By Kate Gallwey
I like stripping away all the rubbish and masks of a subject and seeing straight to the truth of what it is. Witchcraft has always drawn me, I like the idea of a powerful wise witch that has the answers to everything. I like dancing outside without a care who is watching, clothed or unclothed. There is something wild and free about witchcraft that always has been attractive.
I ask too many questions for regular religions. Thou Shalt Not Question, is the unwritten eleventh commandment, and my next question was always, Why?
So my journey started when I could learn to read. A library was always a 'safe space' for me to hide in at school. I wasn’t actually bullied, much, but the other kids were very alien to me. I never felt we had much in common. If physical violence was necessary I was never afraid to hit hard. But it all seemed so pointless, I really lacked the competition needed to do well in school. But the library was a place of magic and clarity for me. Stories of myths and magic. Eddings, Feist, McCaffery, Norton, Tolkin, Clark, Herbert, and many more. Science fiction and fantasy became my religion and I worshipped my books. To me they were more real than invisible men in the sky. I would read books over and over again seeking out every nuance and inflection. rewriting them in my head with a slight change of plot or character. Yes...I was strange.
Books on the occult and magic soon followed. Witchcraft and lighting a candle to make a wish, gazing into a mirror to catch glimpses of past lives and feeling the heartbeat in a rock or crystal.
Long walks to a local forest became my temple and I connected up to the Nature God and the spirits of the forest. Not many words were needed, just a feeling of not being alone was enough. The books got darker and circles appeared on an old carpet that could be laid on my bedroom floor.
Astrological symbols were explored and runes cast. All was a natural progression for me. A move to another area by my parents and a different school meant a shift from outside to inside. I talked to a few others and we clicked, common interests were found. We asked questions and I voyaged out onto the astral planes and learnt out of body activities. College brought a new set of friends and new activities like sex and drugs. The Church of Adventists were of no interest to me when they handed out fliers at the College gates, but the Satanist were.
I learnt Wiccan and Satanism in equal doses. Committing to neither as both seemed to want control and power over me. I learnt to go still inside and find out where I wanted to go, not were others wanted to lead me.
I learnt my lessons very well, witchcraft lead to shamanism and energy magic and I was home, for a while.
I do not believe in natural witches, that is stupid and annoying new age bull shit. If you are drawn to chemistry or physics it does not make you a natural scientist. Witchcraft is not hereditary, though it you are lucky enough to be brought up with everyone around you doing magic it makes things a lot easier. I wasn't, I just followed my Spirit or Nature and I found it flowed to me.
It doesn't matter if you are 12 or 97 if you have an interest in anything go study it. Any one can call themselves a Witch, I am not going to tell you you are not. There is no exams to pass or certificates you need. Though there are many out there that will if you are foolish enough to believe them. I created my own brand of witchcraft and you can't buy it, for it is not for sale. You have to create your own Path of being a Witch, with no rules or even a finish line.
If you wake up one morning and say, “Ok, I am a witch.” That is fine by me. How you define it is up to you, it is really none of any ones else's business This book is my definition.
So, This book is not ever going to give you an insight into the traditional path of witchcraft. I am no scholar to give you the anthropological and psychological reasons on witchcraft and why it happen. I am gifting you with a glimpse of what I call Witchcraft and stripping it bare of all its bull shit.
Religions is worshipping someone else' experience. Witchcraft, though mixed up Wicca, is not really a religion, any more than the daily practice of Buddhist is. It is an spiritual discipline that grows like you do. I am part of nature, it is real and solid, no faith required.
So to be a witch is to be present and to see, be and feel what is solid and real. call it what you will, witch, shaman, warlock, pagan, heathen, even wizard, though the term maybe accurate, Harry Potter is not the kind of wizard I am thinking of here. I am looking at the Gandalf's and those that look to the seasons and rhythms of the earth to find their way and be guided. No one really can teach you this but you can learn the ways of the land by studying the ancient peoples who didn’t have electric light at a switch of a button and were much more closely bond to the rising and setting of the sun and moon.
Nature is never the same, each snowflake is unique. Witchcraft taught me to dance with life and see the subtleties to the rhythm within and with out. I embrace change, it is the only way to survive the inconsistencies of this world. My nature, moods and cycles is part of this world, if I go still and listen, not easy in this over lit and very noisy world, I can hear the ebb and flow of my place and who I want to be.
Witchcraft teaches me to change myself and grow more fully into my nature, it doesn’t care about light, dark, good or bad, or social niceties. I do not know any other path that does the same