Wednesday, August 10, 2011

All Fly Away

Long before I'd ever heard the word "Wicca," witchcraft looked a lot like this to me (albeit sometimes rather more clothed). The image of the witch was already perfectly formed, it seemed, from the books I so voraciously read. She might be young or old, pretty or not; garbed all in black or cloaked only in the sky. She--or he, for there were male witches and sorcerers and warlocks about, as well--might have a companion in the form of a cat or a bat, a toad or an owl. Certain implements seemed to be necessary: brooms, cauldrons, staffs, knives, wands, swords. The witch might be alone, or with others--dancing in a ring, perhaps, or getting up to what was certainly no good in a forest glade beneath a shadowed moon. This was after-hours stuff, the things that went on after normal decent folk were long abed and dreaming. But was it the stuff of pure imagination, or was there something more to it?

It was disheartening and disillusioning, later on, to finally meet other witches--Real Witches, they assured me--and discover that the roots of their witchcraft seemed as firmly planted in a lascivious old man's fantasies as in anything truly occult. It was absolutely shattering to try at first to find a place in that paradigm and then, later, to escape it. There were things that I found that felt like Real Witchcraft to me--chants and spells and dances, folkloric elements with the aura of age and agelessness about them--and others that emphatically, even violently did not--the expectation of compulsory sexual behaviors and imported possessory rites for which there was no cultural framework to provide support and context. In order to be the kind of witch I wanted to be, I had to disassociate myself from that milieu, after which I could begin to examine what I had been passed, what I had been taught, what I had discovered for myself, what needed to be kept, and what could be discarded or altered. And how, at last, to be a Witch.

And so my partner and I, after well over a decade of strife and struggle, found our way to this place and this practice that we can call Classic Witchcraft. To an initiate of the many branches of traditional Wic(c)a, it will look familiar, though not without alterations that might make you uneasy; to a practitioner of the non-wiccan variety, there would certainly be recognizable elements as well. To the non-initiate, well, I hope that it would look very much like what you would imagine Witchcraft to look like, even lacking the cottage in the woods and the cauldron bubbling on the hearth. Here in the 21st century, even Classic Witches sometimes live in the city and do their conjurings in a well-equipped modern kitchen!

2 comments:

  1. I'm so excited that you've started this blog! Looking forward to seeing where you fly us to. :)

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  2. I'm loving your blog! I just came across it, and read the whole thing. Hope to hear more from you!

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