“It’s like a tree,” she said. “The roots we all share. Yet, there are different branches at the top that break into tons of traditions.”
D’Onofrio realized when she began exploring witchcraft that the religion still generates strong opinions.
“I wanted to not be identified as a witch because of the stigma,” she said. “But it kept reeling me in. Finally, I had to accept what I was called.”
D’Onofrio had been interested in spirituality for a long time. When her son, Niko, was born, she began looking for ways to break the isolation that she felt.
“I think many young mothers can relate,” she said. “I wanted to connect.”
She happened across a class at the Unitarian Universalist Church called “Cakes for the Queen of Heaven.” The class explored goddess spirituality. D’Onofrio felt an immediate connection.
“It opened the door to a whole different way of thinking,” she said. “I thought, ‘Where has that information been?’ It’s not the traditional, patriarchal religion.”
Her new religion allowed her to delve deeper into beliefs that she had been exploring.
“It allowed me to understand the universe in a different way,” she said. “It added another dimension.”
D’Onofrio also was captivated by the history of witchcraft.
“It spans back much further than what we see,” she said. “Thousands of women were killed, and today we would consider them wise women.”
She said that some feminists consider the witch hunt the “women’s genocide.”
“It’s a big part of women’s history,” she said. “That compelled me.”
Although D’Onofrio was fixated by her new beliefs, her husband, Steve, to whom she has been married for 19 years, held to his traditional Catholic upbringing.
“I was walking a different path, and he was on a more mainstream path, but our common bond was our sense of spirituality,” D’Onofrio said.