The candles illuminated the small room. The sharpened sword glimmered in the candlelight. The smell of incense enveloped the area. A gold chalice sat full, resting in the middle of the table, surrounded by wilting flowers. He tied on a black mask and picked up the sword.
He walked around the circular table, stopping at the first of four candle stands. He bent his head over the sword he held, kissing its glistening blade. He gave thanks to the god of earth. He walked on to the next stand, the flame flickering with his movement. He held the sword and kissed it once again, this time thanking the god of water. He did the same for air, and finally for fire. And so began his Pagan celebration.
Dominic Vicchiullo, age 19, did not always kiss swords, wear masks and pray to nature. Growing up in Eustis, Fla, he was raised in an Italian Catholic family. Yet he always felt a connection to nature and had a spark for magic that led him to put his faith elsewhere.
“I had trust issues, and so I receded from my family and friends. I wasn’t myself anymore, and I wanted to feel like myself again. That led me to these religions. I was always fascinated with the occult. Me and magic were meant to be. I just believed in magic,” he said.