Witchy Wednesday - So You Want to be a Witch...

One of the things that struck me when I first started exploring Paganism and Witchcraft was the number of books telling me what I should and shouldn't do in order to be a witch. There were books that said I could only be a witch if my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother were all witches, meaning a hereditary witch. There were books that said that I could only be a witch if I were to be initiated into a specific tradition and followed that tradition through the ranks eventually leading to priestess.  Everyone has their own idea about what I need to do in order to connect with my spirituality. They have rules and guidelines and if I don't follow them I'll surely miss out on the big... wait a second, that sounds and awful lot like organized religion.  Well yea, you see now don't you?

We have so many paths that fall under (even if it is just beneath the brim) of the Paganism Umbrella. While many shun the name Pagan, we have to remember that the word is intended to encompass all religions outside the three main Abrahamic Religions.  Those are Christianity, Judaism & Islam. That is how I am defining Pagans.

Screenshot - Wikipedia

While I am the first to proclaim that reading is one of the first major steps to following any path, there are some books out there that you should avoid like the plague. Each person has their own point of view about what a "real pagan leader" is.  Let me be clear on one thing.  An author is not a leader. They are a person who has the cash to have a book printed.  They are a person with an opinion that posts on a blog (like this one) or a website or in an e-book.  They put their pants on the same way you do every day. Any person who says they have the only way or the one true way to do anything at all should be taken with a grain of salt. I call your attention to a certain witch who told her teen readers to keep their practices secret from their parents. Many in the magical community openly criticized her comments and openly shunned her.

Pagan Elders are few and far between. There are authors out there with great things to say and I will recommend their books every single day. That being said you as an individual must seek out personal information on that author and make sure you agree with their path and want that energy in your ritual space before filling your shelves with (enter pompous author name full of shit here)'s new edition of enlightenment.  Over the last 10 years or so the amount of infighting in the Pagan Community has led many to take a step back from the word Pagan and try to identify with a different word to distance themselves from some of the negativity and attacks going on within.  I can't blame them.

In the number of times I have tried to work with Pagan groups it tends to end in disappointment. Most talk the talk but few walk the walk. We find those here and there that have the basics down. Meaning they want to celebrate and protect the earth. They want to become more in tune with the energy flow around them and understand that we are all from that same thing. We are all one. Yet, we have egos and attitudes that always spring forth and take over the moment. They are the self initiated authors, teachers or shop owners. They think they are the be all end all of everything magic. It quickly becomes obviously to the most novice acolyte that these people are complete frauds. They know they don't have the skill in magic so they resort to attacking others with gossip to damage reputations instead of trying to build the community up as a whole, they only want to have their Grandpoobah-ness be the exalted one on high, but I digress.

As you can see becoming a witch is a tricky path.  You can't believe everything you read.  You can't believe ever "leader" who claims to be one.  What you can do it watch those people.  Watch the authors.  Read their Twitter account. Look at their Facebook Pages. Do they conduct themselves in a way that makes you want to mirror them?

WikiHow - http://www.wikihow.com/Be-a-Witch
Let's take a recent incident that occurred when a well known author used his coven to cast binding spells on others (one person was included in the spell by accident) and when approached with this the author played the victim and accused those HE attacked as being the guilty ones.  Now, just the fact that you cast a binding spell on the wrong person will pretty much cause me to burn your books in the first place.  I mean what kind of magic do you have that you don't even know who you are casting against?  Seriously.  Then when caught, you lie?  Hrmm yeah no.  That's not cool at all further, that's not energy I want to be associated with.

Public Domain, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15322490

You'll need to pay attention to what those around you do as well.  When someone in your local community steps out of line, do your fellow Pagans follow along?  Do they say Oh yeah, it's cool.  Don't worry, she didn't mean it like that.  He's isn't really that way, you just have to get to know him. Do they make excuses for bad behavior?  Is that the energy you want in your space? You'll need to understand that for the most part the path of the witch is a solitary one. While we can get together in groups on special occasions and work together for short times on projects, as in any other spiritual community there is always large egos that need feeding.  If you're not a feeder expect to be used as fodder.  It is simple as that.  If you want to be a witch expect that your days may be well spent a long in the woods connecting with the earth.  Bonding with the trees. Opening your eyes to the world what we share with the birds and the bugs. If you want to be a witch toss aside that crown of crystals and pick up a felled tree branch.  Drop that fancy robe or those spiffy deer antler crows you purchased at the last big Pagan Festival and drop to the ground and feel the earth beneath you.  Embrace the energy of the trees and the sounds of the earth around you.  Expect to be shunned by the mundane and even more shunned by the spiritual leader with a degree and a class room.  This is what the path of the witch is like.

Be sure not to misunderstand what I'm saying here.  I'm not saying you shouldn't read or try to understand those authors/pagans/leaders both in your area and online. In fact I'm saying the exact opposite. Read them, study them, learn them.  Take from them what resonates with you and leave the rest behind. By far there is much more to be forgotten than remembered when you're dealing with the magical community. There are many paths in the Pagan Community. From Shamanism to Wicca. From Hoodoo to Witch.  Find your path and learn all you can from those who came before you. Be objective, be critical and be honest with yourself about who you want to be. And always remember that you can question anything and anyone. No one is above you simply because they have some obscure title. You be you boo.

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