Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Crafting Possibility and the Probable: Life of a Witch

I was thinking about the archetypal image of the Witch. I recently read about how different motifs of Paganism can act as a guide for individuals seeking which path is right for them. At this point, I would love to be able to provide a link to the article I read, but I can’t seem to find it. So if you happen to have an article talking about such, please post it in the comments.

Whereas I believe that there is some truth to this, and can very much see how a certain romanticized idea of being a Witch, Magician, or Druid could lead someone to further research that path, I can’t say it is universal. I’m not even really sure what the typical Witch is supposed to be. I guess that depends on whom you ask.

In mainstream Western society, from what I can tell, Witches fall into one of the following categories: demon seductress worshippers of Satan, harmless hippy-like nature worshippers, or poor disillusioned believers in fairytales. I fully understand these are gross over stereotyping, but I provide them because I have been accused of being each. Truth be told, I don’t think that any of these images really attract that many to the Witching Path.

I think it is the image of the Witch as being free that is alluring to so many. The new found ability to shape one’s own spirituality without the need to have validation from others, presents an almost infinite realm of possibilities. Combine that with the overwhelming control and Western emphasis on orthodox (right belief) that has been put upon the individual, and the freedom of Contemporary Paganism in contrast seems vast. Most often the first glimpse of some form of Witchcraft that new Contemporary Pagans encounter is a form of eclectic religious Witchcraft derived from Traditional Wicca. This should not be surprising since Traditional Wicca helped to usher in our New Religious Movement of Contemporary Paganism. Granted, it is not solely responsible. Also on that note, Witchcraft is not the only path that I believe offers such freedom within Contemporary Paganism, but you write what you know, so I'll leave it up to others to give discourse on freedom within other forms.

To explain the freedom of the Witch, I will use a brief and rough analogy. Think for a moment about the fairytale Witch getting ready to brew some magickal concoction in a large empty cauldron. The Witch herein is the individual and the cauldron is the life of the Witch. While still empty the cauldron is the potentiality of possibility. What life will the Witch brew for herself? Will it be a life of poison, one of magickal transformation, or perhaps just a hearty stew? At this point, no one can say for sure. Yes, there are some probabilities involved. Surely the person the Witch has been up until this point, the environment/culture, and many other things all make the likelihood of the essence of the brew more probable. Also the skill of the Witch in shaping the flavor and taste of the development is a factor. Will they add ingredients from a cookbook, pick and choice from what they think smells nice, or perhaps go by trial and error? Who can say at this point! But once the fire is lit and the work begins, the Craft takes form.

Did any particular image/archetype help lead you on your path?

Boidh se!

-Spanish Moss

"Lost in a thicket bare-footed upon a thorned path."

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