I am a Witch. I am also a Wiccan, although the difference isn’t really all that important to me. I became a Witch when I was 12 and the full moon over the ocean reminded me I was a Witch. I have witchblood that whispers spells and magick from earlier lifetimes, and I do my best to listen to it.
After my conversation with the ocean that night I wrote my first Book of Shadows which was mostly theology about how Nature was the Source. I started reading anything I could find on the topic of witchcraft, which in the early 1980s was not much. My high school library had a couple of books on the Salem witch trials, a dear friend turned me on to Ray Buckland and Sybil Leek, soon after I discovered Circle Network News and began trying to meet other Witches. My call was answered around 1983 when I saw a small hand drawn sign for classes in Wicca, posted at the local health food store where I worked. I still have that sign—its precious to me, with the silver paint and handwriting of my first high priest. I met Lord Orion and Lady Hekate at a breakfast place and we clicked immediately—they were surprised by how much I had read and somewhat concerned that I was only 16. I told them my parents were very open minded. At our next meeting they gave me a parental authorization form for my parents to sign, which they did, and I began to study Wicca formally.
Lady Hekate and Lord Orion were trained in the Georgian Tradition, a British Traditional Witchcraft-derived trad founded in the early 1970’s by George Patterson. I would have studied Cat Poop Witchcraft if that was what they were offering—I just needed to be with my people. I was initiated first degree in 1983, second degree about a year later, and third degree in 1988 before I left Sarasota to move to Connecticut. In between second and third I hived off with other members of the coven (which grew to 21 people at one point) and we started an eclectic coven, and then later we started a ceremonial magick order/coven called The Navigator’s Lodge. The Navigator’s brought together people with expertise in astrology, qabala, channeling, chakra work, energy healing, and loads of other cool stuff—we travelled to pagan festivals throughout the US and ran the main rituals at the Southern Pagan Renaissance Lunarfest in Georgia a couple of years. I am still hugely bonded with many of those folks.
The move to Connecticut for graduate school meant exposure to a whole new world of New England Witchcraft. Tzipora Klein, who I met at Pagan Spirit Gathering in Wisconsin the summer after graduation from college, put me in touch with a coven in New Haven, Connecticut—back in the day you had to know someone who knew someone, you had to write a letter and wait for a reply, hoping for an invitation. It all seems so Harry Potter now! I will always be grateful for that connection because I soon joined Oroborous Isis Gnosis Coven, my witch family the whole time I lived in New England. They were two covens that had merged, both were formed after a wonderful woman from the Bay Area Reclaiming Collective named Bone Blossom taught courses in Witchcraft. Through OIG I learned Reclaiming style Witchcraft which uses way less ‘thous’ and ‘thees’ than BTW Witchcraft, and allowed my creative ritualist to emerge even more.
When I had the good fortune to move back to my beloved Florida in 1994, the gods smiled on me again and I joined another Reclaiming-derived coven, this one known as Spiraling Heart. This loving and creative family of potent Witches nurtured me through the birth of both my kids, the completion of my dissertation, my first university teaching positions, and the search for a successful tenure track university job. Those were some wonderful times and I am again, so grateful for all the amazing Witches I have had the opportunity to learn from and circle with.
My current coven, Beachfyre, just celebrated its 16th anniversary. We are one of the oldest (but not the oldest!) covens in the Miami area, and we combine Georgian British Traditional Witchcraft-derived ritual and training, with Reclaiming style creativity and activism.