Thursday, April 15, 2010

Witches and Responsibility

A third post about why I'm a witch.

I think there is a very misunderstood view of how witches function in the general public. Again with the Hollywood thing. Some people really believe we can levitate things and clean our homes with a wave of our wands. We wish! There also seems to be an assumption that witches can 'curse' people or make someone fall in love. While it's true that study and practice may lead to the ability to do these things, in the process of that study and practice, we learn again and again why we're better off not trying things like that.
   I mentioned before that Wiccans and Witches are different. Not very different. Wiccans have more dogma and a more religion-based practice, in my view. There are a lot of divisions or types of Wicca. Dianic, Fairie, Celtic, even Christian Wicca. There are so many more. In these traditions, there are certain ways of doing things. There may be rituals that use the same words and movements every time. The participants hold similar beliefs. There are covens or circles and often a hierarchy. As a witch, I don't participate with these groups but I do identify with them to some extent. My spiritual beliefs are best represented by these religious paths.
The only real difference is that I take from all positive traditions (Wiccan and others) and I am not limited in what I do. It's perfectly acceptable for a solitary witch to do a ritual that is Native American or Buddist or Hindu or any combination of any faith.
The one thing we all seem to agree on is the Wiccan Rede. Those eight little words,: "An it harm none, do what ye will.".  This is deceptively simple. It tells us that as long as our actions do no harm, we should feel free to do what we want. Someone could say, well, it would make that guy happy to fall in love with this girl so that should be fine, right? Wrong! The major thing we keep in mind at all times is free will. It's simply manipulative to use magic as a way to try to start a relationship. If it works at all, the outcome will be disastrous.  Some people even recommend asking permission before doing a healing ceremony for someone. At first I didn't understand this. Of course we all want to be healthy, right.  But we can't forget that sometimes people are ill and it's a part of their karmic path. Maybe there is a reason for the thing we feel we should change. It' very humbling because it makes you realize how little we know about why things happen and what life is really for.
Another important aspect of Harm None is that it includes ourselves, so outside of our magical practice, it's important for us to take self-care very seriously. Witches aren't only witches when we are in a circle, we're witches 24/7. The same goes for every Wiccan, Witch, or Pagan I've ever met. It's similar to Native American practice in that way. There isn't division between our spiritual lives and our everyday lives. Instead, our spirituality imbues every thing we do. Integrity and will power are very important, as is a benevolence towards everything that is. We see everything as sacred. The natural world was not only made by God and Goddess, they are present in us and in every rock, blade of grass, animal, bug, person, flower, cloud...  Everything deserves our respect and kindness. This is why so many Pagans are very eco-conscious. Not only do we care about our world and its future, it is absolutely sacred to us. So Harm None takes on a whole new and broader meaning when we have this world view. Littering is causing harm. Unkind words or looks cause harm. Judging others causes harm. Being selfish causes harm. After time we realize that it's impossible to walk this Earth and not cause any harm at all so we work to do the best we can. Because constantly kicking ourselves when we misstep -you guessed it- causes harm.
It's a very gentle world view, I think. When I feel at my witchy best, I absolutely exude love. I feel compassion for the whole world at once and also for every being on it. This is what the craft is teaching me. And considering that most magic done for others is either manipulative or (if they ask you for it) something the person should probably do for themselves, the best use of magic (for me) is self-healing and blessing. Everything I do, I do "for the good of all at this time" and I ask God and Goddess to see that my actions or the energy I direct is only used in good and helpful ways.  Because we're humans, we make mistakes. I like to know that whatever work I do, it's been "okayed" in a way by Deity. Maybe I play it safe but safe feels good. Even though I've been a witch for almost 10 years, I still feel like a student, like I'm totally new at this. That's a refreshing feeling and another thing that fosters humility. I think that's one of the best things we can invest in at this time. Humility and compassion for others could help make some big changes in this world gone astray.


  1. Sometimes all it takes to be considered a witch is to be an uppity empowered woman! Great post on responsibility in energy work. I like it.

  2. Thanks Aine. I love that, uppity empowered woman. We need more of those! I love that this path makes me think so hard about the consequences of my actions!