Back in 2013, I did a short article on what it means to be Wiccan. Today, spurred by my own self-identifying label changes, I want to look at what it means to be a witch. This is, of course, not an exhaustive list; I don’t think you could ever completely write out what it is to be a witch. So much of our practice is intuitive and instinctive, coming from not only ourselves but also every living thing that has come and gone before us. But then, that’s what magick is.
Being a witch means…
- Being a caregiver
A caregiver to friends and family, to your pets and every animal that wanders across your path, to the plants that yield up their harvests to you and people all the way across the world you’ve never met. Above all, a witch is a source of comfort and strength, providing what others need selflessly and assuredly, knowing that when those around her prosper, she herself will as well. Her house stands sure against even the most horrible of storms.
- Being a tree-hugger
I’m not sure why the term “tree-hugger” seems to have gotten a bad reputation, but like the stereotypical fear and misunderstanding around witchcraft, a witch always strives to enlighten and put others at ease. She is ever in tune with the natural world around her, feeling the changing of the seasons in her bones and the feel of the coming storm along her skin. She deeply respects all things not human-made and has no fear of neither teaching others with an interest nor being mocked.
- Being changeable
A witch understands that things change. That is the inherent nature of life; nothing stays the same. She is like the willow tree, her roots go deep but her branches are utterly flexible so that no great gales may break her. She savors good times and weathers the bad with a perseverance that her children and friends aspire to. She is not bitter when things go poorly, no matter how tempted she may be to fall into ways not becoming of the Goddess’ child.
- Honoring those who came before
Every living creature is linked with the past. Who we are, where we come from, what our mothers and their mothers before us have lived through. All of these things reach their apex in us, until life continues on and each of us becomes the mother and grandmother and great-grandmother. A witch, even if she does not know where she comes from, pays homage to the ancestors who performed nature’s rites before her, always conducting herself in a way that is true to herself.
Understanding herself, and understanding others, a witch strives to see all in every situation. She knows that there is almost always more than one side to the truth and she endeavors to understand all positions before speaking or acting. Because hers is a position of knowledge, it is a position of power. Regardless of all else within or without of herself, she is understanding, and with that understanding, compassionate and wise.
- Being subtle
A witch is a wielder of magick, and is always aware of the fact that others will interpret magic as movies have taught them to. A true witch is not like this, nor would she ever strive to be. She knows well that magick is only as powerful as you believe it to be, and inviting in the energies of others who have a different understanding may weaken her own workings. And so she works in the background of life, comfortable in the anonymity and still present for those with the eyes to see her.
Of course, there are as many different qualities to being a witch as there are witches. Being a witch means different things to different people, so I ask you – what does being a witch mean to you?
And speaking of animals, here’s my eldest kitty cat, checking out the sink that the washer empties into. If you are thinking that this is not going to end well… You are right. It did not end well.