Being a Witch

Many young people want to be a Witch. Unfortunately a lot of them have a
very misguided idea of what Witches are really like and what it means to
truly be one. I receive a lot of email on this subject and the
impression of what we do and believe is disturbing. They see Witches as
people with no religious path. People who spend the bulk of their time
casting an endless array of spells to make everything in life go their
way, with a library of spells for every occasion. This is not the life
of a real Witch. Witches are people who are part of a Goddess based
religion. They all worship mother earth and follow a code of ethics,
"Harm None, Do As You Will".

Being a Witch takes a lot of effort, study and responsibility. Attuning
with nature is vital to being a Witch. You can't worship mother earth if
you have no connection to her, and worship of the earth is the basis of
Witchcraft. Celebrating Sabbats and Esbats (full moon rituals) are the
traditional ways to celebrate, honor and truly feel the life force of
mother earth. They attune us with her constantly changing cycles.
Celebrating and participating in these rituals don't have to be
elaborate ceremonies, the importance is to really experience and feel
them. If one doesn't make a strong effort to attune themselves with the
earth, they will never understand the path of a Witch or what it's like
to truly be one.

Witches find joy, knowledge and enrichment in things that many people
take for granted. We don't just celebrate and observe the wonders of our
glorious planet on Sabbats, we do it every day. By listening to the song
of a bird, or watching them soar in flight, squirrels scampering about,
the power and beauty of a thunderstorm, the majesty of a tree, and
spending time with the nature of our surroundings. We meditate while
sitting under trees, at a lake or even in a public park. No matter where
we live, we seek out the nature of our area and spend time connecting
with it. These qualities also strengthen our power of observation.
Because we take the time to connect with nature, we see a lot more of it
than most people do. We notice a new spider web on a bush outside our
home or a new birds nest, and even smaller things like the cocoon of a
butterfly, a ladybug on a leaf, and the way the dew on grass catches the
morning sun. The more time we spend in nature, the more we see, and the
stronger our connection to her grows.

Witches also take on the task of getting in touch with themselves. Both
the light and dark aspects of are beings are are vital to explore. Part
of being a Witch is trying to become the best person you can be. This is
not possible unless one has the courage to journey within and understand
themselves. This can be a very difficult journey, and we all have
personal obstacles to overcome, but the benefits of learning who you
really are, and working to overcome personal demons far out weighs the
pain involved in doing so. We are all a part of mother earth, and to
understand her and our connection to all life, we must understand the
mysteries of ourselves as well. When things go wrong in our lives or we
have bad experiences, we see them as lessons to learn from or challenges
to overcome, not a reason to try out a new spell to make the problem go
away. Getting to know oneself is a long and never ending journey. Just
as the more time we spend in nature the more of it we see, the same
principal applies to getting to know oneself. The deeper we look, the
more we find and understand.

Witches take full responsibly for their actions. There is no evil deity
in our religion that we can blame for any misdeeds we do, and we know
that it will come back to us in some form, be it karma or the three fold
law. We carefully consider the ramifications of our actions, and what
impact they may have on others. We are constantly working on sharpening
and keeping skills that are important to our ways such as meditation and
visualization, the tools we use to aid in our connection with the earth,
worship, rituals and getting to know ourselves better.

Doing all of this takes a lot of effort. We are everyday people that go
to school, have jobs, children, families and all of the mundane
responsibilities everyone else has, like paying bills, cleaning and
grocery shopping. We are just as busy as everyone else. We make time to
connect with nature and ourselves, but we also go beyond that. We also
work to do whatever we can to care for the earth, and harm her as little
as possible. We strive to do things that make the world we worship a
better place. We recycle, pick up litter, plant gardens and trees, put
up bird feeders and/or houses, food for squirrels, donate to
environmental charities, educate about the truth of our ways when ever
we can, and more.

Reading a few books and initiating yourself dose not make you a Witch.
Nor does casting spells. Witches read a great deal to understand the
various concepts and aspects of the Craft and it's very important to
study, but along with this one must also practice what they learn. The
most important lessons to be learned will not come from a book, but from
the practices and experiences a Witch has during their life. No two
Witches will ever have the exact experiences, just as each has their own
lessons and challenges to learn from.

Witches also learn from each other and should help each other whenever
they can. No Witch, no matter how many years they practice will ever
know 'all there is to know'. A Witch who has been practicing longer than
someone else does not necessarily make them more knowledgeable. Everyone
learns at their own pace, and just because someone hasn't been
practicing as long as you doesn't mean you can't learn from them.
Remember that a Witch is just a person, and each has their own unique
outlook and perspective. Someone who is just beginning to learn our path
should be encouraged to ask as many questions as they want, and never
have to feel that they are asking a stupid question just because the
answer is obvious to you.

Witches also have a responsibility in how they present themselves to
others. Almost all of my friends are not Witches and knew absolutely
nothing about the truth of our ways until they asked me about them.
Weather we like it or not, Witches that are not 'in the broom closet'
can find themselves in a position where they represent all Witches when
dealing with people who do not know the truth of our ways. One Witch
with a pompous attitude can cause a great deal of harm and cast a
negative impression on all Witches and our beliefs. Just as someone who
is half way through their first book pretending to know everything can.
When asked to explain your beliefs to others, keep in mind that you
might be the only Witch this person will ever meet. You're impression
and the information you provide can open a window of understanding that
can spread from that person to their friends and so on. It can create a
bridge of understanding and tolerance.

Being a Witch is not cool, glamorous, chic, trendy or a fad, and our
religion is not about gaining power over others by abusing the magickal
aspect of it to manipulate everything or everyone to your advantage. It
is a joyous religion based on a deep love and respect of the God/dess
and mother earth. It's a path where you take total responsibility for
you actions. When someone is truly ready to be a Witch, they are
choosing a religious path which involves following the 'harm none, do as
you will' code of ethics. We are normal everyday people, but feel our
lives are enriched in our connection with the God/dess and mother earth.
We don't all have fancy tools and robes, and we don't have a dress code.
We each worship in our own way. What counts is the power of our
convictions, and being true to ourselves and our ethics.

Being a Witch can be difficult. There are many that don't understand the
truth of our ways, and sadly a great deal of people have no interest in
trying to. Many Witches have to hide their beliefs out of fear, and
those who don't can endure great hardships due to the many stereotypes
that cause people to think we are evil. Deciding to follow the path of a
Witch should only be done when you are absolutely certain that it is
right for you, and you are willing to take on all of the
responsibilities that goes along with being one.

If you want to be a Witch, it is vital to understand that Witchcraft is
a religion. It is not a hobby to dabble in on occasion, nor a path to
choose because of it's magickal aspects. It's also not a path that can
be learned or explained in a day, or an email. Study our ways carefully
and fully. Take time to absorb and understand the information you read.
Don't be in a rush to try and learn everything all at once. Practice the
information you learn and keep records of them along with your feelings
of the experiences you have. If it is truly the path for will