When it comes to “valid witchcraft,” there’s an ugly undercurrent in today’s pagan and witchcraft communities. Over the past few months as I’ve been promoting Intuitive Witchcraft, I’ve spoken with a lot of people about experiences of witchcraft invalidation. I’m here to call BS on this issue.
Your witchcraft is valid. Whatever it looks like.
There are two basic forces at play when it comes to invalidating someone’s craft. I’ll go into the causes and some solutions as well.
1. Gatekeepers — Elitists Galore
I’ve come across a number of people who, like me, have been told their practice is not good enough. They’re not initiated enough, not educated enough, not traditional enough…
This needs to stop.
We often talk about the dangers of gatekeeping in our communities, but this kind of talk continues. The people who gatekeep benefit from the structure for which they advocate. In those spiritual paths, they have power, respect, and ordained knowledge from their community.
But what if someone didn’t want any of those things? What if someone preferred to have a different kind of power, one unfettered by tradition, laws, or preconceived notions? What if the respect one craved was one’s own, as opposed to respect from a group of strangers? As for knowledge from a tradition, it’s my opinion that you don’t have to learn about pagan/witch history to be good at witchcraft.
Take note, traditions! Being an elitist gatekeeper will turn off younger generations from your version of paganism or witchcraft faster than asking them if they want to practice skyclad on your first meeting. And it only takes one bad player to ruin that tradition forever for that person.
Also, young people talk. A LOT. One post complaining about a person from X tradition can get thousands of views. This can spoil many people’s view on a tradition, especially if they’re isolated and don’t know anyone who is different from that stereotype.
Anyone who encounters these kinds of comments will likely be attracted to other forms of paganism and witchcraft–ones that have nothing to do with gatekeepers. This doesn’t affect me much as someone who is outside of those systems, but it will certainly affect the future of organized paganism.
If you want to help eradicate this, promote the concept that non-traditional witchcraft is not a crime. Instead, be the resource and community that welcomes diversity and teaches wisdom without judgement.
2. Imposter Syndrome — Self-Sabotaging
Many young witches, and some well-practiced ones, have imposter syndrome. Sometimes, this is because gatekeepers lash out with insults, and other times, it’s an internal thing.
I’ve written about how to eradicate witchcraft imposter syndrome, but it bears repeating.
No matter how you practice witchcraft, you’re doing it right. Ignore the haters and the people who tell you you should do this or that. Trust your gut when it comes to your craft and you’ll be just fine.
No matter what stage of your practice, no matter how many books you’ve read, no matter if you don’t believe in your own magic (yet)… please know that your witchcraft practice is valid.
If the only magical thing you do is bless your morning coffee with the goals of waking you up and being more efficient, that’s a valid practice.
If you have big rituals with the gods and spirits of your choosing, your practice is valid.
If you combine your practice with another religion/spirituality as you see fit, your practice is valid.
Literally, any kind of witchcraft you do is valid. I mean, we all have different definitions of witchcraft, and that’s okay. There’s no definitive right or wrong way to do it if it feels right to you.
The power really is yours. It’s there for the taking, if only you dare.
Live And Let Practice
I’ve always been a bit rebellious, and I’ve never understood the repression of the spirit. Let people do their thing!
Anyone who tells you your craft is wrong is trying to have power over you, whether it’s your own demons or an external source. The good news is that you don’t have to accept judgement. You can see it for the desperation or self-hatred that it is and move on.
It’s time we pick ourselves and other people up. And it’s not enough to be silent on this issue. Many people in the community are looking for acceptance.
Why not give it to them? Why not say “cool!” when someone describes whatever path they’re on? This will show that you’re an ally. It could even help them decide to study your path if they see you as someone they can look up to.
I’ll say it once more, for the people in the back. All variations of witchcraft are valid.
It’s time we all practiced acceptance for the weird and wild paths.
Because they’re not going anywhere.