In my article, Witchcraft Plays the Long Game I wrote, “Many would ask me, why witchcraft? Because it works, and it isn’t a choice.” A dear friend asked me to explain what I meant about this not being a choice for me. He reminded me that I often correlate witchery with personal sovereignty and free-will, so how is it consistent that I have no choice in the matter?
This is a fair question. I think Witchery is both an orientation and a sacred mission. I tried to choose ‘denial’ and ‘avoidance’ and it led to misery. Eventually, I figured out Personal Sovereignty, and chose to accept both my true self and my mission. Miserable or fulfilled, both choices were made by my own free-will.
Witchery as an Orientation
Firstly, I have to clarify my use of language in that last post. I consider Witchcraft to be a vocation with a set of skills and tools that are available to anyone, regardless of their spiritual inclination. All that is required is that you believe that magick is possible. After that, the mechanics can work for anyone.
However, I would separate The Craft from the witch’s orientation. There are folks who dabble in Witchcraft, and then there *are* witches. I should have said, “witchery isn’t a choice for me.” There is a being-ness to witchery, the aptitude for deeply, broadly sensing a far greater “normal” than others. There are things all witches just know deep down in their souls, and profound catalyzing experiences we all seem to share. Those with an orientation of witchery, naturally glide past the veil of illusion as our second-nature. This tends to become isolating, as muggle-society pushes us to the fringes, and calls us “crazy.”
For example, despite my upbringing in the Southern Baptist church, I’ve always just known that reincarnation was a thing…THE thing. I didn’t know what to call it, but I knew that this “heaven and hell” doctrine of Christianity was absolutely NOT the thing. Some of my earliest memories as a child are actually past-life memories, and a sort of PTSD reaction to them. My childhood was a confusion of gender, sexual orientation, and identity that I didn’t necessarily speak about, and I surely didn’t understand until much later. I wrote more about that story here.
To claim your identity as a Witch is to accept these natural proclivities, and live authentically. Just about every witch I know has a natural talent for psychic vision, energy work, healing, and perceiving the spirit realm. If you are trying to fit into muggle-society, you may subvert this part of yourself. Good luck ignoring the spirit of your dead Granny as she nudges you awake at exactly 3 0’clock every morning, and you SEE HER looming over you. This is one aspect of witchery not exactly being a choice. Once the Spirit Realm knows you can communicate with them, they won’t leave you alone. But WitchCRAFT can teach you how to deal with it, set boundaries, and put this skill to good use.
It hardly matters what you call this witch-being, what religion you practice, which Deities you pray to, or not… lots of folks I know are still deeply invested in the religion of their culture, and attach the word “mystic” or “shaman” to their way of practicing that religion. Know any “christian mystics?” They’ll do a little faith-healing on the side, or are known for their “gift of prophecy.” They have that extra something special that folks recognize, and will gravitate to them for aid in their lives. Witches are the ones doing things. We serve Spirit by serving nature and society.
In every culture, within every religion, on every patch of the Goddess’ green earth, you will find her awakened people–we just *are* of the divine earth, and we know that. We don’t own the land, we are of the land. Our hearts beat to the rhythm of the natural cycles on our sacred patch. We intuitively perceive the interconnections throughout creation, and how that reflects throughout the greater cosmos, both the seen, and the unseen forces, and we feeeel kindred to all within it.
I was lucky enough to discover what other people like me happen to call this beingness. Not everyone knows the vocabulary that witches use to describe our orientation. Not everyone chooses to participate in the shared celebrations, nor learn pagan or occult lore. Hell, you may never meet another self-identifying-witch in your life, but still “be a witch” by orientation. Well, by my definition, anyway. However, I feel very sorry for those lonely souls. I’m glad I first heard the word “witch” so that I could find my flock, learn from them, and share life with the “friends of a feather” I’d always longed for.
I say witchery isn’t a choice, because I’m referring to my natural state of being as a human here on earth. However, I consciously choose Modern Witchcraft specifically. When I first read about European paganism, and then discovered the Wiccan religion that came to light in the 1960’s, it rang my bell louder than any other – and it keeps ringing, even when I try to ignore it’s music. I told that story here.
After reading my Witchcraft Plays the Long Game post, my friend called to ask me if I meant to say that this orientation wasn’t a choice, much the way our homosexual friends would describe their sexual orientation not being a choice. Yes. I do think it works in much the same way. “Have you always been a witch?” is as ridiculous a question to me, as “Have you always been bi-sexual.”
I’ve known what to call my flavor of sexuality since I was thirteen. Eventually…long after leaving the Southern Baptist church behind… I explored that part of myself, and because I am a witch, I have no qualms about discussing that. However, I could have chosen to never tell a soul, never date a woman… I might have even died a virgin, and yet this would still *be* my sexual orientation. Similarly, participation in witching culture is not a requirement. However, I do solemnly believe that a person will live a far happier and fulfilled life if they outwardly participate in both their sexual and spiritual orientation’s culture.
Witchery as a Sacred Mission
But that last article was also about how I pursued the witching life as a career and sacred mission. I often write about how this magickal Universe speaks to me in all the little ways that muggles might not even notice. “I tried to focus my life elsewhere, and I made a respectable career for myself — the kind of success at mundane things that made my papa proud — but it felt like slow starvation. “
That is more about pursuing my Divine Life Purpose. I don’t think one gets much of a choice on that, either, but for different reasons. You can try to deny your sacred mission for a while, but life will seem disastrous while you squander your energy on shallow diversions. I think we all came to this middle world with Work to do…Divine Mom and Dad sent us here with a chore list…homework to finish…and if we laze-about and ignore that work, we get slapped back until we get the job done.
If we don’t attend to our sacred mission in this lifetime, we’ll be sent back as often as it takes until we do. Its not to say that my free-will or personal sovereignty are taken away. Personal destiny, or wyrd, isn’t a stone cage within which I have no freedom, but it flows in the direction of my evolution, and this is the natural, beneficial thing that will feel very easy by comparison to the shit-show that life becomes if you try to thwart or deny the natural flow of your life. Denying the natural flow of our evolution is my definition of “evil,” by the way.
While I tried to ignore my inner witching self, hide my interests and abilities, and AVOID my calling, I was miserable wreck. I was spiritually, intellectually, socially, and emotionally starving. I felt like a fraud. I wrote, “Before too long, the old adage was proven true: You can take the girl away from witchcraft, but you can never take the Witch out of the girl.”
My reader friend also asked me to share more of the back-story about how my sacred mission was revealed to me. How did this former Commercial Interior Designer, turned stay-at-home-mom, who made her parents so proud doing all the respectable muggle things, end up being the Public Witch, Priestess of a Witch Coven, and clairvoyant offering “psychic readings” through her witchy shop. I’ll save that Witching Memoir for next time.
Until then, be true to you,