"Dark" Witchcraft

I’m feeling tired and frazzled, but content. Conferences are always academically energizing for me. They’re good for my ego, mostly, but it’s also great to interact with scholars that I respect and potentially make some new friends. My paper was well-received and I feel that I responded to all of my questions very well. FSU is on my list of potential Ph.D. programs, and it was great to actually see the campus and meet some of the professors.

Not a lot going on, otherwise. I haven’t posted much of substance to YouTube in the last several days. I’ve watched with some bewilderment as the popular topic in the community lately seems to be “dark witchcraft,” whatever that is. I get where these folks are coming from, I think. What I don’t understand is why there needs to be yet another label for something that I think is inherent to witchcraft already. To call rites and rituals that somehow pertain to death “dark” seems to me to place a value judgement on them and automatically draws a comparison that I don’t think is helpful. I don’t see why death is any “darker” than any other human experience (if you ask me, childbirth and parenthood are way scarier, and definitely grosser).
People die. People suffer. Witches sometimes talk to dead people. A lot of us collect skulls and other dead bits. Cemeteries can be powerful places. Blood can be a powerful ritual additive. Pain can be a source of power. So what? If that makes me “dark,” then it’s news to me. That’s just part of being a witch, as far as I’m concerned.
What I will say, since I’m on the subject, is that it annoys me when these “dark witches” describe themselves in direct contrast to Wiccans, who are supposedly “focused on light, love, and the positive.” Like being Wiccan is a bad thing. I can understand why someone with only a superficial understanding of Wicca–gained primarily from the Barnes & Noble “New Age” section and YouTube–would think that Wiccans are all about kittens and moonbeams (both of which are admittedly awesome), but this is simply erroneous. Wicca is fundamentally about sex and death. And lots of both. Maybe Scott Cunningham’s version of Wicca doesn’t include scourging, magic involving blood, or work with the dead, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t part of Wicca.
I think what some people are calling “dark” is really just self-awareness. To quote The Princess Bride, “Life is pain. Anyone who says different is selling something.”
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6 thoughts on “"Dark" Witchcraft

  1. Owlthena Rhaevyn

    I have noticed quite a few getting on the bandwagon of 'dark witchcraft' as if it is a special sub division of the craft. I think people want to glamorise themselves? if that is the term I am looking for.Or make themselves out as someone special with new dark knowledge, I don't know what their intent is but personally I think they are over their heads, but then that is just me.here is a comment on an old blog post of yours concerning pronouciation of some words such as Sabbat. I for one started out just reading books and it was a long while before I new how to say 'Samhain' 'Athame' and such, I just never knew how to say these words not being in any community, so sometimes it helps to hear someone say it, if only it was said correctly, but how would I know? Maybe you could do a video on how to pronouce all of these Wiccan terms ?I know I would love that. That is also why I try to stay away from the celtic stuff although I love love love that, but I can't even pronouce many of those words. 🙂 blessings to you

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  2. Thorn

    Thanks for commenting! I don't know about the dark witchcraft thing. Some of the people on YouTube who I've seen talking about it are really cool, very serious people, so I don't think it's about glamour with everyone. I dunno.That's a good idea for a video! I don't know that the pronunciation of "sabbat" is such a concern — I think both are right. It was just funny to SUDDENLY here everyone saying it that way. Oh man, I stay far away from trying to pronounce anything Gaelic. I've got no clue!

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  3. Joleen

    Maybe, in the wake of the explosion of this religion of wicca, folks are feeling more comfortable in seeking out the deeper, maybe scarier for them, parts of the craft? From what I can gather, when Wicca first hit America, changing the image of the witch was paramount, so some things were kept in the "dark" or excluded completely for fear of how the rest of the world would see it. I'm not saying that is how it is for all of them, but maybe just a hint of what is going on with some.

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  4. Thorn

    I think you're probably right. That's a really good point. Now that so many of us are comfortable with "witchcraft" and being "witches," how do we take that to the next level? And I think that's what a lot of the "dark witchcraft" YouTubers are trying to get across.

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  5. The Australian Witch

    I speak of the difference on my channel between Wicca and Darker elements of Witchcraft because I truly believe that Wicca in it's ( current ) form has been watered down from a worship of innate sexuality, death etc to something that only conatains " light & love " and there are thousands of those who do not believe Wicca contains elements of darkness and take the rede so seriously that we must live in love and light (many but certainly not all ). I blame the thousands of new age section publications that skim over or simply do not cover these elements of Wicca however simply discuss the soft side of the path. I do not speak from a stance of trying to glamourize myself but a position of someone who can see those that understand the true practice of Wicca and those who choose to ingulge in the ignorance of ignoring that Wicca has is a very deep practice. I believe Wicca has become a new age fad that has become heavily distorted to a degree to indulge the softer side of those looking for spiritual enlightenment and this sadens me, thus being a major reason I pulled away from Wicca and state in my videos when I speak of Dark Witchcraft that I am a witch not Wiccan as I have had many Wiccans email me and tell me I am wrong as Wiccans do not practice any darkeness, thus showing a general but distictive lack of understanding.Sometimes on YT you cannot win, no matter what you say.

    Reply
  6. Thorn

    I agree that what passes for Wicca now is watered down. It's probably a bad sign that, nowadays, when people tell me they're Wiccan I impulsively roll my eyes and think, "Uh huh. Sure you are." Maybe that makes me a jerk, but I can hardly help it. And I've met plenty of the sorts you describe! I get all kinds of notes in my inbox about how I can't possibly be Wiccan because I don't subscribe to the Rede (which, as far as I can tell, is an addition) or the Threefold Law.It's just a shame, because the assumption is then that there isn't anything more profound to Wicca.I really admire you and many of the other YouTubers who describe your practice in terms of darkness, because I think it forces your audience to be more thoughtful. It was just odd for me at first because I'd never made a distinction before!

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