infographic for you to enjoy:








Monday, June 2, 2014

Tales From Inside The Broom Closet - Parents and Persecution

In our society, when a person becomes open about being of a sexuality other than the normal heterosexual "straight" -ness, it is referred to as "coming out of the closet." Why a closet? I have no idea...is it a good hiding spot? Mine is a bit stuffy...I wouldn't want to stay in there long. Either way, stuffy or not, the "closet" is the metaphor used.

Coming "out of the closet" is a big deal, and anyone who has experienced it, will agree. It is the moment in one's life when they feel the most comfortable with themselves, that they want to celebrate who they are, and shout their happiness to the world and all who will listen. So they burst through that closet door, putting themselves out there for the world to recognize and acknowledged.

And many of them are judged for it. Persecuted for it. They are judged by peers, by friends, by family, by strangers. They are put on a metaphorical stage for everyone to gawk at. Everyone will either say "its ok, you're still a good person," or, "what is wrong with you!?" More often than not, it's the latter.

It's a wonder anyone comes "out of the closet."

But this blog isn't about sexuality. To each their own, in my opinion, and let that be the end of it here.

I want to talk about the "broom closet."

It's the "closet" for pagans. When a pagan is not publicly pagan, and their practices and beliefs are secretive, they are in a metaphorical "broom closet." Brooms are a common tool in pagan practices, so it seems only fitting that the closet be a "broom closet."

Pagans have the same fear of judgment and persecution as those of alternative sexualities. Throughout history, pagans have been persecuted for being who they are. There are thousands of years worth of death and destruction to those who identified as "pagan." Even now, though our society is a bit more open and accepting to multiple faiths, these same horrors still exist.

Last year, Fox News attacked and stereotyped Wiccans and Pagans. You can watch the video below:


In response to this attack, the Wiccan writer and blogger, Loretta posted a video response, which you can watch below. Her response is a wonderful one. I honestly couldn't expect anything less after avidly reading and rereading her blog Witchy Words. Loretta describes herself as having "one foot in the broom closet" when it comes to her family. I'm in the same boat. She also explains that being in the broom closet says "I'm afraid of who I am, and I am afraid of what other think of me." She also says that by staying in the broom closet "we're condoning in an uneducated ideal that pagan religions are something to be ashamed of. Staying in the closet leaves people uneducated and they start to believe the stereotypes and the rumors that other people are passing around because they don't know anything else about it." Again, I agree.



But there is so much pain and suffering and terror that one experiences when they take the giant step out of that dusty broom closet.

Last year, two women were stripped naked, tortured, and burned for witchcraft in New Guinea. Read more in this blog post.

The year prior, another woman was killed for witchcraft in Columbia, Santa Barbara. Read more at FoxNews.

In 2010, a 72 year old woman was burned to death fro witchcraft in Ghana. Read more about it in this article from The Guardian.

There are at LEAST seven countries that still kill witches. My guess is that there are many more than that:

  • Saudi Arabia - has an official Anti-Witchcraft Unit
  • Tanzania - over 600 elderly women were killed for witchcraft in 2011 and 2012
  • Gambia - dictator Yahya Jamme tortures and kills citizens he believes are witches
  • Nepal - mobs burn those they deem as witches
  • India - more mobs killing witches
  • Papua New Guinea - mobs torture and burn witches, and go as far as chasing police away
  • Uganda - mobs behead those they believe are witches
You can read more on these countries and their crimes in this online blog post.

Yeah, now you try coming out of the "broom closet!" I wouldn't either! I prefer keeping my head attached thank you.

So why am I scaring you senseless about witches? So you understand why many of us prefer to go unnoticed. Does it make sense?

Yes I am lucky to live in America, where we have freedom of religion ("just not your's" they say...), and witchcraft hasn't been listed as a capital crime since 1750. However, witches are still persecuted in our oh-so-free country. 

Persecution isn't just physical torture and murder. Persecution is defined as hostility and ill-treatment. Persecution can include bullying in school or work, lack of pay raises, being fired, not promoted, or not getting a job - all because of WHAT YOU BELIEVE. Persecution includes hate groups online, and verbal attacks and slurs. Threats, physical harm, harassment, it's all persecution.

High School Horrors

When I was in high school, I started at a Catholic high school. My freshman year, I stayed pretty low key when it came to my beliefs. It wasn't until my sophomore year, that I attempted to come out of the broom closet. I started questioning the Catholic beliefs in class, instead of sitting idly by. My attire became a bit darker (despite wearing a school uniform). I wore darker make-up, and had more alternative jewelry. For Samhain, I wore a set of vampire fangs. It was Samhain, and I was in the spirit of the times. 

That's when the persecution began. People verbally harassed me inside and outside of the classroom. Classmates crossed their fingers in the shape of a cross as I passed. They would go so far as to point and scream "AHHH! WITCH!" or "VAMPIRE!" 

I had a small group of eclectic outsiders for friends. We were all strange in our own way. There was a group within that circle of friends who were a bit closer knit than the rest. They would get together on weekends and write/perform their own plays - most of them mockery but in good humor. I was the link between them and the rest of the group (the rest were ones I brought into their already made group). The guy I was closest to of that small group, and even very briefly dated, had compared Hitler and Jesus in one of his religion classes...yeah, that'll get you some negative attention in a Catholic school. The others in our eclectic circle consisted of a promiscuous, bipolar, bisexual girl, a transgender, a "vampire" goth, a short, pudgy, autistic boy, another bipolar, more confused than anything else, red-head girl, a gay (whom is still very close to me) who did his best to pretend he didn't know us, and a suicidal bipolar girl. These were on top of the already formed group consisting of, the Hitler/Jesus comparer, an in-the-closet gay, a promiscuous would-do-anything-she-could-catch girl, an animal loving hippie, a Sheldon from Big Bang Theory nerd, a black jazz musician, a class clown (may he rest in peace), and a roll-with-the-punches funny man. 

We were quite a colorful group to say the least. This what my group of friends. Most of them I've lost contact with. I am very close friends with one. Another and I go to college together, but avoid each other as much as possible due to her overbearing mother. Another passed away. Another and I had a bad falling out, and she took one of the others with her. Another moved out of state and I rarely see her. Another I only hear from when they are in a pickle. One I ran into at the mall, and it was one of the more awkward meetings I've suffered through. And the guy I dated got married, and we only recently started talking again. The rest I lost contact with when I left that school. 

Only two of them knew I was a pagan.

Anyways...Enough nostalgia.

At one point, I hung a handmade poster of a pentagram, surrounded by the phases of the moon, on my locker. After a few days it was ripped down, stomped on, and ripped into pieces by the girl who had the locker next to me. In a fit of rage, I trashed her locker in attempts to get even. Yes, I know of the threefold law (whatever you send out into the world comes back to you threefold), but in my immaturity, I justified my actions, saying I was only speeding up karma. 

I ended up moving my stuff to a friend's locker, and she and I shared it for the remainder of the year. 

In my third year of high school, back at the dreaded Catholic school that was home to all my persecution and depression, I decided to lay low a bit. One year of torment was enough for me. I didn't want to repeat it. Unfortunately, my persecutors were relentless. They continued their harassment, and amplified it. It came to an end when one of them pretended that I threatened her. She wrote up a fake little word document, that she claimed to have copied and pasted from an instant messenger. In it, she planted a nice little threat of bodily harm. Then she turned it in to the school authority figures. Despite the fact that she could not pull up the conversation in her messenger, despite the fact that she repeatedly spelled my messenger ID wrong, and despite the fact that my friends vouched for me, the school only saw a problem. To them, the easiest solution to regaining control over their student body was to get rid of me. Me, the innocent one. They only saw that all these problems evolved around me. They didn't see the bullying I suffered from, the harassment I endured, and the strenuous toll it took on my mental state. All they wanted was to appear flawless to outsiders, and that meant getting rid of me. They made up excuse after excuse as to why they were treating me like the criminal. The school shrink said I had no friends. The dean of students couldn't even get my name right even though I held the highest grade in his class. The vice principal said I hung with the wrong crowd. And the principal didn't even remember my name, despite his daughter having the same one! Even my adviser told me that I had to prove I was depressed before they could consider options other than expulsion. 

So I did. I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for a little over a week; Thanksgiving week. The doctors diagnosed me with clinical depression, and I was put on an antidepressant. In other words, there was nothing significantly wrong with me, and I wasn't a danger to anyone. I was simply emotionally rocky from all the persecution. 

The school turned a blind eye. They suggested putting me in a windowless room during the day, sending someone else to the cafeteria to get my lunch, and completely isolate me from the rest of the student body. They wanted to turn my high school from a hell hole into a hell hole of a prison. It wasn't an option as far as my family was concerned. 

But then the school quickly went back on its isolation offer, and gave the final options:

Withdraw from the school or we will expel you.

Unfair, but nonetheless a no-brainer. I quietly withdrew from the school, to keep it off of my permanent record. My parents fought for their tuition money back, as I had not even finished half the year. They also fought for their donation money back, as they had just helped pay for a new football stadium. They received all their money back, in full, after threatening to sue. 

In January, that same school year, I started at a new high school. I kept to myself. I found a small group of lower classmen and slipped in with them. Otherwise, I tried to lay low. I trusted no one, and despite dating, I opened up and got close to no one. They were all acquaintances. And they remain that way.

Being a witch is difficult. Being public about being a witch is almost emotional suicide. I know that bullying happens in high school, but this wasn't about my lunch money, or wearing glasses, or being antisocial or a geek. This was about my beliefs. That's what differentiated my high school hell from normal (as unfortunately normal as it is) high school bullying. It was a whole new level with similar traits. It was persecution.

The Broom Closet At Home

I am 21 years old, and still living with my parents. My parents value a good education, so the agreement is, if I finish school (college), I can live at home, free of rent. This will only be until I graduate and find a job...er...career. Then I'll begin to pay rent.

Many think I've got it made. No only am I exempted from rent fees, but my parents were smart enough to start a college fund for me, which up until now, has paid for my education completely. Yeah, I'm lucky in that regard. 

But living at home with my parents means that despite being 21 years old, a legal and capable adult in the eyes of all governments, I still abide by their rules. I get it, I do. Don't get me wrong. Their house, their rules. But it also means I abide by their rules of religious expression. 

By this point in life, I've worn my parent thin, and I think they've realized that some things I just will not follow to a T.

I've managed to get out of weekly Sunday Catholic mass, although every Sunday morning they ask if I am going, in hopes that I'll say yes. Sometimes I surprise them, and attend, and I make a point to go for their holiday masses (Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas) and on other special days (Mother's day and Father's day) as a present to them. 

I've also managed to set up an inconspicuous altar in my room. I think they've recognized the fact that my room is my personal private space, which I need. I keep all my pagan things in my room, partly out of respect for them, partly out of fear that they'll throw them away if they find them. But every once in a while, just as I'm starting to entertain the thought of "coming out of the broom closet," something happens that makes me pitch that idea. 

For example:

I have three dry erase stickers in my room. I had written a little pagan chant on one, asking the Goddess for her protection. My father happened to be in my room later that evening. He saw it, read it, and proceeded to give me a lecture on "one true god, and it is he...blah blah blah." We all worship the same all powerful force, we just have different ideas of what that force is. My father had me erase the chant. I was devastated.

Why can't my father just be happy that I worship something, and it brings me happiness? Goddess forbid he actually find my pagan things or realize what my altar actually is.

I have to walk on eggshells when it comes to religion in my own home. Else upsetting my parents. But they don't have any remorse on offending my beliefs.