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[Witch Way] Volume #4 Issue #1 -- In The Heat Of The Night
June 13, 2011
|Hi, Happy Litha!
This monthís Witch Way is going to be different than most. Youíll notice that Chironís Lyre is no longer one of the featured articles. Jim Trader has decided to move on, and pursue other avenues. I want to publically thank Jim for his hard work, and fascinating articles of the last couple of years. He added a huge amount of value to this little newsletter, and he will be missed.
Iím working on some new ideas all around. The biggest thing I want, is to give you as much value as I can. This is the beginning of our 4th year (Vol 4 - Issue #1), and for that entire time, Iíve just been guessing at what you would find valuable. Sometimes I seem to have been correct, other times, not so much.
Witchcraft, like every other religion, is about making your life better. Itís not about casting spells, or gaining power, or any of a dozen other reasons mainstream society misunderstands it. Those who are serious about their Craft, are in it for the long haul, and searching for answers. I canít tell you that I know all the answers, but I have enough experience that I may be able to help you along the way.
To that end, I have four questions I want you to answer. You donít have to tell me your answers, but I would appreciate it if you did. The important thing is for you to find your own answers so that you can see where you are, and where you want to go. If you do decide to share your answers with me, you can reply back to this email. I will use the answers I get, to work on ways to help you get where it is you are trying to go.
I am working on a couple of additions to Witch Way. Iím hoping that one or more of them might be ready for next month. Weíll see. In the mean time, here are the questions you need to answer for yourself.
Is That Your Final Answer?
Here we are at Midsummer. The year is half over if you want to think of it that way. But one of the things that Witchcraft teaches you, is how to think differently. For the Celts, the year ends and begins at Samhain (October 31st), so if that is the case, the year is three quarters done. If you want to work with the transitions of the seasons, where the year starts with the rebirth of life, then the year has really just started. At least in the Northern Hemisphere.
Now obviously, you canít just go around changing when the year begins, people would think youíre crazy. Witchcraft does however show you the benefits of looking at things from several points of view. In our example of the year, we see first, that it is cyclical. There is no real ending or beginning. This means that any start or end we give it, is purely arbitrary. The fact that January 1st is considered New Years is a completely arbitrary choice.
The start of the year could have, and in some cultures has, been a totally different part of the year. Look at Chinese New Year as a perfect example. Looking at things from multiple angles allows you to better understand a situation, not just accept it. The world is full of people who just accept things as they are. They never question anything. Most of us find such people to be extremely frustrating to deal with.
I remember working for the cable company about 10 years ago and asking several times, about several different situations, why are we doing it this way, when it seems that way would be better. The answer I got back each and every time was, ďThatís the way itís always been doneĒ. Important life lesson: Just because something has always been done a certain way, doesnít mean that is the only, or the best way to do it.
I would have been happy if they had just given me a different reason for why they did things that way. I wasnít trying to create chaos or trouble, I was genuinely interested in making things run smoother. Unfortunately change is something that large corporations do very slowly, and with a great deal of reluctance, unless they believe that it is in their best interest.
Like most people, these companies have found a single way that works, and theyíre going to stick to it. Even if they didnít discover the particular way, they still will follow it blindly. Kind of reminds you of how people view religion. It is quite possible that whatever way you have always looked at a situation, is the best possible way of viewing it. Then again, perhaps itís not. Maybe thereís something that will bring about a much better result, but youíll never find it if you donít look.
Itís called blind faith because no one ever looks around to see what else is there, or at what theyíre really doing. That is what most of us have been brought up with, blind faith. We were told to put all our faith in the Christian God, and He would deliver us from any situation. If we pointed out the obvious flaws in that plan, we were told we just didnít have enough faith.
I am willing to admit that I never had enough faith in the Christian teachings of my ancestors. They just never made sense to me. If youíre reading this, then most likely you have felt the same way. Great! Youíve taken the first step into a much broader world. Now, donít fall back into old habits!
You knew that you needed something other than what you had, so you started looking around. You somehow stumbled across this new Path. Itís new and shiny and different, so you claim it as your own. The problem is, have you really looked at it? Obviously thereís something here that attracts you, but is this really your True Path?
Most people when they find Witchcraft say yes, this is what they have been searching for, even before they knew they were searching. Thatís great, if it really is the case. You see, people are social animals. We want to belong. Itís human nature. Itís a survival skill. With very few exceptions, people who are left alone to fend completely for themselves will die very quickly.
So we are biologically wired to join groups, communities, and cultures. The issue I have is that I see far too many people who having left one spiritual Path, stop at the first other Path they find, like there are only two choices. I understand, itís so freeing to find a spiritual Path that doesnít tell you exactly what to do all the time.
The difference in how this Path works, and the Path just left, is so great that you donít worry about the parts that may not fit so well. Youíre just so happy to have found others ďlike youĒ that you donít sweat the small stuff. The question is, are these others really just like you? While there are probably some large areas of similarity, how close is the fit, really?
The reason I ask this, is because it seems that the vast majority of people who come into this Path of Witchcraft, very quickly call themselves Eclectic. They may look at a Tradition or two, but seem to choose Eclectic Witchcraft because well, anything goes. Instead of searching for a tradition, or even a Path that better suits their needs, they instead try to change Witchcraft into what they need.
This is where you get odd and wild Traditions popping up with no real basis or foundation. Because Witchcraft and Paganism in general are so accepting, people soon realize that they can do almost anything, and call it Witchcraft, or Wicca. Twenty years ago, both Wicca and Witchcraft had very strong Traditions around Covens and group practice. Now, there are hardly any Covens left.
Most people will say that they couldnít find a Coven, so they just started practicing as a solitaire. Ok, thatís a valid issue. Unfortunately, if youíre practicing your own ideas of what Witchcraft is, youíll never find a group to join. Any established group is not going to change so that you can fit in. Itís up to you to look for a group, and then if they invite you to come look at their group practice, it is you who must conform to their ideas.
It is often said that Witchcraft is open to all ideas of Deity, but honestly, if you call yourself a Christian Witch, or a Jewitch, I have to question your beliefs, because I donít see where monotheism has any place in this religion. If you are going to leave your old religion because itís too structured, or wonít allow you the freedom you desire, donít bring it with you into this one.
Too often I see people placing judgment calls on others, based on Christian values. I really donít see how you can be a Witch without being a Priest or Priestess. Just showing up to a ritual isnít enough, you have to participate. Yes, itís hard to give up things that have been with you your entire life. Even when you really want to leave them behind, itís hard to. Open your mind to other possibilities. Take responsibility for your own spiritual life, and become more than you are now.
That is what religion is really about, giving everyone a way to become better people than they currently are. If all you want to do is go to rituals once a month, and not do anything more, perhaps you should continue looking for your real Path. This isnít it. This Path requires work, and effort. You are not just given salvation because you ask for it. You have to take responsibility for yourself and your actions, and earn what you get.
If you expect to just be given anything because you simply showed up, you are on the absolute wrong Path. Keep looking, eventually youíll find what you need, but it isnít here.
If you have an article you'd like to submit as a guest author for Witch Way, or for CyberWitchcraft, go to the Contact Page and click Submissions in the drop down box. Let me know what the article is about, and I will reply back to you so that you can attach it in an email.
Articles for Witch Way should be at least 500 words, and those for CyberWitchcraft should be around 2000 words.
If you have any comments or suggestions, you can go to the Contact Page on CyberWitchcraft, or simply reply to this email. This newsletter and the website are created for you, your thoughts and ideas are important to us.
Until next month, may you be blessed in all that you do, or as we usually say,
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