The Story of an African American Wiccan Priestess
During my 14 years of study of Witchcraft and Wicca, Shamanism and Paganism, I have found that Pagans of Color are hard to come by, or just simply in hiding. For years of my life, I have searched far and wide to create a group based on African American Neo Paganism and Wicca, but to no avail, it’s as if I am the only one who exists. While I know this isn’t true, I often find myself wondering if the traditional stereotypes of our African American Family culture, and the binds that keep families of color separated from other belief systems are true.
Is it true that we must bind our beliefs solely within the Christian Hierarchy of religious followings? Do we tell our families that we hold a close belief in something other than the all-knowing all-mighty God? How do we tell our families that we are not evil, and that we believe in the purity of nature?
Coming from a strict family of Deacons, Pastors and Reverends in the Christian Faith (not to mention the Catholics, and Jehovah’s witnesses) didn’t make my coming out so easy. When I was a young Pagan on my path to understanding the ways of the Goddess, I slowly came out to my family with little subtle hints that their way of religion was not particularly right for me and my spiritual tastes.
I would often deliberately sleep in on Sundays, ditch bible school, and refuse to sing in the choir- (er.. I mean I suddenly lost my voice, of course) . I would spend many hours in silent meditation, out in public spaces (like the living room, or the front porch) , which often lead to a lot of interesting questions. While this was probably not the best way to come out in a family so demanding of living a Christian life, it was a subtle way of letting know that I had a different path to walk. Finally, I was kicked out of my mother’s house for two different reasons. 1. For being a Lesbian Vegan, and 2. For being a Witch.
The very first book I had ever read was True Magick by Amber K. My mother actually found that book while “cleaning my room” and asked me if Christmas was out of the question. I started to explain to her the Pagan holidays, and what it means to be a witch- then she proceeded to tell my great-aunt, the devout Christian from Kansas and head of the family about me and my choice of religion… This caused an absolute riot in the family, and I was thrown out immediately on the spot, with no place to go. After a while of communicating with my mother, and letting her read all the books I deliberately left laying around, she decided to let me back in the house if I promised to stop being a Lesbian, at least eat some chicken and not tell anyone about my choosing to be a witch… At least she let me have my spiritual choice… one down and one and a half to go.
After my mother and I settled are differences about the whole idea of me being a Pagan child, she allowed me to have friends of the same faith and decided that it was time for me to go and be myself. She realized after all the fights and the arguments, that I wasn’t going to change my mind and that if she wanted me not to be who I was authentically, then I would obviously need to find my own place and move away from the house.
At the age of 16, I moved away to continue to lead a group or coven, and study with only those that were serious about Wicca and Witchcraft. I refused to let anyone in our group unless they read at least 5 books pertaining to Witchcraft or Wicca, and knew the basics of what our Spirituality was about. I look back know and realize that I have always been serious about my religion, and have made sure that others around me radiated the same kind of energy that I did. I never let movies influence me and I never bothered to listen to what others said about me. I was once again the only African American of my group.
My group consisted of several different races and ethnicities- Puerto Rican, Vietnamese, Caucasian, Mexican, and well me the black girl and “High Priestess”. I really hated the title of High Priestess, because having read all the books that I took the time to read, I knew that there was no such thing as miraculously becoming a high priestess. I just kept learning and making sure that all of the people in our coven were doing what it took to learn all of the initiatory rights, bound by the law of the Wiccan rede and following the wheel of the year. Sometimes I look back and think that I knew more then than I do now, and other times I wish that I could find more people of color to start a new coven all over again- this time with the right credentials to lead.
To conclude my story, I stuck with Paganism because it was the only source of spirit that allowed me to connect with the feminine energies of the Goddess. It was my only source of love and abundance and understanding and it has brought me nothing but wonderful bliss and has made my life truly centered and enlightened. I have learned how to connect with all sorts of people, to fit in and to allow what comes to me to come.
Although, I am still looking for Pagans of color who have a sense of their own individuality and pride as Pagans, I am happy doing what I do best. I am now running a humanitarian business here in Portland Oregon that focuses on the Pagan community, I own a two Shops, teach workshops and classes in the Pagan community and I do Shamanic Soul coaching and Journey work. This is what I do for a living, serve the Goddess in any way shape or form that I can. I dedicated my life and live in Service of the Goddess, and forever I will always be in service to those that need healing.
May the God and Goddess Bless you,
Love and Blessed Light,
B y Lilith Silverkrow