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Are You a Good Witch, or a Bad Witch?

Are you a good witch, or a bad witch? Chances are, if you’ve been on the Pagan path for any length of time, someone has asked you this question.

In the beginning, many of us feel that gut reaction to defend ourselves. “Well, of course, I’m a GOOD witch! I don’t do that *gasp* BLACK MAGICK*.” If this doesn’t answer every question the inquirer has, it has at least put their mind at ease. For them, you have now entered the realms of the kooky New Ager, or at worst, something akin to their crazy Aunt Alice, who still lives in ’60’s and sports tie dye everywhere…in other words, you’re perfectly harmless.

But now, you’ve been practicing for awhile, honing your skills and exploring your own power. You don’t do things the way you used to…and so those cute, tidy labels no longer really apply. Trying to find the right community for you hasĀ  become more difficult, partially because there are so many groups for newbies out there, and partially because you no longer feel the need to be part of a pack that expects you to do things a certain way.

Don’t get me wrong…there is NOTHING wrong with being a good witch, or a bad one, for that matter. There’s a very good reason for newbie groups, and groups of people who enjoy following a particular shared path. They all have a place, and indeed, a time, in our lives. But what about those of us on the fringe, those who do things our own way, those who long for community but refuse to conform to a set of traditions?

Luna and I were just discussing this…because I’m in the middle of a bit of an existential crisis. Yes, I still have those. Every once in a while, I start reflecting, wondering…am I on the right path? Sometimes, this path is very lonely. I recently lost a mentor who I had walked with for many years, as she changed spiritual paths and I could not follow. It was disorienting, to say the least, and left me feeling more than a little alone. I’ve been looking into various traditions, feeling like I was missing something: maybe a sense of community, or a sense of purpose, maybe even a simple sense of direction in my life.

Every tradition I looked at, some under the Pagan umbrella, some outside, all had aspects I was drawn to. I would start digging deeper, thinking maybe THIS was where I wanted to be, and then something would pop up that brought everything to a hard stop. Rules, dogma, arbitrary assignments you MUST do to be such and such. You have to read all these books, and know every inch of history (whether it’s accurate or not). You have to do a ritual every full moon, and know all the crystal correspondences by rote. You must become a vegetarian, or you are not truly honoring the Gods. Yes, I’ve actually seen groups like this, and all left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

So I took my questions to my teacher. There’s an adage that says, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. This is so very true, and I was lucky enough to have Miss Luna show up in my life just when I needed her. I presented my problem to her,and she did what she always does…she took me down the path with her a ways, asked some questions, gave me some no nonsense answers, and then left me to my own devises. The most profound thing she said to me wasn’t even in the discussion about spirituality, but another one entirely. ” Girls just wanna have fun, so that’s what we’re gonna do!”

THAT is what I’ve been missing: FUN. JOY. Real contentment in my path. SO I asked myself why? Why am I not happy? And after some thought, I surprised myself with the answer that has been in front of me all along. I was missing the comfort and joy…the peace of accepting my own thoughts and beliefs as valid.

I was so busy trying to define what I am, that I missed the big picture. Simply…

I AM.

Why do I have a right to call myself a witch? Because I AM a witch. Why do I have the right to dictate my own rules, and set my own habits (or ignore them completely, because I am too flighty for that)?

Because I can…I have the power.

Why can I have my half-assed habits, my “I’ll maybe do a working if I remember that it’s the full moon” rituals, my belief that there is no God really (but I still call myself a Pagan anyway)?

Because I have hit this lovely stage in my spiritual path where I don’t need all the trappings, the archetypes, the representations, and the pomp to FEEL my connection, my power. I know full well what I am capable of, and sometimes that’s good, and sometimes it’s bad…sometimes it’s shining white, and sometimes it’s blackest black.

So the next time someone asks you “Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?”, simply answer…

I AM.

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