Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Shades of Witchcraft

Prompted by blog post and video by the Australian Witch, I got to thinking about her point on Being Spiritually Realistic and also the idea that there are shades of Witchcraft. I realise now my comment on her post might be a little harsh but I stand by what I said, sometimes the truth is harsh. I will modify it by saying perhaps I should have said “some new witches” not “all new witches”.

There seems to be this standard of thinking of witchcraft in shades of white, grey and black. There is no colour classification in witchcraft and I can’t help feeling that this whole “I practice (insert shade) witchcraft” is some ridiculous way of separating from others and making yourself seem more approachable or doing it for the shock factor or even trying to say that you walk a line but you’re not that “bad”. It seems the classifications are as follows:

White: Light, Love, Happiness, Harmony, Healing and the absolute refusal to do harm to anyone, anywhere, anytime for any reason. White witchcraft seems to embrace the tenants of Wicca and incorporate them into the practice.

Grey: Walks a fine line between the two, works both shadow and light, can work harmful magic to a degree but always balances it.

Black: Negative, spiteful, harmful, dark and used for selfish gain, often works within the shadow areas.

This is my impression of the classification of witchcraft and quite frankly I find it to be bull to the highest degree. I get why people run around claiming to be a white witch, it smacks of acceptance and ‘I’m a good witch’ and will therefore calm the masses who might give in to bouts of hysteria. It’s just not the truth; there are no shades in Witchcraft. Why? Because if you practice only one “shade”, you are practicing a completely imbalanced path; serving only one area might make you feel better but won’t accomplish much. Witchcraft as a natural practice also must mimic the natural world. Everything has a balance.

It makes me think of those who work with The Morrigan in her facet of a Goddess of Witchcraft and Magick and completely discount the fact that she is also a Goddess of War, Destruction and Death. She is a battlefield Goddess and has a triple face of equally vicious sisters who are vengeful. Hecate is another, yes she is a Goddess of Witchcraft and Magick but she is also a Goddess of the Crossroads and the Underworld, she is of the darker places. I think sometimes new witches do not realise the whole of who these Goddesses are, they see “Goddess of Witchcraft” and that is about as far as they get. These Goddesses have survived through the centuries because they are fearsome and powerful. I would never approach either of them without understanding the whole of who they are, instead of just the part that sounds cool and fun.

As Lirio said in The Craft “True magic is neither black, nor white - it's both because nature is both. Loving and cruel, all at the same time.” And this is true of witchcraft. There is no white/grey/black witchcraft, there is simply witchcraft. Now I know some people are probably going to disagree with me and that’s fine, everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I can’t get on board with this idea of there being shades of witchcraft.

What do I practice if I was to clarify or classify? I practice a traditional path, I am an Animist, I am a cunning crafter, I work with divination, I work with herbs and plant spirits. I am a practitioner of the Green Craft and I think the best words that are near to what I do or practice would be the article at Ivy on the Path. It’s a fascinating read and really did inspire me, although I still don’t work with Deity. Personal preference, although I have learned that on occasion, if Deity wishes to speak to you, nothing you do will prevent them from having their message heard.

I was raised reading fairytales, the Grimm ones that don’t always necessarily have the happy ending. I read a lot as a child and the world opened up in new ways to me, fairytales inevitably had the good vs bad conclusion but I never ever felt connected to the heroine of the piece, I always felt more for the “bad” or “evil” witch. I always thought she was more misunderstood than anything else. I would play in the garden with the faeries. I grew up on movies like The Princess Bride, Labyrinth, Dark Crystal, Willow and the other wonderful early fairytale movies. These movies are dark, and although there is an eventual triumph of good over evil, there is no doubt that a lot of us grew up during a time in books and movies where there was a definite lack of the happy, white light nonsense. What has that got to do with anything? It’s a perspective thing, growing up when the lesson was not to walk in the woods alone, nowadays that lesson seems to be that the wolf and Snow are the bestest of buds. I learned growing up that there was darkness in the world but it could be balanced and that is why I think I am able to approach witchcraft with the balanced view of polarity.

As the Australian Witch stated in her video, there is a plethora of people out there online and in the real world that do not walk their talk  and have no clear idea of their path but tell others it is fine to be whatever, to practice whatever. And to a degree it is, but you can’t walk this path if you have no clear idea on what your path is, walking this path is a lifelong commitment, a way of life. It’s not a fad or whim to be taken up because some one watched something cool with a witch in it. Witchcraft is not a cool factor; it is not a fad or a trend or something to be taken lightly. There are forces on this plane and others that would not hesitate to lay the smackdown to pretenders, mockers and those who do not walk this path seriously.

I’m not trying to preach or force my own ideas on others but I find some things that are quite prevalent in the larger community to be the height of ridiculous. There is a level of respect that needs to be had and I feel sometimes that is missing. Our paths are ever evolving and changing for nothing can ever stay the same otherwise we stagnate and do not grow spiritually. However I do believe that the growing does not include the forever flip flopping of paths, ideals and beliefs as it suits or is fashionable.

So at the end of this, all I ask is that one approach this path with respect and at least some working knowledge and truly, if you want to be taken seriously by others in the community PLEASE do not start with the colour coded witchcraft nonsense because it shows a lack of understanding and knowledge and will not get you the help you desire or require.

5 comments:

  1. I agree. Whenever I hear someone describe themselves as a 'white witch' my first thought is - oh, so not a real witch then. Not that I say so out loud.

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  2. I so agree with everything you have stated here Stacey.
    I hate it when people describe themselves as white/grey/black witches, it always sounds so phoney!!
    Unfortunately, the devil in me does lead me to challenge them to think about their statements....Most of the "black witches" I have encountered don't want to hear about balance and harmony within the craft, they just want to do curses and spells to hurt people - they think I'm an old crone who doesn't know anything!!
    I call them fashion witches :o)

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  3. Spot on, as usual, Stacey. I never referred to myself in a color-coded sense, but when I first took this path back up after an extended absence I focused only on "Love & Light" (Hence the title of my blog). As you pointed out, though, that approach has no balance. I take a much more balanced approach to witchcraft now, but temper it with my own values. That is the most important thing for me in any spiritual path.

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  4. Fashion witches? Lol. There are some who do the whole "black" thing for shock value, they want people to fear them but in the end they look like idiots.

    @Lady D - I sometimes think the same thing.

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  5. I love Allison's videos! Love your post too!

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