Vocation and My Dream of a Witch

 

I prayed and prayed and prayed NOT to receive a vocation.

I was twelve and I’d been told Nun’s received a vocation - and that they had no option but to follow their calling once it came. I was horrified at the idea I might hear the call of god, or receive a summons from an angel or be called in a dream, to become a nun. I decided praying against it was my best bet at avoiding nun-hood. It seemed the smart thing to do being that I was sent to a convent boarding school from twelve to fourteen and was constantly asked what I would be when I grew up.

And because I’d been taught to say prayers before bed I dutifully prayed I would not be called to become a nun.

I got lost after university, not knowing what I should do for a career. What are you meant to do with an arts degree that specialises in asking questions of how your culture has come to be the way it is? I had no idea. None. For a year or two I did temp jobs and waitressing until I found my way to a yoga studio. I poured sun salutations onto my mat and figured in light of not knowing what to do and my back flexibility I would become a yoga teacher.

Yoga inevitably leads to interesting spiritual conversations. My world view began to shake and crack.

Then I studied osteopathy and found to my delight true ‘healers’ are alive and well. Not flourishing exactly, but alive, and these flesh and blood people taught and practiced. I found a school where I learnt to use intention in my hands rather than pressure and adjustments to create change. I became good at it.

And so time has passed. Although I’ve been following a kind of inner calling for years I had not received any telepathic messages; nor dreams; nor godly or angelic commands but I’ve always been grateful that I circuitously found my way to yoga teaching, then osteopathy, and writing.

It was ironic earlier this year, feeling satisfied with what I am doing, to receive a calling. And it was neither God who called, nor an angel, but a woman who was a witch.

Enjoying the sunset on Ometepe after a day of Shamanic studies

Enjoying the sunset on Ometepe after a day of Shamanic studies

I’ve been intrigued by shamanism for some years and decided to do a shamanic course. I went to a little community in the jungle, on the island of Ometepe in Nicaragua. For the first couple of days I struggled with the lack of toilet paper (green leaves in lieu); the vegan food that made me salivate at the sound of neighbouring cows moo’ing; and I felt like I’d probably not be able to let my guard down and get into the shamanic journeys - I figured I’d be the slow one in class.

But I settled in. And after a day or two all of us on the course progressed together and started to figure out our way with the meditations and journeys and good stuff we were being taught.

In the second week we did a guided meditation to look into a past life and I went in with the intention of bringing to light a gift or something that could illuminate my purpose more deeply.

When the meditation was over I surfaced with a broad smile for what I had seen brought me full circle to my childhood prayers to ward off my vocation.

In the meditation I saw a witch being killed. She was not afraid of death. She knew it would take her to a ‘place’ that would in fact be more enjoyable - a place where she could be with her magic without restrictions. As she died she thought with sadness and pity how the gifts she could have shared were being rejected because of small mindedness and fear. She was strong and wise. And then I was with her, after her death, in the place she had gone to and she seemed to hand over to me (and perhaps to other willing ‘sisters’) her knowledge, her ways. I felt the importance of carrying her work onwards. In my meditation I willingly accepted. As soon as I accepted I saw her as a corpse, peaceful, ready to move on to another realm. She dissolved or perhaps 'left’ as though her work was done. In the journey I felt the honour and solemnity of my acceptance. There was no other choice. I was born to do this work. It felt right. And then I found myself dancing with others who were obscured in the shadows. I danced and was accepted in the circle. The witch had held her wisdom, her work, her knowledge for long enough. She had moved on.

When I surfaced from the journey I laughed quietly to myself. My vocation had come.

The woman, the witch, was wise as the ancient hills and knew what she was born to do.

Of course, as an adult I have long known there is beauty and comfort in having a calling and following it.

After my ‘calling’ and my acceptance the day of shaman school was done. I had a strong sense of the woman I had dreamt and meditated of. I thought about her all that evening and her lack of fear, her lack of anger, her wisdom, her strength.

I believe there are ancient ways of connecting with the world. I believe there is deep wisdom waiting to be found. I believe we each have callings (often a tapestry of them).

Our vocation always resonates with our hearts.

May you be supported and filled up by your work.

My daughter, Nina, dressed up as a happy witch

My daughter, Nina, dressed up as a happy witch

 
Lucy Paget