An article, written by Ceri Radford, appeared on The Indepedent (UK) website with the title I Spent A Week Becoming a Witch and the Results Were Troubling. Really? You spent a whole week becoming a Witch? My goodness. Aren’t you a talented little thing with your preconceived notions of witchcraft and what it means to be a Witch.
Yeah, no. In case there is any doubt in anyone’s mind, Ceri Radford did not spend a week becoming a witch. She didn’t even come close to understanding Witches beyond the book she perused or indeed how Witches use magick. How do I know this? Because in the end, she aligned Witches with people who are “anti-vaxxers”, “climate change deniers” and other troublesome things such as “flat earthers.” She made assumptions based on the fact that as Witches we use crystals, herbs, create altars and sacred space, practice divination, ritual and spellcraft — therefore we must “shun science.”
Hate to break it to you, Ceri, but you are wrong. Witches are not blind nor ignorant. We are your neighbors. Witches are scientists, doctors, lawyers, nurses, and teachers. We are artists, herbalists, writers, manufacturers, business owners, the clerks in your stores. We hold signs at political rallies, we fight for animal and human rights alike. A Witch is a champion for the marginalized. And we do what we can to protect the environment. We teach others to live within nature and not simply above it as consumers.
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Now, I will admit that the book Ceri Radford chose as a means to “become a Witch in a week” (pfft -seriously) is a bit sweetness and light. However, there is nothing wrong with people using witchcraft as a means of self-reflection, healing and power. And some may be calling themselves Witches without truly understanding what it means beyond the “self-help happiness” vibe and that’s okay. People find their way into the Craft in a variety of ways. Some will drop away in time when popularity wanes, while others will expand and embrace what it means to be a Witch.
However, the gentle wisdom of the Modern Witches Guide to Happiness could not penetrate the cynicism of Ceri Radford’s opinion or the condescension with which she wrote her article. Clearly, Ms. Radford went into the experience with a conclusion already in mind. Hence the broad brush with which she painted all Witches and those for whom witchcraft is a practice, spiritual path or way of life. So, I thought I’d take a moment to define witchcraft as I have come to understand it.
Witches Live In Two WorldsAs a Witch, I have become attuned to the rhythm of nature, the seasons. I embrace living in a way which lowers one’s environmental footprint. My family can tell you how I do what I can (in both magickal and mundane ways) to lower waste and bring awareness of the reality of the climate change situation. And I can say this is true of the Witches, Wiccans, Heathens, Druids and Pagans with whom I’ve become acquainted.
Our practices as Witches (individual as they may be) are rooted in a reverence for nature and the Earth. Yes. We do stand beneath the light of the moon, we chant and pray to our deities (for those who have them) and believe in the spiritual. Is there a suspension of disbelief in witchcraft? Perhaps. But we live in two worlds. Embracing the mundane with it’s advances while acknowleding the allies nature and spirit provide.
My family and I appreciate what science has brought into our lives. We enjoy all the modern conveniences. Speaking as one whose had cancer, I’m very grateful for the advances which allopathic medicine has achieved. However, that did not prevent me from embracing the healing spell my oldest child cast on my behalf before having surgery to treat endometrial cancer. And I have benefited for years from herbalism, aromatherapy in combination with allopathy. Being a Witch does not preclude understanding, appreciating or embracing science or advancement.
However, we must also acknowledge society (and yes science) has done its share of damage. Dependence on oil and coal which depletes resources and strips areas of their natural habitats while lining the pockets of major companies, unwilling to fund energy alternatives. The increasing cost of medical care in countries such as the United States with the strangle-hold pharmaceutical and insurance companies have on the healthcare system. How about the problem of food waste, poverty, hunger, homelessness? Progress can be a double-edged sword. Witchcraft does not embrace ignorance or beliefs which no longer serve (ie: the earth is not flat, vaccines are important for herd immunity, and yes –the moon landing did actually happen). We embrace our sovereignty and power through witchcraft so that we may serve the greater good as well as ourselves.
So, Ceri Radford, do not assume that because a Witch chooses to embrace esoteric mysteries and holds a woldview which you do not understand, that we do not have our feet firmly planted on the ground. Because I can assure you we do. And we will continue to preserve what has been lost, speak for truth (scientific, esoteric and otherwise) protect the planet upon which we live, work toward a more just society and glory in our witchcraft while doing it.
I suggest you do the same, in your mundane way, and leave the witchcrafting to us.