For a decade or so I’ve shied away from labels and titles regarding my spirituality, in an intense and stubborn way actually. Why? I was tired of being put in a specific box, it often made me feel like I had to agree 100% with what that box contained.
As a child that struggled to have a strong identity I was in fact very fond of labels, since I wanted to belong and be included. As soon as I started to study a new philosophy or religion I took on that title. Buddhist, Hindu, Wiccan, Atheist, Nihilist… You name it and I probably called myself that at one point in my teenage years!
When I was around 18-20 years I went back to my Polish roots and was a Catholic for a few years (mind you, I still loved and used tarot at this time). It felt safe and comforting to be a Catholic, to belong to a worldwide church, to be a part of a group.
But slowly the label Catholic started to feel like it didn’t fit me anymore.
Sorry if this is too much information, but when I was 20 I moved away from my parents, I started to drink alcohol, party, lost my virginity, and my beliefs started to shift and also grow. I could no longer agree with some of the things my church was preaching. I went on the pill (thank goodness!), had homosexual friends, and due to an unfortunate and inappropriate relationship I had experienced with a priest in the recent past the church’s hypocrisy was just too obvious to ignore.
I had some friends at this time that liked to make fun of my beliefs as well. They would hand me a drink and go ”Hey, is it really alright that Ms Catholic Girl drinks?” and asked on Sundays ”Why aren’t you in church?”. It was horribly annoying, and I started to feel less like my own person and more like some sort of clone. I was uncomfortable with other’s expectations of my spirituality.
Around 2008 I started to realize that a more solitary and unique path was more right for me. I had started to build an identity of my own and no longer felt any need to belong to a group like I had wanted in the past. I rather felt like I wanted to stay away from groups to avoid too much external influences.
Putting together my own spiritual journey through following my HEART has been very exciting and freeing. I have not felt the need to label my beliefs. I’ve seen myself as simply SPIRITUAL. But hey, aren’t we (humans) all in one way or another spiritual? In a way just calling myself ”a spiritual person” has started to feel too broad and too open! Anyone that is trying to connect with The Divine is spiritual if you ask me, no matter if they’re Jewish, Muslim, Wiccan or whatever…
”New age” is a term I sometimes use to describe a few of my practices, like my belief in astrology and crystal energy. But then again, I feel that new age is more COSMIC than I really am… I don’t necessarily believe in starseeds, Plaedians, the new earth, and advanced alien civilisations communicating with humans. Sorry, I just haven’t found that to be a part of my truth and existential views.
Paganism is quite popular among other tarot readers I have seen. The definition of what paganism is seems to vary, but it seems like a couple of things stand out:
Polytheism, nature-based, and believing in the sacred feminine.
How does that feel? Hmm. Not too bad. I don’t necessarily believe in polytheism, I think? For me all the different Goddesses and Gods are just aspects of the same main Source/Creator. Sometimes God chooses to communicate with someone through the role of Kali, or Jesus, or Odin, for example, but at its core it is still the same Source. Kind of like I am still the same person, but I have different roles depending on if I am at work or at home, by myself or with strangers, and so on…
I also don’t necessarily find my beliefs to be very nature-based. Nature is important to respect and treat well, of course, and it brings healing and guidance, but my main way of communicating with the Divine is through my Soul and not through nature. It’s by going inwards. It doesn’t matter if I am sitting on the street in the middle of a huge city, or out in the forest, I can still connect with the Divine because all I need is my Heart and Soul to plug into that. So nature is awesome, but not the main way for me to practice my spirituality. Sacred feminine? Now, that I like! I see a lack of balance in the world today, and connecting deeply with the sacred feminine is a way for me to find balance on the inside.
I would say the only label or title that feels a little bit exciting these days is the label WITCH. Which kind of surprises me a bit to be honest… I’ve already had my ”witch time” when I was around 15-16! And for years I heavily associated the word with children’s books and stories, it had a silly and childish tone for me personally. You know, Sabrina the teen witch, Roald Dahl’s Matilda, and so on… It felt weird that a grown up woman would seriously call herself a witch. I look back and I see my judgement there, yes.
But in recent years I have started to follow witches online that I have a huge amount of respect for, and my association with the word has slowly changed. Avalon Cameron, Benebell Wen, Kelly-Ann Maddox are a few witches/practitioners of witchcraft that are extremely far from silly and childish. They are wise, powerful, inspirational women. It has definitely made me feel more positive around the word, and has made me soften and feel that maybe there is a bit of a witch inside of me?
Two years ago in an ancestral reading for myself I found there might be witches in my lineage. It was a fun discovery! And in the last year two different readers have told me the same thing, without me bringing it up myself first.
”Hey, you do know you come from a long line of powerful witches?” beautiful Lauren Aletta told me with a huge smile. And I couldn’t help giggling and say ”Well, I have suspected so.”.
It might just be flowing in my blood…?
But wait…! I don’t own a cauldron, and I am not fond of altars in general, and my knowledge of herbs is quite disastrous… I am yet to fully celebrate a sabbath or esbath, but in my heart I do celebrate them when those times come around. I cast spells not even once a year, because I respect that practice so much and I am aware of karmic consequences…
But I work closely with the four (or five…) elements and with The Moon that has become an important part of my spirituality. And my oracles and tarot, duh… Those things are witchy? Right?
So maybe maybe…?
But really, maybe I am back to where I started when I thought about labels and titles: I truly don’t feel in any way that I NEED or MUST HAVE a label or title. I am fine being just me – being Ania. And I have no interest whatsoever to join a coven or other group…
But I guess, in a way it feels nice to not run in a fearful way from at least one label or title? I don’t like living in fear and perhaps it’s time to deal with my fear of labels. After all, who the hell cares what kind of judgement someone else passes on me because I call myself this or that? I sure don’t. But baby steps it is… I don’t know where I’ll end up with these thoughts, but I’ve enjoyed writing them down.
Let me know if you’ve ever found yourself running from titles/labels or if you perhaps proudy call yourself a pagan or a witch? How does it serve you?