Why I Am A Witch

I am a Witch. Why does that scare you? Do I make you uncomfortable when I tell you I am a Witch? I am a Witch. Does that make you laugh? Are you rolling your eyes at me? What if I told you I am Wiccan. Will you ridicule me? Are you going to tell me that my religion is not true? I am neo-Pagan. Does that make you want to prove to me that I am lost, wrong, deceived, that I believe in something that does not exist, or that the basis of my religion never really existed? I worship many Gods and Goddesses. Are you going to scoff, call me crazy, tell me that what I believe in is all mythology?  No one seduced me into becoming a Witch.  I was drawn to the very word ‘witch’ from the start.  It never sounded evil to me.  I was in love with it. Like Laurie Cabot, I found “Witch” to be “a delicious word” and how could anyone else not find it intriguing, too?

I am a Witch. I practice Witchcraft. My magic is my chosen form of worship and healing practice. You are going to tell me that what I do is evil. That when I use my Gods-given power to create change and bend fate I am acting against nature. Yet this is far from the truth. I am a Witch. I work with nature and the Gods.

I am a Witch. There is no sense in calling me “white” or “black” because I am simply myself. I am human. If you are good Why be a Witch? you ask.

Why do I identify myself with such an archaic symbol of universal evil? Because it is NOT what you think it seems. I suspect it was never meant to be a term for an evil-doer, but I have no proof of this. I can only tell you how perhaps the word developed. Yet this does not matter. A Witch is what I am. It is the title of my religious station in life. If I were a nun, I would call myself a nun. Officially I am a Witch, a kind of priestess/magician who has been initiated into a spiritual tradition. Anyone from any religion can become a Witch, but not everyone is cut out for life as a Witch. Because of the stereotypes and the service involved if a Witch decides to practice publicly, it takes courage and commitment. Many Witches keep their practices secret to make their lives less complicated, but to have a double-life is hard. You have to really be in love with the Gods to be a true Witch. Despite the hard time some people will give you, the spiritual rewards are great.

I am a Witch because I care about my community. I am a Witch who seeks to heal her people. A Witch is a fighter, a rebel, and a revolutionary. A Witch works magic to bring about justice and equality. A Witch identifies herself with the millions of innocent victims who were executed during the Witch Trials, identifies with the victims and survivors of domestic violence, identifies with all indigenous people who were forced to give up their native religions and assimilate into Christian societies in order to survive — the Witch knows what it is to be different, to be the subject of ridicule, and she does not care what the majority thinks, when there is an unfair balance of power, she is the first to protest. I am a Witch because I am a feminist. If you align yourself with the LGBT community in their struggle for equal rights, I am your Witch. I will stand beside you. Witches do not pray kneeling down and wait for change to happen on its own. Witches stand up, speak out, and dare to be different when everyone else is too intimidated to stick their neck out.

I am a Witch. That should threaten you if you need to believe in a Devil in order to believe in God, even more so if you require a belief in evil Witches so you can have enemies to blame all the bad stuff in life upon. Without the Evil Witch myth, who will you have to explain away the evil that ordinary people do? People who are not Witches are the ones who do the most evil in the world. People who want to keep your fear of the Devil alive do so to get you to stay stupid. If you are too afraid to question authority, you will continue to play follow-the-leader. The Evil Witch Myth is the choice mystical intimidation technique of some drug dealers and gang leaders, and so it is also for Evangelical Christians. Just about every cult and religion in the world needs you to believe in Evil Witchcraft, especially those who practice the most manipulative forms of magic to gain power and influence in the world. Whether or not they identify as Witches, they are NOT the kind of Witch I am.

I am a Witch. Don’t let it get to you. I do not require you to be afraid of me. I do not seek your attention. I do not want your hatred or admiration. I only request an understanding. I will never ask you to convert to my way of worship and believing. You can be yourself around me.

I am an All-American Witch. I have been a Witch for 22 years. I have learned that Witchcraft today is a boiling, melting cauldron-pot religion based on aspects of Pre-Christian pagan spiritual beliefs of ancient Europe, teachings handed down orally from various tribal and folk traditions from all over the world, kept alive by ever-changing and developing new creative ways of practicing magic by the heated passions of generations of young (and young-at-heart) Witches. Witchcraft in the United States is different from the Craft practiced in other countries and cultures because here it has become common and less scary due to the fervent campaigning of our elders before us who spread enough information about our ways to make it  mainstream. So much so, that to many people it has become homogenized pop culture fare.

I am a Witch of the 21st Century. I have grown soft from over-explaining who I am and what I practice. I assume most people Google my religion and generally understand what a Witch is all about. As soon as I indifferently identify myself as “witch” I forget that this still is pure horror for some, and a joke for others. I am either the cartoon or the Evil Witch Myth come to life — the crazy woman who thinks she’s a Disney character, or the Satan-serving creature your preacher warned you about, or… am I? With all the over-saturation of information on the internet and in books out there, a new breed of Witch-hunters and haters are out there who seek to belittle me. Today they cannot burn you to destroy you, if someone fears and hates you they will humiliate you, knock you down with their texts and tweets, get you to doubt yourself, insult and threaten you, make you fear being yourself in order to get you to destroy yourself instead.

I am a Witch. I have lived through threats on my life. I have been stalked, attacked, shot at, estranged, rejected, and more. Twenty years ago being open about being a Witch was risky business, far more dangerous and shocking than it is today in the U.S. Instead of being encouraged to walk the Witch’s path, my teachers warned me it may not be right for me. I was told to keep it a secret. I was told that being a Witch could mean losing my job, or being considered crazy, that if I ever had a family I could lose my kids, and that people will not trust me just based on my choice of religion. I was told that no one would believe that I believe in God, that if I told them about my Gods, then they would believe I was rejecting God. But no matter what I was told, I was never one to follow rules, especially ones that seemed most unfair to me.

I am a Witch who is the proud daughter of a good Christian woman. It was my mother’s spiritual example and zealous love for the Lord that urged me to TESTIFY. Being a Witch did not mean I had to abandon my Christian upbringing or reject the values and morals my mother taught me, they were easily incorporated with the virtues of Witchcraft. If only my mother knew!

I am a Witch who faithfully aligns herself with the Goddess Isis. I am a Witch who communes with the God Lugh. I am a Witch who is guided by her ancestral spirits. They gave me a vision and I made them a promise: that I would live and practice Openly and Freely and Love unfalteringly as Their Witch for Life.

I am a Witch. I know what it is to overcome prejudice, separation, rejection, and attacks on my reputation. I understand the fears and anxieties people from other faiths have concerning Witchcraft. I am a Witch in the open so that they can ask questions and know someone familiar with their beliefs, a Witch who won’t be rude or scare them away, someone forgiving and respectful, even when Christians can’t be.

I am a Witch who has lost her mother.

The night my mother died… the last time I looked into her eyes… it did not matter that she was Christian, it did not matter that I was a Witch.

All that mattered was Love.

I cannot prove to you that Witches at the beginning of time were all about love. I can only give you the proof in my heart today that this Witch, this woman who practices magic, who serves as an oracle, and paints the portraits of Gods, talks to spirits, endeavors to live in harmony with nature, someone who fights for equality, dreams of a better world, delights in all the wonderful ways so many cultures across the world worship the Gods, and nurtures a personal relationship with her Gods, she is a creature of Love.

That is why I am a Witch.


7 thoughts on “Why I Am A Witch

  1. Hi Val. Powerful post. One point on accuracy: you state that “millions” were executed during the witch trials, but the very Wikipedia page you link to as a citation says, “Over the entire duration of the phenomenon of some three centuries, an estimated total of 40,000 to 60,000 people were executed.” You may want to change “millions” to “tens of thousands” for accuracy.

    1. Hey, there, Drew! The people who provide information at Wikipedia do not always give enough information. I should have cited where I was referencing my number of victims from! I got it from a much older resource, one not found online. I am a little old school when it comes to my writing. The death toll estimate of 9 million “witches” executed was made by scholar Gottfried Christian Voigt, who came to that conclusion over fifty years of research based on twenty cases recorded in the archives at Quedlinburg, Germany. Germany had the most Witch Hunts, killing entire villages, including men and children, leaving ghost town aftermaths. Voigt’s first estimate was in the thousands, but then added more to the number based on the entire population of Europe over the full 1,800 years of Christian history. Voigt’s number was eventually rounded off to nine million by Gustav Roskoff in his 1869 Geschichte des Teufels (“History of the Devil”) — a lovely book I encourage anyone interested in Occult history to explore!

      Over the last couple decades the Witch Trial victim estimates has varied from millions to thousands to tens of thousands and so on. It is still, to this day, contested by scholars. We only have estimates, no true number. I would say that the 40,000 to 60,000 number is based only on the time period (according to Wikipedia) of 1400 to 1700. The estimated number gets bigger when you take into consideration a longer time period. That’s where people think the 9 million number becomes mythic. Even on Wikipedia it mentions that this estimate is not accurate, yet I choose to not agree.

      I first heard the 9 million estimate from Starhawk’s book “The Spiral Dance” and, like any good young Witch, I investigated many of the books listed by Starhawk in her bibliography. I later took courses on Early Medieval history, a special research course on the Witch Trials in college, and, whether or not what I’ve been taught is true, I’m going by the books and teachers told me.

      I’m also going with my gut feeling, too. I *do* question the number and know that it has been rounded off, yet I won’t write the estimate entirely out of my mind merely because it is only an estimate. I hope that makes sense.

  2. Good for you for standing up and being proud of your practice! Having grown up among an amalgam of beliefs – Christian, Buddhist, Pagan – I honestly couldn’t offer an answer to what I am. But I know in my heart of hearts that my little melting pot of beliefs does not make me any less spiritual than the next person. In fact, in some ways I think that by being so open, by living by the precept that there is more than one path, it gives me a better sense of my own spirituality and understanding of others. Yes, there are times I’ve been stigmatized for not fitting into someone else’s “safe” little realm of spiritual understanding, as I can imagine you have experienced as well. And so I applaud your conviction and passion! “And it harm none,” right? πŸ™‚

    1. πŸ™‚ Exactly put! I love that we have such spiritual diversity and really appreciate interfaith networking. I learn a lot from other cultures and faiths, doing my best to respect and be open minded, too. I’m happy you appreciate so much of what I’ve written! You’re always welcome here. So much more to come…

    1. That is a loaded question, Jasmine! One I will address at a later time in a much longer article. When I write it, I’ll send you a link.

      But first, let me give you a short, personal story version…

      How did I become a Witch?

      Well, first, you find out who you are, then you discover what you want to be. If you truly want to be a Witch, you will meet the right people, and/or you must read (and notice I say MUST) the right books, even some wrong books, and silly books on the subject of Witchcraft. Learn, learn, learn. Think for yourself. No one person can wave a magic wand and deem you a witch. Even I can’t tell you that there is one magical way to become a Witch.

      There are several ways to become a “real” Witch, but only one way you must discover for yourself. That’s how it’s done for each of us.

      I’ll provide a guide soon. For now, please, good luck on your journey and research, and come back here to follow up and share with me anything you’ve experienced. I’d love to hear your story!

      Thank you for stopping by and asking a very valid and important question.

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