Note: This post is a series of posts regarding shadow work, personal development, and facing our inner-self. These posts will be raw, personal, and unhinged. Most will have some form of content warning at the beginning.
CW: sexual abuse, self-harm, depression
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When I first found Wicca, I was lost. I was a young teenager looking for meaning in a life that threw everything my way. I had dealt with a father who was on the road a lot – who subsequently became addicted to drugs. I dealt with sexual abuse as a child – and later, repressed memories starting to surface. I was a self-harmer. I didn’t know how to handle all of the emotions going on in my mind, and I honestly don’t even remember how the idea of self-harm came to me. But at the time, it made me feel better.
My friend introduced me to Wicca – probably through a Scott Cunningham book – and I felt relief. Here was this religion that didn’t push aside the idea of a divine feminine figure. Here was this religion that allowed me to take back control of my life. I wouldn’t have to feel like my life was spiraling downward because of everything that was going on. I could have control with the God and Goddess – and with magick.
Now, I did go to therapy as a teenager for the things that happened to me, but I don’t think it was helpful. The therapist didn’t focus on what happened and helping me to move past it. Instead, they focused on trying to build my self-esteem while ignoring the emotions that I was feeling. I remember being made to do these activities where I would take my name and, for each letter, I had to come up with a positive attribute for myself. Let me just say, I’m glad that my name is only five letters. That was – and probably still would be – one of the hardest activities for me to do.
Because of everything that went on when I was younger, I struggle a lot with self-esteem, confidence, and general happiness. I have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, and mild OCD. So, this has followed me my entire life – and I almost wonder if the depression, anxiety, and OCD weren’t caused by the life events of my childhood. I honestly wouldn’t be able to tell you anyway. There are huge chunks of childhood memories missing from my brain. I don’t know where they are, and I honestly don’t know if they’re worth remembering. Maybe there’s a reason I can’t remember them – but the not knowing is sometimes the worst part.
Fast forward a bit – I ended up leaving Wicca behind shortly after I found it because the therapist suggested I join my family at church. I enjoyed it – the youth center at the church I went to was very inviting, very friendly, and the pastors were open-minded and approachable. However, in my heart, I knew it wasn’t right for me. I just needed time to grow and develop with a supportive community around me. Eventually, I left the church after it didn’t feel right anymore. I came back to Wicca and I started to learn.
Wicca has stuck with me for most of my life – through meeting my boyfriend, dealing with our ups and downs, friendships, and having my daughter. I won’t lie. I wasn’t the best Wiccan. I never practiced ritual. I always forgot the full moon. I struggled with fitting a new religious practice into my life when no one else around me practiced, too. I had no one to learn from – and that became an issue for me. I did end up leaving Wicca and moving on, but that’s a different story.
I won’t sit here and tell you that it’s easy to find yourself when life seems to dump everything on you at once. And I won’t sit here and tell you that everything happens for a reason – because I believe that’s a load of shit. If that were the case, I would be extremely pissed that the Gods decided to let my childhood be horrible, that they let me suffer from postpartum depression after having my daughter, and that they let the suffering continue in the world. Could it be that my soul, before being reincarnated, chose this life for me? Possibly – but I have no way of knowing. If that’s the case, then maybe my soul needed to learn something.
Either way, my spirituality has helped me grow as a person and as a mother. However, my experiences have shaped the way I view spirituality and concepts within Wicca and other faiths. I’ll probably do a podcast about this, but that’s one of the reasons I left Wicca. I didn’t feel like I fit there anymore – especially after learning, growing, and finding myself.
If you’ve come to any form of spirituality, know that it can help with your personal development. However, you have to be willing to face the darkness before you can emerge from the light. Otherwise, the surface is simply that and you run the risk of your faith being shallow. Wicca, Celtic Paganism, witchcraft, or any other form of religion or spirituality can be helpful but it should not be used as a “cure-all” for any situation.