Diagnosis for mental illness is on the rise. More disorders and mental illnesses are being discovered and labeled these days. More knowledge about mental illness is being discovered and more ways of treating people with mental illness has changed. There are more people with undiagnosed or at best untreated mental illness than there are those who are receiving treatment. There is still a huge stigma about mental illness which means there are many who do not want or accept anyone with mental illness into their groups. There are many mixed feelings and beliefs about mental illness in the world which means for witchcraft there is controversy. Can a person with a mental illness or disorder be a productive and active participant in witchcraft as a solitary witch or with a group?
I am going to express my opinion on the subject or mental illness and witchcraft, in this post.
To me, all religions and beliefs, including some opinions and practices among mental health professionals sound or seem a bit crazy or weird to me, at least in some part. Just because it is a common belief shared by many does not make it true. New facts and ideas are being discovered every day that change these beliefs and practices. Not all parts of religion are rational, logical or true. Once upon a time everyone believed the world was flat, today some still do. Science has shown that the earth is round which changed the belief of the masses.
Does witchcraft attract a lot of seriously mentally ill people? No more than the average belief system. Did you know there are seriously mentally ill people who are Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Mormon, even Atheist and any other belief or practice. Did you know that there are people with master degrees or a PhD in Psychology who actually practice mental health and have a diagnosed mental illness? Not all mental illnesses are so severe that they live a life without lucidity. Or live in a life of only delusions and hallucinations. Some are very productive people in society and some can’t hold a job due to depression or some other disability but they are completely lucid and are capable of being a productive witch.
Does mental illness degrade Witchcraft? Why would it? It is all based on beliefs and practices. Some parts of witchcraft in its own right does seem like craziness, but perfectly sane people believe in it and practice it. I believe that some mental illnesses make it easier to believe in the strangeness of the philosophies, traditions, folklore and magick itself, which to me, seems to make them better at witchcraft. After all, the power is in the belief, isn’t it?
Can a person with a mental illness work magick? I believe they can. I believe as long as a person is lucid and functional they are capable of focus and can be completely capable of magick. Can a person with a mental illness function in a group? Depends on the mental illness and its severity. Some disabilities can be accommodated and it is proven that mental illness with a strong positive support system in place can be helpful to these good people and they function fairly well in society and social settings.
Depression, Attention Deficit disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, are all mental illnesses and these people, depending on the severity can be completely functional in social settings on a regular basis. Even those with Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder are capable of being a positive and functional part of a group.
What about drugs or medications? Do they prevent or interfere with energy or magick? I believe that medicine can help a person with mental illness maintain more functionality and lucidity therefore making them more capable of focused energy. Medication doesn’t necessarily interfere with intuition but improves rationale and logic and even decision-making skills. A person with a mental illness is more powerful with their medication than without. They are more functional with treatment than they are without. That includes Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Witchcraft isn’t for everyone and just because someone has a mental illness doesn’t mean they will want to be a witch. Just because someone practices witchcraft doesn’t mean they have a mental illness. Someone told me recently they believed all Wiccans are sexually abused and all pagans are drug addicts. That is an untrue statement. This person has a PhD in Psychology. How narrow minded and prejudice a statement. It is true that some are, but not all, I find this statement to be prejudiced and unrealistic. Some who fall under these issues are untreated and some are treated. Let’s face it, we all go through our crap.
I have two examples to share of people with mental illness who practiced witchcraft. I knew a man, about 30 years old. He was a good person, had strong ethics in magick and his personal relationships. If he said he would do something or be somewhere, he followed through. He had a mental illness. He had schizophrenia. He was receiving treatment and also was on social security so it was also a disability. He couldn’t work. He was a little different. Most people thought he was weird. They wouldn’t even take the time to get to know him. Not even a little. Witches, You know, the ones who scream for tolerance and an open mind, rejected him. Wouldn’t allow him in their covens or groups. I knew him well enough to know he possessed strong personal power. In my group he contributed positive energy in ritual and with a little understanding and tolerance, he managed to participate effectively. He was a good witch up to the day he was brutally murdered.
I knew another man, a little older, close to his 40s. He was a very kind person. Had strong ethics. Always did the right thing. Was very shy and suffered from depression and other issues. was also on social security and could not work. Yes, he had a mental illness. He belonged to a coven I had met. They were open minded and accepting of him. Were very healing in their support and he improved. His well-being was their concern. They helped him and he was an active, productive part of their group.
For some with a mental illness, a little accommodation may be necessary. It isn’t much of hindrance if the group maintains some flexibility. I believe there is not enough awareness about mental illness and the stigma needs to be diminished with education. We are all messed up in our own way and we are all capable of overcoming our personal challenges. With support from friends, family, and yes, a group or coven, it is possible to manage mental illness. Keep in mind, most people with mental illness are highly intelligent and lucid. I believe that we should all educate ourselves and use educated personal judgement, but do it logically and without prejudice.