As witches, we are likely the most misunderstood group of people in the history of the world. Yes, we all know the witchhunts and all the misconceptions that have driven these actions of people to kill thousands of witches (or most likely not witches) throughout the world, but lately, the witchy community has fluctuated tremendously in size, and for that, I always find considering myself lucky to have been born in an era that is succulent.
Having said that, misconceptions and myths haven’t stopped, and these come from both externally and internally to the community.
People, for hundreds of years, thought that a witch is a woman who has frizzy hair, a big nose, wrinkly skin at the age of 30, lives alone in the woods and has bad teeth. Within the community, we know this for a fact to be false, and due to the expansion of the community, this misconception has faded in the minds of people outside of it. That is not to say that myths have disappeared entirely.
The majority of non-witchy people think that those who proclaim themselves witches are delusional and live in a fantasy world. But I will not be going into this at the moment as it’s an entirely different subject. Here I want to focus more on the misconceptions of those who do believe that witches exist.
Myths about witches
I mentioned a few times before that I come from a culture where witchcraft is paradoxically embedded in it, yet still, the religious profile is kept strong. We give offerings to the saints, read the coffee grounds, cleanse our homes with frankincense and what not. But carry the title of a witch, and automatically you are stamped with an image of the black witch who practices necromancy regularly and worships the devil.
It is believed that once you start in the path of the witch, you sell your soul to the devil and even though at first, it feels good to practice witchcraft, later on, you will regret it as a legion of evil spirits will haunt you for the rest of your life.
Needless to say, those who actually practice the craft don’t believe the above myths, even though these experiences are not unheard of that can happen to someone. In the end, everyone has a very different experience in their path, and the above can usually occur when one doesn’t take witchcraft seriously. From what I have personally observed at least.
And on that note, no, we don’t worship the devil – some might do, but that is actually a very small percentage – most of us don’t even believe in such deity. This is excluding Bucca who has been believed by many witches ages ago (especially in the UK) who they sometimes called Devil, but this devil is far unlike the one the Christian church created. Some of us don’t even work with spirits and those who do know exactly how to approach them.
And yes, the path of the witch is a magnificent one, full of surprises, and full of knowledge, but never once I have felt in danger from my path for I know being a witch gives me the knowledge to deal with any unwanted situation.
Myths made-up by witches
No, I am not referring to myths about deities that witches believe. I don’t find myself in any position to de-validate anyone’s beliefs.
I am actually referring to other myths, specifically that tackle the matter of another witch’s nature. I am specifically referring to myths of initiations, mentorships, direct lineage of witches and so on and so forth.
I have the feeling that our community has drifted away from the actual representation of it. I only find it natural, for it happens to every community when it becomes somewhat mainstreamed. Instead of supporting one another, we create stories about who really is a witch and who is just pretentious. But where have these stories sourced from, I cannot tell.
We all come across beliefs which claim that for one to be a witch needs to be initiated, to be initiated they need to go through a period of teachings with a mentor, and the only other way to be a witch is if they have been born within a family of witches.
I call this b###lsh*t (too blunt?). I have been practising witchcraft for the past two years. It took me a year and a half to find someone willing to mentor me, by then I was so confident in my skills as a witch that I turned the mentorship down. My point is, if I have waited for a year and a half to be mentored in order to be a “real witch”, I would have been a newbie now. I would also be following a path I wasn’t happy with. I haven’t been initiated and I haven’t been mentored by anyone other than the many books I have read. I was also not born in a family of witches. Above I mentioned that I come from a very religious cultural background that sees witchcraft as working with the devil.
UPDATE: Even though I have started a new apprenticeship with a witch who is also a very good friend of mine and absolutely trust, I still stand by the above. It is best to absolutely trust your teacher, and if you don’t it is better to learn and practice alone. Mentorship is not the only way to go about it.
I never once, during my practice let these opinions flourish doubts in my mind, and neither have I felt the need of any of these. And if you are in a similar situation as myself, you shouldn’t either. Walk your path the way it feels right to you. People, whether they are witches or not have their own misconceptions and believe their own ideas about the path, but what really matters is how you want to practice. Remember, you are doing it for yourself, not to make others happy.