The other day, during a friendly phone call, I was posed a question that I’d not thought about in a long while. The question was not startling. I’ve been asked this before. But it caused me some thought on this new occasion.
The question: is Witchcraft dead?
There were other implications behind the question: is magic weaker? Are the results not of the same level as they once were?
My emphatic answer was: NO, magic isn’t weaker, and YES, the results are still of a very high caliber. And NO, Witchcraft isn’t dead. If you’re not getting results from your spellwork, it isn’t the magic that is the issue.
Keep in mind, I’m not talking about winning the lottery. Yes, that would be miraculous, to say the least, but that’s not even something I’d worry about tackling. The Craft can work miracles, for sure – you could use it to skew the odds in your favor. But by the sheer number of other people also working to skew those odds in their favor, it makes winning the lottery highly improbable.
Magic(k) hasn’t change – our needs have changed. Magic(k) hasn’t weakened – our connection to it’s source has weakened.
We no longer strive for survival the way humans once did.
We don’t have to raise and kill our own food anymore, and neither do our neighbors. In a time long ago, our enemies may have raised pigs for sustenance. We don’t have to blight their pigs anymore to affect their foodsource.
We have no need to make the neighbor’s milk go sour anymore. Again, long ago, our neighbor or enemy might’ve taken their cow’s milk to market, sold it, and used the money to purchase other foodstuff. But that doesn’t happen anymore, so souring their milk really isn’t going to hurt them very much.
But they will take their money to market to exchange for those other foodstuffs. So, if we were to curse the neighbor nowadays, it would better be done by causing them a job-loss.
We no longer get our hands in the dirt the way we used to. We don’t have to grow our food. We may be dependent upon nature still, to some degree – food has to come from somewhere. But we don’t have as close a connection to the growing season now. We no longer chant and dance for rain to water the soon-coming harvest. We have machines that do that for us.
By not participating in the agricultural cycles, we aren’t participating in our own survival, the meeting of our own needs. It’s not necessary. And this distancing from our Provider, from source, is what has distanced us from magic. No, magic isn’t weaker – we are weaker.
Our needs are inherently different than they used to be. Some may argue they aren’t that different – we still exchange money for food at the market (really just a different form of bartering), we still have to work every day, even if it’s not on a farm, and many of us still have to leave the house to go to work (to go “labor in the field,” if you will).
But they are definitely different. We go to work in huge air-conditioned buildings now (some of us, anyhow), not farms or fields. We buy our food at market, not kill it in the woods. We exchange bits of data from a plastic card for our food. We’re not invested spiritually, and emotionally, in the process of killing, and eating, our own meat. We don’t have to hire a Water-Witch to find a well to dig – we get our water from city “purification” plants now, through taps.
The magic isn’t weaker; our needs have changed, the practitioner has changed; our connection to, and dependence upon, our source has changed. We’re what’s gotten weaker. We aren’t wild anymore.