“Witch” … what does it mean? For centuries, the term has been tossed around like a silk scarf in the heavy duty cycle in a washing machine. The term is not derogatory by any means. Fear has a funny way of sculpting the opinions of those who do not understand the practice of witchcraft. (Yes, Witchcraft is a practice, not a religion.) Back to the question at hand.. what is in fact, a witch? I’ll tell you. A witch is someone that uses the practice of witchcraft (herbs, oils, spells, candles and magick) to obtain a desired result. Witches can be traced back for centuries, although it wasn’t until 1000AD that they made their way onto the radar of priests and other mainstream religious figures. Witches tend to be great healers. Most cultures throughout the past few centuries have a relied upon some form of witch for their knowledge of local herbs to invoke healing from common ailments, increased fertility, protection from spirits or those who wish to do harm, and even bring you luck or love. A giant misconception about these lovely people is that they have a pact with the Devil. Every time someone asks this, I laugh…then when I realize they weren’t joking, I calmly approach the situation like this… Witches do not worship the Devil, as we are not Christian or Satanists, therefore we have no belief in The Fallen Angel and we are unable to make a pact with something we don’t believe in. As a witch, we do however, believe in Karma. What you send out, you will get back times 3. So it is on the shoulders of each individual witch as to whether or not you practice white magick or black magick. Witches tend to be very gentle and very knowledgeable. Next time you have a cold and someone suggests a natural cure to ease the symptoms … you have just encountered a small fraction of what “The Craft” can accomplish.
Why is Witchcraft not a religion? Some may feel their practice through their work of candles, herbs, spells and magick is spiritual and who am I to argue with them regarding their own opinion; however, you can use witchcraft without calling upon any deities. Religion in itself is defined as, “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.” The general theory being that you can be part of any religion and still be a Witch.
The debate between Wicca and Witches and Witchcraft is one that has gone on since the Wicca Religion first made it’s debut in the early twentieth century with the help of people like, Margaret Murray, Doreen Valiente and Gerald Gardner. Wicca focuses on the worship of the Lord and the Lady, Wheel of the Year and Covens and yes while some of them may use magick it is not necessary nor is it a requirement. Not all Witches are Wiccan and not all Wiccan’s are Witches. Say that ten times fast and you will have accomplished nothing other than still being partially confused. To spare you the boring details of the history of Wicca and related witchcraft-based Neopagan religions you can click the link and be directed to more concrete data if you choose.
What it means to be a Witch is to simply just be you. Embrace your quirky habits, dance like no one is watching, love with all your heart and don’t let fear hold you back. You can enshroud yourself in mystery and make your broom closet nice and comfy or share it with the world that you practice witchcraft. No matter which path you choose, you will always come across someone that shuns your beliefs and takes the moral high ground. All you can do is wish them well and encourage them to be the best that they can be. The only person that has to accept that you are a Witch is yourself. You do not have to defend your practice, you do not have to justify it. Just remember that no matter how much energy you focus into your magick and how good your intentions may be… nothing will ever replace genuine hard work and taking good care of yourself. Magick is not a cure-all. It’s simply a tool that we have adapted through the centuries to help move us along during our journey on this rock.