Other People’s Witchcraft

Do you ever think about how little we actually know about each other? Like, how telling you I’m a witch doesn’t actually give you much information at all about what I’m actually up to? And how even words like “Wiccan” and “Gardnerian” don’t actually tell you very much, because lots of people use them differently?

I think about that all the time. When someone tells me they’re a witch, I have to follow that up with, “What does that mean to you?” It’s not much easier when someone tells me they’re a “traditional Wiccan” or a “secular witch,” or whatever other label we’ve got floating around now. I can make reasonable guesses (“Okay, they probably don’t believe in gods,” or “They don’t subscribe to the Wiccan Rede”), but I’m for sure going to be wrong about a lot of things, unless I really can sit down with the person and pick their brain over time.

Though it was triggered by Katie Gerrad’s recent blog post, this video is not about the issue of same sex initiation. Rather, it started with a seeker friend who asked in response, “How do we really even know who’s initiating who? Couldn’t people just practice however they wanted and then just let people believe they were actually doing something different? Do people ever just lie so they don’t rock the boat?” And…yeah. They sure do.

This video isn’t about any single point of controversy in the Craft. Rather, it’s about the weird assumption we all seem to have that we ever know what another witch is up to.

2 thoughts on “Other People’s Witchcraft

  1. Well said! I have posted shrines and some of my work but it’s not the whole picture. I was talking to someone recently about this. A friend of mine felt like she was not “witchy” enough after seeing posts. This was said in jest but I can see how people compare themselves to others on social media platforms . Keeping up with the Jones’s can be exhausting. I try to remember Ig/ Facebook isn’t real life to a degree. It’s appearances.

  2. thornnightwind

    This is so very true and you bring up a lot of great points to ponder! A lot of things people do put up on social media does seem staged for various purposes, especially if they have a magical business or they are a writer. Unless they say that this “officially“ represents their practice, then you can’t assume it is that particular tradition, individual or coven’s work. Even then, we end up only being able to take it on their word.

    I do post things at times, but I definitely don’t stage them for Instagram. Usually it’s before or after a ritual, but never during since my focus is on that. I’m not concerned personally what anyone else’s impact is on my practice by seeing anything they wish. I feel if you’re doing what you are supposed to be doing, have found your place even though we are all tiny cogs in the wheel, and trying to live in harmony with all things – that’s the best protection. Innocence is a great protector and those that would try to negatively impact are in for a pretty rude awakening without the need to even lift a finger, let alone a wand.

    If folks only knew what we don’t share – oh man! Or the things that you probably don’t share. What is shared is just barely the tip of the iceberg!

    When it comes to blogs and writings, you can’t even assume something represents any particular path, Coven, individual or tradition either. Anything I have written blogs about or reviews, I definitely feel is a worthwhile subject – though, thoughts on something I think is valuable doesn’t mean it represents what I do. Someone who is a fantastic person and a witch I respect, their path could be completely different than mine, but if they have found fulfillment in it and the practice is sound, why not write about it and acknowledge it?

    I totally hope when I post things, from a place where I have nothing to sell or offer anyone, that it is inspires them. In the plastic word of social media, the people who post things who are truly authentic seems buried and generally will never have a huge following…. but marks it out for the people who have the awareness to see it.

    That which has power, need not declare it – when you feel power, you will know it. Same in the word today, the most powerful people in the world today, most couldn’t tell you their names – the real movers and shakers that make the economy function and the wheels turn. Some of that in the mundane world is purposeful – when you’re famous, you don’t have freedom to do those things.

    For folks that are well known in the world, they have to walk on eggshells a great deal of times and always have to wonder who is peeking through the bushes or hedgerow. Is that truly freedom?

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