I was not born into witchcraft, and neither of my parents shows any innate ability for clairvoyance, spell craft or really anything outside of being spectacularly good at watching reality television, but hey, they love it and I love them. Unlike a lot of my contemporaries, I cannot trace my own private witch lineage back generations to an aunt who was burned at the stake.
My witchcraft had to be learned and earned. Does that make it any worse than what some call a “hereditary witch”? Not at all, it also makes it no better. It just makes it different. Any witch who realizes that they are in touch with the divine, celebrates the Goddess and the Gods in some way, follows the cycles of nature and uses spell work to better their own goals is my sister or brother in the craft, no matter what their tradition or lineage.
Of course, I am not saying that being proud of your magical lineage is a bad thing. Not at all, by any means. I have a damn fine magical lineage that stretches back some time and through multiple generations. I hope that someday a fine witchling may count me in their magical heritage, but I am a bit off topic here.
Honestly, what makes a witch and how does one become a witch? There are many paths to the craft, normally called traditions; British traditional, eclectic, solitary, faerie, Dianic to name a few of the more Wiccan oriented traditions. You also have the druids, the heathens, and on and on. I am not intending to leave out anyone but I think you will agree that there are too many to list. One common item is that all of these groups are pagan. A wise person told me once that:
“All Wiccans are pagan but not all pagans are Wiccan”
That holds one-hundred percent true. The same could be said of any path.
For me, my journey began many years ago when I realized I did not feel the lure of the Christian God. I loved the ceremony and the guilt that comes with Christianity, but I did not feel the God in prayer or in my life; I was faithless worshipper of a god I could not feel. A young lady introduced me to Wicca and it made sense. I immediately felt a kinship with the Goddess and the moon and the trees. Here was a higher power that I could see, smell, hear and feel every moment of every day. I conversed freely and with a whole heart. I went about learning all I could from books, but too afraid and unknowing to seek out a spiritual guide or coven and eventually realized I was like a dangerous animal off of a leash when my first spell work went so right in so many wrong ways and I fell of the WiccanWagon.
Fast forward through many years of searching, reading and still hearing that still small voice in the sky calling me to 2015 when I ‘lucked’ into finding an advertisement on Facebook for Wicca classes by Inner Circle Sanctuary. “Come take first degree classes” the ad said. Sounds great! I thought, no idea what that means, but sounds like a plan.
An interview and a little more than 16 months of intensive collegiate style study, I recently initiated as a first degree witch and priest in the craft. I mentioned the intensive study, correct? I was very fortunate that I found Inner Circle in many ways. I went about the physical search wrong and have learned some things I’d like to share, but before I do, I cannot stress how much my path was guided by the Goddess to put me into the way of these outstanding and fine teachers and witches; unfortunately there are a lot of people who make their way in this world taking advantage of young witches-to-be like I was. If you are searching to join classes or a group, I recommend some of the following steps:
- Mediate and research what kind of pagan or witchcraft tradition you feel is right. There are so many paths. Get off Google and actually reach out to some local groups through your local occult shop or witchvox.com to name a few ideas and see if they allow visitors to their celebrations to see what speaks to you. Go to the library and read about the traditions
- The group in the tradition you have selected should demand a meeting and learning about you before they allow you to start classes or tutelage. This process goes both ways, ask for a meeting and let them know you. Be honest, magic without honesty is bullshit. Ask questions of them, “How long have you been a group”, “How many members”, “Do I have to eat babies”. Ask if you can meet a newer student for their thoughts. They may or may not let you, but you can ask
- Find out all you can about the group in advance. Do they celebrate naked? Is that an issue for you? Do they use practices or craftwork you are uncomfortable with inherently?
- Understand as much as you can about your tradition before you start. For example, in my tradition – sex is holy. Now that doesn’t mean we run around boning each other, it means we celebrate both the physical duality of human/divinity (called polarity) and we totally understand that the physical act of sex can be an awesome celebration of that power
- If you find you have issues, keep looking. Do not “settle”. You must feel relatively safe in order to perform magic and act in ritual
- Ask questions, questions, questions
- Ask if there are fees and what type of time commitment this is in reality
- Ask if the group is active in the larger community both spiritual and mundane. Witches and pagans should be involved locally as much as they are comfortable with
These are just some of the questions I wish I would have asked back in August 2015, but I didn’t and I really was fortunate to find the path I was made to walk. I could go on for days about how wonderful this group and my tradition are. In fact Inner Circle Sanctuary is currently holding interviews for potential students; click this link if you are interested.
The point is, you may or may not have been born into the craft, but the people you chose to work your tradition with (and yes, that means solitary), will become your family. Like all family there will be tension, anger, resentment; but mostly there will be love, and laughter and outstanding joyous celebration of the craft and each other.
Make sure you do not forget that along the way.