This morning I received a question regarding witchcraft. With that person's permission, I have reproduced the question and my response, in the hope that they may prove insightful for others. While I make no claims to speak for all Pagans nor all witches, for ease of explanation, I did answer in generalities and use "we" a far too many times. For those who may read this and whose practice and worldview as a witch differ, know that I meant no disrespect in this.
If there were just one thing you would want to tell people about yourself or your religion, what would that be?
Before I say anything, let me point out that I welcome any and all questions regarding witchcraft and the religious movement of Paganism. While I cannot speak for all witches nor all Pagans, at this point I have walking this path for longer than I haven't and it truly is the only life I know.
With such a question, my first thought is: would I want to tell anything? Answers are hard won within Witchcraft, and what one has struggled and worked hard for is seldom as appreciated by the one to whom it is freely given. There is wisdom in the experience of getting that knowledge, that experience is the prize.
There is a lot of fear and misinformation of a path that my family and I (that includes five children, all under 9 years old) walk every single day. This is uncalled for. Yes, there are aspects of witchcraft that people who aren't involved with it don’t understand –that’s to be expected. It is not like most people’s experience of religion. Firstly, belief plays no part. One is not a witch because of what they believe, one is a witch because of what they do. This truly is an experiential path –orthopraxic, not orthodoxic. There is no one (nor No One) telling us what to do or how to do. Rather, we are free to make that choice, while being reminded that there are always consequences. It is with that in mind, and knowing that our actions effect others, that we make our choices.
Secondly, most witches are polytheist, we see the world filled with many Gods, Goddesses, and Spirits, though some of may only work with one or two of those Deities. This means we have a vastly different view of the world. That there are many ways of doing things that can all work is something that is deeply understood within our community. Pair that with the freedom of choice that is part of our path, and you can see why none of us have ever tried to convert anyone to our ways -to do so is against everything that we hold sacred. We expect to be treated with the same respect we pay others.
Thirdly, while we do believe in the existence of man different Deities, we do not believe that They are each just another name for the Christian God. They are each Their own entity and being, just as the Christian God is, and They all exist in this world together with us. Our Gods are also not omnipotent. They have limited fields of influence, which makes Them very approachable and makes it so that when They offer Their aid, the results are easily seen. In that regard, we work with Them to create the life that we desire. Science has proven that thought can influence the physical world and that at the most fundamental level, the physical world is made up of energy; is is upon that basic premise that the practice of magic is founded.
Throwing the Bones