A few years ago, I worked for a dreadful person. She had a way of making you feel as if you could accomplish nothing on your own and that anything tried without her assistance would fail. When I left that position, I remember feeling as if every part of my ego…my self-confidence had been crushed. I doubted everything I did and I questioned every word I spoke. She had a way of making you feel that she could crush you at any moment and leave you lying in the rubble of what you considered your life.
I am a pretty strong person. I have endured a lot….so for anyone to make me feel that way was unusual. I look back and still can’t believe I allowed anyone to have that kind of power over me. After all….I am that male witch who pretty much says what he thinks….does what he wants…and to hell with the rest. Then again, sometimes our foundations get shaken a bit. Sometimes those things that are comfortable to us get taken away and we are forced to stand only on our beliefs.
A couple of weeks ago…on a trip to Walmart, mind you…I was shaken once again. This time, it did not bring self doubt and questioning. This time, it brought about determination. I was leaving the store, and as I walked to my car, I was confronted by a man with a bible in the crook of his arm. He calmly asked me if Jesus was my Lord and Savior and if I died tomorrow, where would I be. I calmly thanked him for his concern for my place in the afterlife and told him that I was fine and proceeded to walk on to my car. He then rushed in front of me, raised his voice a bit and asked if I was prepared for what life without Jesus would bring. Again, I thanked him for his concern, told him I was fine, and proceeded to walk. Once more he pushed himself in front of me and raised his voice even more and yelled his question to me. “Are you prepared for the day that Jesus returns?” I finally was so frustrated….after all, I was just trying to get home before the ice cream melted. I stopped dead in my tracks and said, “I am a witch.” I did not raise my voice…my face was dead-pan. This man proceeds to get in my face and screams at me like a Banshee. My personal space was being invaded over and over again. He was screaming so loudly and being so confrontational that the Walmart security came out and interceded.
Now, being a gay man, I am used to protests and arguments. I have walked through Gay Pride Celebrations surrounded by picketers. I have listened to the screams of “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” I have even endured the “God Hates Fags” rants. I have even been beaten up for who I am…..but this time I stood there. I was not moving. I was ready for whatever was going to come at me…and quite frankly, I was ready to give back. I felt the power of the Lord and Lady stirring inside of me. Honestly, I was not angry…..I don’t know what the emotion was that was cycloning inside of me. A mixture of confusion and sadness and hurt maybe…..my roommate told me later that I never should have told him I was a witch. I told him that I may as well go back in the closet then…..I may as well try to live life as a straight, church-going nobody.
I told him that the moment I begin to compromise any part of who I am, I may as well crawl under a rock and die. Being a witch is so much of my makeup….just as much as being gay. If I were to try to compromise on either, then I am nothing more than a shell of a man. Cernunnos, Pan, Hekate, the Morrigan are all a part of me….they help to create that person of adventure and obstinence and love and power that I am. They are the creators of destiny within me. They are the dream-givers in my life. The Morrigan is the reason I have any fight and warrior spirit at all in me. Pan and Hekate nurture in me that taste for the wild and my love for the beasts of the earth. Cernunnos pulls out the love of the forest and the hidden places. Without each of them, I am but a lump.
Who I am is as much alive as the elements…..It is Fire that stirs my passion….Water that soothes and offers healing…..Air that calls to spirit…..and Earth that strengthens and grounds me. If I were to compromise my relationship with them….if I were to call to one more than the other….there would be no balance inside of me. Asking me not to be gay or not to be a witch would be like asking a wolf not to be a wolf and a crow not to be a crow…..it defies their very essence…their very spirit and brings confusion to the universe.
I was told many years ago by a Lakota medicine man that the worst thing that I could ever do was to pretend to be something I wasn’t. “To lie to yourself confuses the spirit within.” He explained this to me using a piece of frybread. He held the frybread in his hand and he tore pieces off. He explained that each tear represented a lie that I told myself. When he finished tearing, there were nothing but pieces and crumbs left…..no matter what he did, he could not piece them back together. He told me that inside me was something unique that only I could offer the world and those around me. I could not do that if my spirit lay in pieces in front of me. “Not all those that you meet on the Good Red Road will like what you hold inside of you….but that is not your concern…..live your life honestly before Wakan Tanka.”
As I write this tonight….I sit here in tears. The Lord and Lady have used this to rekindle in me exactly who I am. My heart is leaping and under my feet, I can feel the heartbeat of the earth. I smell the breeze through the open window. No one….I mean no one can ever take my heart…my spirit…the essence of who I am away from me. I am stronger…mightier than what I even dream.
I am, along with those gods and goddesses who surround me, the creator of destiny….not just any destiny…..MY DESTINY!!