Is this what they call imposter syndrome?

My bird, Rembrandt

I make offerings to my gods and pray for myself, my friends, my city, the nation, yet I don’t call myself a priestess.


I write fiction, poetry, and essays for the gods, but I don’t call myself a bard.

I slip in and out of trance states, imaginal landscapes, and dialogues with deities; carry crystals and tokens; talk to trees and birds and flowers; yet never call myself a witch.

I’ve spent much of the last thirty years, i.e., pretty much all of my adult life, studying various forms of religion and magic, practicing various traditions, finding the right medications and therapy to support a life focused on spiritual and creative pursuits, and yet don’t think of myself as accomplished. Still tend to think of myself as a Seeker and a Novice because I came to polytheism per se fairly late.

I’ve written fanfiction for over twenty years and produced hundreds of thousands of words of story, unpaid, yes, but motivated by love (and occasional fury), yet rarely think of myself as an author. Know all too well that many professional writers would never think of a fanfic writer, a blogger, as An Author. Know at the same time that I have a readership that is interested in what I produce.

I’m not here to teach. I don’t have answers. I can’t tell you how to be a witch, or a pagan, or a mystic, or a priest. I can only tell you what I am doing, have done. I can only give you my stories. Truth, as Ursula Le Guin wrote in The Left Hand of Darkness, is a matter of the imagination. I never call myself psychic; I just trust my imagination more than most people.

I have learned as much from books, from fiction, from dreaming, from writing, from observing the world, as from any particular teacher. Over and over again I’ve encountered spiritual authorities that I was certain had more knowledge and power than I did, people I could surely learn from, only to find out they had less of those things and less commitment, less integrity, to boot.

Lucille Clifton said in a poem written for her birthday that every day of her life something had tried to kill her and failed. I would not be telling the truth if I said that of myself. What is true, I think, is that every day of my life, someone has misunderstood me, misinterpreted me, tried to fit me into a box. And still, I am here, at once too fluid and too stubborn to be put into a box, too fluid and too stubborn to comply and conform, still not the person you thought I was, or you did, or you do. Still here, still queer, still coldly and unlikably myself.

Witch, priest, writer, singer, bird lady, queer, bisexual, genderqueer, middle-aged, unbending, unbreakable, myself.

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