It’s no secret to anyone who has read my blog that I have struggled with my spiritual path. In fact, I decided to walk away from the blog for a bit to quietly contemplate what it was that A) I really wanted in a path, and B) what path could I realistically live, on a day to day basis. The two can’t be mutually exclusive. You can have grandiose plans to celebrate a path daily, or envision a path you might like to live, but actually doing so is often a difficult task.
When I weighed those factors, and I looked within to see what was really there, these descriptors came to mind most often: Witchcraft, Wicca, Left Hand Path, New Age practices and a goth outlook. Some thoughts on that follows:
Wicca is a distinct path, albeit fairly eclectic these days. It’s probably a disservice to the Wiccan religion to stretch it’s description to encompass all those aforementioned practices. It is, however, the foundation upon which my path is built. That is why it is so difficult to move past that witchcraft path description.
Witchcraft is, of course, a practice, using magical techniques to effect change. A witch need not be religious at all to practice witchcraft. Or a witch could be a non-Pagan and practice witchcraft, such as a Christian witch. That seems like a difficult dichotomy to traverse, but I know people do it.
Moving on to the Left Hand Path, a trickier subject. I was pulled toward that path, beginning in 2008. I’ve had forays into chaos magick, Luciferianism & to a far lesser and shorter experience, Theistic Satanism. I’m well aware that the mention of the latter two are of concern to some. Please understand these paths have nothing to do with evil. Unfortunately, there are those who use those paths as an excuse for hatred and criminal behavior, which I find deplorable.
I find that Luciferianism is a path of empowerment and of nonconformity. To be honest with you, I’m rather tired of all the “experts” telling me how to be a Wiccan or what I might be doing incorrectly. It sometimes seems that some people who have come to Wicca from other religions have brought along their concepts of dogma, hierarchy, and non-individualism.
Chaos magick is intriguing because it offers the opportunity to practice all paths. Essentially, the premise of chaos magick is to have no belief until you find a certain belief beneficial. Then you adopt that belief system, use it until you have achieved a desired result, then cast aside that belief. The belief system you choose can be an established one, or one you invent. The system itself is secondary to your belief in the system.
A motto used in chaos magick is, “nothing is true, everything is permitted.” Belief is fleeting, but can be used when necessary to affect the mind to achieve a desired result. Then the belief is discarded.
The primary difficulty of chaos magick is deprogramming the mind. Absolute belief is only necessary for a specific purpose. Most people need a belief system, which is why chaos magick is so challenging. It is said that this path can cause mental breakdowns.
The last practice I mentioned was New Age. Many witches will say that New Age practices aren’t part of witchcraft. However, actions speak louder than words. Reiki, meditation, mindfulness, incense, crystals, stones, herbs, essential oils, and so many other techniques used by witches bleed over into New Age practices. I’m listening to New Age music as I write this.
I also mentioned goth. The word conjures up images of angst ridden teens wearing black. I get that. But I, and legions of others, see it having by a deeper, more far reaching meaning in the witchcraft world. For me, witchcraft bubbled to the surface the fact that I am an empath. I absorb the problems of others. I am entrenched in the darkness of others all the time. If I can’t live with that darkness, if I’m always fighting it, I will lose my sanity. So I embrace the darkness. So much so that it bleeds over into my life, in my tastes in art, decor, sex, literature, music, and life outlook. I see the beauty in aspects of life often avoided by others at all costs. If I struggle to be in the light all the time, depression is sure to ensue.
I’d like to say, and often have said, that I’m a carefree hippie. I dress like one. But the fact of the matter is that I need to embody the goth outlook on life to survive.
So where does this leave me? The one certainty I can point to is that I am, and always will be, a witch. It is where the universe has seen fit to place me. To paraphrase Fairuza Balk in the film The Craft, “I am the weirdo.” It is the perfect path for expressing my uniqueness.
Secondly, I’m firmly, and irrevocably entrenched in a goth outlook and lifestyle. I simply need to stop questioning and doubting it. It is what it is.
As far as what kind of witch I am. Well that’s a bit more difficult. I’m not strictly a chaos magick witch, but I do use some of the techniques of that path.
I would say that I’m a Left Hand Path witch. I am largely outside conventional societal norms, and my path is free of dogma. I, unlike a growing number of Pagans and witches, have no desire or need to be “the same as everyone else.” I will tell people who ask that I’m Pagan, but I’ll keep the witch part to myself, thank you. To me, that seems to give me a degree of empowerment.
It’s taken 13 years, and a lot of personal emotional carnage to arrive at this destination. Interestingly, blogging has been somewhat detrimental to getting here. There are times when I’ve blogged, I’ve held back, wanting to appeal to the greatest number of people, while worrying that I won’t be perceived as fairly “normal.” I’ve finally come to the conclusion that there really is no normal in this world.
I’m contemplating a reversion to a Craft name I used when I was practicing chaos magick. Having a bit of Latin in school, I found Nocturnus Veneficus appealing and rather appropriate. It seems to reflect what I’ve laid out here better than Patchouli Sky. I’ll think about it.
Sorry this was so long. It was a post that came tumbling out this morning at 3AM, and after polishing, ended up at a length I don’t normally create.
I’d be happy to hear your thoughts, and I hope you will continue to enjoy the blog. Sorry for the disruption in posts, but sometimes you have to step back and take a breath.