Recently a friend on Facebook shared a link to a blog post referencing how witches are portrayed today. The post seemed to feel that today’s witch has been bastardized from its roots and turned into a caricature of the ideology from witch it originates. (Link to article)
As I read through the piece, I couldn't help but feel the angst of the writer. I can relate to the feeling of concern about what is currently happening to the craft. Pop culture has long loved the witch. From bed time stories, to the big screen the world loves to hate the witch. With the popularity of American Horror Story : Coven and the way it has embraced pop icon Stevie Nicks, who was rumored for years to be a Wiccan; as a modern witch, I can say that these types of shows do little to shed any real light on what a witch’s way really is.
Everyone is very quick to say, if you don’t follow the Wheel of the Year, you’re not a real witch. If you’re not following a specific path, then you’re not a real witch. If you wear a pointy hat, you’re shaming the witch.
While I don’t agree that, AHS – Coven is a true representation of witches today, I do believe that the diversity they’re showing in the witches is actually pretty accurate. The gifts of the witches range from healing, seeing, immolation as well as the typical mind reading. In the real world, we have tarot readers, spiritual consultants and healers.
My path is from a slightly different area than most. My deity was pulled into modern Wiccan practices and given the title of “Crone”. Many follow her as this aspect of the Triple Goddess. I do not follow that because historically there is no evidence that Hecate was ever depicted as anything other than a young woman. I don’t believe that their path in any way has an effect on mine.
Just as I don’t believe that my introduction of “Modern Witch-ware” in the form of hats and cloaks, make fun of or takes any power from my practice. I don’t believe that wearing a conical hat turns me into a cartoon nor do I believe it weakens my spell work in any way. Looking at the pages out there today, most believe that witches should be pissed off and loaded with black eyeliner.
I’m of the belief that the witch’s way, differ from person to person. We each have our own way. I believe in helping others and I believe in justice. My path is one of taking care of others, fostering animals and being a counselor to those that need it. I do spell work for fertility, healing and jobs. I offer crystal magic and study the texts related to my path with diligence. I send out protection amulets and talismans to protect others from harm. I cast monthly rites to protect my home and to pay homage to the Goddess Hecate
I don’t need to have the world fear me. Fear breeds hate. I don’t need to be that renegade that rides the road of terror in my community. I want to be that wise woman that offers support and protection. I do not believe for a second that there is any specific color magic. There is only magic.
The article in question goes on to state that they -
“Will not sit at the communion table with pagans and ‘witches’ who break bread with the very people who have sought the demise of my kind for centuries.”
I understand what the author is saying here. Sometimes I find myself at odds with pagans who are members of Unitarian Churches for example. However, to me witches are magic practitioners much like a Magus or Magi, which was basically defined as a priest of ancient Persia in Magic in the Ancient World by Fritz Graf. To me, that means that a magi, one who practices magic (a witch) is basically one who is trained in the ways of the Gods.
Over the years many groups have been the victim of abuse by those in power. Be they Christian or Roman, those in power take the belongings, the powers and the spirit of those below them. Pagans were no different. I have many different titles. Each of those titles has a group that opposes them. I can’t throw out all of humanity because of a few people that may have persecuted people like me in the past.
Historically a witch’s way has been a tough row to hoe. We have to remember that in the past, the label of witch was thrown upon any one who had something someone else wanted to take. Most of those that were tried and sentenced as witch’s, regardless of what AHS might lead you to believe, were not actually witches. Women, who were typically midwives and keepers of the herbal knowledge and lore were often blamed when a child was lost in child birth or if there was a death in the village. Quickly the association between being a witch and an old hag - woman was made and the rest, as they say is history.
To me, the take away from this is that as I said in the beginning, each witch has their own way. Some maybe those who walk in both worlds; they walk the line as an ambassador between the witch and the rest of the religions. Others may be the magi, the alchemist who honors the craft directly and avoids the pageantry that sometimes accompanies it. Some may be filled with light and love, so much so they are referred to as “Fluffy Bunnies”.
When I sit to make my meal for Hecate’s Supper, I have many ingredients. I use what’s seasonal and local to my area. My meal may consist of leaks and garlic, perhaps cakes and wine. Another’s meal may have figs and honey. One meal is not better than the other. Each is honoring the Goddess. My offerings of garlic differ from the sacrifices of the black dogs and bulls of antiquity but they are not frowned upon.
My desire to harm none, does not make me a weak witch, instead I believe it makes me strong. As a light bringer, Hecate was considered the holder of secret knowledge and from the crossroads waited to provide answers to those in search. Hecate is called upon in many cases to curse others, including a recent find on a lead tablet found in Israel dating back 1700 years. Does this put my desire to harm none, be at odds with my Goddess? Is she this darkness referred to by the author that has been “watered down” any a sweet little old lady?
However, there’s a big difference being strong and being a bully. There’s a difference between defending yourself and picking a fight.
To me, I don’t need the world to cower before me. I don’t need to see other turn away from my gaze for fear of the evil eye. I don’t need my small town to believe that a rash of fires or some other hardship is the fault of the town witch.
I would much rather open a dialog with them and be someone who practices their craft, but is approachable. Someone who is honorable. Someone who believes that there is always time to reach out to someone and provide a helping hand. This isn’t weakness or white-washing. I call it “This Witch’s Way”
In Her Illuminated Light,