De-Conversion “Double-Takes” & Rational Reminders


I used to be a Witch. I used to celebrate sabbats and esbats. I used to be in a coven, and I used to work “magick.”

That still feels weird for me to type, even though I know that the beliefs I once held are not true.

Why, you ask? Because de-converting from theism is a process, one which sometimes takes me by surprise when I catch myself doing a proverbial “double-take” at the illogical pathways into which my brain was formerly trained.

You see, I recently cleaned out my purse and switched to a new one. Fond of collecting multiples of everything, my purse had amassed a sizable haul of small change, business cards, and pens, and I wanted a smaller one to decrease the available space into which I could absentmindedly put things. While rummaging through the random hidey-holes of my old purse to make sure I’d recovered the twelve or so pens that had found their way in there, my fingers closed around a hard, cold, and pointy object. At this point, I realized that I’d completely forgotten about the quartz crystal I’d put in there, which meant that I’d also forgotten about the money charm and buckeye ball that accompanied it.

I’d made that charm last summer when I was still a Witch, and I’d tucked it, the crystal (which was meant to work as an “amplifier” of sorts), and the buckeye ball (which was for luck) safely away in one of the purse’s zipper pouches on the idea that proximity fostered better results. Meanwhile, in August and December, I earned a 4.00 GPA for my first two semesters of graduate school. In September, I got approved for an apartment in the middle of a divorce despite an atrocious credit score. In February, I received a higher-paying job in my field. This April, I got promoted again.

Now that I’ve quit compartmentalizing my brain under the influence of superstition, I understand that I alone am responsible for the steps that I took to earn those achievements. As a “young” atheist, however, I would be lying if I said that my past as a Witch didn’t cause me to wonder at those implements again when I saw them in the side of my old purse.

It did…for about a half a second. Then I realized that learning to think critically was the best thing that I ever did for myself, and that I knew better than to attribute my success to metaphysical nonsense when I could find practical reasons for my accomplishments instead. I then smiled wryly at my temporary lapse of intelligence, put the reminders of my former life off to the side, and carried on switching purses.

I now understand that there may be times when old habits will hand me a moment’s pause simply because I spent so long being a theist. However, the difference between then and now is that I understand that there isn’t any reason to attach a supernatural explanation to actions that I alone have authored. The growing rationality with which I approach the world has given me the freedom to question and learn, and while I will never know everything, the fact that I am willing to learn as much as I can instead of lazily relying on superstition has made me far happier as an atheist than I ever was as a Witch.