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The Other Side Of The Looking Glass, Or What Next ...

The Other Side Of The Looking Glass, Or What Next After Wicca

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Unless you are lucky enough to have Pagan or witchy parents or family members, chances are that you never really knew that what you felt, what you believed, what you knew, had a name. I know I didn’t. So when I stumbled across Paganism and witchcraft as a teenager/ young twenty something, it was just so fucking great!

You dive in, with google searches and Pinterest, and before you know it, there are thousands of hits. Yes! Fuck yes!

But you soon realise that, having sifted through the rubbish and the scammers, that all of the information is the same, nearly all of it Wiccan, and so you fall into the trap of thinking that Wicca is the be all and end all of witchcraft; that the many traditions are just differing forms of Wicca.

Now let me just say that there is nothing wrong with following a Wiccan path if it calls to something inside of yourself. Great! You will find no pulling down of witches here; a witch is a witch is a witch in my opinion. But with that said, for many of us, when we are new, we try and make Wicca work for us. We try and find room for the Wiccan Rede within our own moral and behavioural framework.

We try.

We try and believe in ‘an it harm none’. We try with the lovely imagery of the Goddess and her consort, the fight between the Oak King and the Holly King, of light and dark. We think that if we just choose a God or Goddess and pray to them, worship them, then they will bestow upon us all that we ask of them.

Sometimes trying isn’t enough.

So if not Wicca, what then?

The answer is anything you want.

Take your time to discover yourself. Examine your motivations, your thoughts, what you want to achieve. Be brutally honest with yourself. Forget about the expectations other people have of you, their norms and beliefs. This is your witchcraft, and you don’t have to let the restrictions of others hamper it.

You don’t have to believe in the actual, literal presence of Gods and Goddesses. Don’t force it because you read somewhere about choosing a pantheon and patron God. Perhaps you do, and that’s okay too. Some take the view that they are archetypes, their stories representing various universal human dilemmas. Or perhaps you are agnostic, in that you’re not really sure what you believe; you neither believe nor disbelieve in the Gods. It’s all good, and don’t let anybody try and tell you otherwise!

The truth is witchcraft is unique to the witch. There’ll be things you do that are similar to the way others practise, and there will be others that are totally your own.

We seekers must forge our own paths, our own witchcraft.

When I think back to my own first serious foray into non-Wiccan witchcraft, I remember feeling lost. Where to start? The internet is full of conflicting information and advice, and so it can be difficult to know what to believe. A good start is for the seeker to discern what is fact and what is opinion.There are so many big name Pagans, celebrity witches who have made a name for themselves (there’s nothing wrong with that, for the record!), and sometimes, often through no fault of their own, their opinions are sometimes taken as fact.

Learn to trust your instincts. If something sounds like a crock of shit then it probably is. Do not be afraid to question everyone and everything. The more you do this, the keener your instincts will become. Your gut feeling is often never wrong, something I think everyone has learnt through experience at one time or another. How many times I’ve done something even though it just felt wrong, but went ahead anyway? Countless!

Learning to trust it is hard, we have been conditioned our whole lives to rely on logic and reason alone, and so give yourself time and learn from your mistakes. As my boxing coach often says, a loss isn’t really a loss if you learn from it and come back better and stronger. He also says there’s no such thing as a champion who’s never lost, and these both apply to witchcraft too! There’s no such thing as a witch who’s never had a working or ritual go wrong or not work, for whatever reason, or had a bout of lack of self belief, but it’s all a learning curve!

Witchcraft is a lifelong path, and I truly believe that we never stop learning, that we never stop seeking. It is easy to feel lost, to find the way covered in the detritus of those who came before, but we are witches. We have the power to forge our own path, our own traditions.

If in doubt though, there are some pointers you can use to help determine where to start.

My heritage is an important aspect in my own path. I’m mixed race (my mum is English, my dad Jamaican), and for a while I always had a nagging feeling that, whatever path I was interested in, one or other aspect of my heritage was being ignored. Since incorporating all aspects of my heritage into a unique blend of traditional European witchcraft and Obeah, those nagging doubts have disappeared and I’ve felt more confident in myself and my witchcraft. It has also focused my craft, and acted as a springboard into other areas of the occult.

Do not be afraid to embrace all that you are. Get to know yourself, the part that is usually hidden by the masks we must wear; parent, spouse, worker, friend. Yes, we are all of those things, but the essence of you, get to know that and your path will become clearer.

Wicca is not for everyone, and it is not all that witchcraft is. The path of the witch is unique to the witch and there is room enough for us all.

 

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My name is Emma Kathryn, my path a mixture of non-Wiccan Traditional British Witchcraft and Obeah, a blend that represents my heritage. A Devotee of Hekate, my witchcraft is what is needed when needed. I live in the middle of England with my partner, two teenage sons and two crazy dogs.
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My name is Emma Kathryn, my path a mixture of non-Wiccan Traditional British Witchcraft and Obeah, a blend that represents my heritage. A Devotee of Hekate, my witchcraft is what is needed when needed. I live in the middle of England with my partner, two teenage sons and two crazy dogs.
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