I was baptized into the Christian faith at 7 years old. I was dunked under the freezing cold waters of the Rappahannock river in Virginia on a freezing cold and rainy November day. I was excited and nervous because I just wanted to be included and involved with the other “kids” who were already part of the “faith.” I just wanted a place to fit in and call my own.
Within days of being baptized I felt a distinct shift in my spirit. I strongly believed I was touched by god and was held by him. As I grew older, I somehow kept a hold on that child like faith despite the abuse my parents put me through and even despite their hypocrisy, I still held tight to the beliefs I thought were mine. It wasn’t until those beliefs were used to belittle me and they were turned against me that I started breaking. But, as my deepest desire in life has been to do nothing without being absolutely sure and willing to accept the consequences of whatever I decide, I spent three years purposefully picking apart my religious beliefs. It as an incredibly overwhelming and frustrating and scary process. Even though my belief system was already utterly shattered and my feet were rapidly sinking in the quicksand, I knew I had to be methodical and be absolutely sure of the direction I wanted to go and it had to be entirely my own decision.
There was a lot of mourning and grieving as I left behind the only belief system I had ever known – in this life time that is. A lot of Christians will talk about how their god is the only one who can fill the “hole” in your heart. In other words, the only being who can satisfy all your desires and it was the only RIGHT god to follow. But I can confidently say that the moment I left Christianity, my entire being – my soul, my heart, my mind – felt relief and complete and whole. I felt like I had finally shaken off the shackles that had been binding my spirit/soul for almost all of my life. Not only that, it felt like I could take a deep breath for the first time and I wasn’t afraid of being happy or that I should be ashamed of feeling free.
But after a short while, I began realizing there was a missing piece from my heart and soul. I needed a spiritual practice to follow, I needed spiritual beings to worship and the spiritual realm to enter. With the help of my first therapist who is also a medium, I discovered tarot cards. But those weren’t enough. I was also carrying so many shadows from what had been done to me – known and unknown – that accessing the spirit world and allowing myself to kneel in their presence and receive the knowledge they wanted to give me was almost impossible. My heart was so heavy and wounded still and my spirit was so fractured.
Two years after I had left Christianity, I started looking into Wicca. The “do as you will but harm none” really appealed to me, especially having come from a religion that was so toxic and harmful. But having spent almost 18 years in an organized religion that nearly killed me, the very thought of being under “elders” made me extremely uncomfortable and triggered. Around this time, I moved to Colorado and I felt a freedom of spirit like none I had felt in any other place I have lived. I felt the freedom to go towards the Pagan path that was calling me. In the presence of the towering mountains, I felt the call of the spirits who had been with me for all of my life. Being the researcher and knowledge-holder that I am, my Pinterest boards began to fill up with Wiccan blessings, rituals, and I discovered the Wheel of the Year and fell in love with the idea of celebrating those holidays. But shortly after arriving in Colorado, my health, which had been barely held together at my previous place of living, utterly fell apart. Here I am, almost 4 years later, just now feeling like my health has reached an actually good place. Not only that, I have finally found my direction with this Pagan path. The biggest thing that’s changed and given me direction is that I have found my community among fellow witches/Pagans. Trying to go that path alone was difficult. I still struggled with believing that I could decide my own faith, and not only that, there is so much conflicting information out there that I had no idea what or who I could trust. I also believe it wasn’t time for me to move forward yet with committing to a Pagan path. The flames had started flickering, but they weren’t ready to be ignited yet. Despite that, I have been patiently collecting knowledge and things as I waited to dive in.
I believe part of the delay was that my heart and soul still needed to heal more before I would be able to fully commit to the things I wanted to. Just over a year ago, I had memories return of having been sexually abused by my father at the age of 4. Those were the final pieces I needed to retrieve and then heal. Since then, my soul has felt more complete than ever before, I am more open and grounded than I ever have been, and my heart is fully committed to following Paganism. The weekend gathering I attended a month ago was my “formal” initiation into Paganism. I was introduced to some of the Divine and given tools to understand what I have experienced a lot of my life and the words to understand what my spirit was longing for.
I adore the feeling of being connected to Gaia, Mother Earth, and connecting with the Goddesses that are speaking to me. As I wrote yesterday, the Celtic Goddesses are ones that I can sense calling to me the most. I feel like I have been reborn as I gather as much information as I can and try not to get overwhelmed with the wealth of information I am learning. I am not ready to share the details of the path I am traversing, but I am grateful to the Goddesses for pulling to them and for guiding my feet.
Celtic Goddesses, who are they?
Ever since discovering my Irish heritage as a child, I have been captivated by Irish/Celtic Mythology. Even now, as I meander down this Pagan path, the Celtic Goddesses are by my side. But trying to find concrete information about the goddesses is nigh impossible. I am named after Medb, but I have also seen multiple pieces of information leading towards Medb (Maeve) only having been one incarnation of the Goddess Macha. Macha is one of the Triple death Goddess in Celtic Mythology. Along with Morrigan and Badb, she is the Mother Goddess, but also a War and Fertility Goddess.
It is frustrating and also a little bit fascinating about how many stories of the Celtic Goddesses have been minimized and twisted to fit a subservient women that the christian patriarchy wanted them to look like. Their tales grow more and more weakened and most of the stories now are those of just strong and powerful queens. I have been trying to find the roots of their myths be stripping away the patriarchal layers that have been so heavily applied.
As I peel back those layers, I am seeing the goddesses in different lights. Another thing affecting how I view the ones – that are choosing me as I am choosing them – is their energies sitting with me. Lately I have been sensing that Medb and Macha are the same being. Both are Goddesses of War and Fertility and both are just and protective. It’s difficult for me to find the words to explain what I sense and feel with these Goddesses, especially I don’t have strong research to back up what I feel is right. I don’t know a lot about my Irish heritage, I don’t know where I came from, I just know what I feel from past lives and the dreams I’ve been given.
Over a year ago, I chose the name Maeve because I needed to kill the name I was given at birth. It was a name my abuser proudly held on to and claimed great pride in that he had named me. As I have healed from the abuse he did to me, I felt the strong pull to reclaim my entire being, and through doing that, I needed to reclaim the name I am called. When I chose Maeve, I only knew that it was the name that had been calling to me for a very very long time. I still, to this day, have no recollection of where I came up with that. I firmly believe it was given to me; given to me during my childhood as the name I had to become. As I moved forward with an abrupt swiftness into changing my name, I briefly glanced at what Maeve meant, not caring what it meant as I knew it was my name regardless. And several different articles about the Goddess Maeve kept showing up. I wasn’t fully committed or aware enough of my Pagan path at that point, but that has always stuck to the back of my mind. I was told to look up the Goddess Maeve (Medb) after the gathering I went to almost a month ago, and I immediately remembered what I had seen when I had changed my name.
Macha and Medb sit with me, and I feel their gathering strength when I need help overcoming something. I feel their protectiveness and that I am under their care. Macha and Medb are both women who men tried to conquer, they are both powerful women who proved their prowess time and time again. They are Goddesses who the christian/catholic church tried to cover up and downplay. Medb is a Goddess of the Harvest and she holds fertile land in her hands. Macha is a Goddess of motherhood, fertility, and yet will not hesitate to dive into war when hers are threatened. Macha is also a Goddess of success and fire and was a red-haired incarnated woman. My sun, moon, and rising signs are all the fire signs, and that fiery spirit within me echos the ancient Celtic women. Macha and Medb feel like my mother spirits. I feel safe in their arms, I feel embraced and loved.
Granted these are just all things that I have felt and sensed when looking up these two Goddesses. They are close to me, but I could be wrong. I don’t think I am about what they mean to me, but I think both of these Goddesses will show themselves to each person individually and I may not know them in the same way as another person may.
I don’t know why I feel the need to give a caveat to my beliefs. It’s frustrating that I feel that need, truth be told. I still struggle with being confident with what I believe it. But not only that, I struggle with fearing others telling me I’m wrong and shaming me for what I do believe in. I spent so many years under the shaming thumb of my abuser and even now, although I am 2000 miles away from his grasp, and have shaken off the majority of the chains he bound me with, I still feel his shaming whisper in my ear. As I lean in Macha and Medb, that whisper grows fainter and I am aware of their whispers of encouragement, strength, and love overcoming the shaming voice of my abuser.
Come, Macha, I pray you protect my home and my space.
Medb, strengthen the foundations of my mind and give me guidance in fighting back against those who seek to harm me and mine.
Macha, I pray for your mothering spirit to guide my hands in mothering my own children, and mothering myself.
Thank you Medb and Macha for being present in my life and holding me close and protecting me and mine.
About three weeks ago, I started learning about herbal oils and the health benefits that come from oiling. There are many benefits that come with practicing herbal body oiling, but also, herbal infused oils can be used to make healing salves and even lotions.
So I decided to go on a “foraging” mission and found a store here in Denver that has the most fantastic selection of dried herbs and flowers! Walking out $20 lighter, my hands were full of bags of dried herbs and flowers. Having this be my first time making any oils, I did a little bit a research, then followed my gut. I made two different oils, and they are still sitting and infusing. Both oils have about 4 more weeks before I can open them up and strain the herbs and flowers out of them.
The first one I made, I am calling Aphrodite’s Oil. The reason for this is because two of the herbs/flowers I have in that oil have aphrodisiac effects. Not only that, but all three herbs/flowers I put in are good for anxiety and stress relief.
I have been dealing with a hormonal imbalance, thanks to endometriosis and hypothyroidism, for most of my life, so when I found out that damania is helpful for hormonal imbalances, I immediately added that herb to my pile. Damiana is also an aphrodisiac, and good for depression and anxiety. Jasmine is also a libido booster, and another anti-anxiety, as well as helps with insomnia. Lavender is good for relieving headaches and anti-anxiety/stress reliever. I suspended all three herbs in 1/3 olive oil and 2/3 sweet almond oil. I would have preferred to do all sweet almond oil, but I ran out of oil. I have the whole herbal infusion sitting on my counter just soaking and releasing all that goodness from those herbs.
The second oil I made, I combined herbs specifically with the purpose of calming, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory herbs. This one turned out a little differently because of the oil I used. I used coconut oil and it basically turned solid within 3 hours of mixing up the herbs and adding the oil. Honestly though, I’m actually okay with how this oil is going because I’m planning on using the oil to make an anti-inflammatory salve or even my own homemade lotion once it’s done infusing.
I’m calling this oil Calm & Peaceful. I have four different herbs in this oil; Calendula, Lavender, Dandelion root, Motherwort. Calendula is an anti-inflammatory, calms muscle spasms and aches, and is even thought to be anti-microbial. Lavender again, relieves headaches, anti-stress/anxiety, and can even help with insomnia. Dandelion root is another good anti-inflammatory herb too. I wasn’t sure about Motherwort, but I felt like I needed to add it in. Motherwort is often used after a mother has given birth as it’s a good herb for re-toning and strengthening the uterus and healing the body post-birth. But Motherwort is also good for calming anxiety, regulating a rapid heartbeat (I assume associated with anxiety?) and is good for heart and nerve health. Because of the nerve pain I get from my fibromyalgia, and the pain I get from my endometriosis, I figured this really was a good herb to add in.
I am really looking forward to both of these oils being done! Still have to wait another 4 weeks, but I am just so excited about started to use the oils and reaping the health benefits of them!
I used some of the other herbs and flowers I got to start my own facial toner. I have been using pure rose water as a toner for the past few months, but that stuff can get pricey! So I decided to actually go ahead and make my own. But, I added a little twist to mine; I added jasmine and lavender to the toner. The other ingredients were the dried rose buds, obviously, then distilled water and witch hazel. I mixed these all in a small canning jar, and then let it sit for 2 weeks. I need to figure out how to get the flowers to stay below the surface of the liquid though. Just about ran in to trouble with the whole top layer of herbs molding. But that’s a problem for the next batch!
I strained out the herbs yesterday and I love the slightly cinnamon-y scent the toner has! I think it’s from the lavender and jasmine. I had more toner than I had jars for, so I made little ice cubes that will be nice to have when I have a bad acne flare up and need to calm my skin down!
I am keeping my toner in the fridge in an effort to make it last for as long as I can! My plan is to make another batch in two weeks, which means that I should have a new batch ready just as I run out of the current batch.
Another thing I decided to make was a good sized jar of bath salts. I used a base of Epsom Salts and Pink Himalayan Salts and used lavender and geranium essential oils. The herbs I used are Chamomile, Rose Buds, Passionflower, and Lavender. All of the herbs are dried herbs/flowers. I am still looking for muslin tea bags so use for when I want to take a bath. The goal is to put about 2 tablespoons in a tea bag and let the salts absorb into the bath water, leaving behind the herbs to soak in the warm water.
I usually use about 1 1/2 cups of epsom salt when taking a bath, so only having about 2 tbsps of salts in the water seems off to me. But the first bath I took with the bath salts was really relaxing and enjoyable.
Quick comment about Passionflower – I learned about passionflower as an herb a few years ago, and have used it off and on for nerve pain, insomnia, and anxiety. I kicked myself because it is such a powerful herb for nerve pain in particular. Taking it as a capsulated herb did make me feel a bit wound up, but using it as a dried herb in a bath or even an herbal infused oil has been a lot calmer. The Chamomile is so calming and relaxing that I felt like I had to use it!
I am slowly moving towards creating my own lotions and also makeup. I am gathering supplies to try my hand at mascara and eyeliner. I am really excited to be stepping towards doing ceremonial or ritual makeup for priestesses. That’s my goal. I really want to get to the point where I can show up at a gathering, and do my fellow priestesses’ makeup for doing ceremonies or rituals.
I discovered Pinterest 5 years ago, roughly 4 1/2 years ago I really seriously started pinning. I have long been known to scour Google for information when my interest has been peaked. In short, I live and breathe researching. That’s how I come to understand what it is that is holding my interest or what I would like to dig deeper into. When it comes to my pagan path, I have of course dug right in to researching the different aspects I want to know more about.
When I gathered with 17 other mermaid goddesses two and a half weeks ago, I felt like I had finally, finally found my community. Not only that, I finally had my people who I could see in person, who fully understand and welcomed me alongside of their pagan journey as well. It was breathtakingly beautiful and fulfilling. But one of the things I’ve come to realized is that I have been on this pagan path for a lot longer than I realized. I was cleaning up and reorganizing my 12,000 some pins on Pinterest and discovered pins that I had saved several years ago that were exactly what I had been looking for a week ago. There is something quite validating about realizing I’ve been reaching for this path for so long and to watch it start blossoming and flowing before my eyes.
I struggled with finding time and balance and a connection to the Wheel of the Year days I tried to celebrate three years ago. It didn’t flow, it didn’t feel natural. I had wanted to be purposeful with honoring the full moons and new moons, but again, it just didn’t flow nor did I feel connected. There was a part of me that was so shut down I needed that part badly before I could truly connect to the path I longed for.
After the weekend gathering, I felt multiples fire ignite strongly within me. I finally felt a completion of what I had been yearning for for several years. I felt the rightness, the deep connection, the flow as I turned to and started leaning into learning about rituals for moon cycles, full/new moons, and digging my fingers into learning about herbs and flowers. Not only do I feel these flames building inside of me, I have never felt so confident that this is what I’m supposed to be doing right now. You know, that sense of of Fate? That absolutely messy beautiful perfectness.
I sat down and performed a full moon ritual a week and a half ago and it felt comfortable and invigorating and exactly what I was supposed to do. It flowed, I was in my element, I felt a connection to the ritual, the full moon, and the energies around me. I will write about my ritual another time though. But one of the things I also did over last month’s full moon (August, Full Moon in Pisces) was make moon water. The energy from the full moon felt so strong to me that I wanted to capture the energy in water. I have been drinking some of the water when I needed a boost of energy, and I used some of the water to make moon water cleansing spray.
I mixed some moon water in to a blue glass spray bottle with a little bit of frankincense essential oil and some Himalayan pink salt. My plan is as we enter the new moon phase of September, is to cleanse my front door and windows and then take sweetgrass and smudge the space, calling protection and my ancestors and the Goddesses.
I am starting to plan out the seeds I want to plant for a container garden I hope to start in the spring here. This is another ritual I am looking forward to adding to my life. It is amazing to me about how natural all of this feels to me. I really am sure I have been down this path before in another lifetime. I am not struggling to figure out how to fit my pagan path into my everyday life. It is balancing and harmonizing with everything I do day to day. That is a huge sign that I am truly on the right path.
When I was little I hated anyone seeing my back. I was embarrassed and felt like it was a “bad” thing to have such an obvious grouping of moles on my back. I have the majority of the Big Dipper constellation on my back. I am only missing the very last star at the tip of the handle. I have matching moles on the top of each hand, like almost creepy matchy-matchy. I also have a crescent moon shape in moles across my lower rib cage too.
Deepening my connection with Spirit and Mother Earth has brought me a new awareness. I feel like I am looking back over this life I am currently living and seeing multiple things, yet again, with new eyes. I am seeing the points in my life where I’ve sensed that I’ve been there before. Or the familiarity I feel now as I start learning and working with herbs, plants, and flowers. I already knew that I have worked with Goddesses in past lives. I know that I was once a part of Aphrodite’s Temple. I know I have been an herbalist in past lives. I know that this pagan life I am moving in to now is not the first time I’ve lived such a life.
Research is my forte. I adore researching, that’s how I learn, and that’s how I gather knowledge. I came across and article talking about “witches’ marks.” These are specifically things that show up across your lifetimes AND are passed down through generations of witches.
I was twisting around in front of my full length mirror two evenings ago trying to get a full look at the constellation of moles I have on my back. There is a lot of history attached to that formation for me. I feel like I’ve had this marking before. It is something that has held a lot of fear and concern. It is something that I was “marked” with in a past life as a “witch” and threatened and possibly even killed. The markings on my hands only recently showed up in the past 5 years. Those markings hold even more past history in them. I look at my hands and I can sense the history my hands have held, I can see the markings and know that they signify I am on the right path and I have been abused on this past before.
I think our bodies tell stories if we are willing to listen. They will not only tell us stories about our current lifetime, but of past lives, of past experiences, of situations we escaped from and lived. I think when we are ready, we can enter into a space and learn of our pasts, of the things that we need to carry in to this present life and then carry those things forward.
I am proud of the marks my body carries. I know they are significant to me. I know that these are marks for me and me alone. And that’s okay. I am proud to call myself Witch and to know a deep sense of peace that I am truly stepping into my calling.
Paganism – the thing I once feared and cringed at
I left Christianity about 5 years ago. When I finally said no, I am not a Christian, it was like my spirit finally got to take its first breath. It was such a relief to leave and close the door on the legalism, the judgmental, and deeply toxic religion. As I walked away, I knew I was supposed to be a part of something spiritual, but I knew it would never be an organized religion ever again. I was given my first tarot deck shortly after leaving the christian religion. That tarot deck was an incredible introduction into the spirit world surrounding us as well as an introduction into me strengthening my bond with my intuition. That first tarot deck gave me the tools to lean into the things I had always known and sensed, but had never had direction with. My spouse gave me a tarot set for Christmas three years ago, and that has always been a special deck to me. But somehow, tarot just wasn’t enough. I needed something more, I needed to be stretched and guided, and tarot was merely scratching the surfaces of the things I was being pulled towards.
We moved from the east coast to the midwest, and it was like my soul came alive. Being in the wide open, the mountains always protecting, it was the first place I had ever lived that finally and truly felt like home. When we first arrived, I started looking up Wiccan groups, but the more I researched and asked questions of various groups that caught my eye, I knew it wasn’t time, nor was I entirely sure that following a Wiccan path was what I was meant to do. The very idea that Wiccan is organized was and still is very unappealing to me. Then hell struck, and then struck again and again, and it’s only been in the past few months that I have able to catch my breath and feel like I can stand on solid ground. As I have found my footing, I have found my path, I have found my community, I have found my faith again.
I am 100% pagan, 100% against organized religion, and a budding Green, or Cottage, Witch. Being pagan [to me] means living with intentional awareness of the environment I’m in. Whether that means being in my car driving around, listening to my children chatter in the back seat, or being at home in my kitchen cooking or my bed reading and researching, that means I’m aware of the Goddesses who are with me, the spirits that surround me, and whether I am grounded or not. Being pagan means honoring the earth and her bounty, honoring the spirits who give me wisdom and knowledge, and worshiping together with my fellow sisters. Being pagan means accepting all of the consequences of my own actions, and recognizing that what I believe is never going to be exactly what someone else believes, and HOLDING SPACE for others’ beliefs. And yes I am aware of my hypocrisy of not being all that willing to hold space for christian beliefs. For now, I’m going to sit with that and be okay with it, because christianity fucked me over so badly, I don’t need to give anyone my angry spirit about that belief system.
Being pagan means expanding my mental capacity and spirit in reaching out the Goddesses that call my name. It’s means getting my hands dirty and understanding oils, salves, essences, herbs and flowers. It means performing rituals to honoring the passing of the Full Moons and New Moons and the Wheel of the Year. Being pagan means doing things that mean stopping and taking a breath and giving back to Mother Gaia/Earth.
It is a slightly torn place to be as I am a mother and have responsibilities from waking to falling asleep every day. A friend had a really good way of putting things; I am not trying to find balance between my pagan practice and my day-to-day life – I am working on harmonizing my paganism and the rest of my life. My pagan practice is not a separate thing, it is who I am, so why not blend the two, figure out how to still be intentional as I’m rushing around with my kids during the day.
I have found that the things that been bubbling under the surface for the past 5 years have been significantly ignited now. And not only does this all feel slow and steady, I am not burning out. I have learned to take this path one step at a time, and work my way towards the goals I want. I am finding myself more patient with myself, and more patient with the things I can do or simply do not have the time or means to do. I am learning that the Goddess will supply, and if it’s time for something, then it is time and I will find my path forward clear.