Why is it that Occultists (Witches, Wizards, Warlocks, Magicians, Druids, Pagans, WhatTheFuckEvers) get so attached to our bullshit? I understand that humans are creatures of habit, but really, is there any reason to jaunt about poking fun at a paradigm just because it isn’t yours? It’s “occult elitism.” And it makes you a douche.
I don’t know that I’ve told this particular story before, so I’m just gonna let it all hang out there, if you don’t mind. It’s about my previous career.
I had been a Certified Nurse’s Assistant for 14 years, and loved my job. I worked in probably 5 different assisted living facilities over those 14 years. My second-to-last job as a C.N.A. was my absolute favorite.
I read a short piece today called Why Contemporary Paganism Deserves to Die. While I don’t disparage the author for his opinion (because it is just that), we have to note that opinions can be … well, wrong. And from where I sit as a Coven Leader, the ideas in this article are … well, wrong.
I hate being generalized and lumped together with people that I am really nothing like.
I found a “definition” of Appalachian folk magic (or witchcraft) that I find to be very, very wrong. And I have legitimate reason to find it very, very wrong. The definition is made up by someone who obviously: (a) isn’t an Appalachian Witch and (b) hasn’t had any connection to Appalachian Witches. It’s rather like saying, “I’m a straight guy – I can tell you exactly what it means to be gay and how it feels.”
The “definition” I found was this:
Those who practice witchcraft in the Appalachian mountains see good and evil as two distinct forces that are led by the Christian God and Devil, respectively. They believe there are certain conditions that their magick cannot cure. They also believe that witches are blessed with paranormal powers and can perform powerful magick that can be used for either good or evil purposes. They look to nature for omens and portents of the future.
What it is, is bull. (Not all of it, but most.) So I’m going to break it down for you real quick. Ready or not, here it comes …
This post was originally written in December of 2014. I have revised it to reflect information that I know to be a fact and am entitled, as an Elder of my Faith, to reveal without breaking any of my Oaths.
So I was reading an article the other day about this dude who takes a month and dips his toe in the water of various religions to see what they’re like. I get that he’s taking a reality-tv-like approach and dabbles here and there ~ we’ve all dabbled a bit in something at some point in our lives. He grabbed his ritual bling and he did a thirty-day-stint in Wicca.
What I don’t like is that he pretends to know what the fuck is going on in a religion where people have devoted their entire lives to studying and practicing but still don’t get it all. Yet, he pretends that a month is long enough to experience the true power of that religion? Baldersdash, I say! Balder-fucking-dash!
Witchcraft is still a thing. Actually, let me say it this way: Wicca is still a thing. I know there are folks out there in The Un-united States of the Internet (USI) who think that Wicca is a derogatory term – that Wicca = “fluff bunny” or “ignorant” or “n00b.” The truth is, the term Wicca doesn’t mean any of these things. Those same people are likely to disbelieve a lot of what I’m about to say here. Or: they may actually write me privately and complain that I left out their viewpoint.
The fact is: I don’t care about their viewpoint. Harsh as it may seem, people who oppose what I’m saying in this list are probably people who are exceptionally unaware of what Wicca is IRL (in real life).
If you’re one of my regular readers, then you know I’ve done the whole GSM (“gay slut magic”) thing. (Those posts have been added to the Sex Magic category.) In this world, it behooves a person to stay completely anonymous (or “discrete”) until such a time as an actual, physical meeting takes place. And even then, it’s a good idea to make it a stereotypically “safe” meeting (i.e., in public for the first time, having notified at least one other person where you will be and about how long you’ll be gone).
Well today, I proved to myself, once again, why it is a good idea to remain as anonymous as possible.
So Robin Artisson (a fave author of mine) did a piece on how modern Wiccans were so upset with a particular show. The television show, believe it or not, was True Blood, a good vampire piece, which is also a favorite series of mine.
The problem was that several modern Wiccans were all distraught over one particular season of the show. In the season, Marnie, a modern Wiccan type with a group, was possessed by an ancient Witch, named Antonia.
Antonia was, shall we say, “less than savory,” to modern Wiccans. Apparently, they were all up in arms over how the show portrayed Witches.
Robin Artisson, in his piece rebutting the ridiculousness of these Wiccans’ issues, wrote:
They are, in fact, revising history to suit them and their personal religious industries, and calm down their neighbors. They are fighting a war for positive public opinion, and the truths of history are always the first casualty of that war.
And Robin is spot-the-fuck-on with this observation.
You probably know that I’m a proponent of doing what makes you happy. You probably also know that I’m a huge supporter of the “do what works for you” movement. That doesn’t mean that I think cultural appropriation is okay (even though it is, in some instances, but that’s another post). It just means that it’s okay to be Eclectic, to think for yourself, to follow your heart, to use your own common sense and/or intuition and do what works. Magic is about results, after all, so the proof is always in the proverbial cake, not necessarily the recipe.
But that “do what works” attitude can also lead to the possibility of using ingredients in your spell work that might not be so good for your outcome. For me, that applies most specifically to the topic of essential oils versus synthetic fragrances.