by Sean Green
My life's path has now brought me to an interesting place. This is not unusual, as everyday is an interesting place. The thing that stands out about this particular place is that I have the desire to write about it for my own reflection and to present information to others so they may choose to reflect. I journey through rich areas of learning and contemplation. My teachers are profound in their combination of trickster and teacher. All of who I am has now created a place where I am deciding, or perhaps just reflecting, on pursuing the formal study of Witchcraft.
First some history before I reveal what I've discovered. I've been associated with the pagan community since 1994. Two of my original metaphysical teachers in Georgia were Witches. My best friend at the time was a Witch, but would not proclaim it. She has since recognized her place. I moved to South Carolina and became closely involved with Wiccan groups in 1997. My oratory path began in a Wiccan discussion group. I worshipped with them, partied with them, sold them books, and did not take on the title of Witch. I witnessed the turning of several years with them, stood by as an observer as covens came and went, saw the good, bad, and the ugly, and I did not take on the title of Witch. Something held me back. My path was not ready to go there. I instead studied and lived a combination of Eastern and shamanic beliefs. I taught and learned, progressing my own knowledge of the world.
Now I have come full circle, as circles must, and again I am asked if becoming a Witch is my path. What has brought me here? The synastry of dreams, friends, mutual acquaintances, and the overall dynamics of my life present me with this opportunity of awareness. So, how to decide? I look to my friends and acquaintances for what Witchcraft means in their life and see a wide variety of expressions. I am too close to them, they are too close to me, and their life experience is not open to my prying about. A paradox yes?
Two years ago I was exploring what it meant to be a shaman, and hit upon a method to explore the ramifications of the path. I searched on the internet (google.com) for the search phrase, "What is a Shaman?" I pulled from sites of many different ethnic and philosophical backgrounds. The sum, greater than it's parts, answered my question. I've done the same for the search phrase, "What is a Witch?" The results are were interesting and diverse. I told a friend that I was using this method, and she said, "why don't you look at author X or author Y? They have better information than scattered opinions on personal websites." She was right, but that was not the truth I was after. As a used book dealer, my personal library has many quality books on Wicca and Witchcraft. I can see what the most respected authors have to say on the topic. That is not what I wanted. I wanted to see what the average person on the street said, and more importantly, what they did. This would reveal the true heart of Witchcraft in the average of the human experience.
This is who I am. This is my question. I will next tell you what I found.
The beginning definition I found was "a Witch is a person who practices Witchcraft." This is a really BIG answer. It seems that I will find a definition of Witchcraft along the way. I took all of the commentaries I found and boiled them down to single sentences. The average of those sentences created the following picture of a Witch practicing Witchcraft:
A Witch is one who:
1) Is responsible for their own actions
2) Acknowledges the law of karmic return
3) Follows an personal centered ethic
4) Honors and celebrates the Earth
5) Honors and celebrates divinity through the God and Goddess
6) Affirms life
7) Acknowledges the male-female polarity
There are two thoughts present in these seven statements. (1) through (3) are statements of personal and global ethics. (4) through (7) are statements affirming the vitality and connectiveness of life.
There is a statement of who a Witch is that I've left out. It is the statement that ties ethics and life together. IMHO, it is the statement that begins to truly define who a Witch is. This statement is:
A Witch is magical.
Very simple. There is a lot packed into this statement. What is magick? My working definition is:
Magick is the act and outcome of intent and focus.
And from this:
Every act and thought done with intent is magick.
Ah... what is intent? I will list the steps to working magick (doing acts and thoughts with intent).
The person directing magick (INTENT!) has to have:
1) Awareness of their surroundings - who/what is there and where
2) The knowledge of how to communicate
3) The understanding of how to combine the awareness and knowledge
4) A relationship with person/elemental/energy that will facilitate a response
Throw in awareness of that all results are not "seen" as they extend across many levels of experience, an awareness of the karmic return, and a call to use magick ethically, and there is a big picture of magick drawn.
But what does it mean? How do I LIVE and EXPERIENCE this as a Witch?
Ok. Here is my statement of who a Witch is:
A Witch is a person who's life that one with the World. A Witch is the living expression of the cycles of the World and he/she is an expression of the World's intent. The Witch's intent mirrors the World's inherent, manifesting harmony.
All the stuff - the magick, the ethics, the duality of the goddess and god - follows from this.
Am I a Witch now? The answer is Yes.
This presents me with a question for my potential teachers in the structured instruction of Witchcraft: what can they teach me - prompt me to experience - that will further fulfill my being a Witch?