It was more than ten years back in 2004 that I traveled to Sydney, Australia. I was traveling not on a family vacation or a holiday, but on work. I was there on a software consulting project (do not want to go into more details of this boring topic), and this was my second trip to the beautiful city. I had earlier spent three months in Sydney, but due to project related work-pressures I was barely able to explore the city, and although I did get a chance to really meet anyone there. So this time I wanted to see around the city and make friends there. I never knew that I would be soon meeting and making good friends with a witch in Australia!
Yahoo messenger was in vogue those days and with some searching, I was able to connect to a lady. She was from Sydney, appeared much older than me, but was fun chatting. So when I told her that I'd be traveling to her city in a week and was looking to find a friend there, she was game.
I was staying at the Travelodge Macquarie North Ryde Hotel, near the Macquarie Shopping Center. Once I landed and joined work I updated her and we fixed a time on a Saturday morning to meet. She came to meet me on a Saturday morning at my hotel, dressed in black from head to toe. She also had pitch black hair and was wearing black shades over her eyes. We met at the lobby and then after we were acquainted, she offered to drive me around the suburbs of Sydney to which I read agreed .. While I was boarding her car, I appeared to notice a little sticker on the rear of the car. It red “My other car is a broom !!”
The insides of her car had everything .. from used coke cans to heaps of cigarette buds in the ashtray. There were lots of papers, dress items, pillows, additional sleepers, a towel and a couple of small cardboard boxes at the back. The front seat was full of ash and the car reicked of cigarette smoke. Additionally, the side view mirrors had cobwebs on them. The car was dirty !!!
Northern beaches, Sydney.
The mind kept looking for answers as we began chatting on weather, then about the city, then about Australia, then about India (my country) then about my religion – Hinduism. She said she knew about Kali and Krishna (which are Hindu Gods and Goddesses) and said she also worships them. Things were not matching.
“Are you a Christian?” I asked with some confusion.
“No, I am a Wiccan. Do you know what is Wicca?” She asked me.
“Well, no,” I replied.
And she explained about the Pagan mother religion that was in vogue before Christianity came. The religion which is connected to King Arthur and his Excalibur, and Sir Lancelot and the round table of the Knights. She explained how wizards and witches had been given different explanations as Christianity came to power and started to spread all over Europe and the European colonies.
“Wizards are good people. They are liked. Harry Potter is a wizard and everyone loves him. But witches are bad, is not it?” she asked.
“Well I guess so,” I replied with no idea of why it is so.
She smiled and told me that the people was a religious religion and it was the women who had superior knowledge in society, of science, religion, medicine and science. They were the pillars of the society in the Wiccan era and men flocked to them in times of need. But when Christianity came, it was difficult to convert these erudite and knowledgeable females and so Christianity gave them a bad name. That's why these witches bore the brunt of the ire and that perished over time. “Joan of Arc is one such example, who was burned to the Cross for not falling in line with the religious doctrine then” “she said.
With that we went on driving along the beaches and coasts of North Sydney. We spend the whole day walking and driving around with turquoise blue water and white sandy beaches all around. We broke for some lunch of chicken burgers and cola around 2 pm. All along we were chatting about our customs, traditions, society and religious views. She was equally interested to know about our traditions as I was about hers. It was something new to me.
As afternoon approached she asked me whether she wants me to drop me off at my hotel or would I like to go over to her place for a small renovation and then maybe she can drop off. By then I was so much interested about her and her life that I immediately agreed to visit her place. We reached her home in about 15 minutes from Coogie Beach.
Her house was a walk down a few steps from the motor capable road at a secluded place. The steps down to her main door were adorned with miniature dolls and figures of toads, bats, rabbits and cats. Some of them made an automated sound as we approached. As soon she opened her main door, a couple of cats and a one-eyed puppy ran up to her and started to meow and woof around her feet. I could hear the cries of cockatoos immediately too, as if they have all become aware of their mistress returning home. The house had a strange heavy smell, one of head incense and a fumigator was throwing fumes from a corner. The little foyer had a huge glass box and I noticed something inside. One corner of her foyer also had a large man size mannequin of ISIS (the Egyptian Goddess, as she educated me later !!). There were tons of books on a large book shelf on one side of the hall. I peeked into them as I am naturally fond of books. There were large collections of magic, spells, love potions, divine connections, spirituality, witchcraft, Psychic foretelling, charms, love, spirituality and Wiccan worship. I just became more interested and attracted to this whole new world of knowledge, wisdom and wizardry. I could not resist myself in checking a few of them.
“What do you do with all these kinds of books?”, I asked her in my perplexity.
“I am a Witch”, she smiled.
That was how I met Carole Chapman, one of the most wonderful person I have met. In the coming days and months that I knew her, I found her to be a very warmhearted, loving and caring person. She was immensely knowledgeable, witty, in tune with the world around her and a very outspoken person. During the next few months of my stay there at Sydney, I came to know her friends, her coven, her society and the witchcraft that they all perform for the betterment of their lives. I came to know about her religion and the false stigma it carries around in the Christian world. She was one of the few direct students of famed Wiccan teacher, Alex Sanders, who starred in the movie “The Wickerman”.
Sadly 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 as the Queen Witch in Australia. She was also a dear friend who I miss.
An interview of High-Priestess Carole Chapman can be found at my Blog Entry.