On the surface it’s a fair question: What makes witchcraft – witchcraft? Buuuut, peek beneath the rickety, swaying wooden bridge of that supposition and you’ll encounter a host of bottomless pits of pre-conceived notions and individual style.
The problem with occult practices – also the beauty of them – is that they become personalized for each practitioner because one must seek out, discover, define and inhabit the practice that we define for ourselves.
Pagandom is a nation comprised of 100% royalty: Every one of us a sovereign head of State, population: 1.
So, what the question on the table – or swaying, wooden bridge – is asking is what makes witchcraft unique? What is the ‘the-ness’ of the thing?
But that definition is going to be different for every single one of us Heathens, Wiccans, Druids, Polytheists, Decline-to-states, and I’m-offended-that-you-even-glanced-my-way-s.
We might as well sod it, kick-back, pour a big glass of Strawberry Quik and watch the World Cu – oh.
(*sigh) Okay. Let’s see if we can define this big ‘ol bear of a word. Let’s break it down!
- ‘W’ – is for Wild, as in the wild places of Nature, the ecstatic nature of our energies, and the admittedly attractive aspect of practicing a religion that is far outside of the mainstream – and comfort zone – of most peoples.
- I – ‘I’ is for Individual, which is pronounced: “mememememe”. Oh, for the quiet, serene smugness of a Revealed religion, where you can relax with your homies, knowing that your group possesses the one, right, true and only way. Imagine a tribe where every single soul knew that they alone had discovered the one, right, true and only way. Right? It would be chaos. People would be thinking for themselves, PAH! (*shudder*)
- T – ‘T’ is for tangenital, which is what you get after a week at a clothing optional pagan festival. That joke is only barely referrring to the word that it was supposed to be defining, which is itself the definition of tangenital. See also, thousands of witches and what-have-yous all chasing down their Truths, and in the random trajectorieness side-swiping each other in a gossamer, ephermeral way, thereby changing each other, the pagan world as a whole, the defintion of Witchcraft, and the world itself.
- C – ‘C’ is for craft. As in ‘crafting’, as in the work that each magickian puts into their Practice: Honing and searching and pushing and teasing out the skills that will make them more aware, more compassionate, more powerful, more open to the call of the Gods, the call of the disrespected, and the call of the Wild.
- H – ‘H’ is for honor, which is always high on the to-do list of Paganfolk. Today I will honor the Earth, the sacred Mother, the fertile soil, the nourishing food, the stars wheeling overhead, my coven-mates near and far, the blessings I receive, and myself. And then, after breakfast……
- C – ‘C’ is for Cthulhu. Not that the sleeping destroyer of shattering reality is a pagan per se, but he might fancy himself one for an aeon or two, and I do not want to offend a 900ft bat/octopus cosmic abomination that encountered the Elder Gods long ago, and ate them. So, here’s to you, Great Old One! Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!
- R – ‘R’ is for racy, which is what you get from a bunch of worshippers of Nature and her many ways of making perpetuation of the species enjoyable. Sex is not a key tenet of Witchcraft (if it is to you, then you are part of a ‘cult’, if it isn’t you are a part of the occult), but neither is it swept under the bedlinens as something dirty and abhorrent. For Pagans, sex and lust and the ‘magick of joining’ are sacred acts, as are all acts of pleasure. Now note that the H for Honor comes before the R for Raunchiness.
- A – ‘A’ is for ancient, which is something that Witchcraft must assuredly is NOT. But I still get a tangenital thrill when I am standing in an area once inhabited by elder humans who worked with the rhythms of the land, worshipped Nature as a living entity, celebrated the turning points of the wheel of the year, and followed the stars in the manner that we follow twittering celebrities.
- F – ‘F’ is for fart, because farts are funny. And unlike the stern, finger-wagging services of the Abrahamic Faiths, Pagan rites are often thrilling and joyous and just downright hilarious at times. Farts are a natural part of our amazing bodies, and as such are to be celebrated, if not exactly welcomed.
- T – ‘T’ is for Truth, which is the goal of our weird, wild and wonderful paths. A robust occult practice means you are constantly weighing, examining, surpassing and celebrating what makes you a unique practitioner of the Craft. We are eternally seeking our evolving Truths. Like Quantum phemomena, a healthy witch cannot be accurately seen nor measured. Seeing the pagan as a whole is problematic because parts of their practice will always be in the process of transformation. And measuring the magickian is likewise difficult because they are currently traveling to another outdoor fire festival, because their genitals are a bit pale lately.
Put them altogether they spell W.I.T.C.H.C.R.A.F.T. / and whatever that means to meeeEEEeee…..!
- Angus McMahan