I’m less and less sure these days just what exactly Witchcraft is. If you identify as a Witch, then you probably are a Witch. That sounds like an over simplification, but I think it’s generally true. Witches, however we define the term, do all sorts of things, and there’s no ONE THING that disqualifies a Witch or defines Witchcraft in general.
I find absolutes troubling in Witchcraft and Paganism in general. Not all Witches do X, or work with X, and to imply such things limits Witchcraft, and it limits the people who identify as Witches and practice Witchcraft. I get why people write and speak in absolutes, when you are passionate about your practice it’s easy to think everyone is doing it exactly like you do, but that’s rarely, if ever, the case. I’m a part of long standing tradition and I’m not sure we all even do things exactly the same.
A lot of Witches focus on things we often associate with the night, darkness, and death. I’ll admit that most of my rituals take place after the sun has set and that some of those rituals make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up (I don’t think we should trifle with deity), but with the exception of Samhain my rituals are almost never about death, or the dead. So when I read that “Witchcraft is about death, whether to harness an animal spirit or the power of personal transformation. Witches are not light workers. We are death walkers, wandering in the shadows where healing and true magick are found,” I can’t help but shake my head.
(And Cyndi Brennan over at Keeping Her Keys makes several really great points in the article I’m quoting here, and her passion for what she believes is joyous and infectious. But I think it speaks in absolutes that don’t work for all Witches. If you haven’t read it yet I urge you to do so, because she makes some great arguments, but there are points I obviously disagree with.)
Certainly Witchcraft can be about many of those things, and for many people it is. I think some of them are even in my coven, but it certainly isn’t about me or everyone that I know. I would never call myself a death walker, nor do I guide souls to the other side of the veil or receive messages from the deceased. For a variety of theological reasons such things have never even interested me.
For me, Witchcraft has always been about working magick (with myself or with the coven), honoring and growing closer to the deities that are a part of my life, and trying to become a better human being. When i think about how I raise energy (create magick) it’s almost always through natural means-my inner will, movement, chanting . . . I’ve never utilized a bone in a spell or worked with a spirit that I was aware of (animal or plant).
And out of all of those things that I do, I know many other Witches don’t do them, ever. There are atheist-Witches and Witches who look upon deities in vastly different ways than I do. There are some Witches who make skulls an important part of their altars and magickal practice, which is great. That’s all fine with me, practice how you practice, and I hope it’s as rewarding for you as my practice is to me.
I have no idea what a lightworker is, and I’ll admit that when I hear such a phrase part of me wants to giggle at the New Ageyness of it, but that’s shitty of me. If someone practices Witchcraft and also identifies as a lightworker as well that’s their business. How someone else practices Witchcraft generally has no impact on how I practice Witchcraft. And when I read that a lightworker:
“is anyone who devotes their life to being a bright light in the world. They understand that their actions (no matter how big or small) have the potential to raise the vibration of the planet. A Lightworker soul is awake, conscious that their presence matters and that they are part of something that is bigger than them.”
it reminds me of a lot of Witches. Many of you are a bright light in an otherwise shitty world, and most Witches understand that they are a part of something much bigger than themselves or just the Craft. If a Witch wants to identify with something of that nature who am I to tell them that they are wrong?
One of the strengths of Modern Witchcraft is how adaptable it is. That’s why it appeals to people who only practice outside in the light of day, and those that whisper to the dead in the still of night. No one has choose to one or the other, and most Witches I know probably do both. Magick can be found both in the shadows and in the light of day, and that’s an absolute I feel comfortable saying.