Stigma of Being A Witch
Malleus Maleficarum translated, the title reads: The Hammer of Witches. This lovely little book written by two illustrious German Dominicans in 1486 had become the foundation of identifying, hunting, and interrogating witches. By today’s standards, the popularity of their book went completely viral, and the “go-to” authority for a vast majority of religious zealots – first in Europe and then as the witch hysteria was decreasing, it raised its ugly head in the New World. By the end of the mania, over 85,000 people were murdered – 80 percent of them women. Obviously, there were thousands more imprisoned. Some were lucky (allow me to use this word loosely) enough to be released after years of torture, but for the other unfortunate souls, they remained imprisoned until they died forgotten and alone.
Thankfully, none of that exists today, but the stigma attached to being a witch is still very much alive. Sadly, there are hundreds if not thousands of witches around the world practicing their craft “in the closet” because of the fear of being persecuted by family and friends. Others would love to learn the craft but don’t dare to for the very same reasons. I can’t even begin to tell you how many emails I receive from women and men asking me to teach them as long as it’s kept confidential between us. In which case, I do my best to assure them that whatever transpires between us will always be kept to the highest degree of confidentiality.
As for me, well, I couldn’t give a damn about what people say any more since, at this point in my life, I’ve heard all the typical rhetoric anyway. I mean, there are only so many times that one can contemplate going to Hell or being either a worshipper or servant of Satan – both concepts, by the way, that many witches like myself don’t subscribe to since these are Christian concepts and well…we’re not Christians. So, after a few decades of hearing this rhetoric, it just becomes boring.
Actually, there was a time that I cared – deeply cared – about what family and friends thought. But, unfortunately, that’s when I stopped being me and instead became the person they – including my ex-husband – wanted me to be. I left my craft and my true self behind and became a “normal” person. I turned down the voices, the sight, the dreams, and even the callings of the elements, animals, and magickal beings that were a huge part of my life for so long. Those were hard, miserable years, and I suffered and struggled through it as best I could until one day, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I had reached the end of my rope and felt like I was rotting away deep inside and couldn’t breathe! Then, I realized that this “normal” person I was fighting to remain was nothing more than an illusion – an avatar built by the very people who claimed to love and care about me. So I thought – if they truly loved and cared about me as they proclaimed, wouldn’t they accept me for who and what I am?
On the day I told everyone about the real me, my world burst into a chaotic whirlwind of tears, accusations, name-calling, and threats. Frankly, it was funny as hell because somehow, they all felt betrayed by me for some selfish reason or another. In their egotistical rants, they totally missed the part of me saying that I’m doing it for altruistic reasons…
When I had had enough, I stood up, instructed them on where they could shove their ideologies, and walked away for good – an act I have never regretted doing because I had found my freedom again, and I could finally breathe once more.
Am I saying that you should do as I did? No, of course not. My only point in telling you my story above is so that you can rest assured that you’re not alone. There is someone that knows what you’re going through. I understand what it’s like to suppress the calling to witchcraft. A calling that is so overwhelming at times that you think you’re going mad, but you’re not. It really is a calling that’s felt so deep inside to the very core of your being that one cannot deny it. It’s happening because magick chose you, and you were chosen because you truly are special. So special, in fact, that magick itself recognizes your potential, and that, my dear brothers and sisters, is just amazing! Don’t be afraid to take the step into the craft, and don’t be afraid to be yourself.
Some witches believe that only if you’re related to the Salem witches can you call yourself a witch. I personally don’t subscribe to that because way before the Salem trials, witches were being persecuted and murdered all over Europe. On top of that, indigenous witches of different cultures were being persecuted and murdered as well, and just because their names are not in an “official” book somewhere or in a movie does not mean it never happened. Most of all, it doesn’t mean that the people who come from their lines aren’t witches either. So please, stop the self-righteous finger-pointing…
To me, witchcraft is just that – it is a craft. It is something that you learn. It is a skill that you hone and define as your own. Along the way, witches may specialize in certain areas of the craft and become experts in what they do. For instance, some may only work candle magick, others crystal magick and others may work only fire, earth, or water magick. Some witches do not work with deities, yet others do. Some witches, like myself, don’t specialize in one particular area – we work with everything.
So you see, witchcraft isn’t black or white, this or that. It is what the witch performing the magick wants it to be. There is a popular saying that I don’t particularly agree with all of the time because of the way I’ve seen many people use it in conversations while trying to prove their point, but in this respect, I agree that “Every witch walks her (his) own path.” Do what you do that is comfortable to you and above everything else – be true to yourself no matter what anyone may say.