2nd Generation, Igbo-American
I believe witchcraft can be anything you make it into as long as you stay in respective lane in regards to practices that have specific cultural/racial roots. I am pretty Classic in the sense that a lot of my self/for others healing work is first centered around intention. I put out intention of peace or healing or love for people who I care about/ my chosen or bio family. Most of my formal practices I have self cultivated from my cultural and spiritual roots. I am a first generation Nigerian/Igbo American. My country was colonized by the British and washed over with Catholicism. Even though it's kind of controversial, I do pray. But not the traditional sense. I don't see God as a higher power per say, more of medium. I pray to God and tell them to stay by my ancestors side. To protect them. I ask my ancestors to protect my family and others of the diaspora as well. My people, my village, has experienced attacks on their culture but have always bounced back. I believe if I continue to hold on to my ancestors and perfect my craft I will always thrive. That's a mantra that I continued to hold, 'Bounce back.'
2nd generation Hmong & Korean American
Both of my parents are Christian, so I did not have direct access to the indigenous forms of spirituality: Hmong and Korean shamanism. I didn't ever really resonate with Christianity, and Christianity wasn't heavily practiced in my immediate family. I don't know much about Korean shamanism at all, but Hmong shamanism references and beliefs were mentioned here and there in casual family conversation. Now, I was told that I could never be a Hmong shaman because it's not in my blood nor am I married to a Hmong man who is shaman. But I do think that our indigenous spiritual beliefs transcend a colonial Christianity – beliefs such as: all beings on this planet have a soul, not just humans; our dreams have special powers; and art is an indispensable part of culture, identity and spirituality. These beliefs have been integral parts of my craft, even from a young age. Ultimately, being a witch is something that keeps me connected to my ethnic heritages, my ancestors, my future ancestors, this planet and universe, and to myself.
Hoodoo is an emblem of survivorship to me. Born in the Mississippi Delta - where my ancestors lived before their migration to Chicago- it's a combination of various West African spiritual beliefs mixed with herbal wisdom and animal fetishes gleaned from Native Americans, elements of the European grimoire, and forced exposure to Christianity. All this, grounded in/made relevant to the 19th century material and cultural reality of enslaved Black Southerners and their descendants. Hoodoo exemplifies cultural ingenuity- a weaving together of scraps in the name of coping. As a Black gurl of mixed ethnicity, its hybridity speaks to me.
It's most important to me that the survival technologies of Black communities who endured slavery not be forgotten or devalued, and in learning about and practicing Hoodoo, I act in humble reverence and seek to honor the resilience inherent in the practice. Practical, Hoodoo is simple, accessible magic that addresses 'everyday' concerns and living conditions, still relevant today. My foray into herbs and rootwork has proven to be an incredibly grounding way of managing stress, being present in mind and body, and cultivating self-empowerment.
Practicing magick is a reminder to myself that I'm in control of my life. I once read a quote somewhere that said they called her a witch because she knew how to heal herself. I particularly love it because I have been called a witch before I could even claim it for myself and I thought it fit me so well. I like to call it magick, brujeria, witchcraft and have it have elements that is familiar in own family such as the use of candles and prayers. It is myself in my own religion, what I would rather call my spiritual practice. I personally practice it as much as I can to help me with my daily struggles and sometimes just to make the day a little bit nicer as it may already be. I see magick in even every day practices and that's what makes it even better for me in affirming my abilities. My interest in the craft has been there since I was in elementary and I read as much as I could. I got serious about it around high school then college, after I had started experiencing more extraordinary experiences such as premonitions that led me to trust my abilities in the craft and sought out ways to grow from there. Being a bruja has really helped me heal and love my existence more.
I am a woman whose very words are powerful. This is not just a declaration or positive affirmation. This is simply a fact of the women of my family. I am confirmed the 5th generation to have to, "watch my words". But even this I knew instinctively as a child.
Recently it was confirmed for me that these women stood on both my father and my mother's sides of my family. The two families were very close for many years. As one of favorite aunts said, "Oh honey, you got it from both sides. You baby are so powerful." As a woman, as a mother, as a practicer of the arts, my words coupled with my beliefs empowered by generational power and strength I am a pillar of power (insert word that wouldn't come to mind) who carries much responsibility.
This I do not take lightly.
Once I saw a psychiatrist that said, "Some memories you have to go and get; while others come and get you". Some responsibilities of this magnitude I believe are much the same. You can not run from them. You can not hide. You CAN be driven crazy by the forces calling out to you to step up and into your very birthright . However, it is ultimately your decision.
"And so it is... "
My spiritual practice as an eclectic witch is about finding and connecting with my ancestors. It means strength and nurturing. It is reconnecting myself to the Earth that we came from. My practice is healing decades of generational trauma while also healing myself. They have protected myself and my loved ones and brings justice to those seeking it. It is knowing that with death comes new life. Even after the deepest winters, the ground thaws, and spring begins to bloom our earth back to life – the cycle begins again and we have room for growth and change. My practices continue to show me my own strength and resiliency every single day. I know my ancestors and the gods are behind me every step of the way.