Of late, I have observed many heated arguments online whereby practitioners have attempted to negate and belittle the beliefs of others based on their own beliefs and practice adhering to a more Arcane theology. It saddens me that conflict and closed mindedness is pervasive within the witchcraft community. Historically, we have been consistently misunderstood and vilified by other belief systems as a result of a monotheistic, narrow minded mentality that leaves no room for spiritual freedom.
In my personal opinion, the antiquity of a belief system or practice does not dictate superiority and does not negate the differing practices and beliefs of others. At one point in history all religions, belief systems and practices were a new concept. This in no way reduces the importance of the roots and foundation of our belief systems but it is important to remember that those roots will grow and change over time. some will choose to adhere to a traditional thought process, some will find that they connect with a neoteric ideology and practice while others will take a more eclectic view, combining aspects of both, that resonate with them on a spiritual level. All are relevant.
The way in which we connect with our practice , deities and craft is ever evolving as we journey further along our individual spiritual paths. One witches experience and connection to universal energy may be wildly different from that of another witch. We are individuals, each with our own unique energy and as such, our spiritual paths, the way we practice our craft and the way in which Deity appear to us will vary.
As an example of differing beliefs in terms of Deity, I know many witches of whom Hecate is a guide, but not all view or experience her in the same way. To some she appears in the form of a beautiful yet fierce Maiden, others see her as a healing and nurturing mother and some view her as the dark and wise crone. The variations don’t stop there, with others experiencing Hecate as the ‘three in one’ whereby aspects of maiden, mother and crone are present and they feel that she alone brings all of these qualities to their craft. There are witches who will view her triple aspect as being one part of a Greek trilogy such as Persephone, Demeter and Hecate.
Research into the historical backstories of our Deities is important, it allows us to initially connect with and understand them on a deeper level. It’s also a good idea to gather our research from various sources in order to establish the legitimacy of the information we are compiling. From this point forward I would advise that you be guided by your own experiences, intuition and personal relationship with your God/Goddess.
In terms of Spell work, there is much disputation in regards to the right and wrong way to do things. There has recently been an uproar on a popular social media platform, that centred around the correct way to seal spell bottles, with some witches declaring that wax was the only way to do this correctly. This was in an effort to belittle witches who may have found that another method, such as glue, suited them better. I was firmly in the camp of open minded witches who believe that your spiritual energy and intention are a far more powerful tool than the physical object that you have created to focus it upon.
Intuition is a witch’s most valuable and powerful asset. We must not allow ourselves to be separated from it or swayed in an unnatural direction at the say so of others. Connect with universal energy in a way that resonates with you and feeds your soul. If your practice feels right to you, then it IS right for you. Your greatest power as a witch comes from within, everything else is but a tool to compliment this energy. The way in which we use these tools is entirely up to the individual witch.
It is understandable that new witches would seek guidance from those already experienced in the craft. It can be an invaluable source of information and knowledge when obtained from an open minded source, or one with whose path you closely identify. As a witch who has provided such guidance to others for many years, I am very careful not to venture beyond basic practice and sway others into my thought process.
I view new witches in the same way that I would a blank book of shadows. I wouldn’t wish to fill my book of shadows entirely with someone else’s craft, nor would I attempt to fill someone else’s with my own. There’s a fine line between guidance and dictation and history has taught us what the latter results in, in terms of religion. If we are unable to accept and respect each others practice and craft within our own belief system, what chance do we have of ever arriving at a similar destination with others from opposing religions?
Be your authentic self to discover the authentic witch within you. Your intention and your personal connection to spiritual energy is what makes for successful Magick. So seal those spell bottles with whatever suits you, cast that spell when it feels right to you and be guided only by those who will allow you the freedom to do so in peace.
Sharing experiences with eachother is a wonderful way to enrich our magickal lives, forcefully pushing our beliefs on eachother is not. I have known many new witches who’s spiritual journey has been delayed and put on hold due to conflicting opinions of fellow witches. The fear of ‘getting it wrong’ can be enough to put new comers off altogether and by extension robs them of a fulfilling spiritual practice. There will no doubt be times when you find that a spell you performed could have been carried out in a more effective way but this is what our book of shadows is for; to journal our craft and practice so that we may learn and grow from our experiences moving forwards.
There will always be differing opinions and practices within the same religions but this does not and should not prevent us from coming together, respecting one another and supporting each-other in spite of these differences.
Before doubting your ability as a witch based on the opinion of another, ask yourself who was there to guide the first witch? Remind yourself that she was led by her own intuition and continue down your path with confidence and conviction. You may be walking a well worn path but this is your journey upon it!
Blessed Be Sisters & Brothers