I remember clearly a night – Christmas Eve – in 1997 when I was chatting with a boy from Kenosha, Wisconsin, on WBS. (If you never experienced WBS, you did not truly live.) We discussed many things that night, and he told me, as an older and wiser sophomore in college, that my religious beliefs sounded like a Wiccan’s. He knew, he said, because he just took a world religions class.
I filed this tidbit away for later. The next summer, I spent midnight to five a.m. frying donuts and stayed up for another few hours typing up a website in Notepad. It was called The Melody of Magick and I sure wish I could dig this gem up on web.archive.org to share with you. It was a one-stop source for candle magick, tarot layouts, and more! I considered myself a full-fledged Wiccan. I think I read a book or two. Sometimes I’d burn candles and herbs and pretend I knew what I was doing.
This phase was characterized by purchasing lots of incense, visiting Magus Books on a regular basis, and attending the occasional Pagan-oriented event – such as a bonfire for Beltane during which, (un)fortunately I didn’t get to partake in any naked frolicking – where I felt out of place for many reasons, and despite having a rather attractive, mass-produced pentagram necklace. I was very anti-organized religion and debating topics such as the Bible whenever I got the chance.
I found my box of “magick supplies” while cleaning out our basement. I opened it up and it smelled like naivety.
My first husband and I were wed in a ceremony officiated by a pair of witches. Later, I fielded many questions about whether it was legal. It was, despite also being medieval-themed. (That sort of thing should be illegal, I say.)
For some reason, all of that fizzled out. If I had to take a stab at what happened, I’d have to say it was my inability to suspend my disbelief about many things. I also never seemed to quite fit in with anyone, even if they were also on the fringes of normal society. I kept with me my reverence for nature and a belief that everything is interconnected, even if in a small way. I have a tattoo of a spiderweb that I got to remind myself of this, and also because tattoos are cool and having one makes me a badass, right?
And here we enter into a period of dedicated agnosticism, with a healthy glug of jealousy toward anyone who had faith. I envied people who knew what they believed, and who lived those beliefs. I wanted that badly. And, what do you know? It appears I got it.
A lovely and wise friend of mine told me once that I would know when the time was right to begin pursuing Judaism. The time has come. But you will need to wait to hear about it in Part 3.