I was a feminist doctoral student in a business faculty when I first stumbled upon the Goddess and women’s history/herstory. But I couldn’t finish my studies; they did not take me far or deep enough. My feminine ancestors had other plans for me. Shortly after quitting the doctoral program, I had a dream that called me to do my PhD in women and leadership. I woke up to a voice telling me to go to witchcamp.
There I went, to the coastal forests of California, not knowing a soul, and not a thing about magic or ritual. But no matter, those ancestors had arranged everything. I found myself co-organizing a ritual on the burning times — the most horrific period of our women’s history where an estimated 40,000-100,000 people accused of witchcraft (mostly women) were brutally persecuted and murdered. There amidst the slashed and burned shells of grandmother redwoods, with vibrant daughter trees growing from their ruins, I opened myself up to be a voice for my restless feminine ancestors.
And this is what they said: “The wisdom of the ancients still sings in your cells —below the desecration and the horror, below the fear and the forgetting — we are there. You are the waking witches. We call you to embrace your grief, step past your fear and walk our path of feminine power once more. We have never left you. We have been waiting for your return to our ways and knowing.”
So began my deep studies of women’s power and leadership, and a feminism beyond and below that of my academic studies and my thinking brain understanding of these things — an ancestral feminism still living and breathing in my body and yours.
In my mid-twenties, I was living a corporate, achievement-driven existence that neither fed my soul nor gave me joy. A series of synchronistic events conspired to wake me up and set me on a spiritual journey in search of the missing half of my womanhood and humanity.
My journey led me to Vipassana meditation, feminist graduate studies and new age spirituality. These were all powerful and transformative, and yet something was still missing for me: the feral, sensual, dreaming, witching, life-affirming sacred feminine.
One day it came to me: I am a pagan. This was the spiritual path that sang to my soul.
Paganism isn’t just about beliefs, it’s about stepping outside of the strictures of everyday reality and stepping into full-bodied experiences of the wild, magical world of what else is true and possible. After twenty-plus years of pagan explorations, these are five precious lessons that I’ve learned:1. Life is delicious.
Paganism is a spiritual practice that calls us to a joyful, sensual communion with Nature and our bodies.
Even in those bumpy times when your challenges and losses bring your down, remember that life is delicious and that there is always a brush of beauty to sweeten your sorrows.