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Author Topic: The Main Witchcraft F.A.Q. (WitchUniversity.com Version)  (Read 1640 times)
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« on: August 13, 2017, 12:41:55 PM »

These are frequently asked questions about witchcraft.  It might read a little different than what you're used to because we are neither "new age" nor Wiccan.  We are technically neopagan and postmodernist in the truest senses of the word, just not insanely either.  We don't fear academia.  We recognize its limitations, but also its benefits.

Hipster Warning!!!

You will be offended by this F.A.Q.  It contains a lot of truth about the craft and Paganism (not the same thing) that you may not want to deal with if you're all about "love and light".  The reason I am so blunt about witchcraft is that I feel it has been hijacked by insane sheltered people who see this in terms of a fun pastime and not survival.  For most of us actual practicing witches out here, it is a matter of survival.  So, as y'all are so fond of saying, check your privilege.

Also, I'm aware that there are crazy religious parents out there.  I had that kind.  I am also aware that most parents are not crazy, and there are or should be legitimate, real concerns if their child or hey, their coworker, friend, or neighbor decides to pursue witchcraft.  They can prevent a lot of drama by knowing the difference between spiritual development and recruitment into a dangerous cult or a fixation that could lead to self destruction.  There are groups who are not about empowering anyone, just exploiting people for money, sex, or energy.  There are also streams of witchcraft promoted by people who just wanted to sell books, and didn't care where the path they sold would lead.

As the Congo saying goes, "None of us birthed ourselves, and none of us will bury ourselves."  We are accountable for what we do and what we unleash on the world.  Someone has to present a balanced view of this issue.  I am a witch, but I am not interested in recruiting.  I don't need to.  Nature takes care of that by Herself.  I want people who are considering walking this path and their friends and family to know what it entails, and definitely what dangers may lie ahead.

So here we go...

What is witchcraft?

It depends on the context.  From the religious perspective, it is any unsanctioned or unofficial expression of spirituality, esp. prayer or attempted or successful projection of one's will.  It is most often used to describe a prayer or thought-originated will projection that causes harm or just makes the authorities uncomfortable.

From a non authoritarian perspective, it is the utilization of natural and spiritual energy to change things.

This of course begs the question; what is a witch?

Others may agree or disagree, but mine is someone who consciously uses their knowledge of both the seen and unseen/spiritual forces and aspects of Nature to solve problems, change situations, thrive, and help others to thrive.

How does one become a witch?

Some people are born with the talent and personality of witches, and have the good fortune to be born into a family or environment wherein other witches will take them under their wing and train them.  Most people don't have such luck.  They may be born with the traits, but gain the knowledge later in life.  For some, even the talent or potential isn't sparked until later.  Someone may be satisfied on another path all their lives, and then it hits them in the 40's or even later.  This is partly where the stereotype of the old witch came from.  Many people are so busy with other priorities that they just don't have the mental space or time for it until at least their 40's.

Many people, especially in the west, come to at least dabble in witchcraft in their teens.  There are many reasons for this, but one of the main ones is that this is a time in people's lives when they tend to question authority and established cultural norms.

If you are considering consciously embracing witchcraft, read our Witchcraft 101 series to help sort things out and understand what you're getting into.

My parents kicked me out because I'm a witch.  What do I do?

If you don't have a friend or family that you can safely stay with, most governments have a safe-line, safe houses, and youth shelters.  Do not just stay out on the street.  It may be uncomfortable since those are probably not going to be very witch friendly either, but this will at least get you through the emergency.

If you don't trust the local authorities or charities, you still have other options.  You just have to be careful.  Many of us grew up in unstable or unsafe households where our parents would literally kill us if they found out we were doing witchcraft.  So there are many of us who are willing to help.  On the flipside of that, there is the problem that since so many had violence in their home, there are also many who became like the monsters who made them.  So the question is who to trust.

Do not trust someone just because they wrote books or are popular.  Look for signs of actual healthy mindedness like their having healthy minded kids and speaking out on issues and walking the walk.  If you are pretty sure you can trust someone because they look legit, check with your guardians anyway.  Just because people may be good doesn't mean things will go well, especially if a couple of days turns into years.  Some parents, once they get rid of their problem child, refuse to take them back.  So if you know how to use any divination tools, use them to find out whether or not you should stay with someone or what possible problems may arise.

If you are in the U.S. and you find yourself kicked out, call the National Runaway Safe-line (It's not just for runaways.)  Dial 1-888-290-7233, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929), or text the word SAFE and your current location (address, city, state) to 69866 to locate the nearest Safe Place.  Make sure to tell them if you fear for your physical safety.  You don't want a situation of your parents showing up at the safe-house to shoot you and your hosts.  It has happened.

How do I keep my parents from finding out that I am a witch (and kicking me out)?

If you have crazy-religious parents, they usually come in two flavors: denial and paranoid.  If yours are in denial, you can just keep things out of their line of sight and probably be okay.  You should still be careful though, because when their illusion is broken, they may flip into cognitive dissonance and freak out.

If your parents are paranoid and go through your things, then you need to find safe places that are not in your home.  Try not to take chances with your life regardless of the situation though.  You have your whole life to be a witch, and when you are vulnerable is not the time for starting wars.  I understand that for reasons, probably other than religious differences, your struggle for survival against the people who are supposed to be caring for you takes up a lot of psychological space.  It is difficult to function, but you must fight for your freedom intelligently.

What will be most important for you is maintaining your mental health and gaining financial independence.  Find someone to talk to.  Your school counselor is a obvious choice, but as a young witch, you may gain some comfort talking to the librarian or a teacher who is especially intellectual and perhaps a practitioner of an ATR, NATR, Pagan, Hindu, or Buddhist.  If you can stand a little order but without any pressure to choose any specific pantheon or path, go to a Unity, Universalist, or Unitarian church.  It is good to have some sort of community, especially if things may go sideways at home.

Get a job as soon as you can, even if it's just doing odd jobs.  Do not trust the bank to protect your earnings though.  Until you are of the legal age of majority, your parents can legally steal your money.  One way to protect it is to not tell them that you have it, and make sure the financial institution does not send any documentation to your home.  Do everything online and make sure to clean up all your activity.  The best way, in my opinion, to protect your assets is a trust fund.

Be aware, especially if you are living with your parents above the age of majority, that some parents will justify themselves doing some really shady things in the name of "God" (actually Beelzebub if they're abrahamic but doing harm for fake "godly" reasons).  I have witnessed multiple cases of parents declaring the children mentally incompetent and having them committed using the fact that they have different spiritual beliefs as "proof".  One dear friend of mine committed suicide at some point because her father had psychologically gutted her over the years.

By whatever means necessary, if your parents are screwed up like that, stop forgiving them and stop coddling them.  Get as far away from them as you can.  If you have no other options, or you have siblings vulnerable to them, and your escape wouldn't help, then well...you are a witch.  Do what we do.

If you are the crazy parent reading this to figure out whether or not your child is a witch, then read this carefully:  CHOSINDOBEIPLSIFNJDPLEBI.  If you ever do any violence or have any violence done to your children again, you will die within three days.  Ase!

I practice _____ religion, and we do laying on of hands, group prayer for specific goals, binding and casting out demons, and loosing angels or good energy.  Are we doing witchcraft?

Yes.  Maybe not in the most effective way, but yes.

The real question is whether you are good witches or bad witches in terms of ethics.  After that you can deal with the question of whether you are good or bad in terms of effectiveness.

Most spiritual practices are not new, and this includes directed practical application of spirituality.  What most of abrahamic religion has to offer in this regard are time honored traditions with their roots in polytheistic religions.  If what you are doing is in line with sustaining life reasonably, then you are doing ethically good witchcraft.  If the goals revolve around the pursuit of the power to harm and kill everyone who disagrees with you and create a zombie world where everyone all believes the same thing, then that is ethically bad witchcraft...and you should consult a good witch in both ethics and effectiveness about doing a demon or malevolent spirit or mischievous trickster letting you play yourself check.

Is it possible to be religious/spiritual and not do witchcraft?

Certainly.  Do not pray for anything you do not have, rather pray for the traits to achieve what you want to achieve.  Eschew all individual wealth and possessions, and take only what you need from the world.  Give the rest to others who need it.  This is not to say that you should be a passive noodle.  Simply go with the flow and pray for the ability to endure, and nothing more.  If you are harmed or die from it then so be it.

There is a lot of room in there.  You can use your physical strength to defend yourself.  You can gain wealth for the purpose of helping others.  There is plenty you can do.  Just don't call on the spirits or your deity or deities to control anything but yourself.

What is Wicca?

Wicca is a religious/spiritual movement that has become a religion, started by Gerald Gardner in the 1950s.  Its exact history and origins are disputed, but it is at least heavily based on some well documented old European practices.  So there's a bit of the old and a bit of the new in it.

Are all witches Wiccan?

No.  Witches may adhere to any belief system.  One should not even assume that a witch is what the west defines as Pagan.

Are all Wiccans witches?

Practitioners of Wicca generally call themselves witches.

What do Wiccans believe?

Wiccans may hold a variety of beliefs and worship a variety of deities.  There are many branches of Wicca today, and some are even solitary.  Generally though, most adhere to some interpretation of the Wiccan Rede: an' it harm none, do as thou wilt.

Do witches worship Satan?

Generally no, but some do.  Most witches are in polytheistic or polyentheistic belief systems in which there is no Satan.  Satan is a fallen angel from the abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Even in those, Satan is viewed differently by different sects within each.  Still, in order to worship Satan, one would have to believe in him as a being.

That said, there are those who feel that the commonly distributed mythology around Satan is bogus.  They view Satan as not so much a fallen angel as a force of Nature, i.e. resistance.  Since this is necessary for survival, Satan is integrated into their spirituality rather than viewed as a default adversary who is always destructive or harmful.

Some, who even the afore mentioned folk with "sympathy for the devil" consider nutbars are those who revel in the adversarial and destructive myths of the classic biblical Satan.  A few serial killers and other career violent criminals are inspired by this idea.

Most of the time though, when you hear of a Satanist, they are none of the above.  They are usually adherents of an atheistic belief system promoted by Anton Szandor LaVey wherein they simply take the unseen mysteries into account like a normal aspect of Nature.  For them, Satan is a symbol of free thinking.

So, just as a witch can be any other religion, they can also be a Satan worshiper too, but only if they are also in an abrahamic belief system.  Most classic Satan worshipers are basically Christians who are mad at "God" for not being the Sky Santa they insist he must be in order to be legitimate.  So they've imploded.  Or they are teenagers looking for attention or psychopaths trying to make an insanity plea.

Do witches worship demons?

Again, here is the issue of whether or not someone is an adherent of an abrahamic belief system.  If one is not, then there are no demons as the Bible describes them.  In the original Canaanite lore though (at least as I was taught), demons were mostly the same as they are in biblical terms.  Angels were either messengers/servants of the benevolent and life/living deities, where demons were messengers/servants of the underworld and death related deities.  They were not necessarily good or evil or benevolent or malevolent simply because of which set of deities they served though.  So by the time the original Tanach was compiled, there was some overlapping.

More to the point, some people worship demons, and some simply work with them but do not consider them deities per se.  Some are on a path that as particular temptations arise that threaten their spiritual fitness, they face demons one by one, in order to deal with and master them.  So a lot within abrahamic witchcraft may look like demon worship but is not.

What is Goetia?

In the common language of today, Goetia is an umbrella term for various styles of abrahamic sorcery that involves the conjuration of demons.  However, it was originally a Greek term for necromancy or sorcery having to do with the underworld, the dead, or underworld deities.

Though most witches are accepting of death and unpleasant aspects of life, the vast majority of witches are about sustaining life, happiness, pleasure, creativity and productivity, and not obsessed with the end of life.  If you find one who is, they are likely more into the cycle, reincarnation, rebirth, the Ancestors, or the sort of death that leads to life.  They're into the destroying in order to build, like when the bad bacteria in cheesemaking or winemaking are killed by the good bacteria that bring us these wonderful, healthy things...or the fight that needs to be in a revolutionary who is dealing with oppression.

Just as there are witches in African and Asian and definitely Native American belief systems who specialize in tactical witchcraft, there are those of abrahamic belief systems who are spiritually strapped as well.

There is a very good article by Jake Stratton-Kent on what goetia is and isn't.  It is one of the few I've seen that addresses the issue from a full historical perspective.

Do witches cast spells and curses?

Many do, and many do not.  Under the umbrella of witchcraft, there are many ways to use the seen and unseen to bring changes and improvements or to destroy when needed (such as when fighting cancer or oppression).  One may simply use their knowledge of biology, chemistry, and spirituality to make a potion.  One may create a talisman by anchoring or tying energies to compatible objects and ingredients.  There are many ways to get things done aside of spells.

This is why I prefer to use the word "working" most of the time.  "Spell" implies that it's mostly about one incident and an incantation or momentary projection of will.  To get some things done requires a multifaceted approach.

Different witches have different talents.  Casting spells isn't for everyone.  Some are more into healing, and some into counseling.  Many spend most or all of their careers doing cleansing and protection or house blessings.

As to curses specifically, again some do and some don't.  One should bear in mind that witches also break curses quite often.  If you have been cursed, and it took whether spiritually or psychologically, a witch may be your only hope of shaking it off.

Do witches perform human sacrifice?

Speaking globally, some do and some don't.  The decent ones don't unless it's war, and they are offering up their oppressors.  If it's self defense then all bets are off.

I understand this is not the answer that most people are used to seeing, or that most people are comfortable with, but it's the truth.  Not everyone had the luck to be born into money or peace.  Despite how it seems in the west, for the rest of the world (or even for people of color in the west), witchcraft is most definitely not the mental masturbations of middle class and wealthy kids rebelling against their parents or the patriarchy.  It is born out of fighting injustice, surviving disasters and dictators, and having to heal one's self and one's people with what Nature provides.

Dark, terrible things happen in this world, and if you had a dude like Gen. Butt-naked gunning for you and your loved ones, and you could end his killing...In fact, some Christians did, just since they did it the peaceful way, it wasn't before he permanently crippled one of his own child soldiers on the way out.  So even though it's considered a victory for them, there's a hard lesson in there that they miss but witches get.  They bought their victory with rest-his-soul Somalian's legs.

Where it is problematic is when it's not self defense.  There have been incidents of very malevolent, very stupid people forgetting the principle of balance, who promote the idea that body parts of albinos or others will make them rich or give them supernatural powers.  This is wrong, and exclusively the domain of psychopaths.  It also takes more than it gives because once you kill someone, you are accountable to their Ancestors.  Murder for spiritual power?  Really???  Stupid.

Do witches perform non human animal sacrifice?

Some do and some don't.  Those who do it don't do it mindlessly though.  For those coming from belief systems in which deities take offerings of meat, or a soul who has passed needs to guard a place, there is a high awareness that lives have been lost.  We understand very well that we are being very arbitrary in offering a being of another species.

We also understand that non human animals get their due by killing and injuring us with infectious and parasitic diseases, predator attacks, and consuming our flesh when we die.  So there is no illusion there of greater priority than other animals.  We are just being selfish and arbitrary, and this may not be what others in other systems deem ideal...but then we wonder on what planet they were born that something can be ideal and yet unrealistic and anti nature at the same time :: shrug ::  Our idea of what is ideal is different.

Is it okay for a person who is not of __insert culture/ethnicity__ to do or teach witchcraft or religious/spiritual practices from that culture or ethnicity?

It depends on the culture/ethnicity and what practices you are referring to.  Generally, if there is a religion specifically associated with a culture or ethnicity, someone needs to be a member of that culture or ethnicity even to be initiated into that tradition.  Some, such as the Yoruba, have initiates from many different ethnicities because they are a large kingdom encompassing many ethnicities already.  However, some sects even in that do not initiate members who are not at least phenotypically subsaharan African.  Different groups have different reasons, but usually it is because their line of priesthood is ancestral or a combination of ancestral and chosen through divination and/or revelation from within that ancestry.

Even with those groups who do initiate outsiders by birth, it is not a free-for-all.  One must undergo a vetting process that includes divination, loyalty pledges, and initiation.  Many have been initiated and thought that this made them priests, but it did not.  Many have been initiated and taught things and taught that this entitled them to claim a title, but it did not.  So be very wary of anyone who wasn't born and raised in west Africa or by west Africans who were in the priesthood, claiming priestly or expert level titles.

In the diaspora, there has been a lot of making due though, so people may have a title in relation to their diaspora sect.  These should not be confused with titles earned through the original Orisa and Ifa traditions in Yorubaland.  If someone is claiming to be a babalawo or iyanifa who did not earn this title in a temple in Yorubaland, which takes years, not weeks or months, then they should qualify that with their diaspora temple affiliation.  There is no shame in this.  In fact, many diaspora temples and practitioners who are honest and sincere, are very much respected in west Africa, and invited to visit often.

There is also the problem of people claiming to practice Native American "shamanism".  The term "shamanism" is one applied to Native American spiritualities and religions as a label by Europeans who did not understand them.

There is no Native American spirituality or religion without tribal affiliation and service (by affiliation I do not mean federal recognition, as some tribes are not federally recognized, though there is usually some record of their existence and descendants)...and we don't call it "shamanism".  When we're speaking English, we call it medicine, ceremony, ritual...you know, words that would normally apply to a belief system and its practices.  Also, there is no one uniform Native American general belief system.  Belief systems vary from tribe to tribe.  Also, and pay close attention to this, someone being Native American or partly so, does not by default give them the ability nor the right to do a ritual or ceremony.  For most things, a person earns the right to perform, much less assist in or lead a ceremony.  Read Chief Arvol Looking Horse's words on deaths that resulted from fake "sweatlodge" ceremonies.

...and it doesn't stop there.  Many times, western traditions are viewed as a free-for-all, but if you read the Norse tales carefully, you understand that even northern European spirituality had some passages that required someone have the stuff if not the genes.  This is why I counsel my students to explore their own Ancestors before attempting to borrow someone else's.  Respect and reverence of your own will teach you respect and reverence for others'.

For the things that are freely shared, here is a word of advice: if you don't love the people, then you have no business doing their magic or spirituality.  You will do it wrong, and you will damage yourself.  Think of it in terms of immigration.  Why would you go to visit another country or village?  Are you there to exploit the people or are you there to have fun or are you there to learn, or are you there to become allies or to become one of them?  With magic, it should be at least to become an ally.  Before you call Eshu, get to know some African people.  Otherwise, Eshu is going to make you very uncomfortable.  If you do anything against African people with Eshu in your mouth, on your altar, or in a corner or doorway of your home, he will make you more than uncomfortable.

It would be like someone worshiping Jesus or being of any abrahamic belief system, but hating Jews.  That never goes well for the haters.  They are in a self destructive mindset, like a form of spiritual matricide.  So you'd think the solution for such people would be to stick to their own ancestral traditions...and this might be okay on paper, but then there's the hating an entire people who did nothing wrong to them or at least nothing above sound self preservation.  The spirits are not going to hold their hand and lead them to prosperity or productiveness like babies on the teat.  Hating people isn't going to better their situation.  So they might not implode as quickly as the antisemitic abrahamic people, but they will eventually self cannibalize due to laziness and self pity.

So basically, don't sell other people's spirits or spirituality.  It is the equivalent of, as a Jewish friend of mine imagined, selling a Shabbat experience...a non Jew or nonreligious Jew charging money to include people in an orthodox style Saturday dinner...complete with "Shabbes goyim" to drive you there and turn lights on and off for you.

It's okay to be a renegade and not connected to any organized system.  It's okay to be mildly connected, but keep a respectful distance for your own reasons.  Many witches do because no matter how great a system is, it is too limiting.  You don't need to claim that your tradition is ancient or part of an older religion.  You have your Ancestors and your spirit allies, and that is quite enough.  If you need a little structure, there are many modern styles to choose from.  It is okay to innovate.

If you have a question, feel free to post it as a new topic so that others can weigh in with their answers if they like.  It may be added to the main list.

« Last Edit: August 19, 2017, 04:24:23 PM by Sheloya » Logged
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