I go by Winter. I was raised Evangelical, became Catholic in my 20s, and I’ve come to the (most likely final) conclusion that I am actually a materialist atheist, which is a shorter way of saying I don’t believe in deities or the supernatural, and I don’t think that there is anything beyond the physical world.
Over the past two years, I’ve also become an active occultist.
This site is about that process - how and why I became an occultist, the practices I utilize, and the purpose of those practices. But most importantly, it’s about creating a resource (hopefully) for others who might want to do the same without having to give up their skepticism and atheism.
Coming to the conclusion that I was an atheist was hard. There was the grief that comes with loss - loss of a culture, loss of an identity, loss of a structure that was so integral to my identity for so long.
But this loss revealed something important to me that I hadn’t really known - a great deal of the satisfaction and comfort I derived from religious practice wasn’t from the belief, but from the forms. My attraction to Catholicism held for a long time, even as my faith fell away, because there was so much nourishment to my mind and my emotions in the ritual practice of the liturgy itself.
This realization made me wonder if I might be able to find something to take its place. Perhaps there were alternatives I could pursue that would satisfy that part of me without requiring I give up my skepticism or current view of the world. I started looking into the occult. I was hoping for something that I could utilize entirely as metaphor - an interface for my mind, my will, and my emotions.
It was somewhat slow going, at first. A lot of occultism/witchcraft is non-theistic, but still references things rejected by scientific consensus. I had to figure out how to ‘filter’ out the aspects that didn’t fit my worldview, while still learning about the things I could use or adapt for myself. I explored chaos magick, meditation, visualization techniques, sigils. After a few months, I started finding more content - a podcast, a couple of books - and eventually, a nubmer of online communities full of folks that feel similarly to the way I do.
I didn’t expect to become a member of any community, let alone multiple - honestly, for a long time I didn’t even realize there was a community. But I have - and it has been such a relief to find folks who can relate to my experiences and who feel similarly. It feels very validating to hear others talk about the way they use ritual or a religious paradigm to explore the world and their interior lives - because it’s how I do so. Not feeling like such an outsider has been nice.
Additionally, my practice has evolved dramatically thanks to the insight and support of the folks I’ve met online. I’ve gotten great feedback and suggestions, I’ve gotten to teach some of my own techniques, and I’ve engaged in a lot of great conversations. My ritual practice would not be as established or as effective for me without the insights and challenges of others.
My practice continues to evolve, and as it does, I learn more and more about why it is the piece I felt I was missing. I have gotten more satisfaction out of my homegrown atheist ritual practice than I ever did from my decades as a believer in deity. I continue to learn about myself and my interior landscape - emotions, patterns of thought, ingrained behaviors - and the impact has been remarkable.
And so I made this site to collect my experiences, to offer suggestions and share what is and isn’t working for me in the hopes that others might get some use from it. I really value my practice, and I want to be able to help others establish their own.
Looking forward to it!