No Such Thing As An Atheist Witch Myth

Atheist Symbol 1

As an Atheist who is also a witch, I am getting pretty sick and tired of people in the Pagan/Witchcraft community trying one way or another, tell me that it is impossible/incompatible for an Atheist to be a Witch..   I see this over and over again in various forms, and it is almost always simply because the person does not know what the term “atheist” means and insists on trying to add more to it, than it actually is.  On the rare occasion it is because the person does not understand that witchcraft can be separate from deities of any form.

So what is an Atheist? 

In every dictionary I can muster up, I will allow the term to define itself in it’s pure form…I will share multiple to save some one the lame argument of trying to claim I am dictionary biased (you never know, people are strange….)

Oxford Dictionary

A person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.

‘he is a committed atheist’

 

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or any gods one who subscribes to or advocates atheism

MacMillan English Dictionary

someone who does not believe that God exists

Needless to say, in every single dictionary I can find online, in every case, the term Atheist very clearly means a person who does not believe in/lacks belief in god(s).   Nothing else is included in it.  Therefore, the ONLY criteria for it, is lack or disbelief in deities, nothing more or less.

Why other’s think there are additional requirements for Atheism. 

While I can’t speak for what goes on in everyone’s mind, I believe I do have a good idea as to why others add more to the definition than actually exists.   The loudest voices in Atheism tends to come from materialist Atheists.   They also account for the majority of Atheists.  This type not only lacks the belief in deities, but they also lack the belief in anything supernatural, the after life, metaphysical, or anything occult.   They argue against all these to the point that it would seem to others who never actually looked into the definition what an Atheist is that these categories are all inclusive to the term.   Even these types, if pressed, will admit that although they might think it’s foolish, silly, or stupid, an Atheist can believe in all these things, and still be an Atheist; just not a materialist Atheist.  This can make it challenging for the Atheists that do have these beliefs as they are not only chided by the majority of the atheist community (since most are materialistic) but also have to deal with the occasional scorn from the Theistic communities as well.

So What’s an Atheist Witch to do when encountering some one who doesn’t understand what an Atheist is, and thinks it’s incompatible with being a witch?

Usually, all you have to do is politely point out that the only requirement for Atheism is lack of belief in deities, show them the definition, or an essay covering the subject and they will have accepted that they just learned something they did not previously realize.   But on occasion, there is always that one person that wants to sit there and continue to argue with the Atheist witch about it, some how feeling emboldened to dictate to an Atheist witch what an Atheist is;  which is insulting and foolishly implies that the Atheist witch did not already look into the definition and sort this out before realizing that they are a witch who is also an Atheist.  But there are ways you can highlight the foolish nonsense of the argument, and show easily how the attempted logic lacks any merit.

1.      Some one might continue to say to you that they don’t understand how you can be a witch too, and then name all the things a materialistic Atheist rejects (see above).  This is when you again, reaffirm the definition (that you probably already showed them) remind them that they, nor materialistic Atheists have the copy writes to re-write the definition of an Atheist, to suit their own liken.  Then point out that not all Theists are the same, there are many different types, and therefore, logically, you will find different types of Atheists as well.  You can’t broaden theists while narrowing atheists

2.   Some one might argue that the vast majority of Atheists they know or had experience with did not believe in anything outside of scientific findings, therefore implying that you being an atheist that accepts more than these findings makes no sense to them.  You can let them know that this is also your experience (if it is) but that experience is limited to the person’s own encounters and does not, in fact, exclude anything different than anything they’ve encountered.  All that means is they simply never experienced it yet, but now they have with you, and it’s illogical to assume another group does not exist just because they never met one yet.  Encourage them to seek communities or other areas where they can find atheist witches so therefore, they can increase their experience and understanding of this type of witch so that they no longer have a narrowed down view of what an Atheist is..

3.   Some one might suggest the definition is outdated because, once again….all the observations they made about what materialistic Atheists say, caused them to include all the other paranormal like categories into what an Atheist is and they think the definition should fit more with the majority..  Remind them that since the term itself was coined to describe people who were opposite of theists in regards to believing in a deity, the definition is quite current and fitting..  To add more too it, would make it something that would demand a whole different term all together.  Remind them of what the term Theist means and how they’ve met so many different types: religious, non-religious, monotheist, polytheists, etc.   but yet the one sole thing all theists have in common is the belief in deities whether one or more.   Therefore, it’s irrational to assume that when it comes to atheists, there needs to be more added to the term when this isn’t demanded for the term theist; especially if the argument is due to majority.   This is especially silly if it’s coming from a Witch.   Christianity is the largest religion in the world, toppling about 2.1 billion.   Paganism is among the smallest, and Pagan Witches even less, only a fraction of pagans.   How fair or right would it be to then take the term Theist, and bastardize it only to fit for Christians, and therefore, in a way that excludes pagans, or pagan witches?  This won’t make the minority go away, it just tampers with a term to make it now inaccurate and  no longer an  umbrella term that covers every kind of Theist imaginable.  Same principal applies to the term Atheists. So the term Atheist as it is, wields the most accurate definition, encompassing every kind of Atheist under the moon.

4.  Recently, I saw some one argue that  “lack of religion is a key tenant of calling yourself an atheist”.   This was supposedly an argument for why an Atheist can’t be a Wicca (which I actually agree with based on what the religion of Wicca is), but the person incorrectly stated “The belief in spirits, magic or any supernatural forces or beings also, in most definitions, would prevent atheism. ”  Wiccans are not the only witches that believe in these things, so she make a sweeping statement here.  First of all, it’s in error because,  I already showed what “most definitions” say out of the most prominent English dictionaries (See above); apparently, she did not look the term up when she stated that most definitions say this.   Second of all, not all Theists even believe in everything on her list, I have met some that don’t believe in spirits, and some that reject an afterlife.  Both theists or atheists have the luxury to believe in all on her list, some or none. But getting to the claim that lack of religion is the key tenant in calling yourself an atheist, this is wrong on many levels. Firstly, it is wrong because, the definitions do not include it.  Secondly, it is wrong because there are many theists out there who are not religious, or a-religious, but believe in some kind of deity and that’s about it.  I have met plenty of them in my life span so far.    Also, if the term Atheist demands lack of religion as a key tenant, then it logically stands to follow that the term Theist demands that having a religion is a key tenant to calling self theist.  So, she incorrectly now would have these types of Theists included in the category of Atheist.  Thirdly, there are religions out there that Atheists are part of because they are compatible with Atheism, thereby, making some Atheists, obviously religious too. Buddhism ranks as the 6th largest religion in the world (about 376 million) which is compatible, and there is a branch of secular Buddhists.   Then you have Unitarian Universalists who rank in at 20th with about 800,000.  They too have quite a few members that are Atheist or Agnostic, including clergy.   Let’s not forget about the Laveyan Satanist too, which is a strictly Atheistic religion.

5.  Then finally, you find people out there who do not misunderstand the term “Atheists” but rather what makes some one a witch.  There are some that think that the key, or essential component of being a witch is belief  in and working with deities and can’t understand how you can be one without them.  This is actually true for some Witchcraft paths, Wicca being one of them, but not all.   The main tenant of being a witch is practicing witchcraft (which has many formats, some, like in Wicca involve it in a way that pertains to deities.)  However, based upon the actual definition of witchcraft, religion or even belief in deities is not a requirement at all, therefore it’s very possible and even not uncommon for some one to keep their witchcraft path separate from their religious or non religious path.   So when encountering some one like this, it’s useful to focus more on what a witch actually is, and then apply how it therefore is compatible with Atheism.

The above arguments (Save for the fourth one which this was the first time I saw it used, but really felt it was worth attention because it will probably get used again some where) are the main ones I see.   None of them are very logical in my opinion, and are based on an individual person’s ignorance.   Not using the term ignorance to be fresh, but that’s exactly what it is, the person never really looked into the term Atheism and is going by their limited understanding.  If you are reading this and are an Atheist witch that has come across other types of arguments, I would be happy to see you share it, and your ideas on how to deal with it.   If you are some one that has always thought Atheists had to be materialistic, then I hope you appreciate the eye opener, and the broadening of the term that I hoped you would have upon reading this.   Please, if you encounter an Atheist in any magical communities, rather than assume upon them what you think they are suppose to be like, it would be more helpful to engage them and actually ask them what they believe, think or feel.  It is also perfectly fine to ask them if they do believe in things like the afterlife, spirits, etc.   If they seem materialistic, it’s fair to ask them how this kind of belief ties into their magical practice; as I’ve even met some that lean more materialistically, practicing witchcraft.

 

 

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No True Scotsman

No True Scotsman is a logical fallacy that I see often enough in pagan/witch communities that I feel this subject could use some attention.   This logical fallacy is used when some one does not like evidence that goes against their own opinion about a group of people (religious or otherwise), and in order to try to discredit the evidence or person, they go and make a very generalized statement about the group of people, that asserts that if  such a person is doing this certain thing, then they must not be a true member, nationality, believer, of said group.  For more about this logical fallacy see here…https://www.thoughtco.com/the-no-true-scotsman-fallacy-250339

In pagan or witch communities, when ever you see some one making a statement like “A real/true witch/pagan…”  Or “No real/true witch/pagan….does/would/believes/thinks….” then that is some one that is effectively erecting the no true Scotsman fallacy.   It is constant, and as wrong as it is absurd.   Usually it will be followed by an explanation that makes little to no sense for some one to say about such a diverse group as pagans or witches are where there are no hard lined rules.

Recently, I saw a perfect example of this.  Some one started talking about “Lucifer”.  Some one else comes along and says “No real pagans believe in Lucifer because Lucifer is a Christian concept.”  Another person came along and reasserted the logical fallacy by saying “Pagans don’t believe in Lucifer because paganism is thousands of years older than Christianity.”   It really doesn’t take a large dose of common sense to figure out the problem here.   First problem is there are no limits on pagans (or witches) as to who they can and can not believe in.  This means that they can believe in beings that come out of any particular group, as well as believe in beings/deities that were first thought of anywhere from 5,000 years ago, all the way to to..hell….if the deity was invested yesterday.   Anyone that says they can not, is either full of it and taking on an authoritarian position they have no right to take, or totally ignorant of what a pagan is; and yes this includes plenty of self described pagans.  If they themselves want to enslave themselves with rules that limits who they can and can not believe in, that’s fine, but they don’t get to take the rules and limits they made for themselves and impose it on others, nor do they have the right, or authority to redefine what a pagan for everyone else.  The definition of a pagan is just fine without their attempted bastardization of it.

Another thing, if they want to play the limitation game with others, they should take a look at themselves.  How many commingle deities from other religions and groups together?  I’ve met plenty along my travels that claimed to worship, or work with Hecate (from Greece), and Isis (From Egypt).   Evidence of Hecate shows her from 500 BCE on up.  Evidence of Isis existence doesn’t go beyond 5th dynasty (2465–2325 BCE).  Even though Isis first appearance in a religious group is a heck of a lot older than when Hecate first showed up in Greece, you never see anyone arguing how pagans can’t believe in Hecate because she was found much later than Isis.   You also never see them argue about how one can’t believe in Isis, because she comes from Egyptian beliefs, when if they were “real” they should reject her, and accept Hecate instead.  You never even see anyone argue about how anyone should only stick with one region’s pantheon but not another.  In fact, on the contrary, pagans like to argue about, and support how they can embrace who ever the heck they want to, from where ever they want to regardless of when they showed up in history.   Yet some how this very same logic and reasoning falls right to the way side every time a Judeo-Christian figure gets mentioned and out comes hypocrisy, rearing it’s ugly little head.  Sorry but disliking Christianity, or it’s beliefs does not appoint any pagan the right to tell others what and who they are to embrace, while trying to shame them by trying to discredit their paganism.  

With that said, it is also an issue when some one tries to dictate who or what witches are to believe, think or feel, while evoking the no true Scotsman logical fallacy as a subtle, sneaky, and manipulative way of trying to coax a witch to conform to said person’s own brand of witchcraft and witchcraft based beliefs.   They may not realize they are being this way but there is no other way to refer to it, outside of the antic being sneaky and manipulative.   It’s completely irrational and underhanded.   World of Witchcraft has room for every kind of witch out there, which also means that there is no way you can put all witches into one little box in order to determine what a true witch is, or does..   Many might do one thing, while a few others might do another thing.

My hope in covering this topic was to not only encourage those who may not fit into some some else’s stereo type to stand up tall and proud, even if they adopt some Judeo-christian figures..   Don’t listen to the no true Scotsman fallacy others might try on you, it’s a fallacy for a reason.  Although, those guilty of doing this themselves might actually benefit too in that they might rethink this behavior and change it for the better.

Why I don’t believe in Kalifornia Karma

I say “Kalifornia Karma” because I can’t even describe it as “Hindu” which is so much different, its not even the same; many Kalifornia karma believers aren’t even aware of that.   Also, I have nothing against those that believe in this form of karma, nor will I tell them what to, or not to believe.   They believe in it, that’s fine with me, and remains fine with me, until some one comes along and pushes it at me, and it’s not fine with them that I don’t believe in it.  It is surprisingly common for people in witchcraft circles to not only be not so fine about, or towards others that don’t believe in it, but also bringing it up as a form of advice (well meaning of course) as if it’s automatically assumed to be an every witch’s belief.  This is about as annoying as those who approach you assuming everyone they encounter is a Christian, believes in Jesus and tells them “Don’t worry, Jesus will take care of you.”

So back to Kalifornia Karma, in order to talk about why and how I don’t believe in it, it’s important to define what it is.   Kalifornia Karma is the belief that there is some kind of unseen force, whether it’s the universe, energy,  deity, or a karma god/goddess, who delivers punishments in life to people who do bad things to others.  This is a very prominent belief in the western part of the world.   It is very common to see other people say things like “Just back off, let Karma deal with that person.” or some variation of that.

To me this even differs from cause and effect, in that cause and effect is a direct link in what some one does that may/or may not effect them.   In other words, a person that decides to be a burglar is at a high risk of being caught, and doing jail time.  However, there are other burglar’s who don’t get caught for the crime, and perhaps age out of the bad behavior before anything negative happens to them.  Another cause and effect, if I am walking around swearing at other people, there’s an excellent chance some one will swear back at me, however, I might swear at people all day, and they might just say nothing, and back away from me.  However, with Kalifornia Karma, what’s expected to happen is that some force intervenes at some point, and causes something bad to happen to the person with the bad behavior.   I believe in cause and effect risks scientifically and logically, but I have excellent reasons not to believe in Kalifornia Karma, with excellent reasons why….

My personal experience……There was a point in time, when I was very young, that I started to buy into this axiom.   So many people around me did, it’s hard not to get caught up in it, and start to believe it yourself.   There was a very corrupt prosecutor who was responsible for putting people in jail per corrupt means, even if it meant doctoring up evidence, or tainting her own witnesses to adjust their testimony to be more consistent than it was in relation to a defendant.   There was so much I could have done in this situation, but what did I do instead?  I sat on my magical ass and did nothing, because after all, Karma was going to get her.  Karma did not get her at all.  As a matter of fact, she wound up quite blessed to eventually be promoted to a judge, an obvious high hike in salary, and lives a lovely life; and she gained all this at the expense of others.  In the end, I was ashamed to have done nothing, when I had the skills and means to do so.     If anything, if there is a thing called Karma, probably I’d have to owe a karmic debt for sitting on my magical ass and doing nothing all because of the inertia caused by having some kind of belief or faith in Kalifornia Karma.   I learned from this, however, and I learned to take responsibility when needed, don’t let axioms or words prevent me from doing or even being a vessel of which due comeuppance is dealt out..

Other people’s experiences……I am not the only one who doesn’t believe in this.  Through the years, I’ve met countless others who have similar experiences as mine, or witnessed people who should have, would have gotten karma pay back, but instead, did not and live wonderful lives.  So many people that it can’t be ignored.   In fact, if karma deities, or some force in the universe did exist on this level, then why is it sleeping on the job so often?   Why do so many awful people who hurt many even go untouched by it, and go on their lives as if they were blessed?   Seems very unlikely.

My own observations…..Along with hearing other people’s experiences, I’ve also observed either up close or afar, karma doing nothing but sleeping.   Some of the situations up close, not a darn thing was done by the so called unseen karma force for so long, that finally, in order for something to be done, I was the one that had to step right up to the plate and do it!   Also, I have observed very good people who lived horrible lives who had nothing but terrible things shelled out to them left and right.   What is this “kalifornia karma” with bad aim?

The word/phrase itself is an axiom…In the context of this blog, it means some kind of rule or principal widely regarded as true without proof, question or challenge.   In other words, it’s believed with out proper criteria of collected evidence for proof, and the believer might not have been questioned or challenged about it.   In fact, I have found that when you do question or challenge this belief, many believers get very upset, annoyed, frustrated, or nasty about it.  Never-the-less, because it IS an axiom, then this means it can not over rule, or invalid other kinds of axioms either, like oh say, if some one had the belief that karma does not exist in any way, or on any level.

Still…it is note worthy to mention you will always find people who swear by it, and even claim to experience or observe it.   Assuming that there accounts are credible, I was of course, left to wonder why many of us never see or experience it, while some others say they have.   Then I think of the way magic works.  It is possible, and they may not be realizing it, that they are fueling energy against an evil doer, so much, that they are actually delivering something that they are calling karma.   In other words, an unintended spell, they don’t realize they and their energy is the link, but it is.  It could even be an egregore or some form of it.   Even then, it wouldn’t be a universe or deity, it’s actually coming and manifesting from the person towards a target.   If you feed something enough, maybe anger against some one who wronged many people, that could take on a form of a egregore, or spell and nail a target pretty hard.   Other’s claim that they got some kind of karma retribution for a spell casting they did.  In these cases, they already have that belief in their mind, and likely were worrying about it.   If you firmly believe that if you do any kind of baneful spell, then you will receive some sort of retribution for it, chances are great that you will, you have witched yourself in this way.   This is also why I recommend for people who have this belief, before they set out on doing anything baneful, to reshape their belief system, they need to feel okay with what they are doing before they begin..

So there it is, my reasons for why I don’t believe in Kalifornia Karma.   I don’t expect everyone to agree, but rather understand and respect the reasons why I don’t.   I am not covering anything to do with Hindu or Buddhist types of Karma, those are specif beliefs for specific religions, and I am not expected to believe in them lest I joined one of these religions.   Therefore, I am not addressing Karma depending on Dharma, nor beliefs about karma influencing a later life at all.   I wanted to make this very clear so no one wastes any of their time responding with something like “But it happens in your next life so you won’t see it in this life”.   Yes I know that that is a belief in an established religion, and it’s still a belief based on faith, which is fine, but still not the karma that I am talking about at all in this blog, so I won’t argue or contemplative it either way.

What in the Devil??

horned-god-forest.jpg

During my travels, I came across a forum that I did not realize I had a membership at.  It was brought to my attention when a gentleman who was new there introduced himself and went on to explain a brief description of his path.   He started with a polite thank you, followed by a brief introductory where he stated that he was a traditional witch (prefers to call himself a warlock)of 25 years, named the deities he “follows” (his word) then went onto to saying that he works with the Devil of the Old craft.   Now this would have been a great opportunity for a wise witch to ask him more about the Devil of the old craft, or what the Devil of the old craft means to him.   Instead, he was greeted with many thoughtless, and narrow minded responses  from *witches* trying to dictate to him that he shouldn’t call himself a warlock because it’s “derogatory”; apparently, they are clueless about the old meaning of the world “witch” and the derogatory nature that word was intended to be as well, got to smirk at naive hypocrisy.  Then, shortly after, he was barraged with the following type of ignorant remarks… “There is no devil in witchcraft……The devil is a Christian concept….” or some variation or another of this over and over again.  Blah blah fluffy blah blah.  Not that this guy had to, or should have (pearls to the swine and all that good stuff), he patiently explained what the Devil of the old craft meant to him, and still, rather than wisdom of understanding, or thanking him for volunteering info he did not have to, the fluffy authority figures that did their dictations of what he is to believe, think, or have in his path were obviously oblivious.

First of all, “Devil” may be a Christian concept, but Christianity is NOT the only religion or group that had that concept, nor (surprise surprise) the first group that did.   Devil is a label, NOT a name.  Not only that, but not all devils were the same, or even had the same characteristics.  Depending on the religion or group, the devil’s meaning varies.  In other words the Devil of Christianity is a supreme evil being, ruler of hell, a specific entity. (however, they also refer to any demon as a devil as well) but the devil in Buddhism is Mara, which was a tempter and seducer.  Meanwhile, the devil in some Traditional witchcraft circles is the “witch god”, which brings me to my next point.

Despite what many a modern day witch or wiccan read in some fluffy book that pretties up witchcraft,  or some rabble-rouser’s  over reaction to Christian insistence that witches worship the devil, the devil is, most certainly in fact, a witches concept too, albeit a different kind of devil.   In fact, in many Traditional witch paths, the devil is a well known concept and the Devil differs depending on the different path.  In fact, in Traditional Cornish witchcraft  Bucca Dhu is synonymous with the Devil.  Cornish Traditional Witch, Gemma Gary not only speaks in great length about the devil in their tradition, but also wrote a book about thirteen rites of “the Old one” (the Devil) which includes an initiation by him.  For more on this…

 The operations of magic and witchcraft deal with the hidden worlds of spirit and the powers innate within the natural world; within plant, stone and magical loci. The ‘Old One’, who in folk tradition is often named ‘The Devil’ embodies both the ‘rend in the veil’ and the spanning bridge between the worlds of the material and spiritual, the revealed and the hidden. It is through union with this entity that witches and folk magicians gained access to the powers that reside within the hidden realms and the natural world, and could awaken the potent fire within.

In traditional folk belief, the Devil existed also as an embodiment of the chaotic forces of nature; a belief quite distinct and separate from that of the Church with its ‘Satan’ figure.

http://www.troybooks.co.uk/the-devils-dozen.html

The Devil also crops up in other traditions as well.   There are many names or references he might go by.   Most commonly, he is known as Old Scratch, The Man in Black, Dark Man, Dark Goat, Old Nick, The witch Master, and Witch Father.  These go much farther back in time, in relation to witchcraft traditions and folklore than any of these modern day pretentious witchcraft rule makers would like, and none of the variations of the Devil in them are “Christian Concepts”.  But for the sake of an argument, supposing there was even one or two witches or witchcraft paths where their devil  was exactly the Christian concept or so much like it, you could consider it the same identity in name and Title?   This brings me to my next point.

IF there was a witch that DID worship, honor, or in any manner work with the (gasps) Christian concept/version of the Devil, so flipping what??  Find me the actual RULE  in witchcraft that FORBIDS any witch from adopting another religion’s concept or spiritual figure into their  own path and I’ll show you a liar, as there is no such thing as a rule like this.  In fact, there are NO universal rules for ALL witches at all, no rule against a witch embracing the devil, just like there is no Three fold rule for the entire world of Witches.  If there are any rules at all, they will always pertain to whatever specific group a witch is in, for instance, Wiccans have their set of rules, while Cornish Witches have their own set, but neither group gets to impose their rules on every single witch or witch group in the world.  But for some reason, this does not seem to prevent many eclectic Wiccan (usually a solitary from what I see, and I’ve yet to see a initiated Traditional Wiccan do this) from trying to Bible thump some rule or another onto any and every witch they come across that they think is outside of the scope of their own rules. Funnily enough, I see the same population uttering mindless “blessed be’s” or other glowing approval when they encounter a witch that claims to work with angels, even when the Angel names that might get mentioned come straight from the Bible. Angels are also a Judeo-Christian concept.  More over, the whole concept of making ethical rules is also shared by Christians as well, just like the Christians might share a concept of a devil that other groups do, or similar and yet different.   Whether some one likes this fact or not, is not relevant, and it certainly does not make them a better witch than some one that does assimilate the Christian concept devil into their ways.  At the risk of sounding redundant, there is no rule against this, and who are you, who thinks this way, to be trying to make such a rule for other witches?  Your rule for yourself deserves to be greeted as totally meaningless to them.  Fair enough.

One of the positive aspects of witchcraft or pagan circles is the fact that they tend to be far more free range, and left up to the individual practitioner to decide on what their own personal beliefs, guidelines, rules or practices are going to be about.   No one else gets to dictate to them otherwise, and this INCLUDES individuals who DO decide they not only believe in the Christian Devil, but that one way or another they are going to work with this being, or some how incorporate him into their practice.   So next time you see a witch who shares that they work with the Devil of the Old Craft, or any practice that involves a devil into their path, politely ask them more about this so you can learn about the devils of the various traditional paths.  This is far better and more educational than taking the whole ignorant shut down of the mind, and run another witch off with the foolishly fluffy “there is no such thing as a devil in witchcraft….witchcraft is a christian concept” crapola.  If you see another person do this, kindly school them about their stupidity, if they refuse to listen and learn something new, all the fool to them, it was just another pearls to the swine but a good try per the off chance they might have been one of the few surprises out there who become thankful of what you informed and taught them about.

For additional research about the Devil in Traditional groups you can try  these sites…

http://sarahannelawless.com/2013/09/13/the-man-in-black/

http://www.gedeparma.com/on-the-traditional-and-old-crafts-and-what-it-means-for-me-part-one/

https://aminoapps.com/c/witches-wicked-wonderland/page/item/the-man-in-black/wbMe_zWfpIp1p3jZdLNnXoKRpaR2oPzD3

This link has Doreen valiente’s ABC of witchcraft discussion of the Devil or Man in Black, often a man posing in this outfit to represent him, during the initiation process in older times. http://www.sacred-texts.com/bos/bos643.htm

https://threehandspress.com/traditional-witchcraft-historicity-and-perpetuity/

 

Witches Encouraging Mass Spells/Rituals..

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Just this past year, I have noticed several instances where websites were erected by Witches, where not only are they calling out to any other witch who might happen upon them, but anyone to perform a mass spell or ritual for whatever they think is a worthy endeavor.  I think they do so because they are seeking some kind of resolute, justice, or accomplishment that they feel is for the better good.  In other words, they are typically well meaning, with all good intentions.  But  yet, I can’t help thinking of the following aphorism and with good reason: “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions”  Therefore, I am an opponent of this idea, even if its about something I full heartedly agree with, which I intend to explain in-depth.  In fact, I find so many problems with this idea, that I am not sure I can even touch bases on all of them, but hopefully the most important problems with it, point by point.

1.  It begs to involve many people who have either very little, nor no experience in witchcraft at all to try it.  The funny thing is, many witches that will present these mass ritual ideas are usually the first, when approached by a new comer, to warn them about pacing themselves, not rushing into anything, don’t jump into spell work until they understand how energy works, don’t dabble or things can get dangerous, and so forth.  But yet, it doesn’t seem to occur to these same witches that they are actually encouraging every thing that they warn about!   They have no clue about the experience or proficiency of everyone wanting to do their ritual, and worse, they don’t even seem to care about that; as long as they can incite people by the masses to do it, that’s all that seems to matter to them.  Obviously, this invites quite a few mishaps, and all the things that can go wrong which caused them to utter their warnings to those with little or no experience in the first place.  Now consider a million people read the ritual and tried it, but 500,000 of them did not know what they were doing, or did something very screwy and unintended; the lucky ones will wind up with just nothing working, but many, not so lucky, and the effects this would have on the spell/ritual as a whole can not be a good thing.

2.  It’s bound to cause quite a bit of unwanted attention.  By this I mean, for every one witch that thinks something is worthy, there’s another witch out there who disagrees, and this will attract their attention to do some of their own counteractive work.  Not only that, but not everyone out there is nice, and some might want to just counter act it, just for the sake of being nasty.  These mass spell ideas are put out for all eyes to see, and the funny thing about them, is they tend to give blow by blow details about how the whole ritual is suppose to work, what to utter, ingredients, etc.  Now you get enough witches to fill an army base out there that do not like the plan, and disagree with the endeavor, who also know the workings of it, it’s not at all hard to for them to swiftly unravel the entire thread of it. In all likely hood too, these are going to be very experienced strong witches, unlike the big horde of inexperienced people jumping into the mix trying to get the spell to work.  I’d even say, with all the details these mass rituals give, just one very proficient witch would even be enough to do the spell in before it even had any time to work.

3.  They are often sloppy and poorly written.  In just about every single case of this that I have seen, the actual spell seems to involve a part where those performing it are suppose to utter some very poorly written word verbatim.  It’s painfully clear that the author did not think about choosing words wisely.  The final result (from what I have seen) is typically very vague, rambling word salads, and/or contradictions.  In my experience, magical energy takes the path of least resistance, and these poems, ritual words, mantras or whatever you want to call them that are within the spell tend to render multiple interpretations, or the confusing  contradiction may render the energy to go which ever way is least resistant, even if it was opposite of what the witch really wanted.

4.  They often involve petitioning deities or spirits of some kind.  Most witches are wise enough to realize that deities or spirits are not bell hops waiting around to appease every one’s request. In fact, most witches I know emphasize the importance of developing connections and relationships with any spirits or deities one intends to work with.  Yet again, when it comes to something like this, that logic is suddenly lost, since these rituals are being handed out to every Tom Dick and Harry.  So now, you quite possibly have scores of people who never dealt with these deities or any spirits before, are too new, or never been a witch, trying this out!  Picture the equivalence of getting a flood of phone calls from a whole slew of random strangers either demanding or asking you to do things for them?  Wow, what a way to piss off, or horribly annoy the very same deities, or spirits expected to be help in this. I’d say if there was ever a  hand book on how NOT to get the help of deities or spirits, encouraging a mass of strangers to bother them should be in it.  Not only that, but when involving deities or spirits in spell work, you now run the risk of involving beings that are not in agreement with your request.  If course if you think your plight is a wonderful one, or totally just, you can’t imagine how it could be possible that they might not agree; however your inability to understand how or why they might not agree, won’t force them to agree with you if they don’t.  Now should one or a few not agree with you…well…lets just say I’ve heard some pretty nasty stories from others who’ve experienced asking a deity or spirit to do something that said entity did not agree with.  Perhaps a seasoned witch can deal with such a thing, however, should a scantly experienced person have this happen to them, my opinion is the witches who knew better but encouraged this anyways are responsible for the misfortunes such a person might endure for inflaming the spirits.  So why even involve deities or spirits in the first place?

Well that’s pretty much what I think are the most important problems with this sort of thing.  However, I do not want to leave you with the idea that I am against group work, on the contrary I am not.  I myself have done spell work with others.  But the difference is, in one case you are working with a closer knit group of people where you are well aware of their proficiency as a witch, whereas the other scenario, you are risking one big nasty hot mess by inviting every one under the moon who reads and likes the idea into it, where you know nothing about them, while leaving your whole plan open to the problems and vulnerabilities I outlined above. When it’s a close knit group, on the other hand, the contents of the actual ritual are kept within their group only, they tend to do much better planning, and wording of whatever it is they might chant.  They all review their roles in the ritual, mull things over for possible loop holes and everything else that needs to be ironed out.  In the end, there is a far greater tendency for success in doing things this way instead.  Consider this, it has been stated that Gerald Gardner, the founder of Wicca had once done Cone of Power to keep the Nazi’s out of England.  What Gardner did NOT do, was go out into town, posting billboards about this planned event, inviting everyone that wanted to join in, into it.  He most certainly did not put postings in the news papers that gave a entire blue print of how this ritual was going to happen, for all eyes to see either.  Although times have changed, I firmly believe he STILL would not broadcast it every where. It is obvious, just by looking into actual traditional Wicca, that Gardner not only understood the wisdom and importance of keeping things within their own ranks, but this same view is held firmly within Traditional Wicca today.  This is why people not initiated into Traditional Wicca are not entitled to their book of shadows, their deities names, or other things considered oath bound.  It’s not snobbish, it’s smart and being responsible.  In the end, even though the Nazi’s planned to invade England, they did not.  Then again, the ritual to keep them out, was carefully guarded, planned, calculated and done among a group of witches who were precise and knew what they were doing.  So, while you may have an excellent reason for doing a ritual for a just cause, I think your best and potentially most successful way to go about it is to follow Gardner’s example.  If you can’t find a group, then even doing it on your own would be far better than creating a big recipe for disaster known as mass spell/ritual work.

 

 

 

Spells are NOT Breath Mints!

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So I encountered this *lovely* person during my recent travels who did not express herself clear when she was asking for “help” on reconnecting with a partner that deserted her due to a surprise pregnancy (she later miscarriages but he’s still distant).   Now many of us older witches recall times in our lives when we suffered an unworthy person that abandoned us as a time we may need them most.  As a result, older witches had this idea that helping her was imparting their wisdom, and encouragements on how to move on from a person who does something of the like.  For their sincere advice that they felt was their attempt to be helpful they were met with accusations of being “judgmental”, to ” shut the hell up” and “I don’t need bs ass opinions”.   Those are just a few of the insulting comments that got hurled, and minus all the F bombs.  Eventually she reveals that what she really wanted was work as in spell work done to get this man back.  When I pointed out that this was not made clear in her opening post I was told ” Y’all are dumber than I thought” and to “stop being stupid.” along with her asking why she would come to a witchcraft based forum for opinions and advice when she  could get that from her friends.  Apparently, she does not seem to realize that witchcraft/pagan forums are least of all, spell dispensers, in fact, more often than not, they are a place for people to network. learn, and offer advice, opinions, tips, etc. of various sorts.  But even worse is the sense of entitlement to a witches spell without question or discussion.  I found her a prime example because this behavior and attitude is very common among those that show up in communities looking for a spell; albeit she may be a bit more severe in her belligerence. 

Why not just hand over a spell?

Now at the risk of stating the obvious, anyone who would simply hand any  person a spell without inquiry is, lack of a better phrase, not the smartest witch in the circle; yet some apparently did.  There many reasons why any witch worth their weight in salt will dialogue with the person that stem from the possibly that a mundane solution might be better or faster for the situation to the spell the person thinks they needs is not the best spell for the situation.  Example, I recall a woman looking for a banishing spell.  After talk with her, it turns how that she really didn’t want to banish her mother in law from her life, she just wanted something done to curve the mother in law’s unannounced visits.  Had no discussion been done and she was merely served up a bunch of banishing spells, and wound up successful with one, she would have sorely regretted the results.   Remember, these people are not the experts, but you, as a witch are, so it is your responsibility to, as the expert in your field, to talk with these people to help them find the best solution for their problem.  This may or may not involve spell work, and it might involve an entirely different kind of working than the person thought.

Also, ever hear the phrase “A witch with bad aim”?  This is typically found with newer witches due to their lack of experience with spell work in general.  This is why the ones starting out are advised normally to work smaller scale spells that will have less impact or problems if the aim is bad, and gradually work their way up.  If a new witch who does know about how witchcraft works can have problems with spells, just imagine what might be the result with some one who does not know a thing about it should come along looking for a spell to be handed to them, and then tries it out.

Either way, to hand over a spell just because someone demands/asks for one, is unbelievably irresponsible and unprofessional.

What you can do if you really think you need a spell

First of all, do not get angry, or behave like the person I make an example of.  That’s about the dumbest thing you can do and should go on a list of how NOT to get a witches spell, as well as a list on HOW to piss off some witches.  Some pissed off witches out there might be the type to hex others simply for pissing them off, albeit not usual.  Since you believe in spells or you wouldn’t be looking for one in the first place, is it worth this kind of risk?  I doubt it.

So what you can do is present your situation along with your spell suggestion. Try to be as thorough as possible to help the withes gather the best understanding of your situation.  When witches ask questions, be  honest about your answers, as well as your proficiency level especially if it’s none at all.  No matter what, be polite.  These witches are taking time out of their day to address YOUR issue, so they deserve some common courtesy for that. Do not be disappointed if most who respond feel that some certain mundane solution is best for your situation.  Remember above, I said that sometimes it’s mundane work that will be the better and faster way to go about things, instead of spell work.  But if they do recommend spell work, and are offering a spell, but you’ve never done a spell in your life, now would be the best time to speak up.  In this case, you would be better off seeing if a witch will do one for you.  In some cases, some might charge a fee, in other cases, some might offer for free, but don’t be quick to do the free thing if the one with the fee might work better, and vise versa.  Pick the best one for you, as the important thing is, you need this done, and successfully so.  If you do have some experience and wish to do it yourself, I would recommend doing something with the spell offered to make it more your own, having your own imprint in it, even if it’s adjusting the words, or tweaking in another ingredient that you know to also have the magical properties in favor of your expected outcome.

In the end, remember, spells are not breath mints, nor should you, or any witch be treating them as such.   They are not the cure all, fix all, give all.  They are not play things to be toyed with, or something that should be expected to be handed over every time some one shows up on a witchcraft based social network insisting on one.

Shocker: There Is No Universal Threefold Law in Wicca

I wanted to share this, as I see so many questions about this. Although this is a Wicca matter and not Traditonal Witch, it’s still an issue that effects both Wiccans, traditional witches, and all types of witches world wide. What, with all the misunderstandings about this, which is often peddled in popular occult books. This getting treated practically like like a bible verse for everyone to adhere to. Although this lineaged Gardnerian Wicca is crass at times, he is blunt and to the point, and his article is an excellent read, which seeks to dispel the long standing misappropriation of “three fold”.

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The popular misconception that there is a Wiccan Rule or Law of Three or Threefold Return comes from a misinterpretation of a passage in a work of fiction written by Gerald Gardner, the grandfather of modern Wicca. The book was called High Magic’s Aid, and he wrote it with the permission of his High Priestess. It had to be fiction because at that point, witchcraft was still illegal in Britain. In that book and its fictional story, the protagonist undergoes a sort of initiation rite in which he is taught “mark well when thou receivest good, so equally art bound to return good threefold.”

This means that when someone does good by a witch, according to the witchcraft teaching in this *very* fictional novel, the witch is bound to return that good threefold. This is a far cry from “anything at all that you send out into the world will return…

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Taking the Magic and Mystery Out of Witchcraft

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Have you ever met a self identified witch whom after some dialogue with them, you wonder if they believe in any magic at all?  I’m not talking about a witch who has a healthy dose of skepticism, especially in the face of grandiose claims made by others,  but rather one who acts to such an extreme, you wonder if they even actually believe in the magic and mystery behind their own magical working.  I have encountered such witches, and often find myself pondering over it.

One question that keeps popping up in my mind is the question of “why”.  Why would a witch come across to such an extreme that they give off an impression that they are a staunch enough skeptic that it makes me wonder if they disbelieve their own work? This doesn’t necessarily mean that they factually disbelieve their own work, it merely means that they are acting and expressing them self in such a extreme way that this is an impression they are giving off.  It also makes me think that even if they do sincerely believe in the magic of their own work, they may be lacking in the wonders and excitement of the mysteries behind it all.  In my opinion, I can see how this might be something that can effect their craft.  But back to”why”.  Based on observations and reflecting, I think the reason why can be summed up to this being an over reaction/over-compensating to fluffy bunnyism.

I think some time in the 1980s there emerged a new type of seeker interested in the occult, and while many advanced, many others kept with a book or two that they bought at their local metaphysical store, and suddenly were experts; misunderstanding how diverse, mysterious, and exciting the world of witchcraft can be, and that knowing everything, before actually knowing enough is quite a stunt in growth.   Prior to the 1980s, even though there were some books out, being a seeker that becomes a full fledged witch required quite a bit more leg work, as well as the perseverance to hurdle many obstacles in the way of their endeavors.  These type had the stamina to endure the frustrations of following a new lead in their pursuit of knowledge and learning to find that this lead to a dead end.  They did not give up, they were persistent in both their learning and training.  They learned that even the dead ends can add to the mystery in a positive way, and had lessons of their own that were worthy.  It is no wonder that those that had the long walk and in doing so, explored, and realized the mystery and magic might be annoyed when some one who had some books handed to them tries to dictate to them any dos and don’ts on witchcraft or act as an authority figure. So as this new type of seeker increased, so did the annoyance level, and so came terms like “fluffy bunny” as a way to describe them.  Now we have the internet where a seeker may not even need go any further than their own bedroom desk in order to have access to material, or find forums, chat rooms, etc. to network with other witches.  While I think the internet is a great tool and resource, it has it’s pros can cons; one of the cons being that the truly dedicated witches who worked very hard to perfect their craft has a heightened frequency of encounters with those steeped in fluffy bunnyism.  End result is  wanting to distant themselves as far away from anything associated with fluffy bunnyism as much as possible.

But how far, might be so far removed that one starts to remove magic and mystery from their own path, and thus a bit too far?  I’ll give one example of this fellow I knew who was, more often than not, complaining  about anything anyone said a about anything  magical or may have a mysterious feel to it.  It was to the point that sometimes I had wondered if he was really a witch at all, or just some one who thinly disguises them self as a witch in order to rain on everyone else’s parade.  He more than likely is a witch, but he still gave off an impression that can fairly make one wonder if he is not.   Then came that beautiful blood moon eclipse.    Of course, there is going to be some excited chatter about it from those who witnessed it, as well as shared photos of it.  This gentleman then took the liberties of  responding in any post like this to say how there is nothing special about it, the moon is just a rock, nothing magical about it, he doesn’t know why everyone is making a big deal about it, and he did so quite aggressively and combative to boot.  Perhaps to him, the moon bears little or no use for his brand of witchcraft, but this doesn’t, in my opinion, give him the right to get angry towards others who may not only marvel at the moon, but taps into it’s magic and use its phases regularly in their path.  Using the moon phases, for magic and/or ritual is NOT fluffy bunnyism in the least.  But some people, like this gentleman take their reaction so far, that they start going after things that many witches do that aren’t even within a fluffy bunny category.  I’m sorry but if someone fails to even see, or appreciate the experience of a rarity such as a blood moon eclipse and refuses to allow themselves even the simple pleasure of enjoying it, or moving  them spiritually, then maybe such a person might want to reconsider the stagnant direction they are taking in their path.  You don’t even need to think the moon is any more than a rock floating around the planet in order to feel or experience anything about it. Here is a link that helps explain the rarity of this phenomena.. http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/facts-lunar-eclipse.html  However, this all isn’t suppose to be just about this gentleman, I have seen very similar types of incidents elsewhere.  I just felt that this example might give a good visual of what I am talking about here.  So there are some that I feel have taken their position so far, that they aren’t even able to find the slightest appreciation for even things they might think are non magical and allow themselves to experience, or feel anything spiritual or mystical about it.   I remember for me, a few years back, just encountering a bear in the wild about 100 feet away was awe striking and spiritual for me.   In my opinion,  the world is full of mysteries and opportunities for spiritual and magical experiences, both great and small, if you let it be. It is sad to see others getting so stuffy about magic and mystery that they deny themselves of this.     Many witches pride themselves in being the types of people that rarely let these occasions pass by which I think is a good thing.

I think in order to prevent falling into such a trap where you react to the point of over reacting in the plight of not being seen as a fluffy bunny, is to remember that balance may be in order; in fact, many witches seek to maintain a sense of balance not only on their path but in the work that they do.   Overly leaning in one direction or another can upset balance and throw a witch’s equilibrium  off quite a bit.  While you don’t need to be so open minded that your brains fall out, likewise you don’t need to be so narrow that your brains are stuffed into a tight unwavering box either.  Open yourself up to experience, and daring to try and experiment with things regardless of who thinks what is fluffy.  Feel the mystery and magic of your surroundings even if the experience involves just you, alone, watching a beautiful sun or moon rise.  Let yourself go, feeling the sensations of the experience.  Magic and mystery is not found in your books, or what you study, as most books tend to take away the magic and mystery of it all; its all about your experiencing it in many settings under many conditions. Never let over compensating for any reason (even if it’s not due to why I think this might be happening) take this away from you.

 

Witch Bottles

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The above is an xray of a 17th century witch bottle that was discovered in England.

Traditionally witch bottles were made to protect against baneful magic from a witch, sorcerer, etc.  They also protected against evil spirits that might be conjured up against another person.  (Sometimes it was shoes used, but I am focusing on witch bottles and will share how to make one.)  Witch bottles were not something that just cunning folks would do, these were widely made by folks of all walks of life, and very common.   In those days, the standard was to bury them some where within the building, typically walls, ceilings, hearths, etc.  Some were plane, others a little more fancy.   My boyfriend told me that back when he use to work in demolition, he use to find these, and shoes in many walls of old buildings right here in Massachusetts, but he had no idea what they were, or what they were about.

While the popularity may have died out among common crowds, many modern day witches, especially those that work more with folk magic,(which witch bottles are within the scope of) still make this and find them to be quite successful wards against the same kind of stuff they were designed to protect against in older times. One thing that has changed a bit from old times, is that usually modern witches bury them near an entrance way, instead if in the structure of the home.  However, if you don’t have a yard, within the building structure or even hidden in the back of a closet will work fine too.  In my travels, I have experienced quite a few witches who express having concerns about other witches desiring magical attacks against them, or sending nasty spirits after them.  This is when I typically recommend something like this, and give them a quick crash course on making one.  In my opinion, witches and pagans should always consider at least setting up wards to protect them and their home, as the more you mingle within communities the more of a chance you might wind up in a situation where some nasty person takes up an issue with you, and want to send some bane your way; not all witches and pagans are sweethearts and angels; also, many do not follow any rules forbidding any kind of harm and some that do follow these rules could always break them anyways.   On a forum I work at, there alone, I have had two  past run ins, where someone was removed for causing flame wars and breaking rules, and I received some kind of threat to curse me in my PM box.

Moving onto the theory in how they work to protect you.  Witch bottles are to be filled with sharp objects, as well as urine and other personal affects (if you choose to add more, but at least add the urine).  The personal affects like urine, are said to confuse the magic or spirit into mistaking the bottle for being you.   Once coming after the fake you, the sharp objects serve to be like a snare, and entangling the magic or spirit, in that sense trapping it and rendering it unable to get to you.

Now if you want to make one for yourself, here is how

Items you need:  A.) A simple jar will do like a pickle or spaghetti jar, but you might also want a more decorative bottle, and plenty are even sold in dollar stores if you rather be thrifty about it.   As long as it’s a jar, or bottle, and you can easily place your items in it, it will do.  B.)  Your urine, and if you wish, other things from you like hair or nail clippings, blood, spit, etc.  If you can remove it from yourself and get it into the jar, it’s fine to use.  C.)  A collection of sharp things.  Nails, broken glass, thorns/thorn branches, barbed wire, razors, old little knives you won’t use anymore, etc.  It’s sharp and nasty?  It will do the trick!   It doesn’t have to be all on this list, some will do, and you might even find something sharp and nasty that isn’t on this list to put into the bottle.

Now that you have your collection, you can place it all inside the bottle or jar.  Shake it up good after you have put all the contents in.  Some witches do this methodically, where as they place each item in, speak about the protection it is to do, like commanding it. This is usually done like a worded spell casting for the jar.   Others might create a sigil for it, as an extra, and paint that onto the outside of the bottle.  The sigil would be designed to be pertinent for the purpose of the bottle as if to seal it with a spell for extra oomph.   However, neither of these are absolutely necessary, after all, back when they were extremely popular in society, most would not have done that, just made the bottle alone and they worked as fine then as they do today, so it’s up to you, and personal to you, if you want to speak a spell into it or make a sigil.  Maybe you have an artistic flair, and want to do some creative paintings on it.  That’s cool!  This would be fine as well.

Now that your bottle is completed, you have many options where to put it.  Bury it in your yard, near your front steps, in your walls, some where in your cellar, ceiling, crawl space, under stairs, hid in the closet, it’s all for you and completely up to you where.

Well that is pretty much all there is to it.  If you have any questions, or want to offer additional suggestions you think others could benefit from, please do not hesitate to do so!