Do not be fooled, Witchcraft is about power. In fact, that seems to be one of the commonly agreed aspects which distinguishes Witchcraft from other practices and traditions. The word “power” often brings up a lot of issues regarding one’s shadow and as such is a heavily charged word, especially since we see so many abuses of power within our society. Witchcraft seems to arise universally throughout cultures as a response to the abuses of power – particularly spiritual abuses of power. In the myth of Aradia, Diana sends Aradia to Earth for the sole purpose of teaching witchcraft so that the witches could have power and overthrow their oppressors.
The term witch is often thought of as relating to the word Wicca, which is sometimes translated as “to bend and to shape”. Whether this is etymologically accurate or not, the notion here is interesting. You cannot bend or shape reality without power. As witches, we seek power and that power allows us to shape ourselves and shape our world.
In spirituality, people often embrace the concepts of “empowerment” and reject the concepts of “seeking power”. However, I believe that these two ideas go hand-in-hand. You cannot find empowerment if you’re rejecting power, to begin with. In the amazingly beautiful channeled Charge of the Goddess, power is one of the things that the Goddess asks of us.
“Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you. And you who seek to know Me, know that the seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.”
The key here is that all those virtues asked of the witch by the Goddess, are in fact different facets of power and its uses. We are being asked to seek things already inherent within ourselves. If there wasn’t any power within Witchcraft, it wouldn’t be Witchcraft. The idea that we shouldn’t seek power is an idea that is perpetuated by those who have power and want to hoard it, or those who are fooled by that idea themselves. Witchcraft is not a path of powerlessness. This is echoed by a phrase attributed to Victor Anderson, the founder of the Feri/Faery tradition of Witchcraft which states that one should, “neither punish nor coddle weakness.”
In the Sacred Fires Tradition of Witchcraft, power and the seeking of power is a crucial pillar of our Witchcraft. This is why the first book written publicly on our Tradition is entitled The Witch’s Book of Power.
“We call this right to self-rulership sovereignty. More than the ability to govern oneself, it also means “supreme power.” One who is sovereign has both the total power to rule over themselves and the total power to impact the world around them. With great privilege, however, comes great responsibility: There is almost always someone or something threatening our sovereignty, and usually it is ourselves.”
– Devin Hunter
The Witch’s Book of Power
One of our public practices is the Pentacle of Sovereignty as provided in The Witch’s Book of Power, which is our version of the Iron Pentacle of the Feri/Faery Tradition, which we run through our energetic body to ensure that we’re in the right frequency. The Pentacle of Sovereignty is our personal checks and balances of our power. The points of the pentacle are Balance, Power, Respect, Awareness, and Divinity. These concepts work in sync to ensure that we’re embracing and using our sovereignty correctly and not abusing our power.
True power produces more power. As such, power seeks to empower. The hoarding of power, the abuse of power, the seeking of power over someone instead of with someone, are not genuine forms of power, but rather forms of weakness. Power is confident in its power. As witches, we seek the empowerment of others as much as ourselves: psychic power, magickal power, emotional power, and mental power.
This power when used with sovereignty allows us to assist others and create necessary change within our own lives and that of others. It is aware of the power and potential power of all things and as such seeks equality and justice. It respects that power in others and ensures that there’s a balance between how we view and treat the power within others, knowing that this power is a manifestation of our interconnection with divinity. As such, we do not shy away from concepts of Power, but seek to reclaim it and to become fully empowered and sovereign. We seek Power to change ourselves and our world.