Being a witch: a pagan debate.
This blog is a few words of reflection that swim around my head from time to time. They surfaced again after listening to Damh the Bards most recent Druidry Podcast.
He asked a question:
Is the modern traditional initiatory witch /pagan path dying out?
He said he thought this after seeing so much on witchcraft on Tic Toc.
Posts aimed at Witch or being a witch can come across superficial. Like the sales posts or modern feminine, glossy witch. They're often posts not born through initiatory witchcraft practices (not his words but mine as i recall and reflect on what he said).
It got me reflecting a lot. Its a long standing pagan witch debate and at times the shorter courses on becoming a Priestess or Witch which have been popping up, is something my brain has taken a lot of getting use to as well. After stepping foot on the path 20 years ago, working through my own spirituality, and seeing friends work hard on the initiatory path. I have grown up seeing witchcraft as a path where traditional wisdom from an elder is passed down.
I didnt join an initiatory witch coven, I enquired once when I was 20 and was nervous to join because I didn't like the thought of the secrecy or the strict rules of what should go in with direction, or which colour candle to use. I have been in a witch circle, and a goddess group. Currently in an organic coven with close friends thats growing naturally over many years. My thoughts have changed with experience and time, and continue to. With having close friends who worked hard in their covens on their paths too. I have felt quite protective of my friends who have at times felt their path a bit disrespected by the pop up courses of becoming a Priestess, or Witch. The word witch pops up so easily now as a title.
Druidry has grades, bard, ovate and druid, but it's a take your time thing, and everyone's equal. Some people move up through the grades yet prefer the grade of bard.
For years now with witchcraft in the mainstream lots of people who have been pagan witches for a long time often debate what it is to be a witch or pagan. I'll admit I've been caught up in it too, and on reflection, at times, naively so. Due to wanting to protect precious wisdom and the handing down of knowledge in a traditional way.
I do think now, it depends on your heart, on what you feel. If you wish to delve deeper you can step onto an initiatory path, and join a closed group to learn more. If you aren't so deep and dont want to go through initiations or deeper work, it's ok to just be and bring magic into your everyday through other ways. Or just feel being a witch, just through being human and wearing a witchy T shirt and buying a cauldron shaped tea cup. We are human at the end of the day. I feel paganism is our birthright in a way. It supports our connection with who we are as beings of nature and all the elements. We don't always need ritual to feel the connection, we are the connection.
Lovely Ronald Hutton described in a talk a few years ago on witch craft, that their were four types of witches, I really like his descriptions: https://fb.watch/o5IehaqZlO/
I recall watching this talk at a conference and feeling it settle these questions of what feels authentic within me, that all kinds of witch definitions are cool, it's what is in your heart, and what it best for your inner growth and sense of awareness.
I have come to the conclusion initiatory witchcraft or wicca is not dying out at all but is spreading into the greater consciousness to remind us of who we are, as people of earth, with relationships with all the beings around us. And if that means the word witch is dragged through high street stores printed on t shirts and mugs, then it's really good. (I love a cool witch mug and cool t shirt! I hope it stays in fashion a bit longer :-) ).
We are no longer the weirdos.
There was a time where people kept their beliefs quiet for fear of judgment. I'm aware this is still so for some people. So not everyone who is pagan can be comfortably open. As a shamanic practitioner I occasionally see clients who cant share their beliefs with religious family members or colleagues. However, we are getting there.
What are your thoughts on the various streams of magical consciousness on what it is to be a witch, or pagan?
This is reflections, and reflections change with experience don't they.
I nearly didn't share this blog, as with many I write and choose not to share. But I heard a quote in my mind:
'In the great sea of human consciousness, your voice and thoughts could be the boat that helps others float'
Debate and reflection is so healthy.
Blessed be lovely people.