There is always this talk about the witches who came before us. The ones who were killed and captured at various points in history during the “burning times” across Europe and the Americas. Hopefully most of us know that these people weren’t all witches per se. They were outcasts of society and seen as political targets. At the core of all this was merely a political move to clear away people and families from land so that the rich could seize it. Besides of course the obviously Christian movement to clear away the old belief systems. These acts were truly horrible and there is no denying that. Yet even through of all that, the witchcraft and old ways survived. It maintained in the shadows and the forests where it continued to work in silence until it was time to be brought back into the light. The one main point I want to bring into attention is that we are descended from the silent, not the ones who died in fire. Those weren’t the witches because a true witch would know how to hide and work within the system without being caught. We refer to them as cunning folk for a reason. Those who survived maintained the arte we today use openly and teach to others. To see a pathway that is lined with all the witches who came before us; they were the ancestors of us. It truly moved me and got me to thinking afterwards about those who laid down the work we have continued. I was moved to see all the witches standing and guiding our path to ourselves.
This leads me to the infamous broom closet; now there’s a hot subject to talk about. I think some of us take for granted the countless witches who came before us and made their voices and faces known so that we someday could do the same. I know that when I was first starting out I had a hard time finding a balance between the two. I luckily grew up in a home that while held a belief in God but wasn’t very religious and church going. This allowed me to find my path on my own. Early on I kept it quiet and didn’t tell anyone about what I was studying and practicing. For me, it was more about forging my path than having to explain myself to others. I feel spirituality is personal not public. After a few years I began to tell people like my sister and close friends about it all and they accepted it. I made sure not to constantly flash it around and shove it in their faces, if you make something a nonissue then that’s what it becomes.
Another big thing that definitely helped me early on was that I did a lot of reading and research. If someone asks you about what exactly you are doing or “getting into” it’s very important to have a solid answer. If it’s a lot of “umms” then no one will take you seriously and all it will do is perpetuate the idea that witchcraft is a fad and not a legitimate path and practice. The big four religions all have sacred texts that lay out their beliefs; we don’t have that so we have to be educated ourselves. We also don’t have clergy in the way of God to tell us what we should be hearing, I don’t know about you, but I’m no sheep. Also, be sure to keep your mind open to others, just as you want them to listen to you. Never go into a conversation with your boxing gloves on, go in with a true heart and an open mind. I have encountered many people along my journey who have been of other faiths and we have always had not only great conversations, but also mutual understanding of our similarities and differences.
Don’t feel pressured to leave the “broom closet”. Some of us stay in because of practical reasons. Witches are teachers, lawyers, bankers, and even your neighbors, and those sometimes need to be protected for security. Remember that religion is personal not public. I am lucky to be working and living in a place where my practice is open and supportive. Not everyone has this option and we can’t force things if someone simply is not in a position to do so. Also, if you are in the second group who has to keep quiet remember that there is nothing shameful about it. You aren’t any less of a witch because you can’t prance around with a giant pentacle necklace and a cauldron for a bag while your black cat follows you back to your parked broomstick.
*Please note each Blog is the unique expression of the Blogger and does not speak for The Green Man as an entity, but rather is one of the many diverse colours that make up our Green Man Tribe.