A lot of times I have heard people ask – ‘I want to be a witch, can you teach me?’, or ‘I want to be a Wiccan, can you initiate me?’
So allow me to clarify what being a witch and being a Wiccan really are all about and how to be a witch and/ or Wiccan.
Witch: The meaning of the word is wise-one. In the ancient times those people who were knowledgable about healing, herbalism, native medicine and those who could guide people with their common problems, through psychic predictions such as clairvoyant visions, or through various herbs and folk magic spells were regarded as witches. They occupied positions of respect. All over the world, whether the west or the east we had plenty of witches. What did they do to ‘become’ witches. Did they take classes, pass tests or get initiated into secret naked covens of 13? Or did they have an innate wisdom that they honoured and honed, learning through nature, through their grandparents and their own intuitive inner self?
Wiccan: The meaning of the word is someone who believes in the Wiccan Rede which means Harming None while doing as you Will. In doing so Wiccans become people who believe in recognising divinity in everyone and everything, being kind to nature, being tolerant with regard to specific beliefs, sexuality, personal choices as long as you harm none, believing in equality of gender, believing in animal-rights, sacredness of trees and forests, water and earth. All these directly flow from the principle of the Wiccan Rede. Wicca is not one of the religions typified by conversion process to be part of it. It is a natural spirituality, also called paganism or neo-paganism (being a new age revival of the ancient ways). What do you have to do to believe in the Wiccan Rede? Does it take an initiation ceremony to believe in something? Or is it something to be done within you, through your own mind?
Being a witch and being a Wiccan is all about your inner self, your inner choices and beliefs in your divine power, in the divinity of nature, in the sacredness of life, death and the magick of the universe which is constantly unfolding everywhere. There is magick in each moment – the way we are built, the way each cell and molecule of the world is built, the way planets revolve and rotate, the way seasons change, from the smallest to the largest thing in the world, magick is our infinite reality. To be consciosuly aware of this truth, and to use this knowledge wisely for the benefit of ourself and our world, that’s what being a witch and Wiccan is all about.
Initiation: This simply means getting accepted in a specific spiritual tradition or system, usually lineaged from a founder to a chain of initiates. A tradition means a body of knowledge that is carried forward even if the teacher is no more. The teachings are passed on from teacher to student and the student then becomes a teacher and passes it to other students and so on. This is true of several systems of ancient spirituality and it was the norm in Wiccan spirituality in the beginning till recent times. In Wicca so far, you would get initiated if you get specific skills and training with the aim of being part of an existing Wiccan tradition. However with the advent of technology, books, internet and multiple ways of disseminating information traditional initiation is no longer mandatory.
Is Initiation for you? Will the students of the original teacher pass on the right knowledge through the chain or will it become chinese whispers? If the original teachers or founders of those traditions that are lineaged were to be alive today, will they remain stuck at their old teachings and beliefs, or would they have transformed and updated their knowledge and practice from the time when they developed it? Are the initiates as good as the original master, or are they a bunch of egotists who are more interested in showing off their lineage and playing power games?
Thankfully today through books authored directly by the founders of the tradition it is possible to get accurate knowledge straight from the horses mouth. Yet if the authors are deceased its perhaps better to look for new authors too and be updated with the latest discoveries and inventions in the world. Whenever possible look for living masters who teach you directly instead of learning indirectly through a lineage of initiates. That is my advise and my preference as the Founder of Global Wicca.
Training: Classes, certifications, courses, degree training, all are surely there for those who wish to gain more specific skills either for personal use or for helping others professionally. But to be a witch and to be Wiccan, both are about an inner awareness, an enlightenment you gain yourself through meditation and inner spiritual work. You can learn to be a better witch through teachers and guides who add to your knowledge, who provide you opportunities to practice and hone your skills.
There is a vast universe within you and your inner self is the best teacher, the best master. Look for those outer teachers and guides who help you get in touch with the inner self instead of leading you to follow them rigidly.
Also remain focused once you find the right path without wandering around collecting information, collecting certificates, collecting initiations, collecting degrees – do not be a mindless spiritual consumer. If you were doing that then there was something missing within you.
Be on the right path and stay on the right path that goes straight within.
All the best