My earthwalk began in the summer of 1973. I was given a name chosen by my parents. However, it wasn't until many years later that I, Carolina Dean, was born or should I say awakened? But I'm jumping ahead of myself here.
After my parents divorce, I came to live with my maternal grandparents in a small town in South Carolina , who raised me as their own. I was a shy child, and mainly kept to myself. I grew up with a thirst for all things magickal, having been fascinated by television shows like Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Tales from the Darkside, and Friday the 13th the Series among others. I believed that everything had magick. From the marbles I found in our backyard to the sticks I played with, everything had it's own special power. In the woods near my home, I sought out the elusive Bigfoot and the the Lizard Man (a local legend).
My first encounter with real magick, however, occurred in the summer of my sixth year. After my parents divorce, my mother didn't have a car so we had to walk everywhere. I had developed warts all over the back of my hand and my grandmother told me that it was because I let a frog pee on my hand. I don't think that she really believed that, she just told me that because a bunch of us boys were bad about scaring old ladies in the neighborhood with frogs, snakes, and lizards we'd caught.
To get rid of the warts, my mother walked me to a healer's house on one of the back roods leaving out of town. The little old lady performed a ritual to "take off" my warts that entailed her rubbing a penny over them while praying. My mother was then instructed to take me to a public place where I was to give the penny to the first stranger I saw, which we did.
Unfortunately, the magic ultimately failed and I had to have the warts painfully burned off, but having the ritual performed over me really awoke something in me and began my interest in pursuing an education in the magickal arts.
Looking back, I always knew that I was different, unfortunately my classmates knew it as well. Because I was perceived as gay, which I am, by my peers, I wasn't particularly popular in school, which only added to my low self esteem and sense of isolation. I felt betrayed by God, because I was taught by the church that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination. I felt that God had no right to punish me for something in which I had no choice. I first came to witchcraft for entirely the wrong reasons. I wanted the boys to like me and I wanted to hurt the people who hurt me. I also thought that by practicing witchcraft that I would be getting back at God for abandoning me.
In those days, there was no internet and so there was very little good information on witchcraft, at least in my small Southern hometown. What few books there were in my local library were those that put forth the misconception that witches are evil. I never went to a point in my witchcraft where I hurt anyone, except myself. However, I did not hurt myself on a physical level, but on an emotional and spiritual one. The void inside me only grew with my hate for the world and for myself.
By the time I entered college, I had developed an interest in learning to read the Tarot, which was inspired by the character of Solitaire in the James Bond motion picture Live and Let Die (1973). The library at my college had an extensive occult section that was much more balanced.
Through my interest in Tarot, I found the Craft of the Wise. After a great deal of reading, studying, practical application, and experimentation, I did learn to read the Tarot and eventually learned enough about Wicca to know that it was for me. I initiated myself into the craft in a self-initiation ceremony and adopted a new name to represent my newly chosen reality, and although I have had many magickal names in the past two decades, I am currently known as Carolina Dean. I applied the principles of Wicca to my life, and I am a much better person for having done so. The void inside me has been filled with self-acceptance, self-love, and with that has come power.
I now see myself as an empowered individual, a far cry from that introverted boy who just wanted to be accepted for who he was. I have come to a place of self-acceptance in my life and have come to know that I have the power to shape the course of my own destiny.