Earth, Air, Water, Fire, Spirit.. these are the elements that make up our path. In order for life to exist, the elements must exist. Spirit encompasses the entirety of the wheel, all elements, and the working path. It is what drives us along and what holds us when we are feeling lost. We are all interconnected.
I found the above shuffled amongst the many notes that I had been sifting through lately. This season found my body revolting against me and I found myself with a bit of forced downtime.. this old sack of skin and bone decided it needed a time out. I spent this time gathering and organizing. Along with the earlier elemental musings, one jotted question held my attention – “What is witchcraft to you?”
I could wax poetic on the many things that shape my witchy ways – mythos, folklore, those tales of things that go bump in the night.. but in those collected bits I wrote down two names- Doreen Valiente and Sir Terry Pratchett.
“I’d say to a person who really wanted to know what was the spirit of witchcraft that they’ll learn more by, say, going out on the Downs at midnight and listening to the wind in the trees and looking at the full moon..” (Doreen Valiente, The Power of the Witch-a BBC documentary)
Doreen Valiente, often considered the mother of witchcraft, was a great bringer and defender.. being mostly solitary, I particularly liked her later views on hierarchy and initiation (still a well debated topic I hear in some circles).
“..if a witch started thinking of anyone as ‘just’ anything, that would be the first step on a well worn path that could lead to, oh, to poisoned apples, spinning wheels and a too-small stove” (Sir Terry Pratchett, The Shepard’s Crown)
I personally hold the thought that anything worth learning about witchcraft an be found in Sir Terry Pratchett’s writings.. and I stand by that.
Why all this musing? Compiling all these said jottings down had me thinking about personal path and the many things we should revisit along the way. The experiences of spirit that uniquely make up our path are not the same as those that make up another’s. What does witchcraft mean to you? It is a very important question.
In the outworld, so much infighting, opinionating, words turned about, and judgements seemed to be rolling around.. sometimes I think these things move in cycles. I am also not innocent in such matters of opinionating and judgement.. I am human. I have witnessed many fellow witches, myself included, burned by such things. People set fire for mere gossip and personal life choices. Much of these goings on have made me think about where I should draw my line in the sand. I cannot/must not be party to this burning. Aren’t we supposed to be holdng each other up and celebrating our diversity?
I was also introduced to a new term (or new to me), “corporate witch”. Now, while I have my own hangups about spirituality mixing with money (requiring vs. choosing.. there’s a difference for me personally), I must ponder where the seeker would be without a pagan shop? Here is where they wander in for a glance and hopefully leave with ideas, knowledge, a feeling of place, experiences, and yes.. somethings shiny to help them connect with spirit.
These things- differences of opinions, gossip, infighting, questioning the material vs the spiritual.. they are not new. However, maybe we can take a step back, consider that we do not always know what s going on in another’s life or what has shaped their path, and concentrate on what is important in our own. Maybe we can let them do the same. Their line doesn’t have to be your line. For me, I will hold true to mine and do the best I can. Oh, and if you happen to see someone being doused with gasoline, maybe hold them up instead of striking a match.