Friday, July 31, 2015

Paganism, Witchcraft and Woo

So I read and interesting article today.

It's about how we limit ourselves by not talking about our power, by not accepting we are witches and saying "my spirit guide told me" or other such because of fear of being perceived as mentally ill.

Essentially, the woo closet is the forces that keep us from being open about the way that magical, energetic, psychic, extra-sensory or spiritual forces nourish and guide us. To my mind, the woo closet is very old and is one of the most powerful spells (or cluster of spells) that keeps us from stepping into our truth and power.

Me, I do witchcraft. I am blunt and open about this.

"Hex 'em til they glow and curse 'em in the dark." is a common phrase. I have a plaque in my house that says "Today I am" and the flip part says "good witch" and "bad witch."

When some boys were giving my daughter trouble about being a pagan, I picked her up and had a chat. It ran like this "Yes, she is a witch. And do you know where little witches come from? Mama witches. Now, unless you would like to spend the summer in the bayou eating flies, I suggest you lay off of her."

The way I do witchcraft looks a lot like hard work and headology* and not at all like circle-dancing and chanting. I determine my will, focus it and do it. The doing is always work. It may be cleaning. It may be creating a whole book out of nothing but imagination. It may be turning a skein of yarn into something lovely and useful. I am doing my will.

I am open about my paganism. There are statues of  Athena, Medusa, Tiamat and Hera on my mantle. The Greenman hangs on my study, as does the Horned God. I have a sun and moon face on my front door. I have a Tree of Life tattooed on my shoulder.

I deal with a variety of deities, but mostly Hera and Hermes. For me, paganism is about the gods.

But I don't believe in woo. I am not about the energy or the crystals. I don't believe in essential oils, Ley lines or pyramid power. I will work with the moon phase and astrological sign, but only to a degree. I remember three past lives, none of which are Cleopatra.

The point is, I don't have to believe in it.

I may not believe in chakras or understand them, but apparently I can do a pretty fair job of cleansing them for other people.

I always preface a tarot reading with "the cards have no power. They're mass-produced pasteboard. What they do is give you a framework to hang your own knowledge on."
My readings are still scary accurate, regardless of the deck. I talk about my decks as if they have actual personalities and abilities. (Robin's hiding today), and nobody handles them but me.

I read weather signs in clouds and plants and animals--documented stuff most have forgotten--and get laughed at for being an old hillbilly granny in the middle of suburbia, but they don't laugh when they get rained on and I said they would because the leaves were showing their bellies and the cows were lying down.

I use chants and cantrips and charms about my daily business, invoking gods, saints, angels and household sprites alike. And I always sweep sunwise. It seems to help.

When I was pregnant, I wore a berkana rune around my neck. Just a bit of clay on a leather thong, marked with a sharpie. But I was not sick at all during the pregnancies I wore it. I used it to focus my psychosomatic impulses that had made me so sick with the others.

So apparently the Woo works as expected, even if you don't believe it whole-heartedly.
I do believe that charms work as heard as their wearers, spells as hard as their casters and prayers as hard as the supplicant.

So pray with one hand.
Work with the other.
Do your will.

*Headology is a term coined by Terry Prachett. It describes a form of psychology used by witches in his Discworld series:
The difference between headology and psychiatry is summarized as follows:

A psychiatrist, dealing with a man who fears he is being followed by a large and terrible monster, will endeavor to convince him that monsters don’t exist. Granny Weatherwax would simply give him a chair to stand on and a very heavy stick. (Maskerade, 325)

My Mudd tells the story of a man in a mental hospital who locked himself in the bathroom, and refused to come out because God was angry with him. The staff reasoned with him, argued with him and finally gave up on him. One of the other patients slipped a note under the door and he came out, smiling. The note read. "I'm not mad. I love you. God."

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