Why I Left Wicca…And How I Found My Path

One thing that truly drives me crazy is people assuming I’m Wiccan when they find out I’m a Witch.

I get it. The two are often walking hand in hand online and in the new age section of the last remaining bookstores. Witchcraft has also had a pretty good PR campaign going on for years trying to distance itself from the chaos of the Satanic Panic of the 80s. It’s become a natural assumption. That said, it still makes me crazy.

 

Before I get into this whole story I just want to say this is my experience, yours may be different. Frankly, I hope it is. I have nothing against Wicca, but then I have nothing for it either. My motto: you do you, I’m just sharing my story.

 

When I first got started in the Craft I did, in fact, begin with Wicca. Specifically the Neo-Pagan solitary practitioner Cunningham brand of Wicca. I was 11 when I started learning about Wicca. When I was 13, I did my initial self-dedication on the full moon around Litha that year. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was so familiar feeling as if I’d done this before. I did it in my backyard, under the full moon, next to my favorite tree.

Then lots of years passed along with many experiences on my spiritual path.

 

When I got to college, I still held my Wiccan beliefs but wasn’t really practicing. It was hard to practice in a shared dorm, and frankly, I was more focused on boys and booze. One boyfriend during part of my college years constantly questioned my beliefs. He was an atheist and Wicca ridiculous. He was always looking for something to cause me to crack and walk away from it

He never managed to do it. But I did leave Wicca eventually, so what happened?

 

 

When I was in my early 20s, I was living with {a different} boyfriend near the beach in Connecticut. I found out that there was a group of Pagans that held public sabbat rituals at the beach that anyone could attend for a small $5 fee. The first public ritual I attended would be with them for Lughnasadh, 1996.

It was amazing and took my breath away. It was the first time I circled with other people, and I was moved to tears by the end. I vowed that day to go deeper, learn from actual people, and find a group or coven to practice with.

And I did!

 

I found a group with a high priestess that, at first, seemed really sweet and very knowledgeable. I would get very deep with this group, eventually taking on priestess training with the group’s “inner circle” which practiced a specific tradition of Wicca known as Odyssean Wicca. This is the tradition of the Wiccan Church of Canada, the tradition my priestess was {from what I assumed} initiated in.

I would find out later that she wasn’t even a First Degree in this tradition, never mind being in a position to pass on titles to others. I would also discover that she had some severe …issues, let’s say…and she was really unstable. She felt it was OK to misrepresent her own training and was really concerned that it would get out that she actually was never trained and had no passed down titles.

This was actually the final bristle in this witch’s broom that caused me to leave Wicca. The first was really a mishmash of things that didn’t sit well with me.

 

While Wicca isn’t technically dogmatic, it’s dogmatic. For a religion to be dogmatic, by definition, it needs a central governing body to set forth the guidelines or rules of belief and practice. While Wicca as a whole doesn’t have a governing body, individual traditions certainly have their specific laws, beliefs, and practices.

For a while I was in a non-Wiccan witchcraft tradition that refused to even acknowledge Wicca as a religion, literally saying, “Wicca doesn’t exist,” because it went against the overall beliefs of that specific tradition. Things like this lead to a lot of “WTF why can’t we all just get along,” moments for me.

I was never able to find peace with the Three Fold Law. No matter how you slice it, I just don’t believe it in. I had long conversations with different teachers, friends, and fellow coven mates at the time about it. After literally years trying to make sense of it, I couldn’t. Rather than seeing the Three Fold Law hold people to a higher standard of living and practice, I saw it cause people to be treated like doormats.

 

I’m a “You’re-a-fucking-Witch-use-your-magick” kind of Witch. A woman I knew around this time was dealing with harassment and physical threats from an ex. I asked if she had done any magick to defend herself and she said no.

“That would be against the Three Fold Law!”

OK…I asked if she had gone to the police.

She said, “No! If I do that he might lose his job and I don’t want that to happen.”

Ooookay…so what are you doing?

“I pray to the Goddess for strength for me and to the God to protect him.” 

 

 

 

I know its a bit on the extreme side, but I heard and saw everything in-between and I just couldn’t anymore.

After one final lengthy discussion with a very well known teacher of mine at the time, I came to the conclusion that it just wasn’t something I believed and it didn’t work for me. I had my own approach that also worked fine, but it just wasn’t strictly Wiccan. It turns out I was more of a Hermetic Principle of Cause and Effect kind of girl.

This teacher, who I would work with off and on for some years, said to me, “So Wicca isn’t for you, that’s OK. Why don’t you follow your own path…or maybe look at Traditional Witchcraft.”

 

I did spend a good handful of years studying Traditional Witchcraft for one big reason – Necromancy. This is a big part of my personal practice and while in Wicca I found that it wasn’t well received. At Samhain it’s OK, but any other time it was considered weird or creepy. I also often felt like everything I encountered in Wicca was so Goddess-centric with the God and Divine Masculine taking a backseat.

 

 

But I found that Wicca was full of dogma masking as something else, there was a lack of energetic balance and an overwhelming sense of everything being…for lack of a better term…basic. There as a feeling that there was no depth.

Now, I didn’t practice British Traditional Wicca {BTW}, which I know would have brought a different experience. And it’s easy to argue that Llewellyn “learn it yourself” style Wicca is basic. By the time I would have been able to connect with a BTW group I was already over Wicca as a whole.

After all of that, I found my path.

 

I started with acknowledging that I didn’t need a tradition. I also didn’t need some sort of tap on the shoulder approval of anyone acknowledging that I was a Witch.

I began considering what my own tradition, for myself, could look like. I focused on the practices and traditions that I felt most inspired by. There were parts of Wicca that I liked, mostly the Wheel of the Year mythology and celebrations, so worked with those. I gravitated toward Asatru and Norse Paganism because I was seeking out traditions from my ancestry {I’m Italian, German, and Native American}.  But then I started learning other things like shamanic practices, energy healing, hoodoo, and Buddhism.

 

Yes, it’s that buffet style Paganism that some find objectionable. And that’s OK, it’s not for them to follow. One thing I focus on in my practice is not mixing things in practice. So I don’t do hoodoo work while combining it with Norse gods, for example. If I do hoodoo, I do hoodoo, Bible verses and all.

In the end, it comes down to what you believe. I think that its easy to just say, “Well Wicca is established, and I just get some books and read them.” But if you do and it doesn’t resonate you don’t have to follow it just because it’s “established” and there are books published on it. It’s not an ancient religion handed down unchanged from the Gods. It was created in the 50s but a person, just like you.

So create your own path if someone else’s does not work for you for one reason or another. It’s OK. But above all, know this. As you grow your practice will change because likely your beliefs will change. That’s how it should be, its called evolving your spirit.

 

 



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  • Margie Markevicius
    December 14, 2017 at 7:35 am

    Thank you for sharing your story! I’m just beginning my path and I’m studying Wicca, but also drawn to Hermetic law. Thanks for showing it’s okay to be a witch and pick what works for me. There’s so much to study!

  • Eli coleclough
    December 14, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    I find this interesting. I was born and raised catholic then I tried to find my way. I checked the Wicca but in Mexico they were kind of a closed circle. Then I moved to Africanism…I did not like it…now I am into Kabbalah which is my way that I can connect thru the mind. It’s like you say…you have to find your own way…and that s ok. Loved your experience!

  • Lexie
    December 15, 2017 at 8:24 am

    I love this and I applaud you for bringing awareness to the difference between this because there are people who would like to explore witchcraft BUT they fear wicca. Which is fine, but it’s important that people learn the difference because I believe it would remove fear of Wiccan beliefs but I also feel it would help more people feel comfortable with practicing witch craft once they realize it’s not the same anyway.

    A great explanation I’ve seen is from the book, “The Modern Guide to Witchcraft” by Skye Alexander.
    She writes
    “Witchcraft is a methodology, a skill, a way of working with energy to produce a result. Wicca is a spiritual philosophy, with its own code of ethics, concepts, rituals, deities, etc.”
    That helped me to see the difference. <3

  • Kim Tobin
    December 16, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Thank you for embodying that any path is personal and having the strength to do you is very powerful! I feel like you just told my story!!

  • Jackie
    January 1, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story. I am also Italian.I was raised Catholic. My cousin introduced me to Wicca. At first I was literally afraid I was going to hell for even looking at it. She calmed me down and said she thought it would be a great for for me. I kind of have a similar story to yours, in that, shortly after I started studying Wicca I met a woman who had an ecclectic spiriitual group. She seemed so sweet and wise and I was searching for who I was spiritually and this group was great. I even started working in her antique store to be around her more. A little bit of time went by and I would watch her store when she left town and even took a little money out of savibgs to sell spiritual items out of her store. I thought wow I’m blessed i found my group so early and a great teacher. Then, she started doing weird things like telling me my husband was trying to control me and I should leave him. It wasn’t that blunt more subtle at first. I told her my hubby isn’t controlling and he isn’t . He’s one of most layed back people in the world. Then one day she told me to leave her store and not come back. She told everyone in group I basically attacked her with words screamed and yelled and left. I was so hurt. I stopped my spirituality for a while too. I no longer classify myself wicxan either and I don’t like it when people assume I am. I’m more of a kitchen witch. Anyway just thought I’d share. Blessed be.

  • Ulfraloic
    January 3, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    I’ve always been a believer in finding your own way. If it feels right for you ,and it works for you, keep going. Your on the right path.
    It’s refreshing to hear someone echo my own thoughts instead of just following like sheep. Own your spirit,own your energy. It’s your magick. X

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