Happened to read a comment on a book called Natural Witchcraft: The Timeless Arts and Crafts of the Country Witch (Natural Way) by Marian Green:
“This book is a must-read antidote for those people who know in their hearts that there’s more to paganism than some of the pagan denominations require of their members.
It was refreshing for a change to read that you don’t need to be degreed, covened, pentacled, athamed (that’s pronounced ath-a-mayed), cloaked, tattooed, pierced, or any of the other outer manifestations of “belonging” to a pagan denomination. You merely need to revere nature, the seasonal changes, and hone the magical skills of your choosing. Whew! What a relief!
Having had way too many people say that you needed a year and a day in a coven, being scourged and/or bound and/or blindfolded(just for fun, of course…), skyclad, initiated to the nth degree, etc. or you’re not a REAL witch — this book is a breath of fresh air that rings true for me. I’ve often asked, why would a loving god or goddess ever want their child to be put through such abuse, all for the love of them? Thank you, Ms. Green, for a wonderful book!”
What can I say? There are people out there who think I need to be some marketing add for “whichy” brands to be a witch?
The only market brand I will be wearing is my pentagram and that’s it. People like forget that this athame, cloaked, skyclad, degrees – that’s all ceremonial magic! While knitting a shirt with old known protective pattern is practical magic. I don’t understand the constant need to put those two against each other. Why? They are both so entangled in each other it’s pointless.
Besides, around here is no such thing as “I follow Wicca, so I guess I’m a witch now?”
You follow Wiccan faith – you are a Wiccan. Just like followers of Christ are Christians and Buddha’s are Buddhists.
Witch is a title, like handyman, like blacksmith. It’s a job description. You earn the title after you learn it and practice it. That much I agree – you are not a witch before you get the things through your head. So if you are 12, have just got your new witch book then you are not yet a witch. You are a apprentice. But the rest is beyond my comprehension.
I was actually surprised how many practicing witches have not gone out and harvested their herbs or resins… It was shocking the least. I’ve had conversations this week where people didn’t even know the plant I was talking about, what it looked like. It is forgivable if you have just started to get acquainted with them, but to meet a witch, who says they haven’t done it during their 5 years practice got me rolling.
It’s a full time job, sweeties! You collect your herbs, your resins that you can, infuse plants according to your needs, make candles if you need something specific, create your tools, bless the seeds and harvest, the loss and rebirths. You heal your loved ones, you make them feel home, you protect and you support.
Looks like housewife’s description, doesn’t it? I don’t panic when I don’t have something I need, because I know in my surroundings where I can find plants with similar abilities to replace the one I’m missing. Like cumin – there are those that we are used to buying from the shop. We have common cumin (Carum Carvi) growing right here and all you need is a nice sunny day, little time for searching and a bag to keep them in.
Why does your first reaction have to be “I find it in Amazon. Oh, but it’s out – I can’t find it online!” I’ve always had the notion that a witch is a local thing. Local in sense that your knowledge should firsthand culminate on your surroundings and then on everything else. So many complain that I have it good – I have it all growing right here while they have to get it elsewhere. Well, have you taken the moment to look around you? Do you know the properties of the plants growing in your lawn? I can raise my finger and say most of meadow plants should be in present in natural lawns. Like… sweet vernal grass! Very loved plant around here, because it’s the one that gives hay its sweet good smell. Red clover, nettle, ragged robin, quaking grass, field scabious… did you know there are up to 120 different plants in one square meter? I dare you to take that test.
“I don’t have the time to do all this powdering!” Now THAT is one sentence I DO want to bring out. Then don’t. And don’t do spells either. Witchcraft has no shortcuts. The point of powdering something didn’t used to be just that it is better to burn them that way. If you were working with it, you put your intentions in it. So instead of the 5 minutes of holding your hands over the store bought powdered oak you can spend half an hour beating and powdering and concentrating on that task alone. Don’t fear the work you have to put in it nor the time it takes. You have to take time off for concentrating anyway.
My story point is really that instead of feeling down on having to spend so much on a course and wondering if you are buying too much without actually needing it – go out and get your herbs from the fields yourself. Take a field trip. Spend the money on what you can’t make yourself – resins that don’t grow locally, gems, essential oils (making one yourself is horrific and pointless task – you’ll later be against using it, because of all that you spent on it). It is worth it, those collecting tasks, because then you have also been working with the plant material right from the beginning and you can be hundred percent sure that what you have in your hand is good product.
I’ve been told that I’m lucky to live in a area where I live. A pardon that I’m proud, but I agree. Compared with some countries, it is indeed like heaven. But this is not because I live pretty much amongst green all the time. I’m lucky because I live in culture where half of the families still gather their own herbs for food and go foraging all the time. I’m lucky, because they give out field guides for local plants on yearly bases, including on medical herbs that include chemical information as well. They are usually not divided if the plants can be eaten or not thus giving you more complete image of the nature. I especially like the ones that have drawn images. It’s easier to recognize by this than by photos (it has to do with your recognizing individuals – with photo we tend to immediately recognize the individual while from a drawing our brain only takes guidelines).
But “lucky for living in paradise” is not the only thing. You complain about time – I have two jobs, tight book schedule, studying and social life. But I find the time and so should you. I need to make herbal syrup, I wake up 15 minutes before I usually do and still make it. Or boil it at the same time I do dinner.
I need a plant – instead of going straight to sleep after night shift, I take the city bus to the end of the city and take an hour walk. Also, having half of your brain switched off, concentrating becomes surprisingly easier so sunrises can be easily used for meditating, too. I get what I want and then take bus home and sleep much better.
Where there is a need, there is a way. Money isn’t your enemy, but it shouldn’t be your chain either. Witchcraft is not about presenting all-bought items that you never use. Sometimes the richness is in fact that you took the extra fifteen minutes.