I was really hoping this week I’d have some inspirational writing for our times. You know, something that would illuminate and invigorate other people’s paths.
Instead, my brain is stuck on things that drive me bonkers. Which triggers the sarcasm nodes of my brain. Might as well get it out – for health reasons, right? So here are some things that I constantly run across online where people are often mistaking or misusing something. Most likely because they’re confused by it. Now, I am totally understanding of learning curves and I don’t expect everyone to be an expert. However, some things are so easily fixed by more careful reading…or google. Sure there are bigger concerns in the world. I discuss those frequently in other blog posts. Maybe if people confuse these things less, we’ll all be a little happier? That’s a good thing!
Altar vs. Alter
Jason and I co-wrote The Witch’s Altar – which will be released in November of this year. In one of the sections I wrote, I touch upon how often people confuse these two words. It happens – a LOT. Even several folks who submitted pieces to the book used the wrong word. Which I understand – spellcheck won’t catch it. Here’s the difference:
Altar – is a location – a noun. It’s the place where you interact with the sacred. An altar is a place of ACTION. So connect altar and action together, since they both start with A – might help!
Alter – is a verb that means to change or effect. It takes energy to alter something. So connect alter with energy or effect, and you’ll know you’ve got the right word. You can alter things at an altar, with energy!
Doreen Valiente =/= Doreen Virtue
OMG. Yes, I know they have the same first name. Yes they have the same letter for their last name. Yes, you might find products by both of them in the metaphysical section. That’s where the similarities end. Valiente is considered to be the mother of modern Witchcraft. She is responsible for some of the most beautiful writing and ritual found in what most people know as Wicca, and wrote Witchcraft for Tomorrow, The Rebirth of Witchcraft, An ABC of Witchcraft, Natural Magic and more. . She was a lovely intelligent British woman born in 1922 and died in 1999. AWESOME WITCH.
Black vs. White Magick/Witchcraft
I mention this issue in my own books, but I’ll bring it up here too. Magick doesn’t have a color. “White” as good and “Black” as bad is so seeded in bullshittery I could devote whole posts to just that. “White” should not be equated with “good” stuff while “black” is equated with “bad” stuff – it is steeped in racial bias and cultural undertones that need to get buried – last century. Things that one person may consider harmful, another person may consider beneficial – all that’s different is the perspective. Workings done with good intentions can cause undesirable consequences – and vice versa.
Do It Exactly By the Book Mentality
Books are guidelines, and most important to note: they are someone else’s experiences – that are often filtered a bit so they can be published (or were designed primarily to be published in the first place.) You best learn how to practice Witchcraft through actually doing it. There’s a tendency to apply academic-style learning to everything – and Witchcraft is more related to a trade than literature and other liberal arts. Yes, you need to follow a list of elements in a chemistry book to the letter to avoid an explosion – but most spells are not like that. The ingredients generally have sympathetic properties – they trigger associations in our brains versus mixing acids and bases. Consider a healing spell – its ingredients will change depending on who wrote it, where they come from or live, and their associations with those ingredients – and what is being healed. That’s why there are endless kinds and variations of healing spells versus one.
Essentially, yes, read books – but also experiment and experience, and make your own notes. That applies to everything from spells and rituals to working with deities. There is not one way to work magick or do Witchcraft.
I’m sure there’s a LOT more that get on my nerves, but these currently are the top 4 that swam to the top of my head. What’s your pet peeve that stems from confusion?