Different Witches express their religiosity in different ways. This is a common sense statement that I am sure most agree with. Nonetheless, all of these Witches are valid—Witches all. In the multitude of practices that exist across this spectrum of Witchcrafts, there is an emphasis for the experiential. We talk of the evocative emotions that rise from our inner depths in the presence of the subtle, we make elaborate charts mapping the unseen world into a web of associations for the mind to toil over, and we engage purposely in relationships with the spirit world. All of this… all of the practices of the Craft come together in the singular during ritual.
It is perfectly fine that all of these Witches don’t agree on the form of ritual either. As the saying goes, “ask any three Witches a question and get seven contrary answers.” We don’t all experience the world around us the same and so our expressions of our individual human experience will rightly vary from those of our fellows. Let’s take for example the elements, for some they are tied to the cardinal directions in ritual and for others they are not, let alone have everyone agree on which element is associated with which direction. On that note, some don’t even work within a paradigm of the elements.
Just as our ritual models vary, so too does our concept(s) of Self. Within the same Tradition, there is often lore that affirms that there is no separate Self, that all is interconnected as one, and at the same time have complex models of the Self. Some of these models teach that there are really more than one soul, some teach a spectrum to the Self, and some an idea of layers. All though agree on one thing; that there is a physical body. Sure the nature of said body is debated, but that’s not the point. The point is that we experience the world about us through the filter of the body. Regardless of what model of Self(s), or lack thereof, that we use, it all comes together here. This is also true of ritual.
It all comes together here—here in the physical. All of it, EVERYTHING, comes together here in the physical. For it is the physical, that is manifestation in form. It is no longer the realm of potential but of that which has become.
This is one of the reasons that ritual participation, not just the theorizing about it, is so important. It allows us to more fully experience, in that instance, across the entire spectrum of our Self the mysteries of existence as they are expressed in our ritual form. Take for example the body during meditation: When we sit in good posture during meditation, this is the body also sitting in meditation. We aren’t just in the mind trying to focus on the breath, though this may be occurring, the body also participates. In that moment, we are more fully and wholly present in the practice of meditation. This is what it is like when Witches engage in ritual and not just “Witchcraft in theory.”
All of the various Witches may not agree on damn near anything, but we all have a body in one shape, fashion, or another; thus it becomes one of our uniting points within the Craft. Our existential experience is physical, so engage and be aware of the physical.
“Lost in a thicket, bare-foot upon a thorn path!”