The Answer is Both.
I was initiated as a Witch in my early thirties. I found my first Teacher/High Priestess from a list of resources in the back of the book, Drawing Down The Moon. I was shocked to discover that she was living in a small town in Ohio—the same small town I resided in. I knocked on her door and asked if she would teach me. At the time I had no idea that this might be inappropriate. She became my first teacher/High Priestess.
Very early on I dedicated to the Irish Goddess Brigid. I was and continue to be inspired by Brigid as both Saint and Goddess. Both aspects are intertwined and Her history, lore and myths overlap. I honor Brigid in all her guises but as a writer I am especially drawn to Her in Her role as Poetess and Muse. I am currently a member of Daughter’s of the Flame.
Several months after showing up on my High Priestess’s doorstep unannounced I moved to Seattle Washington and studied with Outer Grove. This was an intense teaching coven that met every week for two plus hours over the course of a year. One of the leader’s was in a relationship with a partner that followed a Hindu path. This was my first exposure to someone that was familiar with both Witchcraft and Eastern studies.
Shortly after completing my Year and a Day with Outer Grove I moved to Lenox, Massachusetts and continued my studies with The Chalice Well Coven. I lived close to the Kripalu Yoga center and began going to Kripalu’s community classes. I attended evening chanting and morning circles. I discovered that a coven member taught at Kripalu. This was my second exposure to someone that walked in both worlds.
While I was preparing for my 3rd degree with The Chalice Well Coven in Lee, Massachusetts I continued to be engaged with Yogic studies. I wasn’t sure how to navigate or blend two separate paths but both felt equally important.
During this time I fell in love with Lakshmi, Ganesha, Saraswati, Kali & Durga. I also met my Guru Ammachi. I have been a devotee for eighteen years. My yogic studies eventually morphed into a deeply devotional Divine Mother path that is constantly evolving.
These two practices have become the pillars of my spirituality. They do not always dovetail but after living with one foot in each world I have come to understand that sitting with the inconsistencies brings transformation and the ability to contain more than one truth. This process/realization happened over a long stretch of time. I no longer have any desire to pick and choose one over the other. Both bring nourishment.
Prior to my Witchcraft studies I was very involved in the church–Pentecostal. I have a degree in Biblical Studies. I always imagined I would be a pastor. Instead I am a Priestess.
I have studied many spiritual practices/religions. What connects them all is The Goddess/Divine Feminine. I always look for a Mother in whatever I am studying. (Most likely due to adoption issues) Mothers, daughters and family dynamics show up in my writing more often than not. All my practices/paths are devotional.
My walk with the Goddess/Mother has had many faces. Currently I am studying with Laura Amazzone. She is an amazing teacher–both a scholar and practitioner that lives what she teaches. I am also studying with Embodied Philosophy. I am taking a two year program-an immersion into Yogic Philosophy.
Some of my Life Experiences:
Graduated Goddard College with an MFA in Creative Writing, Feb 2011
BA in Creative Writing 2005 completed at Evergreen State College, with a minor in comparative religion/psychology
Professional Intuitive/Tarot Reader, 1992-current
Yogic Studies 1999-current
Cross Cultural Shamanism 3 year study, 1992-1995
Received my 3rd Degree From Chalice Well Coven in 2001. I am listed as Lotus Well.
BA In Biblical Studies, 1979
Goddess and Pagan Studies, 1992-Current
Year Long study in several branches of Buddhism at Evergreen State College, 2004
Sharanya 2011 -2017