Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for Wicca and Witchcraft

I'm a proud, out-of-the-broom-closet Witch. I'm also the Head High Priest of the Tradition of the Witches Circle, a school of Witchcraft in Occoquan, VA, and a Minister in the Ministry of Light Interfaith Church. Blessings and welcome!

Many years of searching led me to this path, and while I'm very proud of being a Witch, I understand that many people don't really know what to do with us. Some think we're merely strange because we're not a "mainstream" religion, and others may fear us because they don't know what we're all about. There are also people who just hate us, which is something that I just don't understand.

First of all, let's start with some terms. Wicca and Witchcraft are used interchangeably by many, but there's a shade of difference between the two of them. For me, Wicca is the "religious" part of the spiritual activity. These are the rituals, the holidays, and the belief system. Generally speaking, Wicca is a faith that has both a God and a Goddess, and our ways are based on patterns in nature--the cycles of the sun and moon and the elements of earth, air, fire, and water. Balancing these elements in our lives is an important part of what we practice.

What one does inside of the ritual is considered Witchcraft. In other words, if I bring my will to bear on a situation by asking for divine assistance, that's Witchcraft. It's no different than prayer or meditation--we call them spells or rituals, but the action of doing them is the same as in other spiritual paths. This isn't something we do lightly. Ideally, we do as much in the mundane (non-spiritual) world as we can before we start whipping magick around. And make no mistake: If we do something that deliberately harms another, Karma will kick our asses. So the idea that we walk around cursing people all day long is ridiculous.

One phenomenon that I have experienced is that Wicca seems to attract many people who are disillusioned with patriarchal-based religions like Christianity. Consequently, many who discover the Goddess embrace her wholly and leave the God behind. In some sects of Wicca, the God isn't worshiped at all, and Wicca can become very "fluffy bunny", imagining the world only filled with good.

While a positive attitude is an asset to a balanced life, our tradition is about equality of both the masculine and feminine Divine. We are a rare group because we have both a Head High Priest and a Head High Priestess, so in a very tangible way we honor this duality. We also work to improve the darker parts of ourselves so that they don't prevent us from becoming the people we really want to be. In short, we want to create empowered Witches who embrace both the masculine and feminine in their lives.

I think the thing I love most about the Craft is its flexibility. I can use basically anything I want as part of my spiritual practice, and while I happen to be clergy, every Wiccan or Witch can decide what to do spiritually for themselves; we don't need an intermediary for our connection to the Divine.

I'll leave you with this final thought: Wicca is the only religion that I know that doesn't say "We are the only way" or "We are the right way". We say, "If you want to join us, welcome. If this path is not for you, may you find what you seek." That's a message of tolerance that I think a lot of people, regardless of their spirituality, can get behind.

If you want to learn more, check out our school's website at Classes are open to all.

Thanks for tuning in! Stop by tomorrow for my "X" post.

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