This Samhain is very special to me; it's been one year since I came out of the broom closet and took the first steps on my current path. From the memories I recall of my childhood, I've been a pagan throughout my life, but I didn't have a name for it until I was out of high school. When I learned about paganism, it was the first time religion of any sort resonated strong and true within me.
Once I found the general name for my belief system, I was path-less. I revered nature, loved the goddess and god, enjoyed divination and had very little difficulty with meditation or energy work... but I felt a pull to put a more specific name to what I felt, since all of the pagans I talked to seemed to be wiccans of Dianic or Gardnerian leanings, though a few of them practiced hoodoo. None of those seemed a fit for me. It wasn't until I met a fantastic pagan woman (and very dear friend) who is a hedgewitch and has been for over 25 years that I became aware of green witchcraft. The path of the green witch is completely personal and flexible, deeply rooted in nature (especially forests and trees), the rituals are loose and spontaneous and can be performed however I please. It was love as soon as I was half way through Ann Moura's book. Once I finished that one and read through Ellen Dugan's I knew this was my path.
I picked Samhain, the witches new year and a time of beginnings and endings, for my dedication and first spell work. I chose to perform a ritual to leave behind the broom closet and a ritual to dedicate myself to my new path. I did a divination for the year by pulling a card for each month of the year and I recorded them in my Book of Shadows. When I was done I just felt... peaceful, in tune, content.
In this past year I have made so much progress on my path. My confidence when spell working has increased dramatically and I no longer hide what I am. Witches abound in my kitchen, small shrines are scattered throughout my home and my husband (who is not a pagan) even put together a table in our bedroom where my beautiful main altar is. My maiden goddess has left me as I've grown out of maidenhood myself, but I've been scooped up into Brighid's loving arms.
I'm looking forward to the celebration of a full turn of the wheel on my path. I'm planning on revisiting the ritual of release to leave the negative behind me but I'm also planning on adding a wish ritual to balance things out. I will also be doing my year long divination and recording it again.
Most of all though, I'm looking forward to Samhain's energy, ready to be renewed and free as I step into the new year.