You can be taught witchcraft, but you cannot be taught to be a witch. This may seem like an odd statement from someone who teaches witchcraft for a living and has written a forthcoming book on witchcraft, but it’s the truth. I can no more teach you how to become a witch than I can teach a seed to sprout and grow. I can place the seed in the proper environment, water it, expose it to the right amount of sunshine and shade – but I cannot teach it to grow and transform into a plant. It must discover its own magick to do that on its own.
You cannot be taught to be a witch, but you can learn to be a witch. I can show you which words to recite out loud, when to whisper them and when to roar them. I can show you which words to coat in honey and which to drench in vinegar as they come out of your mouth to paint the air, but I cannot teach you what honey or vinegar is to your soul. I can share with you a mystery but I cannot tumble it like amethyst within your mind until its smooth as glass and fits within your own palm. I can hand you a crystal and show you how to hold it and which colored light in your Witch Eye to envelop it within, but I cannot make it sing for you nor can I make you hear its song.
I can show you the techniques to get into a trance state, where inner wells of power hide, what the different parts of your souls are. But I cannot teach you to truly seek, to tap into, to connect, to merge, and to integrate. Only you can do this. I can show you the process of examination and methods of deep inner healing, but I cannot teach you where those wounded aspects of yourself you keep under lock and key are concealed, especially those aspects you hide even from yourself. I can show you what to imagine and what to feel, but I cannot make you do either.
I can show you how I work with dried herbs, and which properties they hold. I cannot teach you how to re-animate the spirit of their roots to empower the spell working, I can only share how I do it. I can share with you my knowledge, my experiences, my thoughts, my musings. I can share with you the knowledge and experience of peers, students, and elders I’ve come to know either in person or from their written works. I can never teach you how to understand that knowledge or enliven it as wisdom for you, despite however much I wish that I could.
I can show you how I cast spells, I can’t get them to work for you. I can show you how to fly without your body, but I cannot lift you out of your body into the astral. I can show you how to call to gods and spirits, I cannot make them listen or respond to you. I can teach you enchantments, I cannot enchant your own world for you. This is because being a witch is about power. It’s the power of your soul and how it interacts with the ensouled universe that surrounds us. We all have an individual relationship with the Witch Power that must be sought out on our own to be discovered. And just like any relationship, no one has the same relationship to a person that another person does. Likewise, no two witches have the exact same relationship with the Witch Power.
I can teach you witchcraft but I cannot teach you to be a witch. No one can teach you to be a witch. Only you can truly teach yourself to be a witch. It’s the same reason that an adolescent can use Silver Ravenwolf’s Teen Witch Kit to completely alter their life with magick. It’s the same reason that a High Priest in a well-established Tradition can buy the rarest and expensive books on magick and relegate themselves to the arm-chair with a praxis of pomp and circumstance while being unable to get the simplest of practical magick to work for themselves.
Anyone can call themselves a witch. Anyone can take up the practice of witchcraft but not everyone who does so will truly become a witch. Despite this, anyone and everyone has the ability to be a witch. It’s just that you can’t make someone else thirst, to seek, or to truly desire to be dedicated and disciplined to perform the elbow grease it takes to follow it up.
I could even initiate you, attune you to a current of power, and watch as your world falls apart like snakeskin being shed that no longer serves its purpose due to growth. But I cannot teach you how you should take that shattered glass of the rubble and re-arrange it into a new mosaic or re-build it into a new temple that honors your True Will upon this planet. I cannot navigate the blessings and the curses that the Witch Power will throw upon your crooked path to cocoon you for your transmutation.
The words of the Star Goddess weave throughout all things, threading together the currents of power that calls to the soul of the witch. Like a sphinx she riddles the mystery, supplying both lock and key to those people who would transform themselves into witches as caterpillars metamorphose into moths, compelled to the moon’s light with unstoppable drive – a riddle that is different for every single witch.
“And thou who thinkest to seek for me, know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not, unless thou know this mystery: that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee.”
– Charge of the Goddess