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How did you know you were a witch?: Ask a Bruja

Updated: Aug 5, 2021

Hello spooky friends,

Today I’m answering a question I get A LOT, “How did you know you were a witch?” This something a lot of witches get asked, and every time it feels like we’re about to unravel some cool superhero origin story. And while my story doesn’t involve falling in any pits of toxic waste, it does involve a whole lot of crying and some spirits. So follow along and learn how this witch earned her title.

How did you know you were a witch?

From an extremely young age, I have been obsessed with witchcraft, Halloween, the macabre, and all things related. I have many distinct memories from my childhood surrounding these themes, and anyone who personally knows me was completely unsurprised when I came out of the broom closet.

You see, in elementary school we had the “special” of library, where I’d have to pick out 1-3 books every week. But my young self had one interest, and one interest only: the Salem Witch Trials. Every single week I would check out the exact same book on Salem, the only one in the whole library. With a burning noose on the cover and pages full of true, dark history, my elementary school self was enthralled. It wasn’t soon before the librarian started banning me from taking the book out in an effort to get me to widen my interests. But clearly, as I write this blog 15 years later, her efforts were fruitless.

While other children were playing mermaids, I was playing Halloweentown. I actually successfully convinced my younger sister for most of her childhood that I was a witch. Often I would hide in closets then pop out and act as if I had always been there, leading her to believe I had the power of invisibility and apparation.

However it was mostly play for me until one day, had a real spiritual awakening, and realized my path was far different than the one I had grown up with (Catholicism).

4 year old Alexa living her best life!

My spiritual awakening

I was 17 years old and visiting Niagara Falls, Canada with my family when the Earth first spoke to me. We were staying in a hotel with a GORGEOUS view of the falls, and the first night I sat at the window and cried. I couldn’t explain why to my very confused family, but for some reason I felt as if the moonlight playing off the dark, mysterious water was trying to tell me something.

The next day we went on a boat into the Horseshoe Falls. If you’ve never been to Niagara, it is comprised of three falls, two American and one Canadian. The Canadian falls are also known as the “Horseshoe Falls” due to their shape, and they are the ones you most often see in pictures and ads. Getting on the boat I was simply excited to see a waterfall, as coming from New Jersey we don’t have a whole lot of those, but what awaited me was so much greater.

On the boat tours, they pull all the way in and right up to the falls, and it is not until you are standing beneath that you can truly appreciate the sheer awesomeness of them. Even if you’ve stood next to skyscrapers, they are nothing in comparison to the Earth’s power thrumming so magnificently all around you.

Upon pulling into the falls my vision became blurred, as the mist is thick enough to cover nearly everything in site. My peripheral was made up only of roaring water, as the horseshoe covered any signs of casinos and hotels behind me. I often compare this experience to what Moses must’ve seen when he parted the Red Sea; massive, drumming walls of water surrounding his every side.

As I stood on a boat full of people, I couldn’t see anyone, and it was as if it was just me and the falls, staring into each other’s souls. In that moment, the Earth spoke to me. It spoke to me in a way I can only describe as energetically. She showed me Her full majesty, and in return I showed Her my humble gratitude. I say She because the Divine revealed itself to me as Mother Nature; the powerful, beautiful, Goddess of Earth. A physical representation of the Divine, that had been calling to me my whole life, now welcoming me home.

Since that moment on I have viewed life in a completely different way. I was no longer able to stomach traditional religions, as I knew how much bigger Spirit really was. It’s not to be stuck in 4 walls as we reread texts written hundreds of years ago, but to be lived and felt through life’s joys and Earth’s beauty.

Niagara Falls 2015 - My older sister snapped this right as we exited the falls. She was confused as to why I was crying, and I couldn't put it into words.

Where do you learn witchcraft?

After connecting with Spirit so intimately, I was compelled to find a spiritual path that aligned with what I felt that day. With a simple google search I found a local Wicca coven to learn from and enrolled in their Wicca 101 classes. Here I learned a solid foundation of "real life” magic, before deciding that while I enjoyed Wicca, it wasn’t the exact path for me. In true Virgo style I then went on to dive into many different religions and spiritual paths before landing on my own unique eclectic practice. My personal craft can be more easily understood with a look at my altar.

High Priestess of Mother Nature

My journey to High Priestess of Mother Nature began with the Niagara Falls experience. In that moment She delivered me a message; that I am to be a teacher of Her. For years that simply meant encouraging others to use eco conscious methods and recycling, but she ultimately called me to a higher purpose.

I used to come up in my tarot readings as the Strength card, then the Queen of Pentacles or Cups, and then suddenly the High Priestess. This was confusing to me at first, as I thought I had hit my final evolution as the Queen, but as well because I had no plans on being a priestess of anything. A witch, yes, but a high priestess? Sounded like a really official title to me.

But when Spirit chooses you for something, there is no denying your path. And so in every tarot reading, ones I did and other’s, I was High Priestess. However it wasn’t until a full year later, when I saw my first Earth spirits, that I accepted the title.

One day as I was sitting in a patch of woods I frequent, white “lights” started to sparkle throughout the forest. I felt warm, as if the forest was welcoming me, and I immediately knew these were nature spirits (sometimes referred to as faeries, Elementals, etc.) Nature spirits are historically extremely particular about who they work with, and for them to reveal themselves to me at all, much less with a warm welcome, was humbling. I was overcome with emotion, similar to what I felt in Niagara, and cried. I came out of the woods that day High Priestess of Mother Nature, and it is a title I grow into more each day. Because, until I become part of Spirit, I will not be done learning from it.

How do I know if I’m a witch?

And so after hearing my story you may be wondering, are you a witch? To which I throw the question right back to you, are you a witch? There is no test to take or list of characteristics to fulfill, but rather a soul decision. Ignore the gatekeepers of the internet who tell you you must complete X or come from Y in order to be a witch, and instead listen to what your soul tells you. And chances are, if you’ve found yourself here, you are. Your soul has told you that you have an interest in the metaphysical, and you’re ready to explore it.

How do I become a witch?

Now that you’ve discovered your power, you are ready to begin your journey to becoming comfortable with calling yourself a witch. Because that’s really what’s left; you already are a witch, it’s now just learning enough that you feel comfortable calling yourself one.

It is up to you to find the path, or not (eclectic witch), that speaks to you. My recommendation is to take the approach I did; study every religion and path you can get your hands on and decide for yourself what feels right. Don’t listen to the first book you read, or Youtube video you watch. Everyone has an opinion, and only you know what rings true to you.

My greatest advice is to trust your intuition; you are your best guide. The path that works for another may not work for you, and that is one of the best things about witchcraft; that it can be so deeply personal.

Stay spooky,

Alexa Branco

Head Bruja In Charge

Want to submit a question? Comment here or DM us on Instagram! @thebrujastomb

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