What is an identity and why is it important? What factors do we use to understand who we are as people and where we belong? And why do we allow social standards to dictate how we define ourselves as individuals?
Knowing who we are, where we come from, our family and community, grounds us and gives us a foundation on which to build our lives. From our earliest years we are given information in the form of stories, traditions, values, and experiences that develop an expectation which we are supposed to accept and uphold. We are told who we are supposed to be, given an identity instead of encouraged to create one.
I’ve always struggled with my identity, trying to fit myself into boxes that I thought would turn me into the person that everyone wanted me to be. But I’ve always felt different, never quite achieving the same level of acceptance as those around me. Despite that, I was convinced that I had a pretty decent understanding of the black sheep I had apparently become when out of the blue, life dropped me on my head. In 2012, I found out a significant truth that invalidated everything I had based my identity on up to that point. I found myself falling off a mountain I didn’t know I was climbing.
In these types of situations, it is common to experience a shake-up in your faith. But it wasn’t my faith that was undermined, it was the image I had of myself and what I thought was my truth. When you build your life on ideas that turn out to be lies, you lose trust in yourself and you can begin to question your very existence. I lost who I was.
Lucky for me, I ended up finding someone better. The wisdom you gain when you quit fighting your demons and befriend them instead is invaluable. Shortly after this life-altering experience, I bought a book called “Warrior Goddess Training” by HeatherAsh Amara. The path it put me on led me to finally understand that who I am and what my story is can only be determined by me. Not by others. Not by circumstances. Not even by the well-meaning intentions of loved ones.
Perhaps some people can’t understand how something as simple as a book, or a conversation, or an otherwise mundane occurrence can have such drastic consequences. It’s amazing, though, how inspiration can disguise itself and surprise us when we least expect it.
Choosing to incorporate the tenets of the Warrior Goddess path with my witchcraft gave me the clearest insight into my authentic self as well as my true work and purpose in this life. Since that day eight years ago, I’ve had to break down everything I thought I knew about myself, my life, my values and beliefs, and rebuild Me into the person I want to be. It’s ridiculously hard and I’ve probably learned more from my mistakes than anything I’ve gotten right.
The most important lesson I’ve learned is that in order to find the light, you can’t ignore the dark. To find out what you want, you have to figure out what you don’t want and let that information serve you. Let mistakes, fears, and pain guide you – because they have a purpose too. Our shadows, our traumas, our missteps are not the impossible obstacles we think them to be. We discover more wisdom in the dark than we ever do in the light. The light is the reward. The dark is where we earn it.
I’ve also learned that although I can walk this path alone, I’d rather not. Finding my tribe, my community of Sister-Witches and other like-minded beings, has become a saving grace. It is crucial to our potential that we understand how sacred our connection is to each other. Life, as they say, is a contact sport. Sharing our knowledge and experiences with each other, celebrating diversity while embracing unity, makes us stronger as individuals and as a community.
It is in our challenges and hard times that we find out what we’re made of. We find out who we truly are. So the next time life throws you a curveball, step up to that plate and give it your best shot. Even if you strike out, you will have gained an experience that you wouldn’t otherwise get by sitting on the bench. Meet your life head-on. Look at your challenges as the opportunities they are and know that you are not alone. Every journey of every person is connected.
I have always believed that everything happens for a reason. I believe in synchronicity. So when I read the following two quotes, I knew they would become touchstones that would help me during difficult times:
“This is the part where you find out who you are”
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
Who are you and how do you want to live your life? My answer to that is, “I am a warrior goddess witch and I want to live authentically and courageously.”
What, my fellow witches, is your answer?
About the Author: Taressa Edge has been an eclectic witch for over 20 years, with her main interests being Hekatean magick and quantum magick. She is also the founder and owner of Warrior Goddess Witchcraft, a podcast and online community dedicated to blending the wisdom of witchcraft with the tenets of the Warrior Goddess path. Taressa is a certified Level 1 Warrior Goddess Training Facilitator, a shamanic Reiki practitioner, and a certified life, spiritual, and energy coach. She is currently devoted to building the WGW community while advocating for magickal sovereignty and womxn’s empowerment. She is also an avid dog lover!