When Did Witchcraft Become a Contest?

Seriously? When did Witchcraft become a pissing contest?

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For me Witchcraft has always been about a few things: communing with deity, building a coven/family, working magic, and celebrating the seasons. Those various facets of Witchcraft have also brought out a whole range of emotions over the years too. There’s been joy, lust, fear, awe, terror, sadness, and everything in between. My Witchcraft is capable of so many things, and yes sometimes it’s scary.

I really dislike the constant belittling of Wiccan-Witchcraft by those who feel as if they are somehow “edgier” or “darker” than those who practice in a style similar to my own. The hairs on the back of my neck have been standing up for years in my Wiccan circle, and it’s happened when we’ve called to demons, looked death in the eye, and trembled in the presence of the Goddess. You’ve got a skull on your altar? I’m so impressed.

That meme up there bothered me today, perhaps because it was shared by a person I thought of as a brother in the Craft. I know that he and I walk different paths, but I’ve always believed that we were essentially heading in the same direction. I like my particular tradition, but if you’ve read this blog over the years you know that I’m in favor of big definitions for the words Wicca and Witch, and I certainly don’t feel my tradition is superior or better than anyone else’s. It works for us, I don’t need to belittle another tradition for that to continue.

The constant “Witchier than thou” memes and posts make giant assumptions about Wiccan-Witchcraft that’s not really based on anything real. Do you really think we trot out our best rituals in public places? The real work happens with the coven behind a closed door (or gate), it doesn’t happen at the open circle with much frequency.

There are also over a million Wiccans in the world, that’s a lot of people. All of our rituals somehow pale in comparison to those of “Traditional Witchcraft?” (And that’s before pointing out that Traditional Witchcraft is an idea often so nebulous that it’s about as hard as “Wicca” to define, and with just as many varied traditions.) At Samhain I’m calling to the Dread Lord of Shadows, the God of Death and Resurrection, yeah our tradition is nothing but fluffy bunnies and unicorns shitting rainbows.

Wicca is also a pretty broad term. Are those people mocking my path initiates of a Wiccan tradition? Because if you are going to tell me that my Witchcraft can’t be scary and that yours is so much more intense you might want to actually experience all that Wicca has to offer.

And really, skulls don’t make something scary. I owned a cow skull in the fifth grade.

There are a whole lot of Traditional Witches who do seriously cool-ass shit and have even contributed to my own Craft in many ways. I think their Witchcraft is just as valid as my own and they should certainly be proud of it. However, that pride doesn’t need to come at the expense of what I and thousands of others do. There are more similarities than differences between our two paths.

Love what you do, and be proud of it, but there’s no reason to knock anyone else’s path while doing so.

(And yeah, I know it’s sort of always been a cosmic pissing contest, but it doesn’t have to be. We can do better!)

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About Jason Mankey

Jason Mankey has been involved with Paganism for the last twenty years, and has spent the last ten of those years as a speaker, writer, and High Priest. Jason can often be found lecturing on the Pagan Festival circuit, so you might just bump into him. When not reading and researching Pagan history he likes to crank up the Led Zeppelin, do rituals in honor of Jim Morrison (of The Doors), and sing numerous praises to Pan, Dionysus, and Aphrodite. He lives in Sunnyvale CA with his wife Ari and two hyper-kinetic cats.