Posted in Cottage Witchcraft, Everyday Life, magick, witchcraft

Witchcraft Authenticity

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In browsing the internet this morning, I came across this article about navigating your way through spiritual enlightenment. I’m usually wary of articles about how to be spiritual, but this one had an authenticity to it I found quite refreshing. In reading it, I first thought I was stuck between the healing and life purpose phases that the author describes, which deflated me quite a bit. I mean, I’ve been on this path since 2004! Certainly, I’ve made it farther than that.

As I read on, I saw the paragraph on grounding, and I realized that was the step that has alluded me. The author writes that this step helps to control your emotions, which is something that certainly would be useful to me.

I kept going back to the life purpose step. At first, I thought that meant I should have discovered some fantastic purpose to my life, something that is life-shockingly amazing. Upon further thought, it occurred to me that rather than find some new life purpose, witchcraft has given me a way to strengthen the life I was leading.

I’m a stay-at-home husband. In the past, that’s been difficult to convey, because it flipped societal norms. Yet, it frees my spouse to concentrate on a job that is stressful, but lucrative. So, I had to reshape my ego to fit into a plan that was right for us.

What has escaped my logic until now, was that witchcraft strengthened my ability to take care of our family. In the past, I was looking at witchcraft as some kind of personal enlightenment, affecting only me. The reality is that most of what I have learned as a witch has practical use on a day to day basis.

I learned about clearing the space of our home, whether it be from residual anger from some disagreement, from lingering illness energy, or just setting a mood of serenity. I learned all about essential oils. At first, I used them just for ritual, but quickly found their usefulness in both household and personal care situations. I was able to rid our home of nasty chemicals, in favor of herb and oil creations. It led to a safer home, and to less money spent on cleaning, health, and beauty supplies.

I could go on about the multitude of connections between keeping a healthy and happy home and the Craft. But let me cut to the chase, and tie this in a bow that supports the title of this post.

At times, I’ve struggled with the validity of witchcraft and magick. I’ve seen magick work mostly on small problems, but I haven’t deluded myself that magick can supernaturally bring you everything you desire. It won’t miraculously cure severe illness, or fix a broken bone. It won’t bring you boatloads of cash, or never-ending happiness or joy.

What witchcraft will do is give you a direction, a pathway to leading a better life. If you choose it to, it will show you some kind of divinity, often it being whatever kind you are able to wrap your mind around. Be that thinking the the deities exist, or that they are simply a part of you. With magick, you can direct your emotions, your mind, your actions to solving issues. Secondly, it is absolutely useful for day to day applications, such as the ones I previously mentions.

I’ve come to accept that I need a belief in the gods and goddesses. It helps me make it through life. Do they actually exist? For me they do. You have to make up your own mind. Witchcraft has shown me that while the deities are there, they do not guide your life, like Judea/Christian belief. That is where magick, and directing your intent come in. Witchcraft is you taking charge of your life, and using various techniques in which to aid you through the business of daily living.

In days gone by, witches were the healers of communities. They learned the properties of herbs, oils, stones, and other natural elements. Their magick was the ability to use that knowledge to aid themselves and others. Sometimes we expect too much of the Craft, thinking it will do more than the universe allows. But if you bring it down to a personal level, you can realize that it is a path, sometimes a spiritual path, that helps you live a better life. If that’s all it is, isn’t that enough?

Posted in Everyday Life, Paganism, Wicca

Is There A Broom Closet Door to Open?

previewFor the nearly 13 years I’ve been a practicing Pagan and Wiccan, I’ve been in the broom closet. Until a year or so ago, I was perfectly fine with that. There were a few cracks in that armor. My wife got a little enthusiastic about describing my altar when giving a tour of our house, and we lost a few friends. I know, how good of friends were they, right? I kind of understood. I didn’t come to these paths until I was in my early 40’s, so I can see how that was shocking to some. I would wager that had I been Wiccan when I met most of the friends I now have, we would not have become friends. Even though my birth religion is different than most every friend I have, that didn’t seem to matter. But put Wicca or witchcraft in the mix, and there is an unease.

I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had found Wicca in my teens or early 20’s. I suspect it would have been much different. I was so cynical for the first 40 years of my life. But now, when I see people at Renaissance fairs, participating in drumming circles or other public rituals, dressing differently, reading tarot for others, operating metaphysical shops, or otherwise expressing their Pagan individuality, frankly, I’m jealous. I would now love to express my spirituality as openly as some do.

I came to Wicca too late to change outwardly without being perceived as weird by the people who were in my life pre-Pagan. My wife gets it, but I’ve only let others get glimpses of my current spirituality. Pagan is fairly acceptable, because it is vague, and most people just think, “godless.” But to go the extra step and publicly declare myself Wiccan, that is a bolder step indeed.

There are outward signs I fall somewhere into the witchcraft category, but most people miss them. Our home has a metaphysical vibe thanks to both its’ inhabitants and its’ decor. We have witch figurines up all year for goodness sake. Witchballs hanging everywhere, pentagram shaped candle holders, and other trinkets. No one seems to notice.

But I grow restless of the forced divide of my Craft life & my mundane life. I neglect my mundane Twitter account, while my Wiccan Twitter account is buzzing.

But here’s the thing, and I’ve touched on it before. I’m really not that mundane person anymore. Sure, I still love my family, and a few close friends, but all the rest of it has little interest to me now. The nonsensical crap that my “friends” on Facebook post bores me to tears. But my “sneaky” Wiccan Facebook account, which FB would like me not to have, offers me so much more. Nearly everything that I’m interested in online is in the Pagan realm.

So that presents the question, do I have a broom closet door to bang on? Why am I so interested in coming out to those in my mundane life, when I really spend my life in a magickal realm? Why should I make casual Facebook friends privy to my spiritual life on Facebook, when I can express myself so much more openly through my Craft name? Why do I even have a mundane Twitter account, when my @barefootpagan account brings me such great joy?

I know, I recently wrote about balancing witchcraft and mundane life, but honestly, I don’t have a whole lot to balance. It’s mostly a matter of keeping things on a friendly basis with the friends I’ve had before Wicca, keeping the same relationship with my family I had before Wicca, but spending most of my time reveling in the magickal aspect of my life which have become so very important to me.

I’m sure I’m not alone in these identity struggles. While I see these posts as introspection, I also would love them to serve as a bridge to some dialogue for others to share how their lives have been impacted by coming to a Pagan path. Also, I really am interested in hearing how, being on a Pagan path, has affected those who have been on this path since a very young age. Has it set you apart from others not on the path, or have you simply found friends who don’t think much about it? Do you seek out Pagan friends more often, or does that matter to you?

It’s one thing to decide to become Pagan, Wiccan, or a witch, but it’s quite another to live that path day to day. There are a shitload of books that tell you how to practice the Craft, but not a lot of information on how to live the Craft.

Thanks for reading, and please, leave a comment on how you handle all this!

Blessed Be!