What do you consider your current religion?
Eclectic Solitary Pagan. I believe in many different religions, and I don't think religion has to be exclusive to one specific path or pantheon. All paths lead to the same mountaintop. My religious beliefs reflect those from Germanic, Norse, Creole, Haitian, Celtic, Greek, Roman, Native American, Shinto, Buddhist, and Voudan/Hoodoo religions and deities.
What was your religion before pursuing witchcraft?
Raised Southern Baptist
Did you attend a religious school (like a catholic or parochial school or a strictly religious college)? No
What is your zodiac sign? Scorpio
What type of witch do you consider yourself?
Eclectic Solitary Gray Witch
Favorite "witchy" quote:
There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. - Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Shakespeare. This quote reflects well on how witchcraft is simply an exploration of those things that science can not yet explain and that these things are around us and within us, which is something we all share no matter our specific path of witchcraft.
Please tell the story of how you came into witchcraft :
I was raised in a strongly religious Southern Baptist household in rural Northern Illinois. Still, early in my life, I began questioning the rationality of what I heard from The Church. Before the age of 12, I felt very connected to nature and living next to a forest and river, spent much time in nature as a child, which contributed to my natural inclination to witchcraft.
I first read The Secret Circle young adult series by L.J. Smith in 1991 at the age of 12, and I instantaneously knew that whatever this was, it resonated with me, but I did not have a name to give to my natural abilities and connection with nature until at the age of 13 when I found the book "Celtic Magic" by D.J. Conway. Shortly after that, I discovered Scott Cunningham's Wicca: Guide for the Solitary Practitioner and finally had a new religion, Wicca.
When the Great Flood of 1993 hit the Mississippi River, we were one of the houses decimated by the floodwaters. So, my mother moved us to the Ozark mountains of Missouri to be near our distant relatives. These relatives understood witchcraft and nature in ways only I understood and understood the meanings of dreams and the abilities of foresight and empathy – even if "empath" was not a term used often at that time.
Further learning and research throughout my life led me to many other pagan religions, whose parts also resonated with me, so I currently consider myself an "eclectic" pagan. However, I believe there should be a better term for that. Because of my varied beliefs, simply labeling myself as Wiccan seems constrictive and not entirely accurate anymore, though Wicca bears many similarities to the path I follow.
What is your witchcraft practice today like?
I've been a member of a local coven before, but I am currently a solitary practitioner, except for my wife, who is also a solitary practitioner. Neither of us likes "coven politics" or interpersonal drama, so we tend to stay away from formal covens. I have several altars throughout my home, two in the open and one in a large armoire hidden behind doors. All altars are shared with my wife, as we share our resources and magic.
When I was a teenager, I had to hide what few magickal supplies I did have, and because I could not risk getting caught for fear of being taken to a psychiatrist by my mother and accused of being a Satanist, I had to get creative sometimes. I couldn't light candles or have fire in my room, so I had to draw a picture of a candle flame and use that as a "candle" during my meditations, spellwork, and rituals. So now, perhaps I overcompensate for that by having an extremely unusual amount of magickal items and spell components.
Today, it is more important to me than ever to be in touch with my spirituality. As I grow older and head toward the Autumn of my life, spirituality brings comfort and purpose to my life, and witchcraft in its many forms is not simply a ritual to be performed at sabbats and spells but is interwoven throughout every facet of my life. With every breath I take and each moment of every day, my spirituality is with me throughout nature and in every living thing. We are all connected, and I think that which is called "Witchcraft" is an arcane and outdated term for that unspoken connection we have with the Earth, each other, and nature itself.
Do you have any psychic abilities (empath, mediumship, clairvoyance, auras, etc.)
Empath, a healer (able to direct healing energy), can psychically "nudge" certain things to happen when I'm feeling strong emotions, such as wind blowing, creating heat from energy, and prophetic dreams. Also, I have one of the most useless types of prophecy, in that I receive thoughts and images in my head of something happening – but literally mere moments away from when it happens. This had happened consistently throughout my life in situations from a handle breaking off a cup I was holding to envisioning being hit by a semi-truck when I was a passenger in a vehicle moments before a semi pulled off a ramp behind us and tried to merge where there was no lane to merge into and knocked us into oncoming traffic. I see it before it happens, but never with enough time to do anything about what I see happening. I am also slightly telepathic and very good with divination.
Any other statements, details, or mentions you would like?
I think it is time that witchcraft as a religion and religious belief should be normalized and accepted by mainstream society. Three hundred twenty-eight years ago, I would be put to death for writing what I've written on this page. A mere 50 years ago, I would be completely shunned by society. But even today, being a self-identified practitioner of pagan belief systems is something that, in rural America and many other countries, one must not proclaim too loudly for fear of being the recipient of hate crimes or religious persecution. America is a country founded on the right to religious freedom, and it is time that principle applies to all religions, including witchcraft.