Devotion in the Desert
Greetings, and welcome to my little corner of The Way of Witch. Unlike many witches and pagans, my home is not in the emerald forests or misty mountains. My home is in an unforgiving desert filled with red sand, black lava rock, and wind-sculpted sandstone cliffs. Green is an accent color here where the sun rules unchallenged. A strange place, perhaps, for any witch, let alone one calling herself a Green Witch. But for me, my soul is bound irrevocably to the primal beauty and ancient wisdom of this place.
The desert was my playground.
I grew up in a devoutly Christian home where I was lucky enough to have a family who wholeheartedly believes in the importance of Nature. We often went camping and hiking and my father taught me to fish. The childhood home I remember best was on the edge of development and desert. I spent hours wandering and hiking, marveling at the wonder of it all and bringing back stones and tiny flowers for my mother. My paternal grandmother was a great lover of wild spaces, and she and my great grandmother taught me about stones and crystals. My whole life I was drawn to pagan stories, and spent as much time in my imagination (if not more) than I spent focused on my actual day-to-day activities.
The energy here is slow and deep. The rocks soak up sun and wind and rain. They sing of the value of patience and simplicity. There is magic in the rain and monsoon seasons that humans living where rain is excessive often have trouble understanding. There is nothing like watching the desert come to life after a rainstorm. The once harsh landscape becomes a riot of yellow, green, purple and orange. Woodpecker, Quail, Rabbit, and Coyote rejoice in the life giving water, their existence assured for another day. The red earth, scoured clean, smells fresh and renewed. The scent reinvigorates me and reminds me to breathe deep and never take anything for granted. The rain also whispers that everything will happen when it is meant to happen. And so it was for my path as a Witch.
As I grew older, I increasingly chafed under the tenets of my childhood faith. By the time I was 21 I was married, and a mother not long after I turned 23. After the birth of my daughter, I suffered from severe postpartum depression that became nearly a decade long battle. There were times my husband would return from work to find me in bed, staring at nothing and completely unresponsive to him. My memory became spotty at best. Exhausted, angry, and confused, I lost the last of my connection to any kind of faith in God. The one thing I could count on through it all, in my personal hell, was Nature. Out there, in the desert, I could feel again. I connected. I wasn’t alone.
You're such an earth witch.
My best friend loves to tease me, but this time her words rang with a strange truth. Earth Witch. I did some quick research online. The descriptions seemed to fit. Secure in the assurance that she would study with me, I took the plunge and bought my first book on the craft, “Earth Magic: A Book of Shadows for Positive Witches,” by Marion Weinstein. I read the first few pages and could hardly contain my joy. Here, spelled out in front of me, was everything I had ever thought and believed in my secret heart of hearts. There were others like me, I realized. I was home.
And so began my commitment to myself and my path. My life has forever changed for the better. I feel myself again. My parents have been so supportive, for which I am grateful. I know that for so many “coming out of the broom closet” ends in tragedy and ostracization. In my case, my family is simply overjoyed to have me back. Whole, happy, and thriving. Like the desert in the rain.