My Beliefs

What do I mean when I say that I’m a witch? 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has faith, that is a difficult thing to explain even to themselves.  We take faith for granite when it is a mainstream religion like Christianity and Judaism, even Buddhism.  These things have specific doctrines that they follow and when you say them to people, they pretty much know exactly what you believe. 

Being a witch is a little bit different but in a lot of ways the same.  People think they know what you are talking about when you say that you’re a witch.  They have a very specific idea in their head of what you do and how you should look…and for many, where your heart is.  Its not what you think.  Sometimes being a witch isn’t even what I think.  Its not hexes and hats and pledges to the devil.  It is running around in the woods, picking up pretty rocks and having a connection with the rest of the natural world.  I suppose Neo-Pegan is probably a better way to word it but people don’t understand what that is either.  And for some, being a witch might very well be hexing and calling on dark forces. 

I don’t believe in dark forces.  I believe in the connection of all things.  I believe that there is no way that the world, the historical, and the archeological record can have so many similarities across oceans and time without some sort of connectivity from the earth and in the human experience.  This is hard to explain to people.  Yes I can talk about the pyramids, about the fact that there are mind boggling similarities in pottery, in the early human need to create art.  But that’s not the full story.  There is a feeling that you get sometimes when you learn to quiet your mind.  It’s a psychological effect to be sure.  Think about the way that time can slow down when you are around a bunch of people in a religious service.  This is often attributed to god in Judo-Christian religions.  To phycologists it’s a group effect. To me it is the connection in between all people that sync together when they are all thinking and feeling the same things.  Which could be both of these other things!  They aren’t mutually exclusive after all. 

But that doesn’t explain how I feel when I’m making something.  It’s the connection I feel when I’m wrist deep in clay.  When I’m channeling the idea of Prometheus when he made the first humans out of every color clay that he could find.  When I think about all of the people before me around the world that do this. When I send it to someone who bought it and tell them that they have given this thing I made a home and that that will connect us, even if we never meet.  When I dig in the garden to help a plant in the earth and later take a bit of it right in the garden and taste the soil still on it and the sunshine in it.  This is what makes me a witch. 

I often have to deal with the fact that my family doesn’t actually think that I’m a witch.  My family is very Christian.  I was raised catholic (More on that later) and while my parents are no longer part of a church they still listen to bible studies and the like, which I respect.  But they very much believe that as a witch I worship satan.  I tell them that I actually don’t believe in ‘the devil’ and explain that the polarized view of good and evil personifying themselves actually is a relatively new concept dating to the Zoroastrain’s.  Pretty recent in terms of human history.  But when it comes to faith people don’t want to hear you or about history…which is understandable actually.  Its super comforting to think of things as ancient and therefore infallible.  Its not my job to teach them…but hearing that you worship evil is actually really insulting.  Most of all when you are an earth witch who believes in growth and connection in between all things. 

I try not to be offensive all the same.  What they believe is for them and there is nothing wrong with something that gives you comfort and community, as long as its not hurting anyone else of course.  I do always think its super cute that Christians think they are persecuted in America when they are basically in control of everything.  Plus as a witch the only response I have to that is “um…historically it is well documented that less then 200 years ago I would have been burnt at the stake for putting rosemary on a wound but whatever.” 

I was raised in a fun time, times when warner brothers were putting out shows like Charmed, the Original Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  All of which invoked a healthy dose of girl power, even while fitting girls into the stereotypical to be a final girl you must be a virgin/ the virgin / whore dichotomy. Of course I was influenced by this.  We all were in the 90’s.  But honestly, I attribute a lot of my magical thinking to growing up Catholic.  There was something about the way that things were viewed, saints being glorified, miracles being performed.  Even as a child when we moved to Germany, I couldn’t help but be in awe of the fact that every single church in Europe pretty much has the mummified body part of a saint as a relic or has one of the nails that were used on the cross when Jesus was crucified.  (They apparently used A LOT of nails). We visited Lourdes in France where people go to heal in the blessed waters where the virgin marry appeared to a local woman.  How is this not magical thinking? How can you blame my belief’s on Warner brothers and Buffy when I was allowed to swim in the hot springs in Baden Baden or in the ghettos off the coasts of Capri where Roman Emperors swim and made offerings to the gods? Even at home on the small town we lived in in Germany I would go for walks in the woods and feel connected to it.  I would spend hours out there, going off the walking path.  There was something more there, something that called to all of us.  People would walk in the woods there more often than not, no matter what time of year, how much snow or rain or even heat.  Being outside I would just feel that connection that most people describe when they are in a midnight mass.

 I was always a sensitive kid and teen, writing everything that I saw, journaling everything that I felt, finding books on the history of the places that we went to.  This sort of historical and magical thinking combine with actually being in places that had a lot of significance had me feeling things in sacred spaces very early.  Its something that I still feel even in newer places that hold something.  I still live in a historical area in the United States.  Bucks county harbors valley forge and every morning I run by the place where Washington crossed the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War.  I go into one of the oldest libraries in the United States and can just….feel it in the bottom of my stomach.

All of these connections made for a very pragmatic witch who loves to study and feel at the same time.  I consider myself part of a greater connection, one that we all belong to even when we try so hard to separate ourselves from each other, from the past and from the natural world.  Trying to explain this though falls short of giving people an actually dogma.  So here are some tips on what to ask a witch and my answers for them.  Yes I have been asked all of these and no it is not annoying.  I am perfectly willing to share as long as its open and not in judgement or in an attempt to ‘save me’.    

What Kind of witch are you?:  I’m an earth witch.  I believe in the power and energy of the natural world.

Oh you’re Wiccan?:  I am not.  Wicca was made by a man in the early 1900’s.  If it has a hierarchical structure I typically stay away from it.  (Really interesting story though if you look up the history of Wicca.  Its wild!)

What do you do to practice?:  I spend as much time as I can outside and connect with other living things around me.  I am also in a constant state of trying to rewild myself.  My practice is something that I do every day to try and connect.  I meditate, I read a lot, I go for long walks and runs in the woods, I try to be kind to everyone and understand how they fit into my life and how I fit into theirs.  I garden, I make pottery, I walk barefoot. 

Do you read tarot cards/ Astrology/ tea leaves, ect?:  Yes but I use them like people use a weather report.  Its not specific but if the cards tell me something stressful is going to happen, I emotionally prepare myself for that.  Much like if the weather report said 80% chance of rain I would bring an umbrella. 

Do you do spells:  Sometimes.  Most of the time on the high fire festival or solstice days.  I do them in my garden a lot when I’m planting though they are more prayers and offerings.  I also am very careful to be reverent to places that I visit and pay my respect to that culture, their gods and their believes.  I burn tobacco when I visit sites in central America and Indigenous sites.  I leave things in graveyards like an apple or sweets, ect.  Spells aren’t just sitting at a cauldron.  Spells are little rituals that we perform every single day. 

Do you have an alter?:  I do!  Its in my room and I often meditate in front of it to help myself focus. It has stones on it, books, sage and a burner, I knife made out of stone from a cenote in Mexico (Bought not taken),  a candle in the female form and a lovely money tree in some pottery that I personally made.  Under it is a shelf with whatever tarot deck I’m working with, a bowl for offerings and whatever historical or non fiction book I’m reading at the time. All of these things help me focus and make me feel calm and connected to myself and the world around me.

Do You worship the devil?:  I don’t believe in the devil. The devil is a construction of a bunch of the negative qualities of old gods that were normally considered chaotic (Think Kali, Loki, Puck, ect) but they were not considered “Bad” they simply were. 

Are you part of a coven?: No I practice by myself though I do have friends who are also independent witches that I talk about things with.  Most of all if I need to work something out.  We are basically an awesome book club.

What god do you worship?:  All of them. Though I do pay special care to the divine feminine who leads me in all her/ they/ its forms. 

What do you think happens when you die?:  No one knows that no matter how much they tell you they do.  I believe that we are all energy and that all energy gets transferred.  I don’t know how.  Maybe we just become fertilizer.  But the earth needs that too.

Every witch beliefs are a little bit different so if you do really want to understand what they believe in, be sensitive and don’t jump to the conclusion that they are some new age weirdo.  As you can probably tell from this article so much of being a witch is about connecting.  Its about feeling something and like you are part of something bigger than yourself; the same thing that everyone looking for a religion is looking for.

 Our beliefs are not an insult.  It is not a bastardization of Christianity.  Its not about blood packs or sacrifices of animals and small children.  Its about a connection with the ground under us and the people around us, both now and in the past, that make us and the world who we are.  Its about exploration of meaning and curiosity about the world and the people around us.  Its about feeling like our world is part of us, instead of something separated and far away. 

Isn’t this what we all want?  What we all are?  Where we are all from?  Yes, that’s exactly what we all want and that’s the point.  We are all a part of it. 

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