Witch

When you think of the word “witch” what is your first thought?

Is it of the ugly old woman with the tall black hat flying on a broomstick with black cat?

Is it of the green faced villain from the Wizard of Oz?

Is it of a boiling cauldron and the three hags dropping strange ingredients into it?

If you said “yes” to any of these, then you have been influenced by the popular stereotypes that have been perpetuated for the last 500 years or so. Those tall black hats, black cats, cauldrons and brooms were all once used by female beer makers but were used against them when men wanted to take over the brewing of beer. The church took those icons and turned them into images of “witchcraft” which in turned were used to kill millions of innocent people all over Europe and North America.

Today, most people think that witches and witchcraft are just metaphysical hocus pocus practiced by new agers. That’s fine, most people can think that all they want, I actually would prefer it if they did. Those of us who call ourselves witches and practice witchcraft, know there’s more to it then that.

I am a witch. I practice witchcraft. I don’t have a black hat but I do have a black cat, cauldron, and a broom. No, I don’t “fly” on my broom but I do use it to clean my sacred space. My cauldron is used to “brew” my magic.

But back to the question, what is a witch?

Simply put, a witch is a practitioner of witchcraft. A witch can be male, female, or somewhere in between. They can dress however they want, use whatever tools they want, work any kind of magic they want.

Witches are still considered to be on the fringes of society. What they do is still not fully understood by society. They are fear and revered in societies across the world. The age of the internet has been good for witches as they can get more business for their talents from anywhere in the world.

Check out this video about witches in Romania:

Are Witches Pagan?

Some are but you don’t have to be. You can be Christian, Muslim, or Atheist, and still be a witch. There are all sorts of different ways to practice witchcraft and you can use any belief system to do it. The only thing you need is an intention and understanding of sympathetic magic.

Witchcraft

The most delicious part about being a witch, is your ability to create spells to manifest your desires. There’s all sorts of ways to create spells, rituals, potions, charms, and other objects of power. Anything you want, you can create, you need only put in the effort. Keep in mind, that magic is a tricky thing and if you are not clear in your mind about what you want, the magic might bring you something you weren’t exactly expecting.

There’s a warning with witchcraft though, whatever you decided to manifest, will come back to you. In Wicca, they call this the threefold law, which states that any action you take in the name of witchcraft will come back to you threefold. This is a good way for witches to think about what they do before they do it.

I can admit that there have been times when I have either wanted to use magic as a way to get vengeance and then there are the times in which I have. You see, I don’t get mad, I get even and using magic as a means to do this is not healthy and kind of detrimental to your good health. Not only will you eventually feel bad for what you have done but you may inadvertently create similar harm to yourself.

I once had a friend who was wildly out of control. She was lying, stealing, and cheating and causing all sorts of mayhem in her path. I created a binding spell to help prevent her from doing any further to herself or others. It worked but it managed to destroy our friendship. She never knew that I did this to her but I did and that was enough. I was young and didn’t understand mental illness or how it works on the brain and thus, I didn’t know that really all she needed was to talk with someone and get the right medication to help her. This is a spell that I deeply regret as I have seen the cascading effects of the spell. There’s no way for me to undo it either without stacking the effects, believe me, I have tried.

The moral of this story is, think before you cast. Speak with your deities, converse with trusted members of your coven, or talk with non-practising friends and family about practical non-magical options. I would advise that anyone who practices witchcraft and calls themselves a witch to always seek the non-magical methods of problem solving first. If you must add magic, use supportive magic on yourself and not others unless asked to do so. Never perform magical on a non-consenting individual, including pets. As much as you may want to hex Trump right now, hold off, you have no idea what you might bring about in the process.

Normally, I would never discuss my past uses of magic but in the spirit of education, I will share some of my stories on this blog. I keep most of my spell work recorded in my Book of Secrets. I will share a little how-to on keeping a Book of Secrets, or otherwise known as a Book of Shadows or a Grimoire, in a follow up post.

If you have any topics that you would like me to share, please comment and let me know.

Blessed be,

Priestess Spiritsong

How I Came to Being a Pagan

I have always been a child of nature. I have the luxury of growing up close to the wild outdoors and spending a lot of time exploring. When I was kid, I used to pretend I was a witch like the ones in Hocus Pocus (just not evil like they are).

It was the spring of 1998 and I was 15 years old, my mom and I visited a new metaphysical store in Salmon Arm called, “Spirit Quest: Books & Gifts”. This was the first metaphysical store I could remember being in and on the shelf there was a whole section of Wicca & Witchcraft books. I had been watching a lot of Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and had learned about Wicca from doing some online searches. The internet was so new to me that I didn’t really know what to look for. So, my mom let me get a copy of Scott Cunningham’s “Wicca for a Solitary Practitioner”.

From there, I learned the basics of meditation, altar set up, the spirituality of the Horned God & Moon Goddess, the Wheel of the Year, and ritual magic work. I kept a book of shadows, I created my first wand from a branch in the woods, and used a pocket knife as my first athame. I spent many hours in meditation and contemplation of the Goddess and God. I created my first spells, mostly for love like many teenage girls do.

I was mostly private about my practices during my years in high school. I had a few friends who were interested but no one really wanted to start a coven. It wasn’t until I was in university when I started seeking out other witches and pagans. I met some of the local priesthood and various other practitioners through Witches Vox and yahoo groups but I still kept mostly to myself.

There was a brief time where I was exploring other paths like Christianity, Buddhism, and Shinto. I almost converted to Christianity but at the end of the day, I knew that I was pagan. I could not get on board with a religion that was so unforgiving to women and other beliefs.

I reached a point in 2013 where I wanted to deepen my experience with my practice, so I joined up with a teaching coven out of Vernon, BC. I learned more about the Wiccan ritual format for coven work, esbats, and sabbats. Eventually, I reached a point where I wanted something less formal in my practice and less hierarchical with my group work.

I ended up leaving that Wiccan tradition in the fall of 2015 and started a new tradition with two other pagan friends who also wanted to start coven work but under our own terms. Since that time, we have been working forming our own style of ritual work, learning shamanic practices, and playing with our own spell work. We are in our second year of work and we are just getting our style down.

Today, I have a strange mix of Wiccan, Druid, Norse, and Hindu beliefs. I am a certified yoga teacher and I have been bringing elements of that into my pagan practice. They go so well with European pagan traditions that it’s not hard to weave them together. I am what most would call an eclectic witch and pagan.

Merry Met!

Priestess Spiritsong Dreamweaver