This week on the Pagan Experience: Tell us a little bit about how you came to your current spiritual path and what has held your intention to remain on it.
My path is an incredibly eclectic mix, but my strongest ties are with Druidry and British Mythology. I can’t tell you how I practice now without giving an overview of my path to get to this point.
I was raised Catholic and went through thirteen years of a Catholic Education. I remember the day I lost my faith in Catholicism in late March, 1998, sitting at my desk in my bedroom listening to Silverchair. I was thirteen.
I first took an interest in Witchcraft when I was 14, and slowly began learning through books and what little was available on the internet. I did a ‘Witchcraft Intensive Weekend’ held by Wendy Rule in my late teens, and that helped cement for me that, “I’m on the right path.” Before or after that weekend, I can’t be certain which, a friend from work gave me Scott Cunningham’s “Wicca for the Solitary Witch” and my path began from there.
But it was after the Intensive Weekend that set my path for the next number of years – after that weekend I drove down to what I now refer to as “my beach” and from there began my path as an Ocean Witch. I played in the sand, I drew symbols and words and began working with the spirits of place, introducing myself. It was such a beautiful day, that day. There was a lot of Wicca in my practice as that was the main books I had in the beginning, but slowly it evolved to Traditional and Druidry, and doing whatever felt right as the waves crashed to shore.
When I moved to Sydney everything changed, because the energies of the water up here are very different, and no beach I visited felt ‘right.’ I guess part of me wanted to find somewhere to replace Anglesea, but nothing could ever replace my home. Living in suburbia and away from the ocean was hard, so I began working with Earth. I took what I did with water and began to work with the spirits of place in my new home. I began studying with the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) and with a local Druid group, and found a new love and a new element to my path.
All throughout, even when practicing Ocean Witchcraft, I gave honour to Herne. I never honoured water deities at the ocean front, it was always spirits of place and Herne. I can’t tell you why, because I was never sure myself to be honest, but it’s what felt right.
So when one full moon I was walking to the train station to go to work, I felt this immensely strong masculine energy. It was Herne telling me to step up my honouring, and claiming me as His. I became a Dedicant of his within a few months of that moment, and I haven’t looked back.
Through honouring Herne my path took a turn to honouring a rather masculine path of the Craft. Yule became about the Kings of Oak and Holly, and the Wheel of the Year became about their battle with each other as it’s one of the few stories that I felt translated to the Sydney landscape. I honoured the Earth as Sovereignty (who I now call the Green Woman) and her changing landscape, but Herne has taken a central focus in almost everything I do since becoming a Dedicant.
Then I met my Soul Sisters who have reintroduced me to the Goddess and her many forms and remembering the Green Woman. Herne, naturally, has his opinions about this which I respect, but I also need to respect that I need to honour feminine to bring balance to my core.
So my path is an eclectic mix of Ocean Witchcraft, Druidry, British Mythology, with a strong focus on ancestral work and my beloved Herne the Hunter.
My faith is what keeps my head above the water, and what keeps my motivation going to become the best version of myself that I can be. There is no separation between “normal Ooh Chiara” and “Pagan Ooh Chiara” as it’s one and the same. Herne has saved me from myself time and time again, he kicks my arse when it needs a good kicking, and holds me when all I need to do is cry. He offers amazing advice, directs me where I need to go when I can’t see through the fog, and is incredibly protective when he’s not comfortable with something I’m doing.
Being in nature is where I’m most comfortable, and Anglesea is where my heart will always belong (950km away). I am studying a Natural Science degree to one day work within the Environmental team with my company in the construction industry. My studies are a way of giving honour to Herne and to the Green Woman, as although it is construction and construction means changing our surroundings, I can do my bit to ensure we’re environmentally responsible and sustainable in our ever-changing world. Monitoring water treatment, noise pollution, air pollution, monitoring neighbouring trees and following the EPA guidelines – there is sense within the madness of it all.
I love crystals, I read tarot, I talk with ancestors that have crossed the veil. I talk to trees, I listen to the wind, I honour nature in all her forms.
Honouring the energies within nature makes sense to me.