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/
Friday, October 8, 2010
Ah, a Witch in October!
Posted by Tracy ~ The UnOfficial Witch of Ridgewood at 12:00 PM
Monday, October 4, 2010
Merry Meet Family and Friends!
So, now for some happy news! I recently had an article published on Witchvox! It was the first I'd submitted and was quite pleased that it had been accepted!
For those unfamiliar, Witchvox, also known as "The Witches' Voice" is a World-Wide Networking resource for well...Wiccans and Witches and Pagans! Oh My! So, if you're looking to connect with people of like minds, a group to practice with or events of interest that might be taking place in your area, this is the place you want to visit!
That being said, one of the perks of having an article published is that I've gotten some really great feedback via private email. One such email however, posed a moral and ethical dilemma for me, both as an occultist, as well as a parent.
The email came from a boy my son's age, who had a predicament of his own. He told me that he felt he had the "power" and wanted me to teach him to be a Witch. His great, great Grandmother was a White Witch and he wanted to be one too. Despite his desire however, he was afraid that God might not allow him into Heaven if he practiced Witchcraft. His question to me was, could he become a Witch and still go to Heaven? Seriously, I'm not making this up!
Ya gotta know, it was close to Midnight when I read his email. I wasn't sure if I was even awake enough to give him the answer that he needed or more importantly, the one that I felt was the most spiritually responsible. I sat there, half asleep, staring at his email and thinking, "Crap! This is really hard!"
My first instinct was to gush with excitment as I shared my passion for the Craft. I wanted him to know that I became interested in Witchcraft when I was much younger than his 14 years, and that even as a little girl, I wanted to be a Witch. I wanted to tell him that I would have gladly given up a place in Heaven, if it meant fulfilling my dream!
Then my maternal instinct kicked in and I just couldn't do it. Yes, all that would be true, but was it my responsibility? This kid had obviously been taught to believe in the Christian concept of Heaven and Hell and I wasn't about to negate the teachings of his parents and/or his Church. It saddened me, however, to hear that he was so fearful that the God he was taught to love was a vengeful God that would deny entry into Heaven if he were to follow his heart.
I began to recall my own humble beginnings and those dark nights of the soul when I questioned my Christian upbringing, which trust me, was hardly an "upbringing" at all. I found myself confused by the underlying sense of foreboding as I contemplated the possibility of betraying the beliefs that, although I felt no connection to, were all I'd ever known. I was reluctant to confess, even to myself, that I'd never been a Christian...really. And while I still had an affection for the person known as Jesus Christ, I couldn't claim to be a fan of some of his cheering section. After all, these were the very same people who kept assuring me that should I practice Witchcraft, not only would I lose my reservation in Heaven, but that I might consider dressing for a MUCH warmer climate! Yet, my heart beckoned and I followed, and for the first time in my life I understood why I'd questioned my faith. See, now I'm gushing!
So what words of wisdom did I impart on my little friend? Well, I told him that Witches read...a lot! And that most Witches spend years studying to learn to be Witches. I told him that the first step to being a Witch was learning as much as he could before deciding if being a Witch was really what he wanted to do. I explained that huge responsibility came with practicing Witchcraft, as we were always mindful that our actions were not causing harm to ourselves or others.
I told him, "I believe that the Gods judge you not by whether you call yourself a Witch, but by what's in your heart". I couldn't help but think how much anguish I would have been spared had someone said these words to me when I was trying to make my own choices.
And although I'm personally skeptical, I threw in the good ole' "Threefold Law". Somehow, I think his great, great, grandma would have wanted me to!
In Darkness, Light!
Posted by Tracy ~ The UnOfficial Witch of Ridgewood at 6:37 PM