Wearing the Witchcraft label.
A meme popped onto my facebook timeline about things an author has; something along the lines of owning 37 notebooks that are too nice to write in, over 500 assorted pens, none of which you can find…etc etc.
And I re-shared it to my own timeline as you do, but I hesitated. Even though I have been writing books for several years now and have been lucky enough to have had fifteen published so far and have contracts with both Moon Books and Llewellyn this year for more books…the reality of calling myself an ‘author’ made me feel uncomfortable, unworthy even. It felt as if I was an imposter of some sort.
In the beginning
Which reminded me of the feeling I had when I started on my Pagan Witchcraft journey, a gazillion years ago, back in the mists of time. I was reading everything I could get my hands on and purchasing all kinds of things that I believed I needed (candles in all colours, bells, wands, athames, you name it I had a shopping list with it on).
But when it came to calling myself a ‘Witch’, I couldn’t do it at first. It felt really weird (and not the good kind of weird). Who was I to give myself that title? My besom still had training wheels and my wand was still in the wrapping. I didn’t feel that I had earnt the title. Looking back now, perhaps I just didn’t feel that I had the experience to use it maybe?
It took me a long time before I felt comfortable with the ‘W’ word. I think it was probably at least a couple of years before I started using it out loud and even then, it felt strange to put myself in that category. After that if people asked, I would start by saying I was a Pagan. That seems to be far more acceptable in general society than Witch. Thanks to Hollywood, the media and fairy tales that have given Witchcraft such a bad reputation. If the person accepted that term and then asked more genuine questions I would give up the information that I was in fact, a Witch. I have been extremely lucky (so far) in that I haven’t met any animosity or hatred for it, the only negative reactions have been those of disbelief or laughter, thinking that I was joking.
These days I just open with the Witch title, whether it is a case of being older and possibly wiser I don’t know. Perhaps I feel that after all these years, the study, the training and the experience gained that I have grown to love the Witch word and in fact am proud of it. Although I continue to learn, to grow and experience new things within the Pagan world, I do feel I fit the Witch label.
And there’s the thing…it is just a label. Why do we put so much importance on a title? Why do we feel the need to put ourselves in little boxes or categories? I suspect that no matter how much of a rebel some of us feel we are, we also like to belong somewhere.
Just to clarify…
You don’t need to identify with a set title, fit in any particular box and you don’t need a label at all if you don’t want one!
You can call yourself whatever you like, in fact my fellow coven mates spent some considerable time calling me ‘Lady Tansy Pants’ when I completed my Wiccan degrees.
It is your life, your learning, your journey, your pathway – you can have a label, you can find a box to fit in or you can just be you – it is your call. But I do feel you need to be comfortable with it. Don’t be pushed into calling yourself something that doesn’t feel right. It might just be your self confidence arguing with you, it may just be a little bit of insecurity niggling at the back of your brain, but make sure whatever title you work with feels right for you. And if it doesn’t feel right just yet, work with it, play with it, live with it for a bit until if either falls into place or you decide to jump into another camp. Don’t be bound up by titles.
At what point will I feel that I have earnt the author title? I may have to come back to you on that one…