Sunday, November 25, 2007

what do i mean by "Witch?!"

i received this letter today from a new friend i've met online.

Hi Annie,

I just wanted to tell you that your blog is one of the best ones I visit. Your writing is beautiful, especially your descriptions of nature. I feel inspired every time I read a post. I am glad you post so regularly.

If you don't mind, I have a question. I have never before met anyone who called themself a witch. Of course, I am not so ignorant as to think that a witch is someone with a pointy, black hat and a broom, or even an evil, old woman who is in league with the devil and casts spells on those who cross her. But I don't know what being a witch really means. I have heard of paganism, but don't know much about it. Would you mind enlightening me?

this is what i wrote back:

hi stacie -

ty so much for all your kind words about my blog!! of course i don't mind explaining what i mean when i say i am a witch. the word witch itself comes from an old anglosaxon word -wicce - pronounced weecha - that means wise, or a wise feminine person. a wise masculine person was a wicca - weeka. witchcraft - or literally, the craft of the wise - means the practices of those who are wise.

so what does it mean to be wise? the first place the witch looks for lessons is in nature. the craft of the wise, therefore, is primarily a craft practiced with the goal of bringing oneself into alliance with the natural world. one of the tenets of modern witchcraft which you may hear is "as above, so below; as within, so without." in other words, one way to figure out how to live your life is to try to live as harmoniously within the natural world as possible. unlike monotheism, however, where the natural world is seen as something less than the supernatural, or divine world, the natural world is alive with the essence of the divine. i dont believe god created the world, i believe god IS the world and that the world is continuosly being created all around me. there is nothing that separates the creator from created, in the same way nothing in the natural world separates a mother from her child, except the child's own natural processes of growth.

i guess the reason my blog reflects so much of nature is because i believe that that is where the Divine lays out the Great Order and that's where we can find it. it's not up in some heaven, or in some place we can't see. the miracle is all around us, the answers are right there before us. it's really easy if you pay attention. it's paying attention that's hard. :)

i am not necessarily a typical witch. i didn't reject the teachings of monotheism, so much as i outgrew them. i was raised catholic, and belonged to the episcopal church for fifteen years. i have a very clear idea about the differences between what i know for certain jesus really preached, and what mostly men in the intervening centuries since he died, SAY he preached. in my own spiritual practice, i adhere very closely to what i believe to be true about his teachings, and i reject absolutely all those things that do not. for example, i am pretty sure jesus would be horrified to see that his so-called church is getting ready to canonize the pope who protected pedophiles. (if the god of abraham isaac and jacob doesn't see that as opportunity to unleash armageddon, he's a way more patient god than i've been giving him credit for.)

the way i look at organized religions, systems of spirituality, and the world's mythologies, is that they are like those boxes of crayola crayons, the ones with the 8 and 16 and 24 colors. every box has its shades of different colors, and each one is beautiful. but no one has THE red, THE green, THE blue, because there isn't one.

a single shade of every color isn't enough for me. i want to see them ALL.

i think you helped me write my blog today!! thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i hope this helps... please feel free to leave me questions on the blog.. if you like :)

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.


Stacie said...

Wow, what an amazing, clear answer! I agree with so much you said. There is so much wisdom to be gained from nature. I believe we should try to live in harmony with the natural world, and in doing so will figure out how to live our lives.

I am a monotheist, and do believe that God created the world - however, I also KNOW that "the natural world is alive with the essence of the divine." I can see it, I can feel it. When I am outside, I feel such a deep, spiritual connection to the trees, the grass, the dirt, the flowers, the leaves, the mountains, the creatures etc., that I'd be a fool to deny it.

I also believe that the Divine (God, in my case) "lays out the great order" in nature. It is not in a far off place no one has ever seen, it is "the miracle all around us, the answers right before us." And yes, paying attention IS the hard part!

As you probably know, I am a Christian, but if that doesn't bother you, I'd love to have many more conversations! I am open-minded and I love to listen and learn from others - especially those who feel a kinship to nature. If being a witch means being a wise, feminine person, than you are indeed a witch!

Thank you for your openness!

annie kelleher said...

i love to chew this sort of thing around, stacie... i think we ALL have a piece of the truth, and how else can we possibly learn what it is unless we listen to each other? and of course it doesnt bother me that you are christian - some of the nicest people i know are!!! ;)

IRShields said...

That was absolutely beautiful. I resonate with so much you said and it even got a nice lil talk/debate going between hubby and I. :) Thank You for sharing.

IRShields said...

I love this. It is absolutely beautiful. It resonates so well with me. It even got a nice lil talk/debate going between hubby and I. Thank YOU :)

Judy Vars said...

You say it so well.
Thank you