We all take different paths to find our way to the places we belong. Here’s how I wound up a priestess of Wicca and the Old Gods.
I came to Paganism through a childhood affinity for trees and a love of the forest that never left me, despite (and occasionally because of) my Baptist upbringing. In my first year of college I officially became Pagan, identifying as a Druid and joining ADF for a brief while; after a few years, that identity didn’t sit as well with me anymore. I remember reading Druidcraft: The Magic of Wicca and Druidry by Philip Carr-Gomm, finding that all the bits I liked best were the Wiccan ones, and deciding to seek Traditional Wicca instead. After college, my husband and I moved to the East Coast and I connected with the Blue Star Wicca, studying with Blue Star groves in Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia.
However, this connection was broken four years later, when we moved back home to Michigan and the first of our two children was born. The geographical distance and the demands of raising babies made me feel isolated and alone. I made a few attempts to connect to local Pagans, but I didn’t connect with the groups I found. Although the decision was painful, I put the Craft on the shelf for a few years, and I came to see these years as a necessary fallow period. It also seemed that the Gods had thrown me into the woods to see if I would grow, mature, and come back. And I did, slowly, returning to Blue Star practice at first, though not in person — I am to this day the only Blue Star witch in Michigan — and seeking out other groups and traditions. I felt called by the Gods and by this land, and I had since learned that there were other traditional Wiccan covens nearby; I hoped for an introduction to one of them.
In early 2017, I met and began circling with MoonFire, a lineaged Chthonioi-Alexandrian coven. We clicked. I found a raucous, diverse coven family that has embraced me (and my kids), and so much growth has happened! The fallow field was tilled and planted at long last, and I had the satisfaction of watching new green shoots burst forth, seeing how bright and strong the young plants grew.
Sometime after my initiation, I reached a point where I worried less about my own development (although I continue to work and study) and more about what I have to teach others. What good has all of this experience done me if I can’t pass on what I have learned? The next step from there was Saturday Night Witchcraft and the forming of the Not-Coven; hopefully, I have something worthwhile to say to the next generation of seekers.
My husband, Demophon, felt the calling as well, and now he’s also an initiate. He’s been by my side from the beginning, but Wicca hadn’t previously been his thing, so we had to make some adjustments to begin a solid working partnership. Over the past couple of years we’ve done some pretty good work in MoonFire, I think.
Recently, I was elevated to the third degree, and now it’s time to think about what has to happen to make the Not-Coven a real coven. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everyone’s plans, including mine. As of this writing, I hope to take this coven-founding project a bit more seriously in this coming fall and winter — but that does depend on the relative safety of traveling and gathering again. (Please get vaccinated, if you haven’t already!)
Updated June 2021