Can Witches Be Lightworkers?

Can Witches Be Lightworkers? November 16, 2018

Lightworkers might have their place in the world, but is it within witchcraft? There’s little overlap between lightworkers and witches, except for an emphasis on psychic abilities and healing. Witchcraft is about death and darkness, whether to harness an animal spirit or the power of personal transformation. Witches are not lightworkers. We are death walkers, wandering in the shadows where healing and true magick are found.

I’m All For Self-Definition, But…

Earlier this year, I wrote a few articles about what it means to be a witch, including “You Call Yourself a Witch? Then Own It?”

In that piece, I talked about how calling oneself a witch required accepting the responsibility that came with it, including the history of oppression, violence and marginalization. This grew out of an earlier blog that I wrote about “What Makes Witchcraft…Witchcraft?”  In that I said anyone can call themselves a witch if they work with natural energies to achieve a desired outcome.

What I’m about to say may seem to contradict that a bit, but I see it as more of a clarification. At any rate, this witch claims her right to change her mind. Witches love complexity, and I think defining witchcraft is much more complex than what I wrote in that article. It was the summer, maybe the humidity got to me? So, let’s talk about what witchcraft isn’t. Time to get really real.

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About Cyndi
Cyndi Brannen is a witch and spiritual teacher, a trained energetic healer, psychic and herbalist. Merging together her training in shamanism, Tarot, past life work, meditation and psychology, she teaches and writes about better living through witchcraft. Keeping Her Keys: An Introduction to Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft explores Hekate from her ancient origins to modern understanding through magic and personal development is available now for pre-order from Moon Books. True Magic: Unleashing Your Inner Witch uses the magic of the elements and the three realms to activate your true witch powers and will be available later in 2019 from Moon as well. Connect with her on Facebook or at to learn more about her teaching and writing. Cyndi lives in rural coastal Nova Scotia with her two sons where she can often be found wandering the cliffs or wild foraging plants. She lives what she teaches: fierce love, emotional courage and true magic. You can read more about the author here.

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76 responses to “Can Witches Be Lightworkers?”

  1. You have NOOOOO idea how much this article made my heart sing!!!! My best friend is the reason I strapped my witch boots back on, but, she very much fits the description of a light worker… for the longest while, it bothered me that I wasn’t able to really fit in and relate to how the light working community seems to think. She is the most wonderful person you could ever meet and cares deeply about people, but fundamentally, she and I differ greatly on our paths. I am very much a dark person. It’s my core. I just cannot relate to the constant positivity that light working espouses. I sometimes don’t understand a situation fully until I have gone into the cave, sat in the dark inky silence and excavated all the details.
    I am sitting here trying desperately to find my notes from a session with my guide on balance and how it’s not all short and sweet like people make it out to be. You caught my attention with your comment about balance being a personal thing. People tend to think it’s a “one size fits all” thing. Sooo very far from the truth of it.
    I think there will be people who think you are being a bit harsh with this topic, but I have to say, as I read it, I felt like I had finally read something that really expressed how I feel. My dark side helps me appreciate my light side. If I was to focus mainly on the light, I think it would cause blindness and keep me from working through some of my issues. Yes, sometimes, when the power is out, a torch will help you find socks to help you stay warm, but if you stare at the sun too long, you go blind and then can’t see any of the beauty which surrounds you.
    Thank you!!

  2. As much as I agree with many things in this post, I think it’s just another extreme of “lightworker syndrome”. Too many people I know who have experienced the other side have seen a white light, so to reduce deathwork to a simple shade, dark or light is problematic. I’ve been to many places on the otherside(s), and it’s as diverse as this plane is.
    I do understand that people tend to gravitate towards one or the other, but personal predilictions should not be used to point fingers and proclaim what a witch is or isn’t. Hecate is not the only owner of the craft. There are several other deities of craft all over the world, and they are not all dark. I understand why this is happening. The new age practitioners went to one extreme, and now the pendulum is swinging the other way.
    I hope when everything is said and done, that balance is finally restored, and there are several divergent paths for practitioners to follow without so much finger pointing, not just dark and light.

  3. As lightworker, what can I say?

    I light the dark, nothing stays hidden with me. The dark and me we know each other well. It does not like me once it realizes it can’t have me.

    I think talking about dark and light as you do only confuses dark and light and their meaning. Dark equals evil with me, those that seek power are evil by nature and you state you prefer darkness because it makes you feel powerful. I agree, I don’t find much discernment and criticism in any pseudo-scientific field. New age is too much about selfishness as much as you equate witchcraft with dark things. You can be an evil witch but don’t say all witches are like that.

    You call dead dark, I won’t generalize that. It’s too vast a realm to make that assumption.

  4. Cyndi,

    My 2nd new FB account got pinged! So, if they deactivate this one…as much as I would like to join, I am done with their nonsense. FB never stops giving me a new reason to hate them. -_-


  5. I think the emphasis on “light” in some forms of new-age influenced Paganism/Witchcraft are a response to a centuries-old societal mistake, where light is seen as “good” and dark is seen as “evil”. Of course, they are no such thing. Both light and dark are natural, and we need both to thrive. The day needs the night, the shadow needs the flame. While I’m not a Witch (my path is Druidry) I try to keep a balance of the two, and find magic in those liminal, twilight spaces in between.

  6. Yep. Still waiting (on FB)… I never had to deal with this before, but I think because of all the Russian Trolls and Bots and such, they’re really cracking down. But it seems to be the other extreme now to the point of anal retentiveness. -_-

  7. I just felt I needed to agree with Mercurial Delish emphatically, in addition to “Liking”. I understand the frustration, this is what the term “fluffy bunny” used to mean (I understand it now refers mainly to newbies who haven’t yet learned better – and really shouldn’t be criticized too heavily for inexperience. Bad change, in my opinion.) But there are many kinds of lightworkers – heavy duty ritual magicians, for example – and these days *anyone* who tries to co-opt the word “witch” exclusively for their own narrow path is likely to be onto a loser.

  8. I think I have something to do with the triple Goddesses. Im willing to talk to someone who can help me

  9. Lighting the dark so nothing stays hidden is not lightworking. Lightworking, in the way the author means it, is avoiding the dark – ignoring the deathy parts of life, the shadow work, and the pushing through fear and trauma, and drowning in a sense of pure, angelic goodness.

    I’m not sure from where you derive any notion the the author is on a power trip. Or even that power trips are more often found in the darkness than in the light.

    The idea that darkness is evil is the inherently racist fuel behind manifest destiny. The lighter you are, the closer to god. You might want to rethink the formula.

    Darkness is simply more complex. Witches deal in complexity. I shine Hekate’s torches on my own darkness, the world’s darkness. But that is deathwalking not lightworking.

  10. One more basic article trying to tell the world what witches are and what witches aren’t. Honestly when are you going to realise that witches aren’t one thing?

  11. Of course, the truly basic one is that who doesn’t even have a profile picture. I banish you from my blog, sending you the healing you so desperately need.

  12. This article brought me joy. The only thing I would like to add is the racist roots of the concept of Lightworker. The term was invented to carry on the distinction of “white” magic vs. “Black” magic after the was finally plurality in rejecting the roots of defining something as “white” magic. The roots of the concept are also deeply rooted in rejecting the powerful magic of African, Asian/Eastern, and Western Hemisphere Indigenous mystery religions. In curandismo we heal, yes- through connecting with the dead. We work in the dialectics, not equilibrium.

  13. Miguel, you are so correct. As a white woman, I usually stay out of the debate about how colored witchcraft relates to persons of color. I work closely with traditions and spirits of the First Nations peoples indigenous to where I call home, the Mi’kmaq, and I try to know my place. I would like to know more about curandismo. Do you have a book or article to recommend?

  14. Yes, I appreciated that you were leaving that space for POC. Curandismo is a catch all to describe many indigenous syncretic traditions of Latin America. Were like cousins ok Regla de Ocha (Santeria) but most of our roots are indigenous instead of African, yet there are absolutely African influences. Allot of the best written material is in Spanish or in small booklet form, and I don’t love the main definition in Wikipedia, but it’s a start the History in the US and Types sections are the best in the wiki page. Most Curanderos don’t consider themselves Witches (because of the Eurocentric understanding of the term, and defensiveness against attacks from the Christians), but that has changed allot in the last 10-20 years. I would describe myself as also a brujo/witch and many of the youngest generation, especially growing up in the US also consider themselves Brujxs/Witchs.

  15. As a Native, I can’t help but agree. So many Whites seem blind to this racist bias. I’m reminded of the early Mormons of Utah: One housewife wrote about how her family had taken in a young Native girl specifically to religiously indoctrinate her and groom her to be their son’s child-bride at around 13. The wife wrote in her diary that she was ‘concerned for the injun girl’s darkness which revealed her leviite heritage of sin’ but that ‘With hours of fasting and instruction in the cellar, she has repented -and grows more white, and delightsome to God by the day-‘. This is romanticizing brainwashing, starvation, the infliction of illness for the sake of racist ‘beauty standards and ‘purity fetishism’ and imprisonment, and this was typical of the era..and its toxic legacy continues, largely unchallenged to this day in the Western tradition’s many faiths. Light is not good, Darkness is not evil.

  16. Are those who are abused, evil by nature? Because they seek enough power to protect themselves, or heaven forbid win justice? Are those whose labor is exploited, evil by nature? Because they seek the power to control their destiny, or heaven forbid seek to join with their coworkers for the power of a union? Are those who want control over their own lives, evil by nature? Because they don’t want to just walk around hoping for the best, or heaven for bid seek the power of learning the best paths to pursue?

    The idea that power equals evil, is propagated by those who have the power and don’t want to lose it, and those they have fooled into believing that things are good enough.

    Your premise is a definition of privilege and disdain for those who aren’t ok with our lot in life when we let others keep all the power.

  17. Very interesting article and superb use of personal reflection; nevertheless, I can’t help but wonder if you are more gliding toward Shamanism ….. don’t get me wrong, I know lots of Shamanistic Witches and they are amazing people. Just an observation from a native Witch myself 🙂

  18. Just read this, backwards, comments first, article following.
    As I sit in contemplation, my very first thought was, “f%$#, no label for me, I don’t fit. Again.”
    I denied my connection to the other worlds/realms/dimensions for most of my life, all my adult life.
    Even though, over and over, beings were interacting with me, saving my butt, scaring me.
    I denied. I was a Modern Scientific Thinker. These things, don’t, can’t, won’t exist. I’ve got one heckuva imagination, maybe I made it up.
    Researching natural, earth based health when science failed me brought me to research on light, energy, matter ‘s building blocks and quantum physics, Eastern body energy, coupled with earth plant-mineral based optimum physical, but not emotional, health convinced me to reexamine my whole, “prove it,” and lifelong spirit interactions .
    In my view, this Universe, any and all dimensions, is in two forms, off (dark, 0 in binary, yang, the cosmic creation fabric) or on (light, 1 in binary code, yin, the cosmic spark/fire)
    Everything in this Universe is in a constant conversion of current form, matter, nowhere, is not in this pattern of existence. From stars, and mountains, to the cells that he made us, everything is in this constant cycle of birth/growth/decay/death/rebirth. A constant shifting of light and dark, blossoming and then rotting away.
    Every being, every cell, naturally strives for stasis, equilibrium, balance.
    My path is to heal, and help, the whole journey.
    I’m neither light, nor dark, I strive for center, gray.
    Love and creative energy for you Cyndi, you get to choose the color.

  19. I have been given the mantle of Lightworker many times over and have tried to wear it but it never quite fit. Then I read the title to this post and was immediately drawn in. It may take some time to get used to the term Death Walker and release all of the “stuff” attached to it but, it sure is more comfortable than the other one.

  20. Yah, Mercurial, I agree with your saying, “I do understand that people tend to gravitate towards one or the other, but personal predilictions should not be used to point fingers and proclaim what a witch is or isn’t.” This kind of labeling can easily become demonically! (SELFishly) convoluted.

  21. Piffle! We are CHANGE workers. We stand astride the boundaries and help others to navigate transitions. Yes, the transitions between life and death are dramatic and important, but that’s only part of the job. Maybe death and darkness define your specialty, but they hardly define the profession.

  22. The thing I find most fascinating about this article is the varied reactions that people have to it, like the ones that you two have. Someone once told me that great art inspires many different interpretations in the eye of the beholder. As this article has spread, I’ve seen so many different interpretations of what I am saying. It’s very cool. I thank you for expressing your opinion in response to mine.

  23. THANK YOU. This is what I’ve needed. This is article means a lot to me. I’ve never connected with the whole Light worker phenomenon. Speaking of the whole, “Sending Light and Love”. My Dad just moved on and that phrase makes me want to gag. At this moment there is no light in my life without my Dad and I don’t need some self proclaimed “Healer” trying to send it to me.

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  34. After reading the article I could help myself from wanting to cry, I live in a Latin American country and always felt different and it hard to find a place to fit in or just find a group that understand you.

    The reason am looking right now for answers is because I had an encounter with three owls last night. They were communicating with each other, and when I went outside one of the owls flew on top of me. I know they are higher spirits but I can’t help this feeling of fear. If anyone can help me understand what this means.

  35. I became a lightworker many years ago because I wanted to help and heal. My first healing was for an elderly cancer patient who was also a WW2 veteran. I could feel that he wanted to go. I proceeded to work at night, working for the highest good of all …… the next day the patients neice who had requested the healing, called me to say that he had crossed over very peacefully in the night and added a big thank you. Healing can be defined in different ways and can be a simple as aiding the passing accross to the other side and can work in conjunction with witchcraft in my mind.

  36. I’m not a witch, but have been doing Reiki for about a year. Would you please elaborate on your statement, “I’m saying that even Reiki properly done is heavy, dark work.”? That’s a new concept for me. Thanks!

  37. Thanks so much for asking. Reiki is an amazing practice of energetic healing. When we use Reiki, or any healing technique, we are going into the darkness of dis-ease. In order to be our most powerful, we need to understand this darkness. It is the shadow self, the repository of our fear and pain. We heal by knowing the pain, not avoiding it. That is dark, heavy work. Failing to go into our internal depths to heal ourselves results in our healing attempts of others to be stifled. We are empowered not by denying the dark, but by making it our ally. Think of it like this. You want to help someone who is in the middle of a labyrinth. Can you help them better by denying that they are in a maze or by having been through a similar one and acting as their guide?

  38. You’ve definitely given me something to think about. I’m going to bring your explanation to my next Reiki share — I think it’ll be an interesting conversation starter. Thanks so much!

  39. That’s exactly what I hoped this article would inspire: meaningful discussion. Blessings to you and your Reiki share group. I used to be part of one, and I absolutely loved it.

  40. I don’t know much about any of this, but I’m replying to you because the article sounds like a simple, cute generalization of a very serious topic, and somehow doesn’t seem to even address what it claims to be. I feel more truth resonating from you.

  41. Thank you, Katherine! I have been practicing witchcraft since young adulthood & I’ve been a Shadow Walker for many years. These types of women simply want something new to write about, so they slap a new & incorrect label on someone else’s pathway & claim it as their own, then forge a “new” pathway for people to follow. She refuses to respond to me & it’s clear why: she’s ignorant of the truth.