A few of the upcoming entries might contain heavy criticism of Neo-Paganism and the associated community, and I want to provide some perspective before publishing. Wicca as taught by Llewellyn publications from the 1990s provided a refuge from evangelical Christianity. Before high school I lost my faith in Christianity due to close study of the Bible. I plowed through it from the Old Testament to the New, and I found the contradictions and puzzles that most people encounter when they study it closely. As the text, the morality the church taught, and my own feelings could not hang together, I began to look for alternative perspectives.

When I found Neo-Paganism, I thought I found a more humble faith that nevertheless remained true to humanity’s most ancient approaches to divinity. Introspection, tolerance, and embrace of the natural world wrapped my strongest intuitions about spirituality. The practice of magic and ritual gave me a sense of control over my life, something I felt sorely lacking. Neo-Paganism felt right for me, and it also felt true, a more open but also more accurate description of the world than Christian Heaven and Hell.

Since I loved being a Neo-Pagan and a witch, I wanted to learn everything I could. I read everything I could find on mythology, folklore, and Wiccan traditions. I sought out teachers and elders in the Pagan community. My ancestry contains both Celtic and Germanic roots, so I studied Irish and Norse mythology as well as the relevant Wiccan traditions. As my studies took me into history and archeology, I found contradictions with common Pagan teachings. My teachers and elders gave deeply unsatisfying answers to the questions I posed. Evidence routinely supported academic findings and cast doubt on what I learned from Neo-Pagan sources.

After I lost trust in my teachers, I severed my connections with the Pagan community that embraced me. I let friends who practiced Wicca drift away so that I could avoid metaphysical discussions and subsequent arguments. Eventually, my occult studies resumed without teachers or community. My reading ventured into subjects my mentor had discouraged, often with an aura of fear. Mystical traditions offered something I sought in witchcraft, so I studied Daoist, Yogic, and Buddhist philosophy.

As my practice developed, some Pagan concepts persisted. Despite the wisdom of Zen teachers, I remained interested in Siddhis, the psychic powers accessible in elevated states of consciousness. My ethics retained the emphasis on integrity of behavior and the duties of honor I associated with Norse tradition paganism. No matter how many dharma talks I attended or meditation groups I visited, I did not feel the same sense of belonging as I did in the ritual circle.
Returning to witchcraft after years of solitary, unstructured practice helped me begin healing both old and recent traumas and emerge from deep depression. I began with a review what I learned from my teachers and misleading sources, finding the important threads and discarding the dross. The entries on Neo-Pagan topics here represent the continuation of that study. My intention is to break down the brittle ideas and construct something stronger, a place where I can belong as a witch and a scholar. When I criticize Neo-Paganism, I am trying to refine my understanding and construct a more robust foundation that embraces my all elements of my practice.