Sunday, November 01, 2009

NaNoWriMo: Day 1

When someone mentions 'witch,' what do you think of? Do you think of an old and raspy-voiced crone with green skin and warts all over her face? Or of a woman dressed in all black with long fingernails and the power to turn you into a frog instantly? Or do you think of that quiet young girl at the front of the bus with her nose in the Torah? Or the man hailing the taxi wearing a nice crisp suit on his way to a business meeting? When someone says witch, I think of home. why? Because I am one.

Some might think I'm crazy when I say I'm a witch. They think I'm saying it for attention or because I have some sort of mental disorder. To be honest, this isn't something I really want attention for. And though I suffer from depression and that's considered a mental disorder, I'm not delusional. I don't think I can produce anything with my fingertips and the only way I'm flying is through American Airlines.

So why do I consider myself a witch? I don't have telekineses or any supernatural power. Hell, unless you count the disappearing act on my food whenever it's dinner time, I'm not even a great illusionist. so why witch? Because I practice witchcraft. Now, there's usually two reactions to this. The first and most common is concern for the well-being of my soul/spirit. Those people end up telling me that I'm on a path of eternal damnation and that I should seek forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ and his father Jehovah/Yahweh. That's usually cut short. The concern is usually well meant but not necessary. I grew up in a Christian household. My own mother is a Nondenominational Christian pastor. i even study the Bible – I've done so for years and even know it better than most “Christians.” The second reaction is intrigue. They want to know why, how, and some even ask for favors on “cursing” others. The most hilarious reaction for m was when one actually asked me if I could fly like they did in the movie The Craft. I think I almost peed myself I was laughing so hard.

One thing that a lot of people seem to think is that witch=evil and that witchcraft=religion. Both are wrong. For one thing, almost, if not all, every religion uses some form of witchcraft. It's a common practice that people have gotten used to they can't truly identify it. For example, prayer. What is prayer but focusing our energies for a desired outcome. Are we not using magic when we place our hands upon a loved one and focus, pray for healing? Let's pull out the dictionary for this. according to Webster's Dictionary, witchcraft is said to be “the power or practices of a witch.” Okay, so we're back at 'witch.' What's a witch? The dictionary's first definition is “a person believed to have magic powers, esp: sorceress.” So now we look up sorceress which then leads us sorcery which is defined as “the use of magic.” Now when I say 'magic' what's the first thing that comes to mind? Depending on age, it can be anyone from Houdini to Criss Angel. don't get me wrong, the dictionary's third definition of magic is “sleight-of-hand” but that's not the kind of magic we're talking about here. The first two definitions in the dictionary say the following about magic--”the art of persons who claim to be able to do things by the help of supernatural powers” and “an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural force.” so for the sake of argument, what is God if not a supernatural force? what is prayer if not a petition for help from said supernatural force? what is praying to God if not magic? So if we take into account the proper definitions of these words, if you use magic on a regular basis, practice it daily, are you not a witch?

If you sit down and think about it, everyone uses magic, whether it's a quick prayer that your children arrive safely to and from school or having your fingers crossed for a new job. all of it is a form of magic. You're tapping into some supernatural energy to bend it to your will for a desired outcome. So you see, witchcraft and those who practice it are not evil. They're not good either. Some people wish malice on others but that doesn't mean the practice is evil. The practice is neutral just like everything else. It has no feelings. It's neither good nor evil. It is the person who makes it so.

The only reason magic and witchcraft are frowned upon is because people. mostly religious leaders, have been taught and have taught others that it is. Those others therefore teach their children, family, and friends. It then just goes on down the line until it is accepted as fact. Racism is geared a lot in the same way. One person doesn't like a group of people because they look and/or do things differently, therefore it must be wrong. never did they think that it might just be different and nothing else. However only we as humans can discern the difference between “good and evil”. Only we are the ones who make something good or bad. For example, if I spent all of my magical practice trying to cause pain and misery to others that would make me the bad person, not the initial practice. I wok it to do bad things. The same happens if I practice to help others. Real magic is neither black nor white. It is both because nature is both loving and cruel. Look at the difference between a rainy day and a hurricane; a windy day and a tornado. Universal energy is both and neither. We make it, work it the way we want it; mold it to fit our desire. Whether it is good or evil is defined by us.

Now as I've stated earlier, witchcraft is not a religion. It is often confused as such because it has been incorporated into the practice of religious ritual. It is most common in Pagan religions. Now what is “pagan?” The true definition is “country dweller; heathen.” When those leaders in Christianity were trying to convert, those who were not a part of the city and therefore did their things their own way were called pagan or heathen. Heathen is defined as “an unconverted member of a people or nation that does not acknowledge the God of the Bible.” Just because they worshiped differently did not make them evil. They believed in God, or more than one, and were following traditions passed down to them over the years.

These days the term 'pagan' has been coined to describe the non-Judeo-Christian religions such as Shamanism, Wicca, Santeria, et cetera. There are a lot of religions out there—too many to list here, that are not Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. Heathen pretty much has the same meaning now as it did back then, just more rarely used.

Now that I've gotten that wonderful vocabulary lesson out of the way let us get to where I really want to go with this. As I've said, I am a witch. My practice is incorporated into my religion. My religion is Pagan—Wicca to be exact. Do I worship Satan or the Devil? No. Do I believe in Satan or the Devil? No. Am I evil? No. Or at least I like to think so. I'm only human after all. Do I believe in an all evil entity? No. How about an all good entity? Again, no. I believe that all gods are pretty much neutral. I am also a polytheist, so I believe in more than one or two gods. I worship several and believe that they each serve a specific purpose. does everyone who follows this religion believe as I do? No. everyone is obviously different—if not, we wouldn't have so many religions to choose from.

The reason for this kind of introduction is to better understand the rest of this book. This is not a teaching guide or how-to book on Wicca or Paganism in general. This isn't even a journalistic book of research on witchcraft. This is more of a diary of sorts to show, or maybe prove, that even though I'm a witch and follow Wicca, I'm just you're every-day girl next door. I'm hoping this will give some insight on how normal me all are.
Luna Skye
November 2009

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