Finding Myself in the Darkness
I threw open the double doors to the 11th grade hallway. It was just another morning of high school. As I walked down the hall, ready to start my day, a hush fell. My fellow students stopped and stared as I passed, whispering to themselves. A friend of mine, we'll call her A, bravely approached me, grabbed my arm, and ushered me off to the stairwell, where we could talk in private.
"Did you do it?" she asked me.
"Do what?" I asked, confused as hell.
"Did you make that car hit C?" she asked.
"WHAT? A car hit C?" I asked, shocked.
"Yeah, she was walking out of the salon yesterday afternoon and walked right in front of K's car as it was driving down main street. She swears she didn't see the car. She's in the hospital. She broke her leg in like 3 places or something. Everyone says you did it," she said.
I stood there, unable to speak. I was so confused as to why A was asking me if I had done it.
"What do you mean, did I do it? How could I do that?" I asked.
"I don't know, but everyone says you did it. They say you're a witch," she hesitantly replied.
A witch. What the hell is a witch? I mean, I know of the green-faced, pointy-hat-wearing Wizard of Oz witch, but why would A be asking me if I'm a witch? Nothing made sense right now.
"No, I'm not a witch. And how can a human being cause a car accident they didn't even know about? What the hell is going on, A?" I asked.
"People are saying you're a witch, Morgan. You know, C and Colin made out at that party a little while back. Then Colin got in that car wreck a few weeks ago. Now C has been hit by a car. They say you did it, to teach them a lesson. And that doll you carry around is a voodoo doll," she replied. (Backstory- Colin was my high school boyfriend. He had broken up with me a few months before this, and C had been my best friend since the 5th grade, but we had a falling out about a year before this. Fast forward to present, and Colin and I have been married for going on 19 years, and have 2 beautiful kids, which is why his actual name has been used.)
My Pillsbury Dough Boy doll? The one I painstakingly saved UPC codes for, for months, mailed in with my money order, because I thought he was cute as hell? The one I got in the mail that previous Friday and attached him to my bookbag because he's cute? A voodoo doll?
I laughed, as this was clearly a joke. Apparently, that wasn't the right response.
A stepped back. "It's true, isn't it? You're a witch! You did this, didn't you?" she asked.
"No, I'm not a witch, A. I didn't do this. And my Pillsbury Dough Boy is not a voodoo doll. Are you serious right now?"
She was serious. They were all serious.
The bullying (I hate that word) had started mid-9th grade year for me. People I had been friends with since the 5th and 6th grade decided to take the typical high-school-in-rural-Virginia route- drink and party on the weekends, drive around drunk, blah blah blah. I didn't feel like it. So, I designated drove them around, babysat them while they were semiconscious or unconscious, and gained the nickname "Mama Morgan." They kept me around because I was a necessity, not because they wanted to.
But because I wasn't truly "one of them", I would find the word "Bitch" written on my desk before history class. They paid a kid to make out with me during a party so I wouldn't leave and tell my parents there was drinking going on. And C went after every guy who showed an interest in me, and with her amazing body and ability to play dumb (which she wasn't- she was actually quite smart), she got 99% of them.
That was high school for me. While I stayed the black sheep of the popular kids' club, out of pure hope that one day they would truly accept me back in, I also began spending more of my time with people who accepted me for who I was, and I began growing a thick skin. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?
I wasn't from a terribly religious family- my dad was Methodist, my mom Presbyterian, and my parents found the churches in our small country town to be more about gossip and judging others and less about Jesus and love, so we didn't go much.
But when you are 15 years old, and your entire group of friends turns on you, you turn to a higher power for answers. I cried. And prayed. I read the Bible. I asked God why I was being treated so horribly. I turned to my grandmother, who was devoutly Methodist, and asked questions. "Sometimes, Morgan, you have to stop questioning, and just believe God will take care of it," she replied.
But I'm a questioner. It's in my nature. I can't just blindly follow a set of beliefs that couldn't answer my questions.
After the "witch day" at school, things took a turn. People seemed scared to talk to me. I became more and more alienated, and found out who my true friends were. I also became curious. What was this witch they referred to me as? I had only seen witches in movies, and referenced in the Bible as devil-worshipers. As the year was 1997, and the internet hadn't really reached backwoods Virginia yet, I took to the bookstore for my answers. I picked up a copy of "Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner" by Scott Cunningham, and flipped through it.
"Wicca, the religion of the 'Witches,'" the introduction started out. There's that word, witch.
I flipped some more. There were other words- God, Goddess, love, balance, magic... Those words intrigued me.
I remember being scared to ask my mom if I could buy the book. But, my parents always cultivated a love of knowledge in me, and I had inherited my mom's love of books, so I took the chance. She told me I could buy whatever book I wanted.
That's how it began.
To be honest, I didn't fully devote myself to Wicca or any spiritual path until after high school. I read the Wicca book, and was comforted to know there was a religion out there that believed women and men ruled the Earth together, in balance. I had always had a problem with the patriarchy of Christianity- another issue my grandmother just told me to believe without question. And, I personally believed in reincarnation, another subject my grandmother refused to talk to me about. Here, in this book about Wicca, were the answers that I had been seeking. That brought me peace. A peace that carried me through high school, past the bullying, opened my heart to the friends who truly cared about me, and opened my heart to love when I got that crazy phone call from Colin months later, asking if I ever thought about him.
Colin and I married a month after I survived graduated that place. As he had joined the military during my senior year, we moved to North Carolina and began our life as a married couple. It was then that I picked up "To Ride a Silver Broomstick" by Silver Ravenwolf, and knew deep down that I really was a witch. We got orders to England a few years later, right after the birth of our beautiful daughter, and in England I found an amazing moot to join- an eclectic group of pagans. There were Druids, Heathens, Celtic and Welsh believers, Egyptian believers- everything, in that group. I learned so much, from so many different belief paths, during my time in England. Knowledge that changed who I was, forever. And I truly learned acceptance. It didn't matter your beliefs, or what you practiced- everyone in the moot accepted you.
While living in England, I had a dream one night of a long red-haired woman riding a white horse, who held out her hand and said, "Come with me." She pulled me up onto the horse with her, and we rode through a forest to a beach, where she helped me down onto the sand and said, "You are home now." I was telling my friends about the dream, and someone said, "Oh, Rhiannon visited you." Rhiannon? Hmmm...
We had internet at this point (lol). I googled. I found out about the Goddess-centered Avalonian Tradition. I journeyed to Glastonbury, to the ancient site of Avalon, and I knew I really was home.
I've had ups and downs, just like everyone. I battled depression for a while; now have anxiety. But now when I have problems, I meditate. I dig down deep inside myself for the answers, and use candle magick to ask the Goddesses to help me light my own way. I work with herbs and oils- from the Earth. I dance under the moonlight and curse Mercury Retrograde when it starts. I've given thanks for the darkness, as it made me stronger, made me figure out who I am, made me more 'Morgan' than I ever have been before, and made me appreciate the light.
I received a facebook message yesterday that prompted me to write my story. It was from one of the kids in that group of "friends" I had in high school. She saw a post I had made about witchcraft and felt the need to reach out to me with a video about how I should turn from the "new age" and accept Jesus into my heart. I haven't talked to this girl in 19 years, and she popped up to try and "save" me- save me from a life that began at the hands of a group of bullies that she was a part of. The irony was not lost on me.
After watching her video, I replied to her- "Hey, X. thanks for that. I don't have a video to reply with, but I do have a saying that I hold dear... "There are hundreds of paths up the mountain, all leading in the same direction, so it doesn't matter which path you take. The only one wasting time is the one who runs around and around the mountain, telling everyone that his or her path is wrong." ~Hindu teaching.
The bullying I received in high school at the hands of our group of friends led me to the Divine Feminine- the Goddess. She has been amazing to me. She led me to my path, picked me up when I was down, taught me to love unconditionally, taught me how to get past the darkness and into the light. I now own a successful new age business where I teach people about unconditional love, positive energy, and how to love and accept themselves for who they are.
I think I'll stay where I am, thanks. It's a path of light and love, where I ACCEPT others for who they are, and for the scars they have.
Blessings to you, Morgan"
She has read it. She hasn't replied, and I don't want her to. I'm not here to convince her of my way, and she won't convince me of hers. We are on two paths that we feel passionately about, two paths that fit who we are and answer the questions we have, whatever they may be. My path is of love, and I can only hope hers truly is, too. But, I did feel this flood of emotion after I hit 'send' on her message. I didn't realize how much I still held on to that little girl in high school, the one being bullied, the one lost, the one looking for answers, until I replied to that message. I received closure- a closure I didn't know I needed. And for that, I am thankful. It has made me a stronger person, and more 'me' than I was the day before.
We all have our stories of how we found ourselves. Some of us were born into our path, our role- and some of us had to figure out it all. And most of us, if we really dig down to admit it, are still finding ourselves each day. I have a good idea of who I am- my core beliefs, personality quirks, etc. But each day I find out something new about myself- good, bad, dark, light, up, down- I cherish each piece of the puzzle that is me.
Morgan is the owner of Inked Goddess Creations. You can read about her and the business on the shop's About Us page!