Okay, so the title of this post might need a little work, but it at least conveys what this post is about… me… that’s right, it’s all about me! Bwhahahaha!
Actually it technically isn’t about me. It’s about who I used to be, back when I was a teenage witchlet who had just discovered that there was this thing called witchcraft that had some commonalities with some things that I was already doing. Everyone starts at the beginning, whether they come into the craft at four or forty years old. For me, the official beginning came somewhere in my mid-teens, probably around fourteen or fifteen. Two friends and I began toying with the idea of practicing witchcraft. We approached witchcraft like we would approach biology… read, study, make notes, and if absolutely forced to, get the squicky parts over with as quickly as possible. In retrospect, this was probably not the best approach, but what do you expect from three teenagers who are going about this with no ‘adult’ supervision?
Most of my notes from those days are (thankfully) lost to time. I did, however, stumble upon a list I’d made in those days, one that had been tucked into a volume of poetry written at the same time. For some reason, we had it in our heads that we each needed to make a list of the ten most important things for a witch to know. I cannot recall now why we thought we needed to do this, only that we did it. Ready for this one? Get out your 101 books and follow along.
The 10 Most Important Things For A Witch to Know
- The Rede
- Circle Casting
- Wheel of the Year/Sabbats
- Calling the Watchtowers
- Herb magic
- Symbolism (meaning of pentagram)
- Moon Phases
- [Magical] Associations
Did I really write that list? Did I really believe that these things were so important that they needed to be enumerated? I’m fairly certain that this list was simply a compilation of things that I’d found in various 101 books at the time. These days I won’t touch the Rede with someone else’s ten-foot-pole. It’s absolutely irrelevant to my practice, as are several other items on this list. In short, this list is so far removed from my current practices that I can’t even begin to recognize the witchlet who wrote this list.
Of course, the list was from the days when I was just beginning to realize that life was taking me down an uncommon path, that ‘road less traveled’. So much water has flowed under the proverbial bridge that I hardly have anything in common with she who I used to be. In those days, there was a certain amount of cherished innocence and ignorance, a belief that this thing could be learned in the way that one learns biology or history.
These days I think that you can read about witchcraft, but you absolutely do not become a witch by reading books. There is a certain amount of gritty, hands on work that is required. My young witchlet self had no clue just how gritty or hands on that work would be. If she had, all those books on witchcraft would have gone straight back to the library and the notes she took would have been burnt in the fireplace. Because this path isn’t easy and it doesn’t come out of a book. It is the stuff of life and experience, of learning and unlearning, of creation and destruction, and of dirt and divinity. It is a path that cannot be fully conceived of in the mind of a fourteen-year-old. To be honest, I cannot say with any certainty that my forty-year-0ld mind grasps it fully either, but I do think I understand it better these days.