100% that witch: senior Nina Lockwood explores witchcraft

Kylie Clifton, Feature Editor

 “I don’t worship Satan, I can’t move anything with my mind, or turn anyone into frogs,” senior Nina Lockwood indicates. “I myself like to identify as a witch. It makes it easier than having to explain Pagan witchcraft to someone, and it just sounds cooler.”

   She might not be turning anyone into frogs or manipulating her own environment, but Lockwood is months away from graduation, growing into her future and her own religious practice, and she isn’t alone. A study from Trinity College and Pew Research Center indicates that “0.4 percent of Americans, between 1 and 1.5 million, identify as Wicca or Pagan.” 

   Lockwood is a proud and self-identified witch, a religious practice with centuries of stereotypes and interpretations along with decades of film and pop culture adaptations. “Wicca is possibly one of the more misunderstood religions thanks to pop culture. It’s not Satan worshipping! Not all Pagans/Wiccans are witches or even practice witchcraft,” she explains. “I myself just happen to be a type of Pagan who is Wiccan, and practices Witchcraft. Every witch has their own practices and traditions, what I may do and practice is very different from what other witches may do.”

   Lockwood has been dabbling in what many would call the dark arts for years. “I first learned about Wicca in around fourth grade, but I didn’t begin practicing until sixth grade. I’ve been researching and studying for about 7 years,” she shares. “Only around 3 years ago did I fully commit to worshiping deities, practicing witchcraft, and doing sabbats. It’s a big part of my life that I take seriously and make time for.”

   At 18, Lockwood has already ventured down many paths into self-discovery.  “I was a Christian in the beginning. My family is Christian as well, but they support my religious decisions. I still celebrate Christian holidays with them,” she says. In seeking her most authentic self, she embraced Wicca, and in doing so, has faced indefinite negativity and a lack of understanding. “I’ve been made fun of because of my beliefs, but I really don’t pay attention to negativity when it comes to how I practice my religion,” she describes. Going beyond the pushback, she’s proud to, “celebrate what goddesses I want, do what rituals and spell work I want. If someone tells me it’s made up or not real, I simply shrug it off.” 

   Along the journey, Lockwood has found support and friendship in her own community. “Nina is incredibly strong and brave to be expressing what she believes in. She’s an amazing kindhearted woman,” says Portage Central senior Amie Griffith, who has known Lockwood for 6 years. “ I support Nina and her religion by researching what she believes in and never tell her what she should and shouldn’t believe/practice in.”

   Even in the face of adversity, Lockwood is proud of her religious identity. “I love being Wiccan because I get to create my own rules. I don’t have anyone telling me what to do or believe in, what to worship and when,” she says. “I can put power into my own hands.”