Irish-American Witchcraft: Confessions of a Bad Witch

Irish-American Witchcraft: Confessions of a Bad Witch July 5, 2018

No, not that kind of bad witch. Well, okay, maybe that kind of bad witch depending on who you’re talking to but that’s not my point today.

I’m sure most of us have seen one of the many memes that goes around asking if you are a good witch or a bad witch a la Wizard of Oz. Recently I had seen a funny response to it that joking said, yes the person was a bad witch because they failed to meet specific witchy criteria. I laughed when I read it but it also got me thinking. All moral judgments of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ aside I do think there are certain ways that people tend to assume more experienced witches have mastered a list of expected things they do regularly. This assumptive list is often pretty broad, based on the general things that appear in books and therefore shape our wider ideas of what witches do, and quite frankly can create a lot of pressure, in my opinion, for people to be ‘good’ witches.

“The Sorceress” by John William Waterhouse. From WikiMedia.

Yeah, I’ll be honest here. I consider myself good at what I do as a witch, and I do practice my spirituality every day, but by the standard measure some people may have based on community expectations, i.e. stereotypes, of what witches do I’m definitely not hitting all those points. Some popular methods and skills just don’t work well for me, for example, so I don’t use them. Also certain perceived witchy skills I’m just not good at.

Obviously my intent in writing this is to poke a bit of fun at the idea of being a good or bad witch, in a functional sense, not to suggest that this should be an actual thing. If anything I think we need to relax a bit more and not worry so much about what other people are doing or how they are doing it, in a competitive sense, and just focus on doing the best we can do for ourselves. But I hope that reading this does perhaps help other people who have been feeling bad about their own practices not measuring up in some way. Because the truth is we are all good and bad witches in different ways.

So, here are my confessions for what might make me a bad witch:

I Don’t Use Astrology –

It’s true. I don’t use astrology in my witchcraft to time my magic. Not because I don’t believe it’s accurate or effective, because I do, but for whatever reason I have a really hard time grasping astrology in any useful way. I tend to time my magic by the tides of the moon, which I can see for myself. This has always worked well for me and I don’t feel it negatively impacts my magic, but I often feel like a bad witch in this context since many other witches I know are very into astrological timing. I am that person when others are talking about Mars conjuncting Venus or the Moon being void of course who just stands at the back and nods, then goes off and does whatever spell I was going to do anyway.

Sign of Leo, Islamic Zoiac, from Pergamon Museum in Berlin. Photo by JukeBoxHere via WikiMedia. CC License 2.0

I Don’t Celebrate Every Holiday –

This is less about witchcraft as a practice and more about witchcraft as a spirituality but it still sometimes makes me feel like a bad witch. Sometimes I forget until right before that there is a holiday, sometimes I forget until the day of. Especially the minor holidays, like the equinoxes. In my house we make a big deal out of some holidays of course and these get a lot of attention but some of the other ones tend to fly under the radar. More than once I’ve glanced at a calendar or gone on social media only to smack myself in the forehead and mutter, ‘Autumn equinox, is that today?’.

Part of an English Garden, by Mel Etitis, public domain image.

I Don’t Have a Garden-

So this may be more of a stereotype, but a lot of my witchy friends have gardens or otherwise grow their own plants. Some of them have yards and grow an assortment of plants while others in more urban areas grow potted plants indoors. Usually with amazing success. Not me. Nope. I have tried, I really have, but domestic plants die in my care except only aloe and ivy. I finally stopped trying and now have wild rose, raspberry, and nightshade in my yard which is great as long as I don’t interfere with them. Like, at all. Wild plants do alright around me but anything I try to care for is doomed. That definitely seems like bad witch territory to me.

I Don’t Meditate Every Day-

I’d certainly like to meditate every day, or at least do some kind of focused spiritual work along those lines. But the reality is that I have three children, the youngest of whom is in preschool, and there’s a limit to what I can manage with my schedule. As much as I might like to embrace that image of the calm, cool, collected witch who meditates and has that inner peace percolating away all the time that is definitely not me.

No one is perfect and no one’s witchcraft practice is perfect either, at least no one I know. We all have certain things that we slack on and that’s okay. We also all have different things that we prioritize in our practice or spirituality and that’s okay too. It is good to have standards for our practice and to try to do and be our best, but I think it’s also important not to get too caught up measuring ourselves against other people. Gods know I’d be doomed to endless garden envy if I did that.

About Morgan Daimler
Morgan Daimler is an Irish Reconstructionist with Heathen tendencies who has been a polytheist since the early ’90′s. Morgan is a witch who follows a path inspired by the Irish Fairy Faith. Morgan teaches classes on Irish myth and magical practices, fairies, and related subjects around the northeastern United States. Morgan’s writing has appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies including By Blood, Bone, and Blade: A Tribute to the Morrigan and Naming the Goddess. Morgan is also the author of a variety of books including the urban fantasy series Between the Worlds, and through Moon Books Where the Hawthorn Grows, Pagan Portals: Fairy Witchcraft, Pagan Portals: The Morrigan, Fairycraft, Pagan Portals: Irish Paganism, Pagan Portals: Brighid, and Pagan Portals Gods and Goddesses of Ireland. Morgan blogs regularly at Living Liminally. You can read more about the author here. You can read more about the author here.
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