In my time building community and sharing my craft, one of the questions I see asked often is “is it safe?” Usually it has caveats or is followed by more qualifiers. “Is it safe for beginners?”, “Is there risk of backfire”, etc. And I want to be honest with you all.
The answer is No. No, it’s not safe to be a witch. But let’s take a step back here and get real. It’s not safe to be alive. It is a given that every one of us will die. We make decisions everyday that take risks even if we aren’t qualifying them as such. We drive to work. We use dangerous tools in our jobs or at home like power tools, knives, etc. Even when we don’t make the actual decisions, harm and death is still lurking. Hearts stop. Aneurisms rupture. Cars crash. Cancer happens. Why oh why do people think any of that changes when one practices witchcraft?
First off, Im a gay man living in Texas. I unfortunately have had to lie about myself to literally stay alive. I promise you, self assurance, vibrato, and ego fly out the window when you’re a gay teenager locked in a car surrounded by older guys with weapons asking if you’re a f*g. I still remember crying in the back seat yelling through the car window that no I wasn’t gay. I had just come out to my family the year before. I’ll never escape that memory.
When it comes to being a witch and standing in that identity, just like the word gay carries different weight with different people, so does the word “Witch”. When people who don’t know me very well, and even some that do, ask me if I’m a witch, I am very hesitant to outrightly say “yes”. I don’t always know what that word means to the person asking. In English, the word “witch” sometimes translates to have different connotations in other cultures and languages. One person’s idea of a witch is someone who wears a few crystals. Another person’s idea of a witch could be a devil worshipper sacrificing children. Safety is really important especially when discussing such matters in places you want to continue to frequent. In some states, the employment and housing laws are tricky. While Wicca may be a recognized religion, witchcraft itself is not.
Now let’s talk about the reality of our choices. If I cast a spell to cut down on traffic in my morning commute, and a freak accident happens that shuts down that highway, your spell worked but it didn’t work in the way you intended did it? You now no longer can get to work in that usually highly trafficked road. Let’s say you cast a spell to increase abundance in your life and you find yourself unintentionally pregnant with twins. Congratulations! You just conjured an abundance of children. Your spell worked exactly as stated. You just didn’t think of the fullness of your subject matter.
Mundane life is no different. Every day we make choices that have totally unintended consequences. We have car accidents. We snooze our alarm and end up late for work. We go out to a nice dinner to celebrate a big life event and get food poisoning. We decide to hit the gym more and drop a dumbbell on our feet breaking our toes and having to stay off them for 4 weeks after. We make decisions that have consequences we don’t consider everyday. Why would it be any different in witchcraft?
Many of us define a witch as someone who contracts with spirits. As an animist, that’s a pretty grand statement. The elements I work with are spirits. The herbs, the candles, and sigils are all inspirited. But then comes the concept of actually conjuring spirits, demons, necromancy, etc. While there are many established safety tools like circles, wards, protective charms and such, these things exist to protect you. When you open yourself up to the spirit world, the spirit world SEES YOU, and many of us become attractors for the shades of that liminal space.
It’s important to understand that while witchcraft isn’t safe, it’s not necessarily automatically dangerous either. Witchcraft like every decision we make in this life is just another choice. Every cause has an effect and every choice we make has an outcome. It’s up to us to assess the risks we take and weigh out whether it’s worth the possible price we might pay.
The choice is yours.
I know what mine was…
From the Crossroads of Texas,