Witchcraft is Not a Religion

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram:  @thewandcarver

Here I go again.  I’m not best pleased with what I find in my news feed regarding witchcraft for at least a second time.  I really do wish people could leave well alone and not try to pick apart the psychology of the “witch” or try to psychoanalyse why people are turning to witchcraft…and do they really have the time to sit and notice all these things they say are happening?  When US president Donald Trump said “witch hunt” did the media misunderstand and believed it was upon them to go poke at cauldrons til they found witches? Then again, it has become a “thing”, I suppose, because the numbers are seeming to drop from organised religion – church goers to be exact – and it seems that it is so because they have all taken up witchcraft or so I keep reading.

witchcraft

Image Courtesy of Google Images

Why don’t I appreciate this sudden interest in the occult [particularly by  writers of magazines and other unknowledgeable media] and their assumptive reasoning as to why anybody does anything?  Well, that sentence holds your first clue.  Just why do they all assume everyone is jumping onto the witchcraft train simply because the churches do not have as many patrons these days?  Probably because they have done a little homework.  According to The Telegraph [yes, The Telegraph UK], “Witchcraft is thriving in the US with an estimated 1.5 million Americans identifying as witches – more than the total number of Presbyterians”.  I don’t imagine, however, that Presbyterians make up the largest sector of organised religions in the US.  I’m not going to get tied up in the numbers game but there are many other religions in the US – Catholicism, Baptist, Methodist, Muslim, Jewish, Quaker, and hosts of others so I would not go so far as to claim that witchcraft has taken over the Christian and non-Christian religions alike.  Still, it does make an interesting point about the world today…which is precisely why I feel compelled to read all the drivel and non-drivel about it sent my way by my Google News feed.  And, I’m still scratching my head in wonderment about why The Telegraph would be bothered about the upsurge in witchcraft in the US….

Just bear with this old curmudgeon crone, if you will.  Enter one self-proclaimed [well, we all do this] witch, Dakota Bracciale, co-owner of Catland Books in Brooklyn, NY, who told The Telegraph that “the rise in witchcraft among millennials speaks to their desire to find spirituality outside of traditional religion”.  Witchcraft is not a religion, however.  Does anyone else with a love for history, find in this a re-telling of an ages-old story? What happens when one finds oneself in a conundrum with the religion they have subscribed to for most of their lives? They move on to another.  If there is not another, as in the case of King Henry VIII, if you’re a King, you simply start a new religion – one that can give you what you want, like, say, a divorce.  And there have been many the new religion born from people feeling unsatisfied for numerous reasons with the old religions and from there came new religions such as Wesleyan, Lutheran, Quaker, and so on.  What seems to be happening is not exactly a new thing [like so many might have you think]. But when you think of new religions, witchcraft is not one of them.  Witchcraft is much more than I can spend time writing about, but in its very simplest terms, it comes from a desire to make changes, to conjure protections of all kinds for ones’ self and others – up and to creating hexes, if needs must, to heal, to learn, to bind power, to unbind power.  That description doesn’t half touch the sides nor does it scream religion of any kind to me, does it you?

Witchcraft does not need a “supreme being”.  It does not necessarily need any deity, unless the witch her or himself wants one…or two, or more.  Many witches believe in their own power alone.  Still, many a Wiccan witch will have two deities at the least, the God and the Goddess.  The old Pagans had multiple deities as was with the Northmen [Vikings] who honoured Odin, Frey, Freya, Loki, Thor, and many, many others.  Of course, Odin was/is the All-Father, so he is the one they wished to please most.  I’m not Wiccan, nor proclaim loads of knowledge, still, Wicca is a religion and is gaining respect and popularity as such. From dissatisfaction with religions offered us by our parents and communities as we grew and not finding answers that we needed has helped to give a huge rise to Wicca.  And, because it is so diverse, you do not need to believe in only a monotheistic God.  This religion has the added flexibility of worshipping / honouring however many deities you like – or none at all.

My point being is, you can be a Wiccan witch but you can’t call witchcraft a religion nor call it Wicca [definition: a form of modern paganism, especially a tradition founded in England in the mid 20th century and claiming its origins in pre-Christian religions.], nor treat it as such.  I wish these journalists who probably get all giddy about flying so close to the occult would calm down and learn a few things first.  The most recent article that has flown up my nose is one written by Paul Bois for Daily Wire titled “American Witchcraft Rises as Christianity Declines”.  If you’ve read my previous blog, you can laugh along with me for we know witches can be Christian as well as Pagan / Wiccan. The first thing that annoyed me is the picture he uses for the article. To me it says Mr Bois has no real respect for witches if he still thinks they all look like the “hags” in the picture.  Mind, I realise it is makeup and likely someone’s Halloween selfies, still, I’m feeling contemptuous all the same. The article seems to be primarily hinged upon observations by Mr Bracciale and a co-worker [owner?] of Catland, Melissa Jayne.  The one thing to take away here is that between the pair, they have seen an upsurge in sales for everything from books to tarot cards.  I have no doubt that people wanting to take control of their lives is on the upsurge. Still, let’s call it what it is – it is witchcraft and not religion.

Here is the final thing that worries me.  Every single week, nearly every day, I find new articles concerning witchcraft and its growing popularity. I will be the last to stand in the way of the person whom has searched his or her soul for answers and after they have done, came up with witchcraft as the answer.  As mentioned, however, there are some people whom do grab the end of the broom on a whim…or because “everybody else is doing it”.  I have already ruminated over why people may be feeling the call to witchcraft, Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Witch – What Kind of Witch are You and Does it Matter?  and if you’ve read it, you may remember that I’m very wary of anyone coming into witchcraft on a whim.  And, people do come to witchcraft on whims quite often.  And as I pore over social medias, I find at times there are a few [alright, about every other one] witches who post continuously confrontational subject matters decrying other religions and memes about what witches can do, how powerful they are, and many are just downright rude. I think to myself that it would seem they need to constantly “prove” they are a witch – or at least make certain their followers don’t forget.

What happened to keeping to ourselves?

Yes, I know….this is the 21st century! We can be free in the light of day and we can say, yes, we are witches and not worry about Matthew Hopkins rising from his grave to come looking for us.  Still, have you kept up with the kinds of leaders some countries have elected in the last two years?  And this past week, Brazil just got their own answer to the US’s Trump.  And there are countries we need not speak of whom have already been saddled for years with unsavoury leadership.  If these and others like them got their way, have no doubt we could become the hunted once again.  Yes, I absolutely do fear this.  And, I am sure that many of you scoff and say – oh, we have come too far for that to ever happen again.  Still, I say to you, my honourable friends, Trump has overturned the ability for transgender people to serve in the military so what makes you think he could not start a very real witch hunt? To us it looks like he is systematically pulling rugs out from every forward gain, from climate control to LGBT rights. I hope I am wrong.

[Report by Daily Mail from New Guinea, 4 January 2019, Brutal witch hunts bring terror to Papua, New Guinea]

I apologise for my political tirade.  I’m sure that doesn’t win many points with those of you whom are like me in thinking that politics should not enter into a business woman’s or man’s public speaking.  Still, at the moment, the thought of a witch hunt is a very real worry for me and may also be for others.  I won’t apologise for my concern. Especially when witchcraft and witches are being written about every week by writers whom are not in the least familiar with witchcraft or Paganism. We certainly can’t return to the shadows again.

And, unless another article affects me to the point where I feel another rant coming on, I shall endeavour to keep my opinions to myself on political matters as I have always striven to do.  No one likes seeing a poor dead horse being beaten, do they?

Many thanks for reading and if you enjoyed this blog, please give us a like and share via social media buttons below. Questions and comments are always welcome. Warmest blessings to all who wander this way x

 

 

About Isabella

Everything worth knowing, I learned from my Nana. I'm a sixty-four year old cunning woman who practises a solitary English hedgewitch life in as near the old ways as I can. I do not sacrifice small animals, neighbours, nor eat children. I'm more interested in visiting my ancestors on hedgewalks. And, I am owned entirely by my lovely feline companion, Pippa [Lady Philipa Cattington].
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2 Responses to Witchcraft is Not a Religion

  1. Tyler Brown says:

    Thanks for writing this I quite enjoyed your lucid approach, this post resonates with me 100%.

    Liked by 1 person

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