Here is the Testimony of an EX Witch, never shared in public before. I was very honoured and delighted when Heather sent her testimony to me for this blog.
Heather Everett studied older religions and also Druidism, Shamanism, Wicca and divination. Please read her incredible testimony below. It is beautifully written and very moving.
‘I went in search of God and found Goddess’.
This was the answer I used to offer when people asked me how I had gotten involved with witchcraft. It was true, but it wasn’t the end of the story.
I grew up attending church every time the doors were open. When I was 18, I got married and we continued attending church every time there was a service. My husband joined the Air Force and we ended up in Panama City, Florida. We attended a few churches there, but never found one we could both agree on. He wanted to simply quit going to church and I wanted a church that looked like what I saw in the Bible. Soon after our second child was born, we stopped attending church.
A year earlier, when our first child was only a few months old, I had found a parenting website that included a forum. I became quite involved there and became friends with an incredible group of women. A multitude of religions and belief systems were represented on this forum and I quickly learned that much of what I had been told when I was growing up was untrue. I had grown up hearing that witches sacrifice babies. I watched as several witches in this group talked about their pregnancies, their births, their infants, toddlers, and beyond and realized there was no way what I had been told was true. These women loved their children with an incredible, selfless love; much the same as my own for my child. They offered encouragement, support, advice and opinions that were vital to a new mother and these things were not forgotten when I stopped attending church and stepped back to examine the path my life was on and figure out what path I wanted it to be on.
When I stopped attending church, I did not turn my back on Christianity immediately. I never really did. I was frustrated with much of what I saw in churches, many of the same things I remain frustrated with today. I was told to seek God, that if I sought Him with my whole heart I would find Him. That was my intention. I went in search of God. But, I decided early on that I had to allow room for belief systems other than Christianity. I knew so many women who were the sort of woman I wanted to be. They were strong of character, at peace with themselves and the world around them, they knew what they wanted from life and they worked to achieve it.
At first, all I did was read about different belief systems and religions. I studied what they believed and why. A friend sent me a link to a few sites that discussed Christian witchcraft and Christian Wicca. I recognized the contradictions between Christianity witchcraft and Wicca immediately. I could not blend Christianity with either path because I knew Christianity and the Bible spoke strongly against witchcraft. However, Wicca intrigued me and I began searching for more information. From there, I discovered witchcraft and began to study. Wicca is a modern religion, whereas I studied older religions and belief systems, many of which Wicca has also drawn from.
While a year and a day is a common length of time to study before initiating into witchcraft, I studied for over two years. I needed to be certain that I was willing to commit myself completely to that path. I was not looking for something I could read about or participate in part time. I was looking for something to completely devote myself to. I was not certain until after my third child was born. When he was born, I hemorrhaged badly. After I had been stabilized, I realized I could very easily have left three children aged three and under without a mother. The experience did change me in a very real and deep way. I also had another experience while I was hemorrhaging. Some people claim to see a light when they experience a life threatening situation. I did not. I was enveloped in absolute darkness. In that darkness was the sense of all the knowledge about everything and a deep peace. Every time I would regain consciousness, I could remember small bits of information for a few moments. As I recovered and spent time snuggling with my precious new baby, I had plenty of time to consider that experience. I became convinced that the knowledge and the depth of peace that I had experienced in that absolute darkness was only to be found in devoting myself to the study and practice of magick.
Eleven days later, on October 31st, I initiated as a solitary witch. I drew from a variety of religions and spiritual paths and developed an eclectic practice that was my own. I studied Wicca in order to find out more about the paths that were drawn from in the development of that path. I studied the paths that Wicca draws from. I studied Shamanism and drummed and visited medicine wheels with a Shaman for a time. I drew from Druidism. I became quite good at reading Tarot and dabbled in runes and other forms of divination as well. I focused heavily on the use of plants and other natural materials in magick. Eventually, I found a book that discussed green witchcraft and finally had a label that worked when I was pressed to define myself and my practice. Most of the time, I tried to simply say I was a witch. When pressed, I would call myself a solitary eclectic witch. When pressed further, I could finally call myself a green witch or a kitchen witch.
Three years after I initiated, I had a six year old, a five year old, a three year old, an almost two month old and a marriage that had disintegrated. Within two months, our divorce was final and my ex-husband had left the state leaving me alone with post-partum depression, four very young children, no education and no employment history to attempt to rebuild my life. I poured myself into witchcraft with even more devotion than I had previously. It became truly everything to me.
Several years later, I was new in town and interested in meeting people. I was happy with my life. Things were beginning to look up. I had just started working on my undergraduate degree. I was perfectly content with my spirituality and the path I was on. I jokingly told a friend that I would attend a church to meet people and find friends for my children if I could find one that would accommodate my beliefs. She told me to find the most open minded church and visit it, and then sent me a link to a church in my town. On a whim, and because I deeply respected her, I went to the next service.
I don’t remember what songs were sung during worship. I don’t remember what the sermon was about. I do remember the overwhelming presence of God when I first walked in the doors. I hesitate to make much of experience. It is generally subjective rather than objective and as such there is great room for experiences to lead to strange places. But this experience, however it can be defined or explained, was pivotal in my life.
When I opened the door to enter the church, a sensation washed over me much like stepping under a waterfall. It started at the top of my head and swept down to my feet and literally took my breath away. There was a depth and richness to it that I couldn’t explain. It was unfamiliar and familiar at the same time. I spent the entire service struggling to make sense of it. I kept repeating over and over, “God, you don’t want me. I’m a witch. I’m a witch, remember? You can’t want me.” I left the church that day still struggling to make sense of what had happened.
Driven by a desire to understand what I had experienced, I attended church every time there was a service. My children had never been to church before and did not know how to behave in service. I spent a lot of time in the room behind the sanctuary with them, listening to the sermon through the doors. In a lot of ways, that was probably a good thing for me. I was able to hear and wrestle with the things I was hearing without being around any other people. It was essentially me and God for months.
I didn’t find the answers I was looking for at that church. About seven months after I started attending, some things happened that revealed it was not a healthy place to be and I never went back. I was left, however, with questions about what I had experienced when I first walked into the church and a curiosity about God that hadn’t been there before. There had also been a multitude of supernatural experiences that had left me uncertain about witchcraft and practicing magick. I had believed witchcraft to be a positive thing, something that benefited me and served to better me. I believed it was something I controlled. I cast, I summoned spirits, I connected with the supernatural at my whim and I manipulated energy to my benefit. I was beginning to realize it was possible not all was as I thought.
Over the next several years, I would go months without attending church and then attend for a time. Sometimes I would attend consistently, other times I would attend quite sporadically. The questions about God; who He is, what He wanted, why He showed up that day when I walked into the church and most of all, how I should respond to these things were always on my mind. It was a very difficult time for me. Everything I believed was being brought into question. My entire life was unsettled and I felt completely off balance. Magick was no longer a source of great comfort and security for me. All of the ritual I had incorporated in my life had taken on an edge. I was uncertain what was really real and what was really true.
As I attended various churches, I would sometimes go to the pastor and try to find answers to the questions I had. Sadly, the conversations rarely went well. I remember one pastor telling me I just had to have faith. When I told him I didn’t, his voice raised until he was almost yelling at me as he said “Then you’re in a lot of trouble!” I already knew that. I wanted to know how to change it. Over and over, I was told that God loves me. Love was a very difficult concept for me. I didn’t love the deities I worked with in witchcraft. I didn’t love the god or goddess. I respected them, revered them, expected certain things from them and offered things to them. Love was not part of witchcraft or magick. I could not grasp a deity, a God, who operates strictly out of love.
I was convinced there was no way God could love me. I had sat through enough church services to know that “God hates…!” me. So many things I was could follow that, and did in the services I sat in. I was everything He could never love, or so I thought. It took a long time for God to convince me otherwise. A friend once told me, “God loves you and there’s nothing you can do about it.” I knew if God loved me, there was nothing I could do about it. But I remained unconvinced that God did love me. The words stayed in my mind, though. Gradually, gently, over time, God worked on this. One day, I was sitting in a church service during the singing and the words of the song caught my attention. I stopped singing and just stared at the screen. I read the words through that song, and the next, and the one after that. Every song was about the love of God. As I stood there reading the words, I started thinking, “Maybe God really does love me.” It was then that I told God I would make Him the Lord of my life. “God, I’ll make you Lord, but I don’t know how. I’ll make you Lord of my life if you show me how to do that.”
He has shown me how to do that. He has also delivered me from the bondage I was in. I thought the spirits I summoned were good, or at least neutral. They were not. Appearances can be deceiving and in this case, I was deeply deceived. He continues to show me how deeply He loves me. Every day, I find myself in awe of the opportunity I have to serve God, to love Him and live for Him. He is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. I am grateful that He pursued me when I didn’t even know I was lacking anything in my life.
I have chosen to leave out much of the darker side of this journey. I do want to make a note about spiritual warfare here at the end. Spiritual warfare is very real. There really is a battle for the lives and souls of people. The intensity of the battle can be absolutely overwhelming. I am grateful for those people who prayed for me, for those who held onto me when I couldn’t hold onto anything, and most of all to God for being bigger than anything and everything. The details of the battle matter only where they can offer encouragement to someone else. The final word belongs to God. He pursued me, He wooed me. When I responded to Him, He saved me completely and absolutely. He has since transformed me and continues to do so. I was happy with my life, content and satisfied with who I was and how I lived when I encountered God that day. But He had so much more for me. He still has so much more. I am grateful for the opportunity to find out what else He wants to do in my life.’
Heather Everett, January 2014.