Many a time I have come across articles or comments on posts where individuals bash on traditionalism – which I don’t blame – but also seem to include traditional witches in that mix. Comments like “times change and so should tradition” or “traditional witchcraft is outdated” and so many more. I can’t help but think that people seem to have one perspective of the idea of what traditional witchcraft is.
Don’t get me wrong, this notion of traditional witches being fundamentally traditionalists doesn’t come only from witches from other paths. I have met traditional witches who stuck to one linear way of practicing because “you shouldn’t change ‘ancient’ practices” and I find it rather silly.
To start off, I think I should provide a definition of what traditional witchcraft is (again!!). The traditional path is the path of the witch that incorporates the land of the practitioner in their practice. By that, we don’t mean only the folklore of the land, but also what the land has to offer to the practitioner – certain herbs that grow in the vicinity, the nearest crossroads/graveyard/water source, what the practitioner can get their hand on, and so on and so forth. In essence, you only need to understand its definition and apply it to your practice to be a traditional witch. Simple as.
Nowhere in this definition (and many other definitions I have read and been taught meet eye to eye with this one) says that there is only one way to practice. Quite the opposite, in my opinion, it suggests that the traditional witch should incorporate what is available to them. Whether that is an old school broom or a Henry Hoover. Traditional Witchcraft doesn’t insinuate that there is a tradition to follow necessarily, but rather, a traditional method of working, which, quite frankly, can be applied to any practice whatsoever.
Some fellow traditional witches, need to remember that the ‘ancient’ traditions, as you so call them, were created many many years ago that applied to that period of time, and as times – and with time, society – changes, so then would the definition of traditional witchcraft would apply to your practice accordingly.
On the other side of the spectrum now, there are witches who don’t follow or associate with the term “traditional witch” but one could identify them as traditionalists. And I say this because, how some can not be traditionalists when they so strongly react when I mention I don’t follow the moon phases when I practice (I may go into detail about this in another post)? And this is only one of the many examples.
Traditional witchcraft and traditionalism, are two separate concepts. In fact, if being a Traditional Witch means that you don’t change anything that was taught to you, or that there is only one way to practice it, therefore being a very traditionalist practice, then most of us traditional witches (including myself) wouldn’t identify as such. We like taking what we have been taught and change them, making it our own, building our own very personal practice on the foundations that were given to us by our ancestors. It is the point of witchcraft as a whole after all, regardless of what label of witch you want to take on.