There is an old saying that that states that we do not learn to be a witch or a wizard, we are born with ‘the gift’, with this power within our hearts and our being. However, we need to learn, respect, and evolve to be able to understand even more about this path.
Let’s do an exercise:
Sit in front of a mirror, put on a piece of music that conveys a sacred and deep meaning to your being, and get ready to connect with your deepest thoughts. Look at your eyes in front of the mirror and ask yourself:
Do I really accept who I am?
Do I accept and believe in magick?
Do I want to change the world around me?
If you answered yes to all those questions, you are already a witch/wizard! You are a beginner. You just woke up from a long and deep sleep and are about to discover how to be a witch or a wizard!
To be a contemporary witch you must know your own powers and own your life. It is important to be aware of your choices and the people you spend your time with, to have time to pray, study, meditate and perform rituals. If that’s what you really want, finding your path will be an enriching and immerse journey, within and without yourself, into the universe of magick.
Taking the First Steps Into The Craft
The figure of the witch is something that has permeated the arts, religion, and people’s imagination since the darkest times. From an erroneous connection with the Italian term bruciare (to burn), which was widely used during the Inquisition, the idea arises that women were condemned because their actions were related to the fact that she was a witch.
Since then, the term “witch” has always been associated with a grotesque figure, an old woman, with a huge mole on the nose, and practitioner of Black Magic. However, witches who do not identify with this stereotype, want to change how people think about who they are and what they actually do. So, do you imagine what a witch really is and what she does?
WIitches X Inquisition
Since the Middle Ages, witches have been linked to demonic thoughts, spells, and evil deeds. During the Inquisition, the Catholic Church declared persecution and death at open fires in public squares to countless women who were linked to some witchcraft cult or even alternative medicine, the case, for example, of the French guerrilla Joana d’Arc (judged as a witch also because she is a redhead, a characteristic that was believed to be linked to something diabolical, since they would be “fiery hairs”, an image very reinforced by the figures of Judas, Seth, Mary Magdalene, Cain, Lilith, etc.). Then the widespread idea of “witch hunt” was born, causing most of them to have to live hidden to avoid the cruel punishments that were directed at them.
How Does A Witch Live Today?
Fortunately, this situation was quite appeased with the decentralization of religious power, in addition to the cultural expansion of cinematographic figures such as Harry Potter, for example, contrary to the fame marked by witches and wizards with dark characteristics until then. However, when this goes beyond fiction, we are still faced with horrendous cases of death, and people who are judged for having links with other beliefs or activities called “satanic”.
For this reason, the great challenge throughout all these centuries has been to demystify what the term “witch” involves, who are basically people like all of us, who have families, study, work, have a social life, difficulties, sorrows, fears and that only opt for practices that we still do not know or ignore, as energies and elements of nature that are used in a beneficial way and even for healing, be it physical or spiritual.
Esoteric or inner knowledge is no different from other kinds of human knowledge and ability. It is a mystery for the average person only to the extent that writing is a mystery for those who have not yet learned to write.Rudolf Steiner
Witches reflect their life in connection with the earth, the forces of nature, animals, the seasons, the changes of the moon, the regency of the planets, food, and tend to see their life, body, and soul as sacred elements. Just as it is very positive to make it clear that the cult of human and animal sacrifices, diabolical pacts, renunciation of God, supernatural forces, crimes, murders, and the use of children for cruel acts are not connected to them.
Now that the term and all its origin are clear, it becomes even easier to understand everything that surrounds this universe, and because until the commemorative date, October 31, it carries so much mystery!
Once again the legends appeared and it is believed that on this fateful day, a link between the living and the dead would be compromised, which would allow souls to roam and take possession of other bodies. Thus, people found in the use of fantasies a good way to protect themselves from this risk. True or not, the tradition emerged hundreds of years ago and still remains alive, at least as a trait not only cultural but of greater understanding of what involves the mystical side of witches’ lives.
The Different Approaches Of The Craft
American historian Jeffrey B. Russell argues that there are three main approaches to what witchcraft is. The first approach is anthropological, which defines the term as a synonym for witchcraft; the second is historical, which, through records, puts all sorts of witchcraft as a practice that is linked to the cult of the devil; and the third is modern witchcraft, which defends the term as a pagan religion. Currently, we can divide the witchcraft groups between traditional and modern. Let’s take a look at the definition of each one of them.
This type of witchcraft predates Wiccan traditions or the religious reconstruction of pagan practices, which are linked to a particular tradition. Roy Bowers, Robert Cochrane’s pseudonym, created the term Traditional Witchcraft to classify pre-Gardnerian practices, that is, prior to Wicca, created by Gerald B. Gardner.
Traditionalist groups have absorbed knowledge and concepts from different religions over time. As they did not submit to the separation of religion and science, they changed their cosmological understanding and modified their practices according to scientific progress. They have no interest in being considered a religion.
Most wizarding traditions consider Modern Witchcraft to be synonymous with the practices that emerged and were based on Gerald B. Gardner, sometimes equivalent to Wicca. However, Raven Grimassi, the best-known reference in stregheria (Italian witchcraft), considers Charles Leland the father of modern witchcraft.
Gardner was initiated by traditional witches, but he combined the knowledge passed on by them with symbolic and ritualistic practices of High Magic. He also started from the ethical principle formulated by the occultist Aleister Crowley: “do what you want, it must be the whole of the Law”. Which was modified by Gardner to: “if you harm anyone, do what you wish”. Thus, the belief of the new pagan practice was formed.
For Witches, Is There Good And Evil?
We mistakenly created the term “black magick” and “white magick”. There was an assumption that those who did only good would be white wizards or witches, while those who did evil would be black wizards or witches.
However, this theory is wrong. Wizards and witches are not guided by these superficial concepts of good and evil. Any magick can be considered as grey, a duality expressed in various ways as light and dark, positive and negative, good and bad. We can make an analogy with the kitchen knife. You can use it to cut onions or to commit serial killings. This choice is individual, the knife is neutral and free of concepts.
Check out some magick and witchcraft books or Wiccan books that may be of interest to you:
- The Kybalion – Centenary Edition: Hermetic Philosophy
- The Door to Witchcraft: A New Witch’s Guide to History, Traditions, and Modern-Day Spells
- The Middle Pillar: The Balance Between Mind and Magic – Israel Regardie
- Ceremonial Magic: A Guide to the Mechanisms of Ritual
- Lone Witch Essential Guide – Scott Cunningham
- Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard – Oberon Zell-Ravenheart
- Essential Wicca – Estelle Daniels and Paul Tuitéan
- Magick in Theory and Practice – Aleister Crowley