I’ve been thinking about the different reasons that I do witchcraft. Then something happened that reminded me of the only point that matters.
The main reason that I put my thoughts in a public forum is that I enjoy discussing things that are important to me. I like learning from others’ opinions and experiences. Recently I wrote about my problem with angels. In one of the forums where that article was shared, someone said something intriguing. I replied by asking “to be pointed in the right direction” so I could further explore the idea presented. I was expecting a book recommendation or something similar. Instead, the commentator replied with a lengthy essay about their beliefs regarding angels. My first reaction was, “Wow, thanks!” My second reaction was, “What’s the point?”
Asking that question led me to ponder the point of witchcraft. Actually, for me there are several reasons for practicing witchcraft.
To Gain Knowledge
Part of the point of my lengthy angelic responder was for me to gain knowledge. That’s a big part of the point of witchcraft for me. I spend hours everyday engaged in the quest for information. I firmly believe that witchcraft is a skill that we hone by acquiring knowledge. Sometimes what I read radically shifts my understanding of witchcraft. Other times it boggles my mind and leaves me confused. Mostly I go seeking information when I want to understand something, like what I did with my blog about angels.
To Apply Knowledge
While the angelic commentator was kind enough to write several hundred words in response to my “point me in the right direction” statement, nowhere in any of the paragraphs was there any information on what exactly the point was of using this particular angelic framework. It was all knowledge for the sake of knowledge.
There seems to be a lot of people like that in the corners of the pagan universe where I lurk. Lots of book learning. Little application to everyday life. I don’t get it. At all. I’m not opposed to learning for the sake of curiosity. I wander down rabbit holes all the time. These are passing fancies that are distractions from life. Unless, of course, I find something on the other side of the looking glass that is, you know, useful. By that I mean I can somehow apply it to my life and witchcraft (I don’t practice separation between the two so when I say “life” it includes witchcraft.)
To me, witchcraft that’s just about accumulating information is pointless. There’s people out there who seem to do this. Of course, I’m just looking at them from the other side of their own personal looking glass. Who knows what they actually do in private.
To Build Others Up
Talking about my perception that others are sitting on a mountain of information that basically has no point runs the risk of sliding downhill into an attack on people like this. I guess I’m feeling a bit hard done by all the dogmatic keyboard scholars who like to tell me that I’m all wrong in my interpretation of things. I try to live by a “you do you” approach to what other people think. That’s all good until they try to tell me what to think. I don’t think that one of the points of witchcraft is to be a pedantic puffy pants. Sharing knowledge is a way that we can build others up. ‘Splaining to people why they’re wrong and then wrapping it up with “to each their own” is offensive.
Can we all take a breath, step back and get some perspective? We are all witches! How cool is that?! You can believe what you want, I’ll believe what I want. Let’s appreciate each others views, not spew our take on things (yes, even if you’ve read 123 ancient Greek texts, whatever you say is still your opinion based on someone else’s opinion) as though we are divine emmisaries sent to save the unwashed masses.
To Develop My Intellect
That last paragraph was a bit of a rant. Yet another example of why I’m not perfect. I need to know myself, my limitations, my strengths and mind. Part of doing witchery requires developing critical thinking skills which I apply understanding myself and everything else. Know thyself, witch. You do this by applying the knowledge you gather.
The first step in applying knowledge is to filter it through my own experience and personality so that I end up in a place that makes sense to me. Critical thinking is definitely one of the points of witchcraft. Any witch that blindly accepts information or who has a dogmatic approach is missing this point. Our intellect is the greatest tool available to a witch. Developing it is vital for becoming an effective witch and better person.
To Make Me a Better PersonPersonally, my witchcraft almost always centers around becoming a better person, whether it’s developing my skills at manipulating natural energy, dealing with my tendency to interrupt others (if anyone knows of an effective spell to cure me of this nasty habit, please send it to me ASAP) or to send distance healing.
To Help Others
One of the points of witchcraft to me is to help others, like sending distance healing. Sharing knowledge and supporting each other are other ways to being helpful. I also use witchcraft to help the people I care about. There’s a fine line between being helpful and solving someone else’s problems, though.
To Solve Problems
I think one of the major points of doing witchcraft is to solve problems. We attempt to manipulate energies – whether by petitioning deities, activating crystals or reciting words – to change things. I’ve never done a spell that doesn’t focus on solving a perceived problem. Have you?
To Understand Mysteries
Although practical magick is problem-focused, there’s this whole other side of witchcraft. The mysterious side. Many of us explore the metaphysical, whether it’s by developing our psychic abilities, astral projection into other realms, or communicating with the land. There are so many mysteries to investigate.
I’ve often wondered why it is that some people are driven to gain a full understanding of things like the paranormal, the afterlife, and the true nature of the gods. For all my complexities, I have a simple approach to all these areas. We can explore them and perhaps get a glimpse into what lies beyond our understanding, but, at the end of the day they are supposed to remain mysterious.
I can’t understand the gods because I’m human. I think humans understand the divine the way dogs understand humans. We’re limited in our capacity because of what we are. Once in a while, I get to ride on a divine energetic current. Like a dog riding with his head hanging out of a car window – I have no idea how this works, but I sure do love it.
To Connect with Nature
Besides becoming a better person and solving problems, connecting with nature is one of the major points of my witchery. In fact, being in the natural world is where I have had the best success in self-improvement and problem solving. It’s also the place where I’ve been able to ride the wave of the gods. I can’t imagine a witchcraft without nature as the focus. By understanding how nature works, I have become better at manipulating natural energy. The tides, the seasons, and the way the ice forms in the cove have all shown me ways to be better at witchcraft.
The Point of Witchcraft!
This morning I woke up at 5 with the burning urge to write about the point of witchcraft. For those of you who regularly read my blogs, you know that the images I use are as vital to the story as the words. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that I had a fully formed image in my head to go along with the text. It had to be this silly witches hat sitting on the shore. It had to be shot in a specific location. I’ve never gone to this spot before because it involves some minor trespassing. I usually only break laws if it’s necessary. It seemed like it would be this morning.
After the usual mom morning routine, I set out for my destination. While I was plunking down that ridiculous hat in the exact location it had to be in, I noticed a tiny antique bottle right there. In the exact spot that I had woken up with in my head for no particular reason. The bottle clearly had washed up on that inaccessible piece of land during our recent storms. To make it even more appropriate, I had a lengthy discussion over coffee yesterday about witch bottles. How lovely that a new one that is already full of salt water and who knows what else came to me. A truly witchy thing if there ever was one. In that moment I knew what the only true point of witchcraft is: to remind me that magick is real.