What is witchcraft about?
Witchcraft is fundamentally a series of relationships. There are plenty of other ways to do magic, with tools or specific incantations, with the movement of the stars or exactly the right words in the right moment. And witchcraft can have all of those.
But at its core, it’s about the energy that is you and in you. It’s about how you take that energy and interact with everything around you and outside of you.
It’s made up of everything you are. It’s how you, as a unique person, make your way through the world. (And since we’re talking witchcraft, that’s both the physical world, and some not-so-physical parts.)
Everything else is really about figuring out how you do that best, how you bring yourself into relationship with the world around you. Maybe how you align yourself with the cycles that are bigger than you are, or how you align things you can hold in your hands with what you want out of the world.
None of it works perfectly.
It’s not a replicable science, because we change.
That old line about how you can never step in the same river twice applies here. We’re never the same person, even moment to moment (never mind days, weeks, months, years, decades apart.)
And because of that, our magic is always shifting a bit. How we dance with the world shifts a bit. If what we’re doing is a dance… Maybe it’s a song or a recipe or painting or sitting still and thinking.
I think the core of witchcraft is two things. My form of how I witch adds a third.
Witchcraft is about building relationships where we are.
With our bodies, our minds, our spirits, our homes, the places where we live, the things we eat, the way the sun rises and sets and the weather systems move. And it’s also relationships with powers. Gods and goddesses, ancestors, land spirits, protective guides, all sorts of other beings. Since we’re human, we’re not going to manage to build relationships with everything out there that’s possible (just like most of us don’t know every neighbour for blocks in every direction.) But as we build up those connections, we get more places we could reach out, if we wanted to. We get more knowledge about how our bit of the world’s interlaced web works.
Get our hands dirty
The next part of witchcraft is that we get our hands dirty.
We use our own energy to shape the things we want. Sometimes that’s physically, in the kitchen. Sometimes that’s inside our heads, in meditation or visualisation. A lot of the time, when we’re making a spell, we’re shaping the things in our dreams and our hearts, and our hopes, and we’re layering it into something we can see and touch and smell and treasure, and making it real. We’re putting our power into that, not someone else’s.
Knowing what our own dreams are, not the ones other people have told us we should have, works better.
And last, for me, at least, witchcraft has a desire to ask why.
I say it’s like the feeling you have when there’s a bruise on your skin, or a tooth that’s just a little bit weird. How you nudge it, and you wonder what it does if you do this. Or this, instead. It’s finding that place of slight discomfort, the place where something’s a little different than it should be, and wondering why it’s like that. What you can change about it.
None of us do this every day or every moment. It’s a tiring thing, a demanding thing. But that inherent curiousity, that need to understand, that’s a thing that fuels witchcraft.
All the books with their recipes and spell verses and all of that – they can help you figure out which things might work for you. But they can’t do the bit that’s inside your head.
You’ve got to do that, the figuring out you want. What you will do to get it, and what you won’t do. Maybe there’ll be giving up something else. Maybe there will be a need to reach further than you think you can. Maybe it’ll mean setting big goals. Sometimes it means taking tiny steps, over and over, and being patient.
Often, it’s all of those things at once, guided by intuition to know which thread to pull on when.
Being a witch is glorious, rewarding, magical, and full of mystery. But simple? Not so much.
Posted October 10, 2020.