Growing up in our house, I got used to seeing pentagrams and various strange designs and symbols. Every bed had it’s own “dreamcatcher” made of specially chosen colored yarns and organic herbs hanging from the ceiling. There were always fragrant spices and gnarled roots in the garden that were brewed or boiled to produce homemade remedies and charms.
The Summer Solstice and Halloween were a festive time of family gatherings and celebrations featuring bubbling concoctions and obscure incantations that lasted until sun-up. Dances and trances abound.
We spoke of Wiccans and Mother Nature with the same ease as Santa Clause and Christmas. Rituals that co-insided with the changing seasons and religious beliefs that had sacred icons and mystic figures were natural to us, but we were advised to keep our beliefs to ourselves.
From an early age I watched people of all types come to our home and show great deference and respect to my mom. Offerings of odd plants and weird tokens were left at the parlor entrance and visitors were often visibly pleased just to be granted access to her. My mother, sometimes laying hands on sick or unfortunate souls was regarded as a blessing. She was quietly referred to as “Priestess” or “Mother Circe” by our extended family.
The practical applications of these experiences were seldom seen, but the supplicants were deliriously happy or relieved afterward. They were devoted to her. To us, the forces of nature could seem to be harnessed or atleast urged to help. Every creature and plant had some utility and we were taught and encouraged to live in harmony with our surroundings. The world and it’s many complexities were to be embraced and held in awe.
We learned from an early age to engage and act in sync with the environment. As children, my older sister and I had all the toys and games that we could want, but rarely were these store-bought items. These games were mostly explorations and puzzles. Dolls were homemade and of natural fibers and exotic woods. Parts of my playtime would always consist of old, leather-bound volumes or adventures explaining our relationship to the natural world. I had pets of all types and was encouraged to emulate animals and study their movements and “speech.” I could mimic anything. Our basement playroom was like an artisan’s workshop. I was tutored by elders and shown how to make any space , my personal place. I could leave my aura in a room and feel peace there, while no mortal would ever notice.
We called ourselves Naturists, and though we did not lounge around the house nude, we were raised to admire the human form in all its shapes, and to not be embarrassed or ashamed of anyone’s appearance. As such, my parents and other senior group members wore gossamer gowns and slinky, sheer wraps that revealed their bodies, when conducting ceremonial rituals, but that was mostly after the young ones were asleep.
When I reached the age of seventeen, my father left home. I discovered then, that his position in the clan called for him to seek out a new “family.” I had reached a level of education and training that is best taught by the “priestess.” For the next Earth Cycle I was to be instructed in the ethereal arts, so that I could lead the next coven.