What Sort of Witch Are You?

For some individuals, witchcraft is a journey of finding one’s unique style of magic, own cosmology, and personal philosophy.

This post was on Witches and Pagan in 2016, at http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/a-faerie-haven.html

Have you seen the popular lists of different types of witches—e.g., traditional witch, Gardnerian witch, Faerie witch, eclectic witch, hedge witch—with precise definitions for each category? These charts help some beginners. Learning you fit a certain style can be validating and reassuring. It also makes some newcomers feel they belong.

But this post is for beginners who find the categories make things really difficult. Everyone else, I’m not naysaying what works for you; this entire post is simply ideas and methods that work for me, in case they’re useful to someone. I don’t want the charts thrown out. They’re great for some people. And with that:

There are individuals whose witchcraft entails a journey of finding one’s unique style of magic, own cosmology, and personal philosophy. Being new to Pagan community and being told there are specific witch types, each with very specific definitions, can box these folks in, lead them to think they won’t fit anywhere in the Pagan community, and ill-legitimize personal self-discoveries that transcend the categories.

What if you come from a traditional witch family, talk to fairies, and enjoy practicing Gardnerian magic occasionally? Sure, that might classify you as an “eclectic witch,” but that term is redundant historically speaking; it was once a given that witches were eclectic, because witches understand the connectivity of all things. To me, the term “eclectic witch” robs me of my heritage. My witchy heritage fuels spells, making them powerful.

As to connectivity, the Old Gods unite me with the enchantment that flows through the entire universe. That current carries me, its sweep making me joyful, as it bears me toward even more joy. But “eclectic witch” implies magic is not in everything around me and thus denies what’s inherent to many folks’ witchcraft.

In the same vein, I see witches as wild creatures, transcending every limit. I’m a child of the Gods. Their infinite powers are mine. Mind you, I’m not suggesting I can successfully cast every spell anyone else can cast. I believe witches can have specialties.

In any case, categorizing keeps some people from developing specialties. These are folks whose process demands they look not at definitions but into their own selves and, despite how scary it might be, journey into seeming formlessness until it becomes recognizable as their special gift—their specialty.
WildCreaturesI love—and use—the different terms for types of witches. They’re great jumping off points, e.g., for connecting with like-minded individuals.

They also can be pointers. But I use the terms the old way: to evoke—lyric speaking to our wild witch hearts and whispering of the undefinable and unlimited—rather than as part of quantitative charts, mapping magic out so exactly as to be … boringly limited for some folks.

I love magic so much it makes me sad to realize charts might crush certain people’s magic.

Also, poor scholarship defines witch types incorrectly. For example, it’s sadly a current given that Gardnerian Wicca bears little resemblance to traditional witchcraft. I lived in a Gardnerian household in England with one of Gerald Gardner’s students and, as a traditional witch, I can tell you people living in that house practiced old-fashioned witchery. Furthermore, I met members of the family tradition that greatly influenced Gerald.

Lack of scholarship also portrays traditional witchcraft as consistently the same. It varied, village to village and family to family.

And many a scholar will say “eclectic witch” makes no historical sense. Global travel is not a modern occurrence. Various ancient cultures shared their rituals constantly.

Are you dismayed by witch categories because they make you feel the magical Art has been divided up like slices of a pie … and you feel like the whole pie? Be the whole enchanted pie.

If you’re a fledging witch who resonates with what I’ve written, I support you not by giving you categories to validate you, but by validating who you already are. Like most of us when we come into Pagan community, you’ve always had Paganism in your heart and life, perhaps without having named it as such. So trust what you already know and build on it. You have the intelligence and insightfulness needed to do so.

Enjoy the names for all the different types of witches, or use none of them. But claim your path as valid.

By “valid,” I’m not saying everything you do currently as a witch is always safe and effective. No one is perfect. Also, some spellcrafting requires substantial training. Get a teacher if you want. But don’t worry about what “type” of witch a prospective teacher is. Choose someone whose spirit calls you and who honors your spirit in turn, whether or not you know how to describe your path. Witches used to work together in all their differences and likenesses, getting along just fine, learning just fine.

I teach. Classes are mostly via group phone calls (aka telesminars): you don’t need a computer or any special technology to attend; just dial the phone. Subscribe to my free newsletter, which gives details about upcoming classes: http://www.well.com/user/zthirdrd/InfoForm.htm

What sort of witch are you? You’re you! So mote it be.

Druid (Elven) Chant

Yule14BlackThis is a seasonal chant. It can be used not only for the Winter Solstice, but also for winter months subsequent to Yule.

If you recite it, please tell me what happens. Walking through falling snow, I channeled this poem. When the Goddess gave me a line, I chanted it immediately, while continuing my passage beneath a gray snowy sky. The experience was a gift from the Goddess, and doubly joyful when, reaching home, I managed to get a version of it in writing, because now I can share it with you, my fellow seeker (as well as use it again myself). Sharing our journeys blesses me utterly. So it would be wonderful to know your experience with this chant.

And, by the way, it works perfectly well without the snow storm, LOL. You do not need falling snow to use this chant.

Druid (Elven) Winter Solstice Chant
Francesca De Grandis, 2014

With the falling snow,
stars plummet to ground.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

I, elf, know my losses.
I, elf, know my losses.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

I, elf, know my pains.
I, elf, know my pains.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

I, elf, am not trapped by any sorrow.
I, elf, am not destined to mythic melancholy
or an inevitable tragedy of erroneous lore.

Yule25BlackAaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

Stars descend with the falling snow.
The chill and the heat bless me.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

All the power of the stars is mine.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

My powers are from the dark Mother Goddess.
My powers are from the blazing newborn King.
My powers are from the earth’s molten core.
My powers are from the fiery silver stars.
My powers are from the Dragon flame—all cauldron fires are mine.

By my powers, I easily manifest utter connection to my Gods.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

weebossideBy my powers, I easily manifest self.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

By my powers, I easily manifest beauty.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

By my powers, I easily manifest self-love.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

By my powers, I easily manifest usefulness to others.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

By my powers, I easily manifest peace.

Yule29BlackAaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

By my powers, I easily manifest fun.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

By my powers, I easily manifest happiness.

By my powers, I easily manifest wealth.

By my powers, I easily manifest health.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

I easily manifest connection to all my self.

I easily manifest connection to all things.

I easily manifest integration within myself.

I easily manifest integration within the World Tree.

Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.
Aaahhhhhh, wooooooo.

I easily manifest Faerie.

Aaaaahhhhhhhh.
Wooooooooooo.
Aaaaahhhhhhhh.
Wooooooooooo.

Om.
Om.
Om.

purchsbanr2

Mysticism and Non-Academic Scholarship

A mystic needn’t be an academic to be a scholar. Why is this idea important? Some people create a magical, fulfilling life based in a non-academically-shaped worldview. We also might want to teach from such an orientation. Our cosmology can be as carefully constructed and extensively developed as any scientific understanding, but many would crush our power by insisting there is only one intelligent way to see, to learn, to study.

Trust your observances made through mystical states, e.g., trance. Trust your non-ordinary modes of perception, like intuition.

I’m not suggesting you blindly believe and act on everything you think you’ve observed. For example, when you have an intuition or receive guidance from spirits, run it by a down-to-earth person who exists on the mundane plane. Non-academic perspectives are as subject to fault as academic insights.

But, luckily, I did not wait until a university validated each step of the many I needed to travel along my shamanic path. I’d have taken fewer steps, losing great joy and fulfillment, not only in my personal life but also because I would have taught less.

Academic validation does happen to me lots, and it feels nice. But relying on it as a way to tell myself or anyone else, “See, I know what I am doing” would undermine my belief in my style of scholarship. An example: Pics of subatomic particle tracks validated what I’d seen in trance for decades. But I’d validated it for myself already. Hence the painting below:ShamanicPhysics 2012-03

Training can be crucial. Just as a scientist studies his “craft,” so have I. I also spent years in trance, 24-7, researching as diligently as any scientist in a lab.

I’m not suggesting you trust yourself only if you do the full-time training or research I did. Mine was needed because of goals I had as a teacher and mystic. Otherworldly reality is innate in us all. Just as many linear-minded non-scientists trust their personal worldview, so should many mystics observe and assess their environments, drawing our own conclusions, instead of docilely following “experts.” I mention my full time commitment only to reinforce the extensive possibilities of mystical wisdom.

Insights I gain through altered states are building blocks of trainings I create. But I don’t carelessly throw something together in the name of Divine inspiration. I spend years developing a curriculum before teaching it.

My fastidiousness does not naysay the observations of someone without training. The psychic realm is as much a part of human heritage as ordinary daylight; we all have insights about it; and they are important contributions to community dialog. In fact, one of my goals as a teacher is to create tools that help people trust their insights and recover their innate mystical awareness, which has often been squelched.

Being a mystic does not deny your intellect. (And too many beautiful, astute, linear minds are used to invalidate somebody’s heartfelt, lyrical worldview.) I know amazingly left-right-brain integrated mystics.

It’s like being a musician. In my last year of college, I supposedly needed more units of logic-based classes to get my degree. But the college president felt that my thirty hours of music theory, which is mathematically based, obviated the need for further logic classes.

When I write a song, channel liturgy, or travel faerie realms for info, my intellect needn’t suppress my efforts. It can weave in and out of my emotive fanciful state, improving my effort. I also might go over what I have created to rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, until I’m satisfied.

In various mystical states, there’s a dance between the two sides of the brain and the heart and soul. Each aspect of you comes forward, adding what it can. All of you weaves constantly, in such rapid-fire succession of ever-changing intertwinings that you might be totally unaware of this complex inner interaction.

At such times, we learn truths that others may deny. We plug into immense powers to control our own destiny. We become part of miracle. Even other pagans may try to invalidate these gains, Goddess bless them, instead of realizing that their approaches and ours can be different without either of us being wrong.

But the things we learn in such states set us free.

This has been a limited view on mystical scholarship. But the crux is: Let yourself be free.

Hiding, Healing, Power

Faerie art, Francesca De GrandisHiding, Healing, Power
Written and painted in March and/or early April, 2012.

I call the following piece a Faerie tale. That is accurate but not by most standards. The piece is part my thoughts, part my paintings, part my methods for empowerment (perhaps in less overt forms, such as asking you a question), mixed with little magical stories told through word and visuals. By my definition of shamanism, that is a faerie tale: The sum total helps you live in myth—live in myth generally speaking, and in the particular myths I’m creating here, and in your own unique myths that this piece can help you find and/or better dwell in.

I painted the illustrations brush stroke by stroke—digitally. I just paint on a computer screen instead of a canvas. And with that:

Hiding Fey Warrior In Training. Click on the painting to see it large and without blurring that occurs when WordPress shrinks a pic to fit the page.

Part One

This is a Faerie tale about healing and power. And about hiding. This story is for grown ups.

Sometimes we need to hide. There are many reasons. We might have to hide because we hurt. We find a safe, secret place to heal, or at least to be away from whatever might hurt us.

Do you ever hide? Do you need to tell someone why? Or is it better that no one knows you are hiding?

Sometimes we hide because it is fun.

Sometimes we hide to be alone with our thoughts.

Or with our “imaginary” friends.

Hiding, Faerie Healer in Training. Available as a limited first edition print. For more info, click on the picture.

When children have to repeatedly hide to protect themselves, it can injure their spirit in ways that haunt them into adulthood. But they’re doing the best they know how to keep themselves safe, and that is an act of power.
 
Hiding can also be an act of power when motivated instead by happy events and sweet wishes. We don’t always stay out of sight because of fear and pain; for example, you might simply tuck yourself away in a special place for a while, in order to flourish undisturbed. 

Some people hide to gain powers that only come where no one—without those powers—can see them. They work hard and often joyfully, secretly doing what the Cosmos asks of them. That is what this little Fey fellow is doing—he is a Faerie healer in training.

And perhaps he is also making himself safe from trouble; if you ask him sincerely, he might tell you. Or maybe he’ll just keep peeking out at you from his hiding place.

I’ll post part 2 in two weeks, here. I blog once a week, and am going to try alternating between this and the blog at my other site. Two blogs with two separate RRS feeds.

Please share the URL to my above story; here it is to copy and paste for Facebook or an email or whatever: http://stardrenched.com/2012/06/13/hiding-healing-power/    I want folks to know about my new Faerie tale and my refurbished site (the site you are on has been updated lately with a new look and all sorts of other new stuff). Thank you for your support. I cannot do without it, truly! Oh, wait…I am so 20th century! Unless you’re viewing this blog entry on my site’s home page, you can like my Faerie tale with the nifty Facebook button, right below, next to the Twitter button and the like. Duh!