Earlier today, while rummaging around old files on my server, I came across my character notes, sheets, and sketches of a few of my favorite ones. There was the bookish Seelie Sidhe of House Eiluned, the very near-sighted sorceress who knew everything about anything arcane, but often got mixed up on her social niceties. There was the Cult of Ecstasy seer who danced her way into trances where she transcended space and time at underground raves, fetish clubs, drum circles at pagan gatherings, anywhere she could find a big heart-rumbling beat. There was the Virtual Adept who liked to break into New World Order computer systems and change "just a few words" here and there, for the sake of political reality manipulation. There was the Unseelie childling Nocker who loved fireworks, oh she loved them a lot. (I played primarily Mage: The Ascension and Changeling: The Dreaming).
I was looking at all of these characters, and remarking on the stories we told with them once upon a time, the heroic quests and amazing journeys we went upon, and the challenges we faced. In many ways, these games were places where my archetypes could come out and play. It gave me a sandbox in which to let my good side, my bad side, my mischievous side, my magical side, and my many other sides come out to play - and learn. After all, if the only consequence was a smackdown from the GM, I could afford to see the outcomes of many choices and ways of being. If Jinx threw one of her new and improved firecrackers in the toilets of the girls' bathroom, all I'd get is a chewing out by the very irritating school principal NPC. It gave me a way to examine some of the parts of myself in ways I wouldn't have otherwise.
Beyond that, the role playing games taught me how to explore worlds and realities beyond my own. With a storyteller weaving a tale, I let my mind drift and create beautiful worlds and fantastic visions in my mind. I immersed myself completely in worlds that only existed in the minds of those sharing the tale, and journeying there became easier and easier the longer the campaign went on. I can attribute my own ability to work in the world of spirit with all of the practice I got in otherworldly travel during those good old days when my friends and I gamed at least once a week.
It's often true that there are lessons in paganism, witchcraft and magic to be found in the world we inhabit, but some of the best ones are often found in places we might not expect. I didn't realize it then, but I realize it now that my enthusiastic pursuit of role playing games was training me to be a better witch. I haven't played any role playing games since I moved to Memphis, but I'm suddenly inspired to find a good campaign to hop in on. I think in light of Wikileaks and the aftermath of that, my old Virtual Adept wants to play again.