I came to America eighteen years ago. And within months I first heard of the terms Wicca, Pagan, neo-Druids, etc. Well, I was intrigued. My parents raised me in a completely non-religious home. My mother is a lapsed Catholic and atheist. My father is Hindu, but not very religious. He is spiritual, rather than religious.
During my first fifteen years I lived in various small towns and villages in Germany. The only exception was a short stint in Frankfurt, but I don’t remember much of that as I was much to little. I remember the last town though. A lovely place and I still miss it. I was the only kid I knew without the stamp of religious affiliation on my head. Most people were Catholic, a few Protestant. But everyone had that religious ID which I so sorely felt I lacked. My mother was quite open to my searching for my own path. She just couldn’t teach me stuff she didn’t believe in, as she felt that it would have been a lie. Being in a similar place now myself, I can understand where she came from. So I dabbled in Catholicism. Enthusiastically so. My paternal grandparents were very enthusiastic about it as well. Especially my grandmother, that lady went to daily mass for the last 20 years of her life. They plied me with leaflets, booklets and books which all kept re-enforcing a sense of guilt, sin and the fact that I was on a singularly fast track to hell. I compulsively recited the rosary, trying to worm my way into Mary’s good graces. When I almost got sucked in by the illegal (in Germany) Church of Scientology, my mother stepped in quickly and determinedly. Bless her heart. That was the only time she interfered with my quest to find my god-ID.
A few days before my fifteen birthday I arrived in India with my parents. We were immigrants. I was a teenager in a foreign country where I was unable to communicate with anyone other than my parents and one uncle. But hey, it had Hinduism! I soon found myself enveloped by Hinduism and tried to learn about it. Long story short, I learned English and went to a private boarding school where I was surrounded by Catholics and Hindus. There was a Bible class and I asked to join. But after a few classes I was told that the kindly priest requested that I not return. Afterall, I wasn’t a REAL Catholic since my mother didn’t allow me to get baptized until I was eighteen. And I asked entirely too many questions. Questions, I realized suddenly, he was uncomfortable with. There was also the terrible influence my unanswerable questions had on the other children in the Bible class. Questions, he couldn’t answer because the kind of answer I was looking for didn’t exist. After that I tried to find a path for myself in Hinduism. There too I ran in to the ‘faith’ issue. My mother raised me to be a very analytical and questioning, not accepting everything on face value. Once you have grown up like that, believing blindly becomes nigh impossible.
When I came to America, and learned about Wicca and Paganism, I was immediately intrigued. I love the eco-centric nature of this belief system, along with the fact that it appears to be whatever you want it to be, while it guides you to a closer relationship of the mysteries of nature and within yourself. The all-encompassing acceptance that is characteristic of almost all Wiccan-Heathen-Pagan creeds is also a plus.
I am not a Wiccan but I would feel comfortable being one, I guess. Going to a Waldorf school in Germany for 5 years, I developed an intimacy with Nature which is to this day, very deep-rooted. We lived in an idyllic German village and I fell in love with a small farm close to my home. I worked for free there, receiving free milk, occasionally eggs, and hay for my rabbit. In return I had free run of the farm, the cows, sheep, pics, chickens, and most importantly the cats. I was a responsible kid and never missed feeding time in the evening. I had thick hard, yellow calluses on my hands from using the pitchfork to toss fresh-cut grass down the chute to the stables underneath the barn. After that I would feed the cows. He only had about 11 or so head of cattle. One evening the farmer, a taciturn man I always knew as Herr Bühler, told me that he wished I was his child. Because he knew his two children had no inclination whatsoever to keep the farm running. When we lived in India, subsequently we had a small farm with an assortment of animals. There too, I quickly found myself in tune with the seasons, and the nuances of nature. My childhood, thanks to these two farms was enchanted.
My love and connection to nature and my stubborn refusal to blindly accept what I am told makes me hold an affection for Wicca, I suppose. It’s connectedness to the source of power and life that is within us and right down to the simplest moss on the wall is a well of power for many. Some day, maybe, some day, I might call on the Spirits of the North, East, South, and West. But not yet. I am not ready yet to let myself to go there yet.