A Rose, by any other name…

Like any religion, there are a multitude of branches of practice in Witchcraft. Not every Witch you will meet (and trust me, you have met and will meet many, without even realizing it) believes the same things nor practices their Craft the same way. Some are a little elitist in believing their way is the only way, but that would be like saying only Anglicans or Episcopalians or Baptists are true Christians.

Schisms happen in any faith, moments when one faction or group of people come to a new realization and branch away from the original church. If you go to your local bookstore and search for a book about Witchcraft it’s very likely  you will be directed to the “New Age” section. Many of those books will lead you towards Wicca, which is in fact a new religion, albeit based on an old one.

Religions of all sorts are interchangeable, depending on personal experience. The thing that is important is the ability to stay true to yourself. As I write in the future, it’s important to understand that my beliefs and practices are not dogma. They are not the be all and the end all. What works for me may not work for you or any other Witch for that matter. It may not feel comfortable, but the joy is that it is adaptable.

With that being said, I must confess to a little elitist quirk of my own. Although I am an “Hereditary” Witch, I’m skeptical of those who claim the same. I’m not skeptical of their beliefs or their right to practice, I’m just often skeptical that they are truly hereditary. This is mainly based on experience, most of the Witches I have met over the course of my life became Witches at one point or another.

It’s easy to become a Witch, especially these days when religious diversity is a little more accepted than it was within the last millennium. But, it’s very rare to be born a Witch. To become a Witch one just needs to feel a certain “calling”, like any religion, and then do the research to find a place to fit in. A Hereditary Witch is one born to parents who are Witches. And those parents were born of Witches as well, back through endless generations. Chances are, you won’t find the practices of Hereditary lines in any book. Hereditary practices are private and elusive, the secrecy of the Tradition is sacred. My children, if they choose to follow, will be Hereditary Witches, and they will practice what I have taught them, until they find what suites their hearts best…That’s if they follow.

Not every child will follow. One of the biggest practices of the Craft is the right to choose. Unlike other religions, my children are expected to be educated in other faiths. This gives them the freedom to believe what their heart tells them, not just what they are taught. It can be a very bittersweet practice, especially when a child comes home and tells you that you are going to “hell”, that your faith is evil and scary and that you need to be saved. Thankfully for me, I am a very patient woman, and I know that these reactions are normal and natural, I remember shouting them at my own father as a child.

As little as a few hundred years ago, declaring that you were a Witch would get you burned at the stake, hung by the neck or beheaded. In our modern society, for the most part, religious acceptance has changed all that. The misconceptions, however, still exist. And like any other religion, mine still has its persecutors. I was taught as a child that it is human nature to fear what isn’t understood.

There are a million ways to place blame for religious persecution; ignorance, propaganda, media, word of mouth, history, urban legends.  The spreading of misconceptions in any form of media contributes largely to the persecutions felt in any religion. What is the biggest misconception of my faith? What is the one thing I wish I could convince the world is wrong in its thoughts about my beliefs? That I worship the devil.

People see a pentacle hanging from my necklace and instantly think me a devil-worshipper, or a Satanist (which is a religion with its own set of misconceptions to be dealt with) and are scared.  They believe me to be evil, capable of horrible things, someone to be feared and by some, destroyed. I’ll admit, although I’m not able to turn you into a toad, I am able to serve you an infusion, a tisane (tea) that will make you feel bloated and sluggish, look a little green in the cheeks and give you a rasp in your throat, but I truly cannot turn you into a toad. Nor would I want to. That unified connection that I believe in convinces me that if I were to do you harm, it would only make my life miserable. And as for the Devil? Doesn’t exist in my world. Satan, Lucifer, whatever you choose to call it, is a belief created by Christian based religions, primarily Hebrew, to represent the opposite of their God. Since the Craft (even the traditions that have gods) believes in a unity of all things, you’d be hard pressed to find a Witch  willing to give any credit to one single entity such as a devil. So the number one thing I want you to know about me, as a Witch, is that I do not worship the Devil. I do not even believe in its existence.

What about Black Magic, you might ask? We’ll get to that…eventually.

*DISCLAIMER: Over the next little while I am going to attempt a series of posts regarding my faith. Some will find what I write to be an offense to their own thoughts, faiths and religions. Please know that I mean none. It is not my intention to convert, nor enlighten, just simply educate those who’ve shown an interest or an understanding. It is not in my nature to judge my beliefs to be more worthy or correct than any other. My apologies if my explanations seem vague and incomplete, I’m going to try to do this without foresaking my own beliefs and Tradition, which still stands by the sense of secrecy for what we do.  On that note, I’m always, always willing to answer any questions, so don’t be afraid to ask. Any honest query is completely welcomed.

Advertisements

7 Comments

  1. MDM said,

    October 22, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Very well written. I agree about Hereditary traditions witches. My own beliefs are a smattering of beliefs and traditions across many practices. I am loving tnis so far, and it’s quite inspiring…. blog idea? Hmmmmmm

    Melanie

  2. Lisa said,

    October 23, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Very interesting stuff! Can’t wait for the rest of the series. There’s a politiician now in the USA who years ago said she had a picnic with a male witch on a satanic alter. Now she’s going for the damage control and being super conservative Christian.

    • Pie said,

      October 23, 2010 at 6:45 pm

      I vaguely remember that story. Isn’t she part of this Tea Party who are ultra conservatives and sound a little scary? I think that story made the UK shores for a day, but was soon forgotten. You can see a younger version of her on YouTube with Bill Maher (I think) relating that very story.

      • Lisa said,

        October 25, 2010 at 8:48 pm

        She’s a candidate in the US state of Delaware for US senate. Oh and she’s anti-masturbation too! 😦 I am sooo going to hell.

        • October 26, 2010 at 8:13 am

          Oh my….come to the dark side Lisa, we have cookies. And masturbation’s encouraged!….LOL

          • Lisa said,

            October 27, 2010 at 9:42 pm

            Cookies and self-loving are my 2 favorite things!

  3. Pie said,

    October 23, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Great stuff, SBC. Keep it coming.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: