I admit that when I was first drawn to Wicca, called “Witchcraft” back in the day, it was because of the magick. I had many experiences all through my life that involved the invisible realms and it both frightened and fascinated me. Seeing ghosts and being able to speak with them, reading Tarot cards, understanding astrology, using candles and incense to work “spells” of all kinds was very attractive and exciting.
It would take me a number of years before I would realize that there was so much more to this path. I would come to realize that the spirituality offered here was as important, and maybe even more so, than any magick I might perform. In fact, I would actually come to see quite clearly that the real magick was in the transformation that could happen to me through the use of the tenets and principle put forth by this path.
That was almost 42 years ago. Now, the younger generations have split hairs with the terms “Wicca” and “Witchcraft” to the point where someone, like me, who has been traveling this path for so long finds it all very confusing and slightly bewildering. I can’t even begin to tell you that I understand why or how this came to be. I can only speak from my own experience.
There is no unbroken chain of evidence to link Wicca/Witchcraft with its origins in Paleolithic times. We do, however, recognize that this is where the roots of our spiritual path lie. What’s even more disconcerting is that, unless you belong to a Family Tradition of Wicca/Witchcraft, there is no unbroken chain of evidence or teaching that links those of us in the United States with the Witches of the British Isles – no matter how much we would like that to be so. So how can we, here in the USA claim to be Wiccan or Witches?
I believe it’s a matter of faith, belief and practice. I believe there are certain basic principles that can be taught and practiced, even if there is no direct heritage from the culture that birthed most of those beliefs and practices. I also believe that there must be a real sincerity and desire to be a valid practitioner of this, or any, spiritual path.
One of the things that I noticed over the years was a chronic watering down of the teachings and practices that make up the definition of being a Wiccan/Witch. I realize we live in a much different time than when I first became part of “the Craft”, but still, there are reasons why things are taught and practiced in every spiritual path. Ours is no different. Still, as time has passed, everyone has wanted things fast and easy more and more.
On a Path that teaches you to “know yourself” and to do this before anything else, fast and easy just doesn’t work. Stripping away the layers upon layers of programming, fear, and illusion takes time – sometimes decades. Like the alchemist endeavoring to turn lead into gold, we who pursue the path of Wicca, endeavor to turn the dross of self in the gold of reality. That reality is who we truly are underneath all the garbage we have accumulated in the course of our lives thus far. When you come right down to it, if you are sincerely seeking the real you, even the “year and a day” said to elapse between the Degrees of any tradition of Wicca becomes a moot point because the search may take far more time than that allots.
The serious student of Wicca will see the reasoning behind finding who they really are and will take the time to do so. Knowing that, without this piece of knowledge and understanding, one can hardly know what “magick” would be worth working because they truly don’t know what it is that they want. Once the veils begin to be taken away from ones eyes, the world looks different and our response to it changes. This gives us a clearer picture of how our “magick” can best be used.
Wiccans are, first and foremost, healers. Like the old adage states, “Physician heal thyself.”, our ability to heal begins with ourselves. The journey of healing begins, for us, with the desire to know who we truly are and make the connection with our Higher Selves. Once again, this takes time. There is no miracle pill to take, no speed course, no testing out. There is only the strong desire to know who we are and why we are here and we are willing to take all the time necessary to do so, using any tools that might help get us there.
So why would someone in this day and age want to learn “Old School” Wicca? That’s a hard one to answer, but I would hope there are still “Truth” seekers out there. Those who “know” on some level of their being that there is more to Life than meets the eye; that there is a purpose to being here that every-day-life doesn’t necessarily disclose to us. I would hope that there are still beings being born into the world who want to know, to learn, and are willing to put forth any time and any effort to discover the truth of their existence here.
When I put my foot on this Path, all those years ago, the Witches of Britain warned that the Craft was not for everyone and that not everyone would be accepted into a Coven. I often wondered why back then. I’ve come to a better understanding of that now. Not everyone has a “thirst” for answers that is required on this Path. Not everyone has the dedication and determination to succeed in their quest, no matter how long it takes. This is a special type of person who will leave no stone unturned; who wants answers with every fiber of their being; who will do whatever it takes to uncover the “truth” that they seek. This is the person who, upon coming to apply for training with a Coven, will not take “no” for an answer, but will return time and again to see what they must do to be accepted and trained. These individuals are rare.
“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” So I would say, to those who find what I’ve said to ring true for you, there is someone out there who has the answers you seek or, at the very least, knows how to be your guide to finding those answers. Wait no longer. Seek them out. Your journey is about to begin!