The good witch of the west

by Lita Gaithers | Staff Writer|

In the movie, The Wizard of Oz, there are good witches and there are bad witches. Here at CSUSB, there’s a full fledged good “witch” that walks the campus. Twenty-year-old sophomore student, Annalisa Ard, sees herself as a good person who happens to practice Wicca.

Ard and I talked for hours at Lucille’s Restaurant in Victoria Gardens. Without reservations, she was very candid in the interview. “I call myself a Wiccan. I’m not a witch.

Most people when they hear the word ‘witch,’ they think of a bad person in a fairytale or a scary movie,” said Ard.

 She went on to say, “I was raised as a Latter Day Saint, a Mormon. However, I started researching Wicca at 16, and declared myself a Wiccan a year ago. I’ve studied most of the major religions and I found Wicca to bring me the most peace and serenity in my life.”

According to a website about the practice of Wicca, pythorium.com, there is a distinction between a witch and a Wiccan.

The website states, “Witchcraft is a magical practice, but one that has no spiritual or religious connections. Wicca on the other hand, is a religion and those who follow it are called Wiccans. Practicing witchcraft is an integral part of being Wiccan, but they are not one in the same. Fundamentally, Wicca is a religion where witchcraft is not.”

“In the Wicca religion there are many rules, but I’ll share the two most important rules. The rules are called, ‘Rule of 3.’ The first rule is ‘Harm None.’  The second rule says, ‘Whatever you put out comes back at you three times.’ This is similar to what some believe is Karma. I want to do good and get good back,” said Ard.

When asked if she was a member of a coven in the area, Ard replied, “No, I’m what you call a ‘Solitary.’ When you’re in a coven, or a group, there are certain rules that the individual is required to follow. I like to do what feels right to me. I haven’t found a coven to be a member of; as of yet.”

There’s a coven in San Bernardino called, “Touchstone, the Inland Empire Local Council of Covenant of the Goddess” (COG).

Their mission “…seeks to respectfully serve the Wiccan community by fostering understanding and tolerance, working toward mutually valued goals, promoting the recognition and empowerment of earth-based religions, and acting as a resource for groups and individuals seeking knowledge of the ancient ways.”

According to COG’s website tlcweb.org, “A ‘Solitary’ is an individual who either works without a coven, or chooses to apply to COG as an individual despite regular coven membership.”

Ard is working on a double major at CSUSB.  She’s on the creative writing track majoring in English and psychology. After graduation, she would like to work as an editor for a publishing house, while writing a novel in the fantasy fiction genre similar to the “Harry Potter” books.

At the closing of our interview, Ard said, “I know that there’s good and bad Wicca. That’s why I’ve chosen to be a Solitary. I don’t want to be a part of a group that practices both. I’m seeking to do only good. I’m interested in practicing the religion so I can be the best person I could possibly be. Christians pray, and I meditate and perform rituals. I believe we’re both in search of peace.”

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