In her short time on this earth, my mother encouraged me to gain as much knowledge of many religions as I could get my hands on. The point to this was to make sure the religion I chose was the right one for me. After six years of studying, I found one religion that felt right to me: Wicca. The funny thing about my choice in religions is that Wicca was the same path my mom followed. She started teaching me from the moment I learned to speak to be respectful of others and their beliefs. Most parents try to do this, but mine did it for a slightly different reason. A big part of the Wiccan path is to be respectful and not judge the religious path others have decided to follow. My mom taught me the rules of our religion and read me stories about it while I was growing up. There was a story she told me about how one religion spread its beliefs through murder and war trying to eradicate my religion. The point to this was to teach me to forgive people and not dwell on the past. One of the rules she taught me was not to pray for someone without their permission, which I feel is why when someone tells me that they have been praying for me without asking for my permission first, I get uncomfortable and agitated. One thing she taught me about our path that made her death slightly less painful was reincarnation and that no one ever really dies.
Many parts of the Wiccan religion encourage people to try to respect nature, while almost becoming one with mother earth. When I pray, most of the rituals involve me being outside, under the stars, or in the privacy of one room dedicated to the Wiccan part of myself. Most of the decorating I do of my sacred space is with plants or things that aren’t harmful to the earth and I try to be surrounded by animals all the time. When I did my dedication ceremony, the ritual of devoting one’s self to the Wiccan path, I spent an hour beforehand in a quiet cornfield meditating. Another ritual I did to celebrate the summer solstice brought me even closer to nature. I memorized what I had to say, burned sage in my room to cleanse it of any negativity, and opened the windows to let a breeze in. I was nervous and shaking while preparing because I didn’t want to mess up. I sat on the back porch for a few trying to calm my nerves. The family dog came and sat next to me, resting her head on my shoulder, which was comforting. I decided since our dog had helped calm me, it might be helpful if I brought her in my room when I performed the ritual. The two main reasons I committed myself to Wicca was to feel closer to nature and my deceased mom.