The Witch who hated spells didn’t hate them for the reason you might think. This Witch was actually quite talented at creating and performing spells. They didn’t hate them because there had been a spell that had gone wrong, or perhaps too right. No no, nothing like that at all.
And well, really “hate” is too strong a word. But that takes up less letters than “frustrated with the hyper-focus and fascination on spells and overall conflation with Witchcraft.”
If you haven’t figured it out, I’m talking about me. Don’t get me wrong. I love the whole vision of spellcraft: the witchy cabinet full of ingredients, folkloric spell archives and old books, the crafting of things for metaphysical needs. There’s a rather size-able section on spellcraft included in the book I just finished writing. But writing about spells in general definitely is not my favorite thing (unless of course, it all involves making art.) Rather, there are so many more interesting things to explore and think about than spellcraft when it comes to being a Witch.
To me, spells like those pretty flowers on birthday cakes made of icing. You know, the ones that look so enticing and usually are kids’ favorite part of the cake? Because they’re pretty AND they’re mostly pure sugar – so much to love! But then when you get older, you realize there’s CAKE under those sugary flora – real honest to goodness cake! It’s even more delicious and filling than those ornaments that make your adult teeth cringe just by looking at them.
As I mentioned before, I see spellcraft as being part of Witchcraft, but I don’t see them as synonymous. Spellcraft is just one part of being a Witch. Anyone can do spells. But Witches do more than spells – they work the threads that interconnect worlds, the seen and unseen, the known and unknown, the shadows and the luminous. We are more than jars of herbal ingredients, lists of lunar and solar alignments, and pretty arrangements of skulls and crystals. We weave the liminal. Through ritual, trance, divination workings that dance between the mundane and the metaphysical, we connect with the universe. We work with the mysteries of spirits, deities, ancestors, as well as the physically embodied spirits surrounding us in plants, animals, and places.
There’s often not a lot of flashy items or visual theater involved with this kind of work, not much that can be documented on Instagram. Nor can it be easily tracked, validated or understood by others. The deeper layers of being a Witch are quiet, unassuming, and a tremendous amount of work that’s generally unseen and un-applauded. But outside kudos is not the reward anyway – finding the interconnections and inner satisfaction is. Being a Witch is a way of living, seeing, breathing, and moving that happens far below the surface.
If you reduce Witchcraft just down to spells, you’re missing out on those deeper layers. You’re putting your fingers in the icing without getting down to the cake. The cake, IMHO, is the best part of Witchcraft.