Who am I? What am I?
People like to label others, probably to get things clear for themselves. It’s understandable and doesn’t have to be a problem, as long as you don’t get too rigid about it. Labels can change, because people change. The label ‘female’ is permanent (well, most of the time..), but the label ‘friend’ can turn into ‘acquaintance’ or even ‘foe’. I know I use labels for people; it’s hard not to, but I try to keep them flexible, unprejudiced and stay open to change.
Pagans are just like people… 😉 Whenever I introduce myself as a witch among other pagans, there’s always someone that asks which path I walk or something of the like. My standard answer is: my own path! True of course, but not very clear to the questioner. In fact they are trying to label me. I don’t mind, but the thing is I have a hard time labelling myself too sometimes! I have been practising for quite some years now and I’ve tried and learned about different paths, traditions, etc. From all of it I incorporated things into my own cauldron so to speak. They can replace other things, just add something new, or create something completely different when added to the mix. It’s a perpetual movement, ever changing… sometimes in a subtle way, sometimes in a major sense.
My basis and starting point has always been witchcraft and its fundamental principles. I have been raised Roman catholic, but somehow I always missed things there, although I liked the rituals. When I was about 6 I asked my dad: ‘How do you know that god is a man? You have never seen him. Maybe it’s a woman!’ My parents always supported me in finding my own way. Discovering paganism felt like coming home, finding my true path. I feel comfortable as a witch and with the way most witches work. Of course the different ways are up to discussion too, but that’s not where I want to go now. I’m talking about the general things, not how they are individually practised. I emphasize on the similarities, not the differences. So, I’m a witch. If I can only label myself with one word, that’s it.
Within witchcraft I’ve explored and tried a lot. Finding out what you don’t like or want is important and rewarding too! One of the major focus points of my life is balance, in all area’s and all ways possible. My spiritual path is no different: to me both goddess and god are equally important. It doesn’t feel right for me to just focus on one of them all the time. I have no problem working together with witches that think otherwise, I adapt easily. People have their reasons and beliefs and if it works for them, that’s fine with me! Personally though, I see goddess and god (or god and goddess) as one, they need each other, they are two halves of one whole.
When I was looking around, trying things, working with others, etc, I noticed that a lot of witches work with foreign deities: Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Celtic, Indian, etc. Although I’m very interested to learn about them I discovered I wanted to connect with my own heritage and that of the place where I’m living: The Netherlands! Looking for local deities, legends, spirits of the place I found a mix of Celtic, Roman and Germanic ones. The last ones appealed to me the most, they felt familiar and close. I got in touch with Asatru. They work with the Norse/Germanic pantheon and I learn a lot from them. This part is important to me, so I add something to my label: I’m a heathen witch.
But there’s more of course. I’ve studied and tried druidry, shamanism, traditional wicca, gnosticism, other pagan paths and all kinds of pagan-related stuff. I read, do workshops, discuss and try things out in different ways. I discovered and met my power animals. I found out shamanic journeying works better for some things than meditation, so I use both. Stirring in my cauldron… I mix and match while doing my best to respect, honour and do justice to the individual parts. I try to get the hang of things, always learning, always wanting to know and/or do more. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about this path it’s that you are never ready. The more you learn, the more you realise how little you know. Inquisitive as I am, I like that! I don’t want to be limited by one path, tradition or group though. Therefore I add one last part to the label: I’m an eclectic heathen witch.
So think about it: what would be your label?