Adopting my own spiritual path outside of the organized belief system of a religion, has been very rewarding, empowering, and has helped me usher in spiritual energy more than I have in the past. However, it has definitely led me down a rabbit hole of questions and much contemplation. After researching the tarot and deciding to use this as spiritual tool between myself and a Higher Power, I have come across a lot of things I’d like to learn more about; namely what’s known as The Craft, or Witchcraft. Right off, I’d like to say that, at the moment I don’t think my personal beliefs and personality characteristics align with being what is defined as a [traditional ?] witch, but I do think a lot of what is practiced, vibes with me.
I am firstly, recognizing that I am no theologist, historian, or professor on the topics of religion; let’s just get that out the way. I don’t know everything about The Bible or any other deemed sacred text; I am just speaking from my own experiences and findings.
Lets start with the fact that what ever I’ve heard from the media, TV and (most) movies, is completely the opposite of what those who practice witchcraft, actually is. Since the historical times of the Salem Witch Trials, when innocent women (children, and even animals) were tormented and brutally murdered for having and practicing different beliefs than others, North America has forever frowned upon anything to do with the terms of witch, magic, spells, or rituals. However, in my mind, is it really that far removed from any secular religion or beliefs system? Hear me out.
In the likes of Christianity (both Catholicism and Baptist practices; the only two that I am relatively familiar with) there are prayers. These prayers are written in sacred text and are recited and learned by heart. Prayer is for everything. Prayer is for gratitude. Prayer is for consultation during trials and tribulations of life. Prayer is for inquiry and a cry for guidance and understanding. In Catholicism, there are different prayers for different situations, from healing the sick to studying for finals. So, why would spells be any different from a prayer? It’s the same concept, but by a different name (in my mind). Even though, there are set prayers in different belief systems, it is often encouraged that you have a relationship with the divine and pray often, in your own way. Witchcraft is the setting of your intentions, recognizing a divine spirit/being, and creating your own spiritual path. Just like there are various belief systems, the set up is the same for all of them, including witchcraft! I find similar parallels between rituals and religious ceremonies (like communion), spells and “blessings”. The term magic, in itself, is not defined by what you’ve seen in the Harry Potter movies, but more on that later. In short, the more I read, view video interviews, and discover new things, the more all the threads seem to be connected. Along the way, here are the myths or falsehoods I’ve discovered about witchcraft:
+ Witchcraft is not a religion, nor is it solely tied to any pagan religion, like Wicca. However, there are those who are Wiccan and also witches and use the term interchangeably within the Wiccan community (but there is some debate on that as well..) Many witches who identify with and accept an organized religion incorporate their beliefs of [for example] Judaism, Buddhism and Christianity into their practice.
+ You do not have to be sworn to a coven to recognize yourself or practice as a witch. (There are varying opinions on this, but since witchcraft isn’t an organized religion, I don’t see why joining or being initiated into a coven would be a necessity?)
+ Witchcraft is what you make it. A spiritual journey is personal and uniquely molded to each individual; therefore the practice of it will look different for different people.
+ Witchcraft is not a women exclusive concept. It is true that the term witch has only been used to refer to females in the western society, but there exist both male and female practitioners. (This only makes sense. How are you to deny a spiritual connection with divine forces, only to one sex and not the other? That’s just…wrong.)
There’s a lot more I can say on this topic, but I’ll end here for now and pick up later. I think about witchcraft a lot. Do I have underlying characteristics of a witch? Who knows.