Friday, February 01, 2008
What does it mean to be a Witch - Part One
I got asked this question some time ago by Kahless. At first I squirmed about the label, after all, I do come from a staunch christian background where witchcraft is up there with adultery and murder as the unforgivable sins. However the biblical definition of witchcraft has nothing to do with modern Wiccan practice ... says she soothing those Parent voices in her head.
However I am a witch - I do believe that thought influences reality (magick), I can alter my conciousness at will and I do celebrate the 8 festivals in the year, plus I like all the velvet dresses, cloaks and magical tools. I am also a woman - and I believe deeply that witchcraft is the ONLY religious persuasion that truly celebrates the feminine, that sees divinity as female first, then male. I subscribe to that point of view, if that makes me a Witch then so be it.
I am directly opposed to the ethos of patriachal society which has done nothing but destroy and oppress based on its interlocking pillars of sexism, racism, class exploitation and environmental destruction.
Being a Witch is a stand against those philosphies and so the first and foremost reason for taking this path is because Witches treat the planet and humanity with respect.
Deep Ecology and ecofeminism are encapsulated in the Wiccan path. If you want to learn more about these concepts then I recomment www.thegreenfuse.org.
I watched the BBC series Planet Earth and was filled with awe as well as deep sadness. Who are we to rape and plunder this wonderful planet? Who are we to set ourselves up as Masters of the natural world?
Being a Witch means that I experience myself as part of the living earth and therefore I must play my part in protecting the planet. Witchcraft is a hybrid indiginous religion, and as with all such paths it originates from a time when mankind HAD to respect the earth. He had no choice but to work within his environment and live in harmony with the seasons. All other religions came along much later. In fact 'Christian Cultures' were responsible for the great colonial horrors of slavery, the decimation of native american society and most indiginous peoples who by and large lived in harmony with nature and only took what they needed to survive.
In formal religion God rules the world from outside. In Witchcraft Goddess is the world manifested in each one of us and the ecosystem of the planet. Worship of an external God who has given permission for mankind to bring the planet into subjection, rationalises the belief that mankind can plunder the planet. As he is encouraged to conquer sin in his own flesh, so he has been encouraged to conquer the natural world and the peaceful people that live in harmony with it. Think of the crusades and the missionaries; whole societies have been crushed or dismantled either by war or dogma until they are no longer able to sustain their original life styles. Witchcraft recognises ecological balance - it is a religion of ecology. It also recognises and values indiginous culture.
These things are very important to me. They touch my soul - therefore being a Witch is a political as well as a spiritual statement.
I observe the 8 festivals which follow the seasons; the solstices and the equinoxes. I observe the phases of the moon. It is a rhythmic path in which nature plays the most important role. I recycle, I buy ethically farmed foods, I am aware of my carbon footprint and am now making choices that reduce it. I support charities that work for the environment, I avoid supporting organisations that dont. Its not perfect, no doubt I contribute to the destruction as much as the next man but I do make sure my spiritual path has some impact on my life.
Being a Witch means being alive now! It is a joyful path. I love it.
OK, so thats probably enough from me. I have had to rush it due to time pressures so do forgive me if it is not constructed as well as I would have liked. Part 2, 3 and possibly 4 will cover the female aspect and more of the fluffy stuff.