You’ve got a story to tell. We’ve all got a story to tell. Some of us just have a few more twists and turns in our chapters. Like the two women I interviewed for my upcoming Bend book. Well, they are women and they are also witches. Females fascinated by the Wiccan way.
In journalism school, I never heard a professor talk about interviewing witches or goddesses or purveyors of darkness. No one coached me on how to question an earth worshipper or sit for hours with a Druid high priestess. So how did I end up interviewing two different witches within just a few months?
Thinking Outside the Mundane
Call it thinking outside the mundane. Call it curiosity. For Bend, I wanted to connect you with some of the most compelling, noteworthy people I could find. In chapter five, you’ll read about Cyndi, a solo witch whose life story is a blend of hard-knocks reality and hold-on resiliency. Cyndi’s story is decidedly outside the mundane.
Before a friend referred me to Cyndi, another friend suggested I talk with an acquaintance that was also rooted in nature worship traditions. So I met with Mallory for about ninety minutes in a public library’s reserved study room. Later, we continued our intriguing conversation over lunch.
Methodist minister’s daughter. Seminary graduate. To some Mallory is part feminist Wiccan, to others she’s part Druid dreamer. Being a high priestess in the earth goddess tradition has come with plenty of tears and questioning her church-focused upbringing.
While this wholesome-looking mother of two leads a goddess spirituality group, she’s long felt she just didn’t fit in traditional faith molds. “I would spiral from, ‘Maybe I can find a way to be a Christian’ to ‘This is not me,” Mallory explains. “I eventually got to a place where I was confident about being Goddess Lady.”
What Curiosity and Kindness Can Do
Mallory is the first Goddess Lady I have ever met in person and spent time getting to know. I asked a number of warm-up questions about her childhood and her family before I edged to the tougher questions such as: Do you cast spells on people? Does your goddess group sacrifice animals? Mallory downplayed the stereotypical portrayal of earth worshippers engaging in these questionable practices, but I sensed she was withholding some of the details from me.
In my more than three decades of interviewing everyday individuals around the globe, I am always amazed at what a little curiosity and kindness can do to bridge differences of lifestyle and beliefs. Was I afraid to even meet alone with a witch and a Wiccan high priestess? Yes, but I did not let my apprehension or preconceived ideas hold me back from asking questions and leaving judgment at home.
How about you these days? Have you struck up a conversation lately with someone who appears a polar opposite of you? Are you willing to learn more to the story of people you might disagree with on politics, religion, education, the environment, and so much more? You may never sit down and converse with a Goddess Lady, but why not start with saying hello to the Gangsta Rap Lover down the street? Or the pungent-smelling stranger behind you in the grocery store?
We’ve all got a story to tell. Some of us just have a few more twists and turns in our chapters.
Well said, Beth. I’ve engaged recently with people I wouldn’t normally meet, including a transgender person, and a friend from work is into pagan spirituality. So thanks for the encouragement to have those weird convos!
Paul, thank you for pressing beyond your comfort zone to show kindness and grace to these two individuals. In our varied culture today, we don’t have to look far to find people who would not be our clones.
Great reminders, Beth. Doing as you suggest is the only way to bridge this huge chasm dividing our country in half.
Thank you, Nancy. Taking steps, even awkward ones, toward creating a bride with others unlike us is a challenge at times, but steps in the right direction.