A lot of us have been here somewhere: the first time we picked up a book on it, the first time we had a Pagan/Wiccan friend tell us it wasn’t all about casting curses or eating babies, our first Google search on the subject. Maybe some of us even started out on the Witches’ Voice. Some of us maybe even found our way here after a lot of searching and an eventual suggestion from a friend or a family member out there somewhere. Some of the lucky ones were raised pagan and came here solely to post their own knowledge. Many of us are always still searching for more information as and when it comes up and always love having the opportunity to learn as much as we can. Some get really comfortable in one tradition and others, like myself, like to remain eclectic with their practice.
It’s due to this fluidity that a lot of my friends have become interested in my practice. One of my friends and I now has a partnership and she really wants it to turn into a coven. As of this writing (December 2010) , my friend has only been in her practice for a few months. As she lives a few hundred miles away in another city, we share our book of shadows through my Google docs (thanks to my much loved Gmail account) . It’s something that she really enjoys since it gives her an opportunity to learn about something that she wouldn’t have easy access to in any other way. More so, when she lives too far from a library to check out any of the books I suggest.
We’ve known each other for about three years; I’ve been a practicing Pagan since before I met her. Before that I was a practicing Christian and, for the most part, was miserable to the core. I learned through tedious numbers of Google searches and books checked out from the library on the subject. It took me a long time to read these books (and sometimes money in fines just so I could keep them longer due to a hold on the same title) and to find out whatever I could. I looked into everything that held my interest and anything that I could possibly get my hands on.
Having someone new under my belt like this, I could steer her mostly clear of the things I discovered were fake and turn her to places that I knew were more secure, places that I was sure would give her accurate information. Some of the books I’ve mentioned I was reading about it when I met her even made the point that Pagans and Wiccans didn’t eat babies within the first few pages of the book. Some of them even go after a lot of the other common myths that a lot of Americans have learned from their movies.
I know I’ve had friends asking me questions on my religion based on everything from the Disney movies a lot of us watched as children (and will probably show a lot of our own children one day if grandma doesn’t show these movies to them) to the horror movies that we see coming out every day. Even newer movies like The Princess and the Frog show images that are negative or incorrect images of what some of us believe.
It’s finding these kinds of things out that can make or shatter many peoples’ views of Pagans and Wiccans. Many of these people may even fear us because of what the media has to say about us. I’ve been one of the lucky ones; most of my friends have had no problems with my religion. Many of them aren’t afraid of any of the magick I do or anything that I currently practice.
There were a few who freaked out about it but others who didn’t. It’s the ones who stay that have learned the most from me, the ones who have seen through a lot of the myths that they’ve had the chance to ask me about. One friend has even embraced a new religion because I have been able to help her learn and this despite the fact that she lives so far away from me for most of the year.
These opportunities to learn are something that I always hope to be able to offer. I know I got lost on my own way to where I am now and would like to be a hand reaching out to guide others who ask it of me. I’ve chosen my own path and help others who have asked me for it without trying to convert anyone like so many of my friends have or that some of my peers have tried to do. Being a bisexual person, it’s one of the few places that I could consider a church and not have a priest tell me I wasn’t allowed or welcomed there. This Pagan religion is something that draws me and so many others and that will continue to attract more people as information on it continues to rise (both legitimate and illegitimate) .
Though the idea of a coven is new to me and isn’t something I thought I’d ever plan on doing anywhere other than online, the idea is also a bit exciting. The idea of being a High Priestess in a coven that I myself created and started is absolutely intimidating. It’s another way to get started in my practice that I never dreamed that I would be doing, no matter how long I had been practicing and how much I believed I knew.
Even now, with my entire book of shadows available to a friend, the idea that I could have more people working under me and looking for guidance has both its pros and cons. I am excited about having more people to share things with and to share what they were learning from various areas of the craft with me and yet I also am anxious about having people learning a lot from me that they may have never learned before. Even with one person, it’s been an experience and I love having the opportunity. It’s a version of ‘getting started’ that I’m excited to begin anew.