It was more than ten years back in 2004 that I traveled to Sydney, Australia. I did not travel on a family vacation or vacation, but at work. I was there on a software consulting project (don't want to go into this boring topic) and this was my second trip to the beautiful city. I had previously spent three months in Sydney, but due to project-related work pressure, I was barely able to explore the city, nor did I get a chance to really meet anyone there. So this time I wanted to look around town and make friends there. I never knew I would soon meet and make good friends with a witch in Australia!
Yahoo messenger was in vogue those days and with some searches I was able to connect with a lady. She was from Sydney, seemed much older than me, but fun to chat. So when I told her I have to travel to her city in a week and was looking for a friend there, she was game.
I stayed at the Travelodge Macquarie North Ryde Hotel, near the Macquarie Shopping Center. As I landed and got to work, I updated her and we had a time on a Saturday morning to meet. She met me one Saturday morning at my hotel, dressed in black from head to toe. She also had light hair and was wearing black shades over her eyes. We met in the lobby and then, after we got acquainted, she offered to drive me around the suburbs of Sydney, which I readily agreed to .. While boarding her car, I noticed a small sticker on the back of the car. The red "My other car is a broom !!"
The inside of her car had everything .. from used coke cans to heaps of cigarette butts in the ashtray. There were lots of papers, dress items, pillows, extra sleepers, a towel and a few small cardboard boxes on the back. The front seat was full of ash and the car smoked of cigarette smoke. In addition, the exterior mirrors had mirror tissue on them. The car was dirty !!!
Northern beaches, Sydney.
The mind was constantly searching for answers as we started chatting about the weather, then about the city, then about Australia, then about India (my country) and then about my religion – Hinduism. She said she knew about Kali and Krishna (who are Hindu gods and goddesses) and said she also worships them. Things did not match.
"Are you a Christian?" I asked with confusion.
"No, I'm a Wiccan. Do you know what Wicca is?" She asked me.
"Well, no," I answered.
And she explained about the pagan mother religion that was in fashion before Christianity came. The religion associated with King Arthur and his Excalibur, and Sir Lancelot and the Knights around. She explained how wizards and witches had been given different explanations when Christianity came to power and began to spread throughout Europe and the European colonies.
"Wizards are good people. They like. Harry Potter is a wizard and everyone loves him. But witches are bad, aren't they?" she asked.
"Well, I guess so," I answered with no idea why that is so.
She smiled and told me that theirs was a maternal religion and it was the women who had superior knowledge in the community, about science, religion, medicine and science. They were the pillars of society in the Wiccan era, and men flocked to them in times of distress. But when Christianity came, it was difficult to convert these erudite and knowledgeable women, and so Christianity gave them a bad name. That is why these witches bore the eagle's brother and thus perished with time. "Joan of Arc is one such example that was burned to the cross so as not to fall in line with religious doctrine then" "she said.
With that, we continued to drive along the beaches and coasts of Northern Sydney. We spent the whole day walking and driving around with turquoise blue water and white sandy beaches all around. We had some lunch with chicken burgers and coke around 1 p.m. All the time, we chatted about our customs, traditions, communities and religious views. She was just as interested in knowing about our traditions as I was about hers. It was something new to me.
As the afternoon approached, she asked me if she wanted me to drop me off at my hotel or would I like to go to her place for a little refreshment and then she might drop by. At that time, I was so interested in her and her life that I immediately agreed to visit her place. We reached her home about 15 minutes from Coogie Beach.
Her house was a walk a few steps from the engine stand in a secluded spot. The steps down to the front door were adorned with miniature dolls and figurines of toads, bats, rabbits and cats. Some of them made an automated sound as we approached. As soon as she opened her front door, a couple of cats and a one-eyed puppy ran up to her and began to myow and wound around her feet. I could also hear the cries of the cockatoos immediately too, as if they had all become aware of their mistress returning home. The house had a strangely heavy odor, one of harsh incense and a fumigator casting fumes from a corner. The small foyer had a huge glass box and I noticed something inside. A corner of her foyer also had a large mannequin of ISIS (the Egyptian goddess when she trained me later !!). There were tons of books on a large bookshelf on one side of the hall. I looked into them as I am naturally fond of books. There were large collections of magic, spells, love drinks, divine connections, spirituality, witchcraft, psychic prediction, charm, love, spirituality and Wiccan worship. I just became more interested and attracted to this whole new world of knowledge, wisdom and wizardry. I couldn't resist myself in controlling a few of them.
"What do you do with all these kinds of books?", I asked her in my confusion.
"I'm a witch," she smiled.
This is how I met Carole Chapman, one of the most wonderful people I have met. In the coming days and months when I knew her, I found her a very warm-hearted, loving and caring person. She was extremely knowledgeable, witty, in tune with the world around her and a very outspoken person. Over the next few months of my stay there in Sydney, I got to know her friends, her coven, her community and witchcraft, all of which they perform for the betterment of their lives. I became aware of her religion and the false stigma it carries around the Christian world. She was one of the few direct students of the famous Wiccan teacher, Alex Sanders, who starred in the movie "The Wickerman".
Unfortunately, Carole left us all for Summerland in July 2011. Her Facebook profile can be found under the link in my blog. She was an authority in Wicca, and Wiccan tradition, as I found out. and was referred to as the Queen's Witch in Australia. She was also a dear friend whom I miss.
An interview with high priestess Carole Chapman can be found on my blog entry.