Seeker: A witch or something else?
Posted by loona wynd
The topic of this post is meant to bring questions to your minds. What I am about to post here are thoughts I have regarding why I consider myself to be a witch and why I define witchcraft the way that I do. In time I plan on having each aspect of my definition as its own series of essays which I hope in time will become a book.
So as I write these essays I have a question that I ask myself and I would like you my readers to ask yourself as well. It is only by asking myself these questions that I am able to really define my own practice and my own philosophy. The development of ny philosophy is the most important thing for me as I am a philosophy and anthropology major whose primary interests are Northern European cultures (Norse, Celtic, Germanic, ect) as well as the native magical religious traditions in the US (this is where anthropology comes in as occasionally anthropologists become part of those groups and can really learn their ways). Any way the goal of these essays are to explore my thoughts and get my self and you to think about and help develop your own path.
To define a seeker:
These essays come from the eyes of a seeker. I consider a seeker to be one who explores many different paths in order to discover the “truth”. A true seeker knows that the truth of the universe will be different for every one as no two people can have the same perceptions of the world. That doesn’t mean we don’t question our selves or others. It is actually just the opposite. As a seeker one must learn to be a skeptic. A true skeptic is one who will give and question all facts until they have come to their own answers and decisions, So in essence these essays are going to be written with the understanding of questioning what I say and also being willing to accept what I have to say by testing it yourself.
The primary focus of these essays will be paths that relate to witchcraft in some way as I identify as a witch. I am not that familiar with other magical traditions. As I study and explore more views of magic, mysticism I will add them to my topics. For now I stick with witchcraft. It is what I know yet do not know and what I am. I am a witch and I am proud to call myself a witch. I have only recently really accepted my self as a witch and have come to terms with what that means. Now it has started to become little by little a part of my day to day life.
Witchcraft is defined as many different things. In reality the statement ask ten witches what witchcraft is get twelve different answers is not far from the truth. In most of the supernatural forums I belong to and post in I become one of the central authorities on witchcraft. Over time I have come to have my own rather broad definition of witchcraft.
By the nature of the craft, there is no way that there could be one united definition of witchcraft. Through out history no two witches or two groups of witches ever practiced identically. While many of them may have had the same tradition or same basic back ground, how each of them were taught or learned is not the same due to the very nature of perception (which is a topic to be dealt with at another time). For this reason I decided to cover all of the definitions I have come to understand and accept as part of my development as a witch.
For the sake of this essay and all future essay’s by myself witchcraft shall be identified as:
A religious, mystery, spiritual, philosophical, magical, and craft where by working magic and manipulating the subtle energy of the universe the practitioner is able to manifest direct changes to their reality at will. Will here is meant as desire or force of interest.
As you have seen there are many aspects to the definition of witchcraft. That was the simplest definition I could come up with that encompasses everything I know about witchcraft from personal experience, research, and conclusions based on the experience and research. The following segments define what each of those sections mean.
For many people witchcraft is essentially a religion. The rites and rituals they do are done as an act of worship towards their deities. The rituals they enact have highly religious over tones to them. In many cases the religious aspects are different. A Christian Witch who used her witchcraft to worship Jehova would have different religious overtones than a witch who practiced Asatru whose spells would be an act of worship towards the deity.
The central theme of religious witchcraft is that the spells and the craft is about an act of worship or service to their deity. There are several well known witchcults out there. None of them have anything in common aside from the use of witchcraft to access the mysteries and commune with the deities. The most commonly known witchcult is Wicca (and most calling them selves Wiccan, or a member of Wicca are not actually Wiccan). Wicca is a witchcult, and there are specific reasons it is a witchcult. Again that will be dealt with in an other essay when I cover the religious aspects of my own witchcraft.
Other witchcults include:
- Traditional * more on this later*
- Black Forest Clan
In the above discussion I mentioned mystery and mystery aspects of witchcraft. That is where I add in yet another addition to my definition of witchcraft.
In many ways witchcraft traditions and practices are mystery traditions. A mystery tradition is one where the practice helps you come to your own understanding of how the universe works, what deities are, and the like. The mysteries are the central themes of these religions and are the lessons that can not be learned through a book, but must be experienced. The temple tradition is a Mystery tradition in that regards.
Witchcraft for many is a spiritual path but not necessarily a religious path. A spiritual path is one where a person as they practice their path are trying to better themselves and become something more than they are. It may or may not include beliefs in spirits and other realms of being. Spirituality like witchcraft is a personal thing. One central theme though has been becoming something more than you are right now. This is in many ways what AA has in mind when they mention having a relationship with God as “you know him”. They simply mean to try your hardest to find your way to become more than what you are at that moment. Self improvment.
Philosophy and magical practice are both intertwined as magic is by it’s nature a philosophical concept. The concept however is a specific philosophy which is why they addressed as separate points. I feel that it is the core philosophy that leads to the explanation as to what magic is and how it works.
Witchcraft is a philosophy. In this case it is a way of looking at the universe and of reality in general. It is a way of being able to manifest changes in your own world and your own life. By thinking about the philosophy of witchcraft and working and acting as a witch you are in control of your reality.
Philosophies are essentially how you look at your life and the world around you. Each witch is able to practice witchcraft due to having their own understanding of how magic works. The essentail goal of philosophy or the study of philosophy is knowledge and truth. One of the most famous sayings about witches is when asked about how magic works and what we “believe” is :
“Witches don’t believe. We know”
Knowledge is a philosophy and way of gaining knowledge. There for philosophy once again comes into play. Philosophy does mean love of wisdom. Knowledge and knowing how to use what you know are the keys to wisdom. Witchcraft when used as a philosophy is a way of gaining wisdom. It is a way of knowing and understanding the world and how you play a part in it.
Some forms of witchcraft are based directly on a specific worldview. A person’s world view is one of the many philosophies that they will engage in their lives. For my own practice my central worldview is based on different cultures and personal gnosis. It is a world view simaler to that found in The Witching Way of the Hollow Hill and Hedge Rider with the flavors of Hermetics as understood in the Temple and Cabot traditons as well as Wyrd and the nine worlds found in Asatru.
Magic is how witchcraft manifests changes. Magic is the practice and process of manipulating energy and force directing it to the universe through various means ingestion or release/use. That is why witchcraft is a philosophy and a magical practice all in one. Magic only works due to a person’s understanding of the nature of reality. There are many theories and philosophies as to how magic works. Each witch will most likely have their own understanding of their magical practice and how magic works.
For myself I have a hermetic view of magic. I have made an earlier post about hermetics and will post more thoughts about hermetics as I continue to review and reread the Kybalion for at least the 10th time. I am developing magical training exercises to help understand the hermetic principles and find ways of using them in my witchcraft.
Craft, skill, and practice:
For many people a craft is the same as a skill and a practice. In this case specifically for witchcraft I would have to agree that they are essentially the same being. In order to become good with a skill you need to practice the skill. In order to use the skill effectively for a craft you need to practice a craft. This it’s self is an example how Craft,skill, and practice are tied together.
There are many people out there who identify themselves as witches that have no religious or spiritual aspects to the actions. It may be a philosophy/magical tradition for them. In some cases the craft maybe simple family folk remedies and folk beliefs. To some the above may be considered spells and witchcraft and others it would not be.
The craft in this case refers to how the spell is written, created, and enacted. The spells could be food based, potions, candle, poppets, or take many other forms. There are as many ways to cast and create an effective spell as there are witches out there. That is why there are no specific ways of casting spells. There are types of spells, but every witch and magician for that matter needs to find their own way of casting spells.
Identify as a witch:
As I pointed out above there are many reasons a person would be confused as to what witchcraft is. For myself witchcraft is all of the above and maybe more. I call myself because my beliefs are aligned with some of the above listed religious witchcraft traditions. I also feel that my philosophy aligns well with witchcraft. Every magical practice I have tried has been under the name of witchcraft which is yet again why I identify as a witch.
Could I call myself a magician? I could as I work magic. Some aspects of my practice have been influenced by sources which are in general not considered to be witchcraft such as the LBRP which I learned from the HP of the local OTO a few years ago. The LBRP has influenced my ideas as to how to banish energy from an area, and also works when I am doing a ritual with a christian flavor (for my christian family). That I would not consider by it’se self (meaning the LBRP) witchcraft, though many rituals used in religious or ceremonial witchcraft are based somewhat off the OTO.
Some day I may add magician onto my identification. For now I am a witch. I have done rituals to dedicate myself to witchcraft. Some people say that only a witch can make another witch. In some cases and traditions that is true. If I am to identify myself as a member of the Temple tradition I must have done the proper rites to do so. I am a dedicant of the Temple tradition recognized by my teacher and co-founder Chris Penczak. In initiatory traditions in order to become a member of that tradition you must be formally made a member of the tradition. Initiation into Traditional Wicca makes one a witch and a wiccan.
Many of my friends consider me to be a priestess. Once again that is a label I deny. I am training to become a priestess and hopefully one day a fully trained reverend in the Temple tradition. As of this moment I am not a priestess nor a pastor of any sort. I would consider myself sort of an acolyte or hand maiden. I am able to preform rituals for myself but not for others. I can preform a ritual with my family, but I do not feel comfortable leading strangers with ritual. When I have gained that status I will identify as a priestess.
In the end if you identify your magical tradition as witchcraft then most likely it is witchcraft. If you identify as a witch you are a witch (unless you wish to belong to a specific tradition). I can not myself say you are a witch. If you asked me if I considered your practice to be witchcraft most likely I would say that it is. All I can do is give you my idea and understanding of witchcraft from personal experience and study.
About loona wyndCall me Loona. I am a part time model and an amateur writer. My blogs serve as my primary method of publication at the moment. These blogs are also a way for me to build an audience and get my name known. I have been involved with my spiritual path for half my life now. I have spent that whole time seeking and exploring every path I could find. While I will always identify as a witch and a Pagan, I do believe there are lessons that every path can teach me. When I am not writing, or modeling I spend my time watching science fiction (I'm a big Doctor Who fan as well as Warehouse 13, Eureka, Babylon 5, and other shows). I also enjoy shows like Ink Master, Bar Rescue, Hotel Hell, Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares. I also love Bones for the anthropological aspects. When not watching tv I spend time playing video games. I'm a retro gamer at heart. I would rather play a game on my NES than the newest game for my PC. I actually have more NES and SNES games than I do Wii, N64 or PS2. I do play Starcraft2, Everquest, Guild Wars, and random Facebook games. I also enjoy reading. My reading will often be in the spiritual or philosophical fields. This is what I enjoy to study. I also love to read science fiction. Anne McCaffery is actually my favorite sci-fi writer. Her Pern and Accorna series are my favorites. I currently hold an associates degree in Liberal Studies or Liberal Arts. My focus is on folklore, philosophy, classics of world lit, anthropology, and history. I do have a vast interest in Physics. I was actually happy with how much my physics teacher was able to connect modern physics with ancient and modern metaphysical philosophy.
Posted on July 17, 2011, in magic, Metaphysics, Occult, Philosophy, Religion, Spirituality, Witchcraft and tagged Neo Pagan witchcraft, traditional witchcraft, Witchcraft. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.