Ah, a Witch in October!
It's kind of like being...a Turkey at Thanksgiving! It's the time when we, as Witches, are most often cast into the public eye. The media, which have been more than happy to pretend we don't exist all year long, come out of the wood work clambering to jump on the Halloween bandwagon with some article or documentary that includes an interview with a "real" Witch. Unfortunately, the media has little, if any, interest in discovering what those of us who refer to ourselves as Witches are really about, unless of course, there happens to be some kind of ritualistic murder, grave desecration or equally heinous crime. Then we may be suspect, but it's usually the Satanists who get the blame! No, in my humble opinion, their primary interest lies in finding the one person who is willing to step out of the proverbial broom closet into the spotlight, and whom most closely resembles the Hollywood "Witch" stereotype. And, find them they do! Unfortunately, despite our attempts to reassure the general population otherwise, this only serves to confirm what has been suspected about us all along...that we are part of the lunatic fringe!
I gotta be honest though, we do attract our share of crazies or those seekers who are simply interested in Witchcraft or Wicca for its "cool" factor. And, we Witches do all sorts of interesting things, don't we? We dance under the full moon, cast Circles with sharp, pointy knives, go through tons of incense and attend amazing clothing optional festivals! It is pretty cool, actually! Sadly however, many of these path seekers have little in the way of actual experience or knowledge of our historical background. And while it may be fun to "dress the part", unless you really know your Craft, the last thing you want to do is publicly discuss an already misunderstood practice with those people who are more interested in, "what kind of broom do you ride?".
So what do they really do in October, those Witches? Well, I'm sure like most people, many of us will do the usual stuff one does on Halloween,.rifle through our kid's Trick or Treat bags for the best candy, watch scary movies or perhaps, attend a Halloween party or two.
Many of us however, will also be celebrating the Festival of Samhain. Samhain, pronounced, "sow-un", is the Wiccan Sabbat honoring our beloved ancestors and those Witches of good character who have gone on before us. It's said to be the time when the veil between the Worlds is most thin.
You might find us sitting before a crackling fire, under a beautiful crescent moon, the scent of incense carried on the night's breeze. Fallen leaves swirl around us, as we huddle close, keeping each other warm. Gazing across the Circle, we look into the many beautiful faces of those friends who have become Clan. A steady drumbeat echoes the sound of their voices, the flames illuminating their tears, as they chant the names of those loved ones who have since crossed the veil.
I know that for some, this might sound like a strange practice. Yet, every Sunday millions of Christians attend religious services in which they reenact Christ’s Last Supper. They are invited to receive the Holy Eucharist and partake in the “body and blood of Christ”. Now, if by some quirk of fate you’ve never heard of Christ or this practice within the Christian mass, it does sound a lot like cross between Sanguine Vampirism and Cannibalism. And yet, it is an acceptable religious practice in our society. For Christians around the World this is just a normal part of their religious beliefs. Of course, we are familiar with Jesus Christ and understand that it’s neither of these things, but is symbolic of taking Deity into one’s self. It’s a beautiful sacrament, but no more so than the Wiccan “Great Rite”, the symbolic sacred marriage of the God and Goddess.
And, what about the practices of other mainstream religions. In Judaism, ritual circumcision is a practice that has been passed down from generation to generation. It is believed to be the first Commandment given to God by Abraham. "And on the 8th day he shall have his foreskin circumcised" (Leviticus 12:3). And, yet for those of the Jewish faith in our society, this is a perfectly acceptable practice as well. For someone unfamiliar however, it might very well be mistaken for the same type of genital mutilation that is common place in some Muslim countries.
Yet as Wiccans/Witches, if we were to engaged in something even remotely similar to that which is practiced by either faith, it would be perceived as something “evil”. But…I digress.
For most of us however, being a Witch is not just cool, it's, well...life. And it's a life that includes not only beautiful moonlit rituals, but all those little mundane aspects that most people define as "normal". Getting kids off to school, food shopping, going to work...walking the dog. But, cleaning dog shiii..um, poop off one's shoe hardly ever gets ratings.
Most people aren't interested in "normal" anyway. Normal is boring! They want drama! They want scandal! They want to hear about all those things they just know we're doing behind closed Coven doors! Orgiastic rituals, devil worship and blood sacrifices! Oh My!!! Now that's entertainment, my friends! Sorry to disappoint, but personally, my life simply isn't that...um, entertaining.
So, why would any sane person refer to themselves by a name that strikes fear in the hearts of some and induces uncontrollable fits of laughter in others? Why would one subject themselves to those cocked head, quizzical expressions that our dogs oft times give us when they are trying really, really hard to figure out what the hell we're talking about? What would possibly compel a seemingly (And I said "seemingly") normal wife and mother living in the suburbs of New Jersey to declare herself a "Witch" and endure the stigma of 400 years worth of misconceptions?
In Darkness, Light!
This entry has been cross posted in part by C.L. Ross at http://clross.net/