After thousands of years of targeted misinformation and persecution, countless fiction in books, movies and on television, it is understandable that confusion exists about Witches, the Craft and the ancient Hermetic Path. Here are a few things you should know:
Black and White Magick
There is no such thing as Black or White Magick. Doing Magick allows an individual or group of individuals working in tandem, to align with the correct forces of the universe, the creator or the All. Keeping this alignment is hard in today’s society and Witchcraft gives us many tools to assist in that task for ourselves and to help others. Unlike a hammer that can create and destroy, Magick can only help align. Some may try to project their intent on others to cause harm, those acts are not correct Magick. Their efforts will trigger the Threefold Law on themselves and can easily be undone by any who know the most elementary Magick.
Spells are akin to prayer but with more focus. The process of making a spell allows the individual to truly focus on what needs to happen, for themselves, others and for the good of all. It is part of our science and should be understood as a way to assist in concentration by bringing a number of elements together in line with an intent. Before going on a trip you pack appropriately, spells allow your intent to journey with all it needs to succeed.
Demons – Satan and other scary things
Demons such as Satan and Lucifer are the relatively recent fabrication of the Judeo-Christian faiths to cow their ‘believers’ into obedience and have nothing to do with us. We were around way before the Christians or the Jews, which is why they usurped so many of our traditions, but that is another story entirely. Our religion has no evil deities; our philosophy requires no fear tactics to function, only education and enlightenment.
Power and The Craft
The Hermetic principles teach us to have an active role in our lives. We are pacifists but hardly inactive when it comes to protecting ourselves. We use our Magick and our science to get out of harm’s way and to help others do the same. We do not return harm or incorrect energy to those that wish it upon us, we neutralize it so it can harm none. It is best to make the fire ‘cease to be’ than to drown it with water. Any firefighter will tell you that water often times causes the most damage in a house fire. A Witch must learn to take care of themselves before they can help others in any meaningful way. This is not selfish, but practical. You would want your surgeon to be at their best before embarking on a complex operation, Witches view life in this way.
What’s in a name?
Witchcraft is not an umbrella terms for all those that have Magickal ways. Witchcraft is largely Indo-European in origin and our tradition begins with Hermes who seems to have hailed from ancient Egypt. The craft evolved and was carried through the migration of the people who became known as the Celts. A male Witch is not a Warlock. The word Warlock means “Oath Breaker” in Scottish. Followers of The Craft are simply Witches. You can also be a Druid, a Magi (Maig) or Mage, Wizard, Priest, Priestess, or even an Elder of the Craft, but you are still a Witch.
Witches and Fashion
Witches wear clothing of every color and every style - Many Witches do choose to wear black clothing or ritual robes. The color black is the culmination of all vibrational rates of light on the material plane. Black absorbs light information and helps Witches be more receptive to psychic impressions and energies. It takes a bit more than wearing a pentacle and wearing a cloak to be a Witch.
Witches are everywhere!
Witches come from every socio-economic and ethnic background - Many Witches are professional people holding positions of responsibility such as Doctors, Nurses, Police Officers, Teachers, etc. Witchcraft does not discriminate against color or ethnic origin and does view everything as equal in the eyes of The All.
Witches do use magic wands - Often you see the use of magic wands in children's cartoons and movies making the idea seem frivolous. In actuality, the magic wands are used in healing and for directing energy.
Witchcraft is a system
Witches use Witchcraft as a science, an art and a religion - They use their knowledge and Magick in harmony with the Universe and Nature around them. Much of what we do is verifiable and there is nothing, supernatural, occult in what we do. What I do, any of you can do with work and practice. I resent the word 'supernatural' which implies some outside or extraordinary factor at work as opposed to results achieved through study and practice. An athlete who works hard to perfect their skill is not supernatural, nor are we. Occult means hidden, and while it is true that for centuries our practices were hidden to avoid persecution, nothing about our system is hidden from those that care to learn.
Which Witch is which?
The word "Witch" has a deep and rich history - As defined by the Oxford English Dictionary "Witchcraft" is a Celtic (pronounced Kell-tick) word meaning the wise, good people. We do not use the word magic, as it is the skill used for amusement, Magick is the global term for the force at work behind The Craft and the traditions of many who are not Witches, such as in the American Indian tradition and others. I use the spelling of 'Majick' to differentiate the work done by Cabot Tradition trained Witches.
In the religion of Witchcraft, we view the pentacle as an amulet and a symbol for protection - The five-pointed star represents the human body and the earth. In combination, the star surrounded by the circle represents the human body encompassed by the protection of The All. The pentacle is the symbol for Universal Wisdom. An upside down pentacle means you are wearing it upside down, it may be a fashion faux pas but nothing more.
Witches do concern themselves with ecology - They have never forgotten this basic fact: the World is not our enemy. Neither is it inert, dumb matter. The Earth and all living things share the same life force. They are composed of patterns of intelligence, of knowledge, and of divinity. All life is a web. We are woven into it as sisters and brothers of all. Witches need to be grounded in both worlds and awake to their responsibilities for both worlds. It is only being responsible human beings that we can be responsible Witches, and only responsible Witches will survive.* We respect nature but do not worship it. Witches do not worship anything but the creator or the All, yet we see The All in everything and respect.
*Excerpt from "Power of the Witch" by Laurie Cabot,
Delacourt Press. (Dell Publishing) N.Y., N.Y., October 1989