In anything involving any kind of Tradition from any family, culture or religion there seems to always be controversy and disputes over what is “real” or “authentic”. Accusations of theft of culture or theft of ideas by people not born in a specific region, specific country, family or culture permeate societal squabbles. I think it is human nature to look for a fight or at least something to fight for. To fight for something gives personal meaning to life for many people. if there was more acceptance than fights, the world would be a more pleasant place to live.
I know there is a reason why many different groups of people don’t want their Traditions to be watered down with outside views or opinions or even beliefs. To mix one culture with another may have elements of each culture but the true culture of each is not maintained and it is changed into something else completely. It is no longer that specific tradition. But, does that make it any less of a Tradition?
What about family recipes passed down for generations only to be changed to meet modern needs or due to the lack of availability of a specific ingredient?
Many groups feel angry or betrayed by the idea that their own way of life is going to be lost forever with such blendings and changes to their Cultural Traditions. For the purpose of this article, I want to specifically address the concept of tradition when it comes to Witchcraft.
It is true that not everyone is a Witch. Not everyone is drawn to the true elements of Witchcraft, therefore not everyone is meant to be a Witch. I will not become a Doctor or a pilot or an astronaut. Not that I am forbidden to do so but because it is not in me to become those things.
To define witchcraft, we have to look at the ancient past of many peoples or cultures. The craft of a Witch is knowledge, skill, and talent that is rolled into an art or craft. Back in the past times, a craft was learned. metal smith, carpenter, healer, herbalist, hunter, warrior and so on. These were specialties that required years of apprenticeship and sometimes were passed down from generation to generation in a family. That is what made them “special”.
Apprentices were sometimes chosen by specific means and sometimes these apprentices happened to be born into a family that specialized in the trade. There were many secrets of these trades that was passed from teacher to apprentice and from generation to generation regardless of how the apprentice was chosen. It was taught that not everyone can do these trades. It was something that the apprentice was born to do. It was in their soul. An artist of any kind regardless of painter, sculptor, musician, healer, and so on is only as good as their love for their craft. A singer will tell you, that singing is in their soul even if they are not famous.
The same is with the Witch. There are some who are more skilled as energy healers, some who are more skilled in herbal healing, and some who work well with magick or divination of some kind. There are many different skills in the craft and doing these skills doesn’t necessarily make one a Witch.
So, what is a Witch? I am not a scholar of history but I can say from what I have learned about history and society in general, is that the word Witch was once a derogatory term used against anyone who did not accept the religion being forced on the people and these people used anything from herbs for healing or alchemy to any kind of natural science for anything. It was a derogatory term used for persecution of anyone who was perceived as different or even a competitor or adversary.
The next question is Why would anyone want to be called a Witch if it is a derogatory word? Today, there is some crazy need to label everything. People generally fall under many labels. We are often asked, “What are you?” instead of “who are you?”. Which leaves many of us searching for our label. Many have been called a Witch and other derogatory names and the majority of society have begun to wear those labels proudly. “Witch” is just one of those labels.
It is true that back in time there were no labels for Witchcraft as we know them today. Pagans didn’t have the label Pagan and from my understanding of the stories from the past generations, it was originally used as a derogatory term for the peasants or poor who lived in the country or not within the city walls just as the word Heathen was used as a derogatory word but is worn proudly today.
Once upon a time, People just lived their lives while all the stuff we call Witchcraft today are just some of the roots that were passed on from generation to generation through folklore, superstitions, stories and traditions. A normal way of life that was once lived by ordinary people was now passed down as Tradition and given labels such as Witchcraft. A craft that was once very mysterious within each culture. The mysticism that was passed down through Tradition and preserved in labels.
What about Wicca? Wicca is a Tradition that incorporates some compilations or adaptations including some elements of Witchcraft. It was no longer a Traditional Craft that was once known by specific practitioners who were passed down the knowledge of the craft through the ages. However, the derogatory term of Witch was incorporated into the description. Wicca is not an old religion and in fact has only been around since the mid 20th century. It is a relatively new religion and even so has been changed from its original development. An ever changing and evolving Religious Tradition that incorporates elements of both religion and witchcraft among other practices. It can be controversial where semantics are concerned.
When a specific group is claiming that you can’t be “A Witch” because you were not born in a specific place or to a specific family, or that one must have a family lineage of Witches, It’s not entirely true. You are not a Witch of that particular tradition would be a more accurate statement. It is not a true statement that not everyone can be a Witch. That implies that some people are not allowed to be a witch. Because technically, everyone is allowed to be a Witch.
It is more accurately stated that not everyone Will be a Witch. Being a Witch is NOT a birthright such as royalty or nobility in the terms of status. The art of the Craft is, however, found in your soul. It is something you are born to be. Being born with a talent doesn’t make you a Witch either. It offers you the potential to become a Witch. What you DO with that gift or talent determines what you become.
What is your label on the box you are in?
Think, Listen and Learn.
In Love and Peace,