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How the Wiccan Religion Changed My Life
My Hundredth Hub
The Wiccan religion and related practices are my niche here at Hubpages. If you look at my profile, you’ll see all of my articles are about Wicca or related topics. That’s why I started writing here—to share this interest.
It’s a month of milestones for me when it comes to Wicca and Hub Pages. My official rite of dedication to Wiccan was on Imbolc Eve, 1990—which means this Imbolc marks my 24th anniversary. I also just marked my 1 year anniversary on Hubpages, and this is my one hundredth Hub. All this has me feeling very reflective, so it got me thinking about why my religion is so important to me.
Let Me Take You Back
Back in Brooklyn
Not an Ideal Childhood
I was adopted at birth, but I’ve always felt my adoptive parents were my real family. I know they love me and they meant well. But in all honesty, they were crappy parents and not fit to raise a child.
There were good parts. They could be loving, nurturing and protective at times. I got cuddles, kisses, outings and all that. My mom fussed over my hair and clothes, my dad read me stories and played tea party.
That was only half the time. The other half was ugly.
There was neglect. I’d be home alone, scared, until the middle of the night when they went out, which was often. I didn’t have to go to school; they didn’t care about homework or grades. It’s amazing the cops never showed up.
They fed me junk. A typical breakfast was a sleeve of Oreo cookies. If I wanted, I could have another before going to bed. I could have two if I wanted.
There was verbal and emotional abuse—they’d make you feel the size of a peanut because you wrinkled the bedspread. They’d call me stupid if I failed a test and fat when I gained weight. My self-esteem was shot; I believed I was a horrible person, I was completely ashamed of who I was.
They made me a pawn in their on again/off again marriage. My mother used to tell me my father left because of me.
There was physical abuse. I often had bruises and welts all over my body from being hit with various objects. It could start for any reason—maybe I actually did something wrong, or maybe I laughed too loud when they were in a bad mood. I remember cowering in corners, behind furniture, trying to escape the blows. They sincerely believed it was discipline.
The worst was the sexual abuse. Not by my parents-- by family members, both male and female. Mostly I was forced to give oral sex. I don’t know when it started, my earliest memories of it are at 4 or 5. It stopped at age 12 when I stopped being afraid and started fighting back.
My parents knew about it. There were signs. I even worked up the nerve to tell them. My father acted outraged and sympathetic for about an hour, then dropped the subject. My mother first told me it was my own fault; then later accused me of lying about it. No changes were made, though. We pretended it didn’t happen.
A Troubled Teen
A Teen Wild Child
By the time I was a teen, I was pretty screwed up. As if my family hadn’t been enough, in school I was bully bait and had nowhere to turn. I went a bit wild. I drank, I smoked, stayed out all night… I was semi-suicidal. I thought about it a lot, and took insane risks, but never actually made a serious attempt.
Making matters worse, we went absolutely broke. We had been pretty poor, then all of a sudden we had money for a couple of years. Then my dad got busted for embezzlement and we were poorer than before. We lost everything—car, house, respect. I remember the shock and discomfort of that first winter without heat or hot water. I remember how the house started falling in disrepair and how I hated living there.
I dropped out of high school by the time I was 15. I couldn't officially drop out until I was 16, but I only showed up to my sophomore year 11 days total, and even that was only to a couple of classes.
This Used to Be My Playground
My Saving Grace
My saving grace was reading. When I didn’t go to school, or when I ran away for the day, I was hiding out in a library somewhere. Reading made me realize things were not normal. Reading inspired me to want more.
This is when I started wanting to become a writer. In my mind writers were the most amazing people in the world. No school teacher, no parent, no politician or celebrity could hold a candle to writers.
Writers were my educators. They were my nurturers. They could help me escape the horrors I had to face. They could make me laugh. Writers knew how I felt. They encouraged me. They gave me guidance. They knew so much, they understood so much, and they shared it all with the world, offering countless pages with their wisdom and insights.
Writers filled me up; surely if I could be a writer my own cup would overflow, and I could help fill up others.
I Wanted to Be Closer to God
I Never Lost Faith
My other saving grace is that I had faith. I was actually more religious than my parents. They thought church was a bore; but I loved it and went alone. Not just Sundays-- anytime, even if it was just to sit there in the pews (or on the stairwell if the doors were locked) and pray.
I started reading the Bible, then later joined Bible studies and took classes. Christianity was the only expression of faith I knew; the Christian concept of God was the only one I’d been exposed to. But the more I searched and tried to get closer to God, the further I was led from Christianity. It was simply not my path.
When I found Wicca, I got so much more out of it. I met God in a whole new way; the Pagan way. I understood Him and related to Him in a way I never had before. More significantly, I met Goddess-- and it was like coming home. It was like coming home to my real Mother and Father's arms at last. I don't know how to explain it-- it was like finding missing parts of yourself and being made whole.
The pieces of the puzzle that had been swirling in my mind for so long finally started coming together. I began to glimpse the bigger picture. That’s when changes began happening.
Tell Me About You
Has your faith (whatever it is) gotten you through hard times?
The Wiccan Religion
Life after Discovering Wicca
Changes came slowly but steadily over years. First there was a lot of thinking. I was bombarded with new ideas. I saw the world in a new way. It saw myself in a new way.
My childhood was certainly traumatic, but I was an adult now. Granted, I hadn’t been an adult for long, but I was still an adult. I was playing up the part of the victim, milking it for what I could. I was self-pitying, self-loathing, self-destructive and self-sabotaging. And I was only hurting myself.
I started taking actions. I stopped partying. I started dropping friends and family members who were dragging me down. I started taking responsibility for myself. I couldn’t blame the past anymore. I started cleaning up, working more. I got my GED. I started college.
I gained some self-respect. I could look at myself in the mirror.
Nothing came quick or easy. I had a lot a lot of baggage to sift through and unload. I had to grieve for my childhood self, the losses and pains I suffered. I had to forgive myself for my mistakes. I had to let go of a lot—feelings; grudges; dreams. I had to find new things as well— a sense of self-worth; self-acceptance; confidence; hope; happiness.
I had to come to terms with my parents mistakes. My dad and I had it out; he owned it all, and I loved him for it. The fact that he could accept responsibility and apologize helped heal our relationship. I lost him to cancer, but we had a good relationship.
My mother is tougher. To this day she admits no fault. Her biggest problem, she feels, is that she was ‘too nice’ and I just took advantage of that. I pity her because I realize she’s a prisoner of her own fears and ignorance. I’ve had to draw lines and set boundaries for what I will and won’t accept from her. But we’ve found a truce.
As much as I blame them, I also understand they came from dysfunctional families, too. They really meant well and did they best they could. Their best just sucked for me. But I choose to hold onto the good parts of them and move forward.
The Future Is Promising
Life Goes On - Thankfully
I still consider myself a ‘work in progress’. I wouldn’t say I’m 100% healed from the scars of the past; I wouldn't say all the lessons have gotten through my thick skull. And I've had my ups and downs. But I have come light years from where I started.
Every step I feel like my Gods were at my sides, or at my back. They were an unlimited source of the things I needed so much: comfort, strength, guidance, love, inspiration, motivation… I can’t even describe the revelations my faith has brought to my life. Without Them, without finding Wicca, I don’t know if I’d have come this far.
I have found a level of contentment and peace, infused with sheer joy and gratitude for being alive, that I never thought I would achieve. I didn’t even know a person could feel like this.
I am a firm believer that there is no single, right path in life; we all have to find the one that’s right for us. When we do, it’s like— (dare I say it?) -- magic.