When A Good Witch Goes Bad

I have been a practicing Neo-Pagan Witch/Shaman for 20 years. I started practicing when I was 13 and have never stopped. There is something very connecting to a spiritual belief that encompasses the Earth and Universe. Through any darkness in my life, my spirituality has always remained steadfast.

I have taught classes and workshops, and I am often asked the question of “what happens when someone does something bad or malicious towards you?

Its a good fundamental question. While the rede states “Harm none do what ye will,” which ultimately is the same idea as turning the other cheek, I do not believe in letting others emotionally, mentally, or spiritually harm you. Why its nice to live under a rule where an eye for eye doesn’t exist, its not realistic. And I don’t believe that any Deity would want others to walk all over you or treat you badly.


Additionally is Neo-Pagans are working to reclaim “The Old Religion” then the idea of retribution is something the ancients firmly believed in. Does this mean poisoning someone or doing some form of black magick to harm? No.

I learned there is something that everyone witch can do, and it involves the Universe and any Deity. Its the idea of letting karma speed up a bit. A few years ago after having something really bad happen to me, I created a spell that would help speed up the three fold law. The only catch is that during the time I am doing the magick, I always ask the Deity (in my case Lilith who is my patron Goddess), that if I am truly right and the other party did harm to me, that only then would the spell work.

And let me tell you, it works! I have used it countless times and in times where I was in the right, it worked. And in times when I was in the wrong it didn’t. But in any case, it has worked.

Being spiritual or religious does not mean taking other peoples shit. You, and all of us, have the power within change and move the energy around us. Our thoughts create the vibration that the Universe needs to start the process.

All beings deserve respect and love; but some need a good kick in ass before they can realize how badly they need both.

The Blank Slate

I don’t like the saying “where ever you go there you are” — and I have said that before. It infers that if you go somewhere to get away or start over–you will always have your old baggage.

I can tell you, that’s total bullshit. I lived in Boston for 32 years and we were planning on moving out of the city when we could. We were not sure exactly where we were going to go, but after much debating and back and forth we decided Arizona. Flagstaff to be exact. I was NOT happy in Boston. It was to dense, to over populated, to noisy. I didn’t like the false sense of community or the “yuppy hippies” that were permeating the area with their fake idea of what it means to be free-spirited. It was suffocating. I was tired, restless and began to have a lot of health issues. Yes, I had baggage! Divorce, people who I thought were my friends who weren’t, a dead-end job that initially had the promise of growth.

So we moved. And you know what? None of that baggage went with me. It stayed put in Boston. I came to Flagstaff a complete blank slate.

And not only did I leave my baggage in Boston, but I left what I thought was “identity” there as well. For over 10 years I was “Zehara The Belly Dancer” — For 10 years I taught, performed, traveled across New England and hosted and organized more shows than I can remember. Zehara The Belly Dancer was who I was….or at least thought I was. I was initially given the name Zehara when I was initiated into the Temple of the Seekers, a Ceremonial Magick coven I had been involved in for 8 years. I was Zehara the Priestess LONG before Zehara the Belly Dancer. And Zehara the Priestess and Melissa (my given name) were always one in the same. But the belly dancer persona became my identity. She was who I was. My alter ego who was not shy, bossy, could take on the world, and had no fear. And when I started sprouting branches that went beyond the scope of belly dance, I found it increasingly more difficult to find that balance between Zehara the Belly Dancer and Melissa/Zehara. It became even harder when I started wellness practice. While I understood that I was outgrowing  my dance persona I just could not fully let her go. She was me. For ten years I created this person-This tantalizing, sexy, Snake Charmer. She consumed me. And whenever I thought I was ready to let her go—I would get a pit in my stomach and say “not yet.”

Then I arrived in Flagstaff. And one of the first things I struggled with was the Zehara The Belly  Dancer and being in a new place–where no one knew her or her accomplishments. She was just a new dancer in town. And I freaked out!!!!

I finally secured my first performance…..and….then…..


I realized that Zehara the Belly Dancer was gone. During the performance, I felt nothing. Zehara The Belly Dancer became a shell and Melissa/Zehara was emerging. It was a strange feeling.

When I got home, and washed away the glitter and changed into my pj’s….I said out loud, “I cant do this anymore.” It felt amazing. Slowly but surely I began to sell my dance wears—-and I felt no second thoughts, no regrets, no sadness. She had a good run. But now its time for her to go. I was finally being able to just be……..me……Melissa with my magickal name Zehara for my magickal work. I was no longer the belly dancer or snake charmer. I was just me.

Then I made the biggest and most difficult decision I have ever made in the 10 years I had been dancing and in the 15 years that I had them. I rehomed all my snakes. It was painful. I cried for about three days. But, while they were more than dance partners, I just couldn’t devote the time anymore. And also, after  my friend and dance partner Kaala died, the desire to snake dance died with her. She was special. She and I had a connection that I never had again with any of my other snakes. I was very fortunate to find an amazing woman in Flagstaff who has a reptile sanctuary They are all living happily in retirement. It was a decision I did not make lightly, but it was the right thing to do.

Finally letting Zehara the Belly Dancer go was an amazing feeling. She did a lot of amazing things! But now its time for me to be me again.

And with that, I became a blank slate. Creating a new destiny for myself. Creating a new chapter in my life (or maybe an entirely new book!).

I am focusing on my Reiki practice, branching out into animal reiki as well! And I am focusing on starting my own Coven in which pagans of the community can come together and celebrate the God, Goddess and Earth energy together.

I feel so blessed. So light. So happy.

God Does Not Like Ugly

When I worked in hospice I remember clearly a case of patient who was elderly and had several children. All of the children, except one, were in agreement that the patient needed to be on hospice; she was terminally ill and no chance of beating death.

The one child, who was a middle-aged female, not married and living with the patient, was adamant that she did not want her mother on hospice. She did everything in her power to try to stop the process, but was unable to. So to attempt to get back at everyone who had put her mother in hospice, she decided to take things of sentimental value….without discussing these things with the patient or her family. She was like a ravenous vulture scooping in to take what she could from her mother, even before she died. And took important items from other family members as a way to stick it to them. Somehow, her need to claim “territory” was a way to basically say F YOU to the rest of her family. Meanwhile, she lived with her mother and made it seem like she had giant Angel wings-doing whatever she was asked, while doing her dark deeds. All the while, she claimed she was a devout Christian and followed the way of Jesus.


This of course, isolated her. She was what she was. A manipulative, malicious person. Ugly inside and out. All of the other children saw her for what she was, even though in her mind she thought everyone liked her.  When the patient passed away and everything was done and over, the dark woman was left with nothing. Her family refused to talk to her, she had nowhere to go and not even a pot to piss in.

I relayed this story to a co-worker and she said to me “God doesn’t like ugly.”

And I thought to myself, “what a great phrase.”

People, like that woman, need stop hiding behind God. An asshole is an asshole…whether they go to church or not. There is a saying that those who think they are angels act like demons. Just because someone goes to church and is a devout follower of Jesus, does not mean that they are good or warm people. A person can be ugly. Not physically, but in their soul. They have an ugly soul. And its easy for these types of people to peg others as “wrong” or “evil” because they hide behind the pretense that because they are God-fearing folk, their behavior will always be justified.

God does not like ugly. Going to church on Sundays does not clean your soul from the darkness within. Being manipulative, spiteful and acting like everyone owes you a favor is not the way a Spiritual Deity would want you to be. In fact, if you pretend to preach light and love and then act the other way, you are a hypocrite. Self deceit is the worse kind. You believe you are justified in your actions.


I always say that if one person doesn’t like someone then there is an issue with that one person. But when there is a group of people who don’t like someone, there is an issue with that someone.

Hiding behind religion and God will not make you seem like less of an asshole. Its your behavior and actions that reflect the type of soul you have.