Becoming A Witch In A Week? Not Even Close.

Becoming A Witch In A Week? Not Even Close. January 13, 2020

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.

Witch
Witches have reverence for the planet. Image by Amber Avalona via pixabay.com

Witches Are Trending

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.

Witch
Witches tap into the mysteries but we do not ignore the mundane. Image by RJA1988 via pixabay.com

Witches Live In Two Worlds

As 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.

About
Gwyn is one of the hosts of 3 Pagans and a Cat, a podcast about the questions and discussions between three pagan family members, each exploring different pagan paths and how their various traditions can intersect. The most practiced pagan on the path, Gwyn is an Eclectic Green Witch and Clairsentient Medium. She loves working with herbs, essential oils and plants. In the past, she has been a teacher, musician and published writer. Now, she just wants to be a free spirit and talk about life. You can read more about the author here.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • David LeBarron

    We should hex her. Stupid uninformed loser.

  • Aesithiar Runekafi

    Ope. You can’t “Become” a witch. I was told I would never be a witch because:
    A) I wasn’t a female and therefore not a true feminist.
    B) It wasn’t in my family. If you don’t have it when born then too bad, you lose.

  • Carla Jean

    Thank you, Gwyn, for your thoughtful and balanced reply. I can feel your resolute calm through your well-chosen words, and hope that they somehow reach this woman Ceri, and show her a better way. Blessed be.

  • Gwyn

    Ms. Radford most definitely went into this article with an agenda which has put her in a very negative light. She may have hexed herself. 😉

  • Gwyn

    Thank you, Carla. I appreciate your kind words and do also hope Ceri understands that she has done a disservice to a lot of people.

  • Thank you so much for that response back to Ms. Radford. I was appalled while reading her article, and this blog perfectly sums up why I felt that feeling.

    Thank you for your contributions to the pagan community ♥️

  • Gwyn

    I’m so glad this post has been able to give voice to your feelings, Rhaven. I’m very happy to serve the Pagan community as I’m able. <3

  • Gwyn

    I find myself in disagreement with you on how one becomes a Witch. A Witch is called to the Craft from a deep place within one’s soul/spirit. Witchcraft is gender neutral. Anyone with the will and desire to put forth the time, effort, energy, self-reflection and study can become a practitioner of witchcraft.

  • Samantha Sabovitch

    I can’t even read her article, based on what you and John said. I don’t need that in my life.

    But her conclusion — that witches reject science — galls me. I recently wrote a blog article about my pursuit of naturopathy and herbalism to augment my own healing journey. The one comment I got was, “You’re not stopping your other treatment, are you?”

    No.

    Despite what dominent culture tells you, you DON’T ACTUALLY HAVE TO CHOOSE ONE OVER THE OTHER. It’s not a contest. No one is going to “win”, except me, when I’m healthy. Why can’t it be and/and, instead of either/or? Right, because that doesn’t rouse emotions or make anyone money.

    Sorrynotsorry for the mini-rant. You are so spot on here.

  • Gwyn

    You are absolutely spot on. As someone who is also pursuing herbalism the idea that witchcraft and science are mutually exclusive is ridiculous. But you see, it doesn’t fit this woman’s worldview to believe someone could hold space for both in their lives because she has neither the heart nor vision to do so.

  • Natasha Jasmine

    Some of us have put together a petition to have this article completely removed from the website and to have this addressed. http://chng.it/ZXNXXGzs please add your signature so we can show just how many people something like this affects.

  • Gwyn

    Excellent idea.

  • Raven Belote

    Many people are black, and white thinkers…something is either good, or its bad.
    To them, there are no gray areas in life.
    It use to frustrate me to no end at one time. Now I know it’s just how many, many
    people are, and we can only hope that there will be events that will open their minds
    a bit wider in this lifetime.

  • Mark Fitzpatrick

    I think that the author of this review/rejoinder is perhaps a little perplexed at the very English understatement, irony, and mild satire and self-awareness of the original piece. The author pokes gentle fun at herself, and at witches, leaving the true vitriol for climate change deniers and flat earthers, who she does not EQUATE with witches, just says they’re on the same spectrum. Which of course they are.
    The author of the first piece is a staunch Materialist. But then, what did you expect from a mainstream newspaper? That she would somehow suddenly “get it”? Nah. Who needs her? Her article is an ironic bit of fun, nothing more.

  • Gwyn

    You make an excellent point.

  • Gwyn

    I do understand your point but I do not buy the ironic bit of fun. I love British humor and satire but that is definitely not how this read to me. Thank you for you perspective though. We shall have to agree to disagree. 🙂

  • kenofken

    I wonder if she would become “Muslim for a week ” with the same flippancy and derision.

    I’m fairly sure I know the answer…

  • I can’t love this enough!

  • Gwyn

    Seems unlikely. The thing is, she is a book reviewer. If she had gone about a critique in a more honest way I would have given it a nod and moved on. However…

  • Rebecca Mullins

    Yeah, this article certainly rankled me and countless others who are devotees of the craft. I don’t appreciate having something so vital to my life being played off in such a flippant trite way, even if it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. Ignorant offensive lady invited in a world of hexes. She’ll be a believer yet when she starts reaping what she has so crassly sown, and I’m not sorry for her.

  • Gwyn

    Fair enough.

  • Debra DeAngelo

    Perfect rebuttal. Spot on!

  • Gwyn

    Thank you. I’m glad this post resonated with you. 🙂

  • g75401

    I usually find people hex themselves….

  • Kyllein MacKellerann “

    I’m reminded of how Aleister Crowley “investigated” drugs—by becoming a drug user. Some wanna-be Great Investigators don’t have the good sense to come in out of the rain.

  • Gwyn

    You make an interesting point.

  • How that woman is actually paid to write while having such bias is beyond me.
    Her article was nothing short of religious discrimination in my opinion.
    You’re my new hero !

  • Gwyn

    Thank you! I’m so glad what I have written here resonates. And while the author and her publisher may argue it was a book review, we are in agreement that her tone and wording certainly smacked of bias.

  • Mark Fitzpatrick

    Indeed, and we can very civilly agree to disagree! I appreciate your answer.
    I do honestly think that the tone of this article, which is quite typical of lifestyle coverage in the Independent, or the Guardian, is very ironic and self – mocking.
    I would hesitate to take ANY of it seriously. The idea of “becoming” a witch in a week is obviously not taken at all seriously. The author makes only the most desultory of efforts. Yes indeed, the article is rather satirical about Witchcraft. But it’s written from an entirely sceptical, Materialist, atheist position AND is supposed to be light hearted.
    Honestly, I wouldn’t lose any time or concern over it. It will have influenced precisely no one whose opinion isn’t already pretty fully formed…

  • Gwyn

    Well, we do agree that she will not influence anyone who is currently involved in the Craft nor people who share her opinion. 🙂

  • Brianna LaPoint

    People are disrespectful of Paganism these days. but I use those people as an example of something not to be. I mean the beauty of Paganism is you dont have any gurus or leaders, you become your own leader. People that become Pagan for a week will never understand why people stay in it for a lifetime, that is their loss.

  • Gwyn

    True words indeed.