Confessions of an Outlaw Witch

Confessions of an Outlaw Witch December 28, 2017

Being an outlaw witch means that I practice magick that is far from the mainstream.  I’m most comfortable being on the margins and I’m not concerned with being popular. I do witchery in remote and wild places. Those are a few of my confessions. Another one? That confession is good for my outlaw soul. I think it’s good for all of us, as is developing our own form of outlaw witchcraft.

outlaw witch

Confession is a Virtue

In my attempt to live a virtuous life, I contemplate what it means to be a decent human being which happens to be the same as being a good devotee to Hekate. I do this because while the idea of being virtuous is a central tenet of devotion to Hekate, there’s no consensus about what this actually entails. There are no clear rules about living a virtuous life. In fact, there’s no rule book for my version of Modern Hekatean Witchcraft at all. Here’s my first confession: I really like it this way. 

I have a general disdain for any rule or law, especially if they don’t make sense in a practical way or don’t serve a higher purpose. A couple of years ago my youngest son made me a Mother’s Day card at school that required him to list my attributes. Right at the top of the list was “rule breaker.”

Now, I’m not advocating for bucking the system all willy-nilly. However, resistance is a natural to me as climbing mountains. It’s in my blood. I’ve been an outlaw all my life.

My Comfy Spot

Growing up in an evangelical fundamentalist Christian home, I had to sneak occult books from the library. I was ratted out by a librarian who asked my father if he knew what I was reading. I’m an outlaw from my own family, so there’s no wonder I’m most comfortable on the margins. It’s here on the fringe that I’ve learned who I truly am and what I’m capable of. I must confess that there are things about myself that I’m not too happy with, but by being honest I can accept and change these aspects if I choose.

I’ve made my share of mistakes in life and witchcraft, too. By confessing my failures to myself, I can examine them and grow into a better witch. By sharing my experiences with you, we can all learn together. If something I write helps you, that’s the whole point of writing these blogs. Confession is good for the soul of this outlaw witch.

Outlaw Witchcraft

What exactly does it mean to be an outlaw witch? I think outlaw witchcraft is practicing witchery that is outside of the norm of acceptable practices. It’s about doing witchcraft that makes sense to me. But, it’s much more than that. Being an outlaw is all about living according to my own rules. One of my rules is helping others, so having a blog as a personal confessional that could help at least one person fits into my outlaw witchery.

Some of the time my rules are different than those of mainstream witchcraft. I never could wrap my head around the idea of “harm none.” Everything I do has the potential to hurt someone whether it’s magick or driving down the road. Hexing is part of witchcraft. If you wrong me, watch your back. It’s that simple.

What else goes into being an outlaw witch? For me, it’s about doing magick in wild and remote places, and often going to these locations alone. It’s about using found things in rituals and spells rather than buying fancy trinkets. And my gypsy genes don’t have any problem appropriating things by any means necessary.  Fortunately, they’re tempered by the other 50% of my DNA.

Regrets: I’ve Got A Few

While we’re on the subject of blood, I’ve got to confess that I’ve done my share of this sort of magick. I’ve lived to regret some of the things I’ve conjured up. If you’re considering using blood in your witchcraft, I urge you to really put a lot of thought into it. Or else you might end up in a sketchy Chinese restaurant listening to your Buddhist crush explain to you that he thinks you should start a polyamorous relationship with him and his ex-wife. To be clear, that’s not what I intended when I did the spell.

You might be thinking that I lack a moral compass. Exactly the opposite is true. I have a very strict personal code of being honest and kind. Living a life of integrity is how I define a virtuous life, not one that follows someone else’s rules. I’d never kill an animal for witchcraft, but if the squirrel is already dead, then he’s fair game.

Being an outlaw witch means that I am comfortable taking risks. I feel comfortable pushing boundaries and delving further into the mysteries in my own way and on my own terms.I’ve been a devotee of Hekate for a very long time. It used to be a very outlaw thing. I was scouring ancient texts and obscure books back before it became trendy.

Keeping it Outlaw

My next confession is that I’ve actually become part of the trendiness of all things Hekate. Unexpectedly, people are reading my blog and expressing interest in my version of Modern Hekatean Witchcraft. Here’s my final confession: I kinda like the attention, to a certain extent, but I don’t want to lose my outlaw ways. Challenging boundaries by expressing my perspective, even if it’s not popular is something I’m committed to doing. I think confession may never catch on as a pagan practice, but it should. Being honest about who we are and the things we do – especially the mistakes and regrets we have – builds character. It has the added bonus of helping us to see each other as real people. I’m asking you to think about confessing to yourself about the mistakes you’ve made.

Be Your Own Sort of Outlaw Witch

As paganism and witchcraft have become much more common, the outlaw aspect is rapidly diminishing. There are so many books, courses, websites, and blogs that are more than happy to take your money and supposedly reveal all you need to know. I urge you to resist the temptation to blindly accept anything. Figure out what make sense to you. I’m not advocating for climbing fences to get graveyard dirt. Breaking the law is not for everyone. Find a way to keep your magick wild. Be your own sort of outlaw witch.

 

 

 

 

 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Connie Embury

    Thanks for the words you’ve shared. It has given me some interesting insights into some of my own thoughts. I agree with the idea that harm none is a weird concept, I too have a hard time with that concept.

  • Willow Polson

    Other than the Hekate part, this is pretty much what I do, right down to the already-dead-things-are-fair-game technique. Always nice to put some kind of name on something other than “whatever.” Lately I’ve been using the term “chaos mage.” I doubt anything will ever be a perfect description. Thanks for this post.

  • I agree with you that confession is good for the soul, but they way you describe it I would call being honest about yourself. Probably just a case of semantics

  • kenofken

    This is an interesting topic. I’ve long grappled with the question of the extent to which modern paganism and witchcraft are defined by, or dependent on, transgression. Of course from the time of the Edict of Thessalonica in 380 until the 1950s, being a witch or Pagan was literally outlawed. It’s less clear to me to what extent this status retains any significant transgression. We still face a degree of social alienation from Christian influences, but it is a pale shadow of what we faced in the Satanic Panic years of the 1980s. It has even diminished quite a lot since I began serious practice 14 years ago. When we pull the focus inward to the Pagan movement itself, what is the norm and what is transgressive anymore? I don’t know exactly. Was Hekate worship, dark deities, chaos magick and the like transgressive within Paganism? Yeah, but really only in the days when traditional and eclectic Wicca was the default. Having come up through Wicca, I find that most the assumptions about “harm none” are oversimplified anyway. Few of us that delved into that phrase ever considered it an absolute commandment to some sort of pacifism or Jainist obesssion with avoiding injury to anything or anyone by one’s actions. I construe it as call to be conscious of consequences and to respect the same sort of sovereignty for others that I demand for myself. So hexing is not strictly off limits to me, but I consider it to be generally counterproductive in most instances for a variety of reasons having to do more with metaphysics than morality.

    What constitutes an “outlaw” among Pagan practices? Is there even anything which places one beyond “polite company” among fellow Pagans? I would argue the list is pretty short anymore. As you noted, working with deities such as Hekate does not seem to tip the needle much anymore in that regard. Cursing is still somewhat controversial, but it certainly doesn’t elicit the gasps of horror it did when I was in training. Animal sacrifice is still controversial, but is no longer off the map as people revive more traditional historical practices and as Afro-Caribbean practices have taken their place in modern Pagan awareness. What about sex as it relates either to ritual or general lifestyle? Pagans have long been at the bleeding edge of acceptance where that is concerned, so there is little one could do in that regard that would make one “outlaw” among our own kind. I think we have pretty completely shaken off most of our cultural Christian baggage where that is concerned. The one clear exception to that is sex involving minors, which was not considered an unqualified evil in past decades. Gavin Frost died an outlaw in that sense. Use of entheogens and hallucinogens, while not mainstream Pagan practice, will not make you an outlaw within Pagan circles (though it certainly can with authorities).

    I would argue there is very little which will bring true outlaw status upon you as a Pagan today among one’s peers. The one exception which springs to mind is racist heathenry and Dianics and others who are trans exclusive.

    That said, there is often a difference between what people will “accept” by not openly condemning and what they accept at ground level. As we have become more mainstream, I find that many groups and events seem to default to the lowest common denominator of white suburban middle class comfort zones. In that respect, things like blood magick and ritual nudity still make some folks squirm. As a polyamorous Pagan, I encounter that a lot too. In theory, our community professes to be very open and accepting of it. In person…it still freaks people out and draws suspicion and sometimes hostility. I don’t have any reason to believe you are personally hostile toward polyamory, but in your spell example, I sense that visceral “whoa!” factor that we still find in mainstream society. (I totally get that its not for everyone and there’s nothing wrong with that).

    In the end, I find it more useful to define my authenticity in Pagan practice more in terms of wildness and sovereignty than outlaw status or transgression per se.

    In your mention of blood magic, it is certainly true that one must be respectful of the power and pitfalls of a working. I don’t find that blood work is especially dangerous in and of itself. It is powerful magick, and so there is increased potential for good or ill. Of course I don’t know the context of the spell you were trying to do, but I’m not sure it should be considered as an unqualified failure or a particular pitfall of blood spells. You had a particular intent in your work which was evidently different than the outcome. That is always a risk, even if that intent is perfectly visualized and the spell carried off with technical perfection in every way. Spells amplify and project your will. When they involve other people, they have their own will, which in this case was to propose a relationship triad.

  • Hi! Thanks so taking the time to write such a thoughtful commentary.

    I think you make a very valid point about surface acceptance vs. private opinion. Another great insight is your comment about the homogenization of paganism to appeal to a certain demographic that sometimes occurs:
    “I encounter that a lot too. In theory, our community professes to be very open and accepting of it. In person…it still freaks people out and draws suspicion and sometimes hostility.”

    I like describing myself as an outlaw because, for me, using this term implies that I am not a bandwagoner. As paganism in its many glorious forms becomes more mainstream, some people are quick to adopt the latest trend. Being an outlaw implies a resistance to this sort of mindset and behavior.

    As for my misfired blood spell example, there was definitely a “whoa” reaction! This was about ten years ago. Although I had friends who were poly at the time, I had never considered it for myself. One result of the spell was that I did seriously consider poly as a lifestyle choice for myself. Not with the person mention, but in a general way.

    Related to the type of relationships that are often given public acceptance but perhaps privately judged are people like myself who are single parents living with an adult child. The old “why are you single?” “what’s wrong with her?” mentality. I consider anyone who chooses to not be in a heteronormative dyadic monogamous relationship to be in the same big group as I am. We’re outlaws from the norm. Yes, this norm exists within paganism, too. Maybe not so much for the hetero thing, but coupling up is definitely seen as the preferred option.

  • Hi! Thanks so taking the time to write such a thoughtful commentary.

    I think you make a very valid point about surface acceptance vs. private opinion. Another great insight is your comment about the homogenization of paganism to appeal to a certain demographic that sometimes occurs:
    “I encounter that a lot too. In theory, our community professes to be very open and accepting of it. In person…it still freaks people out and draws suspicion and sometimes hostility.”

    I like describing myself as an outlaw because, for me, using this term implies that I am not a bandwagoner. As paganism in its many glorious forms becomes more mainstream, some people are quick to adopt the latest trend. Being an outlaw implies a resistance to this sort of mindset and behavior.

    As for my misfired blood spell example, there was definitely a “whoa” reaction! This was about ten years ago. Although I had friends who were poly at the time, I had never considered it for myself. One result of the spell was that I did seriously consider poly as a lifestyle choice for myself. Not with the person mention, but in a general way.

    Related to the type of relationships that are often given public acceptance but perhaps privately judged are people like myself who are single parents living with an adult child. The old “why are you single?” “what’s wrong with her?” mentality. I consider anyone who chooses to not be in a heteronormative dyadic monogamous relationship to be in the same big group as I am. We’re outlaws from the norm. Yes, this norm exists within paganism, too. Maybe not so much for the hetero thing, but coupling up is definitely seen as the preferred option.

  • Wolf

    After over 30 yards as a practical, practicing, backwoods Witch, you hit the cut nail on its square head for me. I’ve done the degrees, done the Trads, done the covens, done the solitaire work. I’m an outlaw Witch. I just didn’t know it.

  • Khoyshekh

    Gypsy is a slur and you’re just reinforcing the stereotype that the
    Romani people are all thieves while European countries oppress them.
    Stop it, do some research and if you really have romani/roma ancestry,
    you’ll honor your ancestors by being respectful towards the culture.