Iona Luna: This is me

Hello again!

                I am so glad you’ve decided to gather here with me, in this place. Allow me to better introduce myself… I am Iona Luna, an Eclectic Witch from the Midwest (hence the oh-so-clever title of the blog!).  For the sake of confidence and trust; I thought it best that I expound more on myself, and share my story in the hopes that maybe a point or two will resonate with you in some way.

Although raised Catholic, I have been Pagan most of my life. This is something you will come across quite a bit as you travel deeper down your path. There is something about the Catholic tradition that is a gateway to Paganism. As a friend once pointed out – “Catholics are wannabe Pagans.” And if you have ever attended a Catholic mass, you will know what that means! All the candles, incense, and ceremonial robes… It’s unmistakable!

From a very young age, Catholicism did not resonate with me. I remember asking about age five or six – “if it’s Jesus’ birthday, why do I get presents?” Which did not sit well with the powers that be, let me tell you! But off I went, trying to be a good Catholic girl for a few more years. Try as I might, in the end my brain just could not make sense of it, and my soul felt bothered by it all. You know that gut feeling when something is wrong? It felt like that, but at a much deeper level. Like something or someone was screaming at me just out of range of my known senses, “wake up!”.

 Fast forward to my angry teenage years, I was still going to Church with my parents. However, by this time I had discovered standup comedy. So, most of Mass was spent chuckling (sometimes not so quietly) at the jokes I had heard in reference to God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit etc. If you are not familiar with the work of Eddie Izzard, I highly recommend him! During this time, my lack of faith turned into an identity crisis. Everyone I knew had a religion or set of beliefs that they were firm in. Even the agnostics and atheists were settled into what they believed to be true. Not me. Thanks to the Catholic Church’s do this, do that, don’t do this, don’t do that and all will be well crap; the entirety of the Christian religion and I were not on speaking terms. Even to this day I feel a slight grudge towards all of Christianity, like a betrayal took place… I have my own theories on why this is, and may get into that another time. Even so, I have plenty of friends and family who identify as Christian or Catholic, which is perfectly fine. Christianity just isn’t for me. But I digress… The whole situation made no sense. How was it that I was the only one feeling lost? Why was I left behind? It wasn’t until my junior or senior year that I started to put the puzzle pieces together.

In a World Religions class, we discussed many different belief systems. As interesting as the entire course was, it wasn’t until we got to the study of Hinduism, and its beliefs of reincarnation, that something connected. That day in class, my brain was struck by lightning, and my soul set on fire! This! Yes! I have always felt that the one and done attitude towards existence didn’t fit. How can one person experience everything in one life time? How can a person expect to advance so fully in a matter of decades (some less – child deaths for example)?  

There you have it – that was the start of it all. Learning that it was OK to believe in something other than the teachings of the Bible. That there were millions, no billions, of people on this earth who practice a religion other than Christianity without fear of Hell or damnation. What a relief that was to learn!

In college, I took an intro to Anthropology class. You know the saying everything happens for a reason? Well I took that class out of interest, as well as necessity. It fulfilled a credit requirement for my major, and wouldn’t you know it? The very first assignment lead me to the Student Pagan Association on campus. Serendipitous really, as I would spend the rest of my college career as an active participant in the Association. Many strange and wonderful things happened to me during that time. Some of which I may choose to share later. But suffice it to say that I immersed myself, and after a few short years, I came out of that experience a completely different person! A self-proclaimed Pagan, and a woman who would learn that the term “Witch” was not at all what she had been taught to mean… A topic we will discuss another day.

After graduating college, I moved back home for a short amount of time before moving away again. Over the course of my life, I have lived in 4 different states, with a short stint in another country as well. Due to the moving around a lot, I became a solitary practitioner out of necessity. However, having had coven or group experience in college – I do understand the want and need to be surrounded by like-minded people.

Which is how this blog got started! SidheSidhe Teg and I met through our significant others, and discovered very quickly our shared views on religion. We bonded over countless things – nerdy and Pagan alike, and after many years of friendship and learning together, we decided it was time to share with more people. So, if I haven’t lost you completely, and you would still like to be my friend – welcome to the blog! Check back weekly for posts and reviews from SidheSidhe, and/or myself on all things Pagan and Witchcraft related! We plan to cover all matter of topics, book reviews, shop reviews, etc. And please, if you have any questions, or friendly comments (ill intent will not be tolerated) feel free to contact us via the contact page.

Thank you spending this time with me.

With love and light,

Iona Luna

SidheSidhe Teg: A Little Bit of Background

Dear friends,

I’d like to tell you a little about what led me to Paganism. While it’s truly a story that encompasses decades, I’ll try to boil it down to a few strong details and events.

Growing up I always felt different, which many kids do, but I felt as though there was something more. Something more than right in front of me, on this plane of existence. For many people in my little hometown this led them to the Christian God, which for a time worked for me too. Partially, this worked because I didn’t know that there were any other religious options besides Christianity or Judaism. It also fit for a time due to my mother being more of an open-minded Christian, often discussing topics such as ghosts and premonition dreams, which in many Christian churches is sacrilege. I also went to many different Christian churches, due to my father deciding not to attend a Baptist church after my paternal grandmother passed away and my mother deciding to ‘church shop’ in Methodist and Catholic churches. This made me learn early that I didn’t have to commit forever to one ideology, despite these all being Christian churches.

When I was very young, possibly around the age of four or five, I remember hiding in my grandmother’s room and crying to myself about wanting to go home, even though I have no previous memories of living anywhere else or of having a different family. At the time I recall feeling like I didn’t belong there, in that house, with those people who were my family. To this day the only home I knew for more than two decades never felt like it was where I belonged and I have no reason as to why I felt that way. When I learned that some religions believe in reincarnation much later in life, I started pulling away from Christianity though I hadn’t learned much about Paganism at that point.

There were also many aspects of Christianity that I just couldn’t put my heart into. Perhaps that can be another story for another time. There were frequent odd events that caused me confusion as well, particularly as I couldn’t use the Christian religion to explain what happened or why I felt a specific way. One example was in elementary school (5th grade I believe), I recall asking my mother to purchase a rabbit fur at a festival for me, which she obliged. Afterwards, I cried over that fur for weeks because of how sad it made me feel, eventually hiding it from myself so that I wouldn’t be sad. I couldn’t explain why it made me so sad. I understood about life and death at that point, but had never had something effect so harshly. I’ll elaborate upon other events in future posts, though in general this led me to believe in other realms, specifically in the existence of ghosts/spirits and faery folk. I came to believe in the ability to empathically channel feelings that don’t belong to me, which has also led me trust my instincts regarding intuition, premonition, and divination.

Throughout all of this I became to consider myself as Agnostic, as I believed in higher beings and many other ideologies, but couldn’t quite put a finger on a system of belief I could fully get behind. I valued the many Greek, Roman, and Norse gods, Buddha, and the idea that one should not harm another. I believed in reincarnation, as well as the opportunity to stay in a place of perpetual happiness. I also believed in the possibility that spirits could stay on this plane of existence. I believed that higher beings could step in to help or change lives, but I didn’t know who those higher beings were or how I should worship them. I noticed how many religions preached similar ideas and I came to believe that one god could also exist as many gods and that they all were essentially some kind of source energy.

During my spiritual journey I made the decision to get a tattoo after heavily researching the meanings behind a specific symbol. In addition to the many religious connotations, this symbol ended up representing my own spiritual journey from Christianity to something I hadn’t yet put my finger on. As silly as I think this sounds, I heavily researched Techno-Paganism when I was exposed to an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After doing very minimal research I found that it was an idea created by the writer Joss Whedon. This dashed my hopes for a time and I went back to considering myself Agnostic, until I met Iona Luna. While I feel that I always was Pagan (even though I didn’t realize it), I have to credit her with helping me learn and suggesting many excellent reading materials, when I didn’t really know where to look. I have always considered myself a loner in most aspects, including my spirituality and spellwork. Though now I have someone to occasionally practice with, plus we’ve obviously come together to share our learning and experiences using this blog.

I hope this gives you a better idea of who I am and where I’ve come from regarding my spiritual journey into Paganism. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions using our contact page or directly e-mailing us at Midwestwitches@gmail.com. And feel free to make (positive!) comments or suggestions on any of our posts. I sincerely hope you continue on this educational journey with us.

Blessed be and much love,

SidheSidhe (Shee Shee) Teg

Welcome Dear Readers

Hello, and Welcome to Midwest Witches!

This blog is being started out of a need. The Pagan community in the Midwest is larger than most people realize. Which is something we didn’t know when we got started… So, we are determined to put together a comprehensive resource for new, and experienced Pagans living in the middle of the country, and especially those feeling caught in the Bible Belt. Throughout this blog, we intend to cover many topics related to the Craft (the tradition not the movie), and Paganism in general. We hope you will join the conversation – letting us know what topics you want to hear about, ask questions, let us know about events, etc.

Please note, we are not the be-all-end-all-know-everything types. We know what we know, and are happy to share. Whatever we don’t know, we would love to learn! But we are never-ending students, so we hope you enjoy learning, and growing with us.

This is a judgement free zone. If you don’t like what we have to say, or if you disagree with the content. Please see yourself out. While we are happy to discuss differing points of view calmly, and rationally, we are not here to argue, or make enemies… Though some of that is to be expected, please don’t go out of your way to pick a fight. We won’t rise to the occasion, and you’d be wasting your time.

If, however, you are here to learn more about Paganism, how to grow and further in your practices, and to have a laugh… Come sit for a spell! We look forward to being your friends.

Please note – our next installment will be introductions of ourselves, so that you can get to know us, as we look forward to getting to know you through emails, and discussions.

Thanks for joining us,

Iona Luna & SidheSidhe Teg