Born: Friday the 13th (February 1970), five minutes past midnight. Yes, I’m serious! Not that I think it’s got anything to do with anything, but it’s still an amusing fact if you consider that I grew up to be a witch. Or rather, a hag.
“A hag (or crone) is a kind of malevolent, wisened old woman, … often found in folklore and children’s tales such as Hansel and Gretel. The term appears in Middle English, and might be short for hægtesse, an Old English term for witch.” (Wikipedia)
The word “witch” has been thrown around in a lot of misleading contexts, but “hag” is wonderfully unused and un-burdened by baggage. I’ve decided that it’s my species!
Where: In the beautiful West of Ireland.
Loves: I’m a multi-passionate so here follows an ever-evolving and -changing list:
- People (this is how Coaching became my freelance business)
- Archery (traditional, instinctual). Proud member of the Mayo Archery Club.
- Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA). Proud member of the Irish School of Historical Combat (ISHC).
- Birds – actually, all animals and nature in general, but I’m an air sign and love everything that flies.
My Pagan CV
I was raised catholic, and I will be forever grateful for the religious teachers of my youth. I was lucky to grow up in 70es Germany and its reformed left-wing catholicism of the time. Catholic youth camps with outdoor mass in the grass under trees are what gave me my first taste of worship in nature. Then, at 17, I began to feel the urge to wander the bits of forest around my hometown. I had no idea what I was doing, but I discovered I had skills nobody had ever told me about: I could sense people approaching long before I could hear or see them, and I could turn myself into a tree (by taking on tree energy) so they wouldn’t look around and spot me where I stood between the trees, only a few steps from when they passed me by.
At 19, a colleague from university lent me Starhawk’s “The Spiral Dance”. That’s when I first learned about modern paganism and witchcraft. For years, I had no other guidance, except three other books, by a couple of amazing and powerful feminist witches from the German-speaking countries, Judith Jannberg and Luisa Francia. They taught me to first and foremost trust my own instincts and rely on my senses. For years, my practice mostly consisted of extended nightly walks through nature, experiencing energy, and ‘learning myself’. At 26, I started doing my own solitary rituals, free-style but with some Wiccan influences. My path is nothing if not a work in progress, but some of my general views and approach are unlikely to change much in this lifetime.
At 33, I discovered an online forum called The Village, and realised that there really were others like me, and all around the world! The Village was my home and family for several years and I was involved in its administration as well. I learned a lot and have been inspired to more serious and regular practice. On Beltane 2005, after roughly 15 years as a pagan, I dedicated myself – you can read about my dedication ritual here.
I love to connect with pagans around me and I also know several Villagers in real life. These friendships have continued, although the Village itself has sadly been discontinued. I have been known to join gatherings and open rituals organised by local groups, but apart from that, my practice remains that of a solitary.