RANTINGS OF A MAD WITCH: Gatekeepers Be Gone!

GK1I urge anyone reading this to read the piece in its entirety before commenting or passing judgment.

I write this knowing full well the backlash that I will face, but at this point it’s go hard or go home, and what I am about to say is going to be hard for many to swallow.

The inspiration for this blog is this delightful gatekeeping bullshit meme that has been making the rounds:

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I want to make a few points and cause a few waves.

I am the first person to admit that humor is a key to life, and the Craft.

We must be able to laugh at ourselves, otherwise, the world will laugh at our expense.

Does that make sense?

The more you learn to have a thick skin and laugh at your own mistakes and the fuckery of life, the more you will be able to handle the world’s criticism.

And, trust me, the world always something to say.

Especially when it comes to someone else’s opinion or way of life.

Ah, the fucking irony.

I don’t think the above meme is funny though, I think it only further divides us and makes our community look completely uninviting.

It was for me—uninviting, I mean.

The community DID NOT accept me, and I was forced to create my own space.

Covens can be intimidating to Witches that are inherently Solitary; not everyone wants to be part of a Coven, or group.

So, the division this meme creates is issue number one.

Again, I am in favor of making fun of ourselves but this is gatekeeping.

You can have that.

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The second thing is that this meme doesn’t consider accessibility.

This issue came up when the whole Sephora Witch Kit shit show went down, and people were up in arms.

Not everyone has access to buying things on the internet.

Maybe they don’t have a bank account yet, or they live with parents/family and can’t have packages sent to their house because their mail is opened (illegal or not, shit happens).

Then there are the people who are hearing the collective call to wake up, but they don’t quite know what that means yet, what it looks like, or how it will manifest.

A Sage bundle at Whole Foods, a crystal at TJ MAXX, or a tapestry at Pier 1 might help them on their journey—might trigger something in their memory.

The Witch IS the tool, I know that, many of you know that, but that knowing comes with time and practice.

Heck, even after all my years of practice, I still like using tools; ambiance, and focus and all.

Overharvesting of herbs, and ethical sourcing of minerals is a concern, and a valid one; not only the effects it has on Earth, but HOW the crystals are mined.

You would be surprised to hear that many of the big chain stores do ethically source their products; other’s do not.

You must research anything you buy, that’s your responsibility as a consumer regardless if we are talking Witch tools, or food you feed your family.

Obviously, in an ideal world we would be able to trust all sellers, but that simply isn’t the case.

Do your research.

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The next point is something that so many Magickians are missing.

The use of herbs/botanicals, gemstones, Sacred Geometry and the like are all forms of Low Magick—not everyone aspires to be a High Magickian, not everyone is about ceremonial Magick; some are about dirt and bone, blood and earth.

Some are all of these and more.

Magick, and the Craft—how we experience them and how we practice is so vast, so unique that it almost cannot be quantified or individualized.

We all have our own experiences, our own reality and we all found our way to this path some way, somehow.

I think the further we go into the Abyss, and the longer we walk our path, we forget how we started.

We forget where we started and how we stumbled.

I was raised with my Mother teaching me the Old Ways to wash out the Catholicism my Father was attempting to teach me.

But it wasn’t until I was 12 and watched The Craft that I willingly approached my Mom with real interest, and at that point was gifted my first Tarot Deck, and my whole world changed.

As they say, the rest is history.

Not everyone has supportive parents, and with the boom Witchcraft is experiencing in Hollywood, you can expect a lot of young Witches to start waking up.

Also, the collective is breeding rebels.

That’s another post entirely though.

These baby Witches could benefit from having tools accessible in big chain stores.

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Another point, someone commented on this meme saying that “having the girls who bullied, tormented and threatened to burn them alive in high school now call themselves Witches is a slap in the face”.

That is a valid point, and a valid wound.

High School fucking sucks.

It has sucked for everyone since the beginning of time.

And, yes, it is super irritating to see the people who taunted you for being authentic back then, claim to be a Witch now.

I get it.

Maybe we should approach with a bit of compassion though, instead of pain.

Maybe they grew as a person and they really are a Witch.

Maybe they are using the aesthetic as if it’s a trend.

That’s not for you to judge nor is it your weight to carry and it’s only a slap in the face if you give that hand power.

Witchcraft, and Spirituality in general have become trends, they are commodities for sale; they have been for decades now.

Read it again, and let it fucking burn because it DOES BURN.

It fucking sucks to see our Craft become watered down and commercialized to make it more palatable for the masses.

But, on the flip side, it’s empowering to see it become mainstream and hopefully, slowly, breakthrough the lies and stigmas told about us.

I see a new wave of Witches waking up, and I embrace them with open arms.

We all must start somewhere, and who cares where that starting point is?

When did we become so rigid about who we allow in our ranks?

Last time I checked Witchcraft is a personal practice.

And, an individual’s personal practice is not open to public interpretation, or prosecution.

Live and let live.

And for those who want to proclaim that their path is Sacred, so is mine.

I have put blood, sweat and tears into my Craft and it’s my lifeline; I don’t think it is something that is free for the taking, and that’s the beauty of the Craft.

Yes, people may find it buying Sage at Whole Foods, but the Craft itself, the Magick and egregore that Witchcraft carries, will weed out the real over the fake, you needn’t worry.

There will always be parts of the Craft that will remain hidden, and known only to those who truly walk the path of the Old Ways.

We cannot bring down this patriarchal system, these misogynistic religions unless we are unified, and we cannot be unified if we are distracted gossiping and judging each other and where we buy our tools.

We’re better than this.

Blessed Are the Witches.

RANTINGS OF A MAD WITCH: The Great Divide

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“The human body resonates at the same frequency as Mother Earth. So instead of only focusing on trying to save the earth, which operates in congruence to our vibrations, I think it is more important to be one with each other. If you really want to remedy the earth, we have to mend mankind. And to unite mankind, we heal the Earth. That is the only way. Mother Earth will exist with or without us. Yet if she is sick, it is because mankind is sick and separated. And if our vibrations are bad, she reacts to it, as do all living creatures.”

Suzy Kassem

I don’t identify as Pagan so writing a post that has been inspired by Pagan community issues is ironic, and that point is not missed by me.

As the world spirals out of control due to Government policies not in alignment with or appropriate for modern, progressive times, among other things, our system becomes further and further unbalanced with an “us vs. them” dichotomy.

This divisive narrative has bled into all areas of life.

And, yes, that includes Magick.

I always looked to the Witch community for inspiration.

For hope.

I sought out my Brothers and Sisters in Magick when the world got me down; it was my escape.

And, as socially and politically aware as I am, perhaps that escape became blinders.

Note: For clarification, I use the term Witch broadly in the context of this piece, and in general; I don’t use the term Pagan broadly (even though many people do) and I’m aware that by definition my practices are Pagan. We will unpack that mess another day. I also know that some Practitioners of African Diasporic Traditions, for example, do not identify as Witches, or practice Witchcraft. They are still and always included.

Carrying on…

Over the last several months I have noticed how deeply divided we are within the Witch community, and I must admit, it was surprising to me.

I know that many of my readers will say they are not shocked at my epiphany as they have experienced division, elitism and, often, racism first hand, but I thought we were better than this.

It’s important to point out that I stick to myself in pretty much every way possible; I have never been part of a Coven, or organization. I am not initiated into anything, and don’t believe someone must be in order to be taken seriously. On a mundane level, I’m a loner with a tight inner circle and extremely close familial connections.

I am a seeker and follower of the Old Ways, my path is my own and my research is endless, vast and deep.

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I consider myself to be super introverted, and us introverts know the one thing we do better than hiding is observing.

I notice everything, so how the divide in the Witch community was missed by me is something I must reflect on myself; no outside opinions necessary, or welcome.

It all started slowly, too–the realization, I mean.

First it was certain groups using Norse symbolism and Asatru teachings taken out of context to promote (white) nationalism, and racism.

Then it was white Witches excluding WOC (Witches of Color) from Witch spaces, or worse, talking for them instead of allowing them to speak for themselves.

Then it was white washing deities and/or using them out of context (ie. etymology of words/names and traditional lore must be considered); a blonde Kali threw me over the edge.

I have watched Witches’ pounce one another for “pulling the race card” simply because they wanted to have a conversation, an honest and open dialogue about what it means to live with brown skin in this world, in these times AND be a practicing Witch (again, all inclusive term).

Intersectionality is important—it’s the keystone of progress.

I have watched as Witches called out sexual abuse in the Pagan community only to be attacked in every way possible for daring to have a voice.

I have watched Witches improperly lash out because they are too scared to face their own traumas; Shadow Work is essential no matter what path you walk.

I have watched people use mental illness as an insult, or suggestion that someone’s behavior is because they are mentally unfit; this is dangerous for so many reasons.

I have watched people gather like a group of ‘Mean Girls’ and judge the witchiness of another to somehow validate or invalidate their practices and experiences.

I have watched Indigenous traditions stolen and exploited over and over and over again.

It goes far beyond the use (and misuse) of Sage, too.

I have watched as people were told they couldn’t practice a tradition because they are not the proper ethnicity.

And, trust me, I speak up, I speak up all the fucking time and I am shut down or attacked as people project onto me.

I have witnessed white folx being told they can’t practice Hoodoo, Haitian Vodou, New Orleans Voodoo or any African Diasporic Tradition in general because they don’t have African Ancestry.

The folx (gatekeepers) telling them this are the same folx who say that all people come from Africa (which they do).

Here’s a link for your reading pleasure, and my sanity.

You can’t have it both ways though.

We are either an inclusive community or we are not.

YES, black Witches, and black people in general, deserve to have spaces for themselves where they are represented authentically and unapologetically, by themselves.

And, YES, there are many traditions that ARE NOT up for the taking by outsiders because they are rooted in culture as well as practice and tradition (ie. being immersed in it day to day with your physical presence and time).

I DO NOT believe that as a white person everything is available/accessible to me, but when it comes to Spirituality, Spiritual practices and what resonates with the Soul, the lines get blurred really fucking quick, and it’s important for ALL parties involved to acknowledge this.

Respect for the path we walk, and education for the tradition we follow is key, in my opinion.

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I have watched white Witches tell black Witches they cannot venerate Norse or Celtic deities, or any Anglo-saxon group because they themselves are not white; that they will not be accepted because they are black.

I have only met a handful of Spirits who gave any flying fucks about race; generally, they just like to be honored, and most Practitioners, regardless of tradition, will agree with me on this.

It boils down to respect and education, as aforementioned, but also intent.

Another point, colonialism and how it continues to affect this country, and the world is a tricky, tricky subject and one of great complexity.

This of course affects our community.

Racism, sexism and sexual abuse in the Witch community are topics that must be addressed, and folx it’s going to suck for all parties involved.

White privilege is real. White supremacy is real. The patriarchy is real. Racism is real. Sexual abuse disguised as enlightenment or ritual is real.

We as a community cannot expect change on a grand, global scale, like so many of us truly want, if we are unable to see the issues among ourselves.

We cannot resist the system that wants to obliterate our existence if we aren’t even strong enough or brave enough to have the difficult conversations.

Yes, some white feelings are going to get hurt in the process, but imagine the generational trauma that POC must work through?

And, no folx this is NOT SAYING that white people don’t have generational trauma themselves.

Comparing the two is a false equivalency (another reason Intersectionality is paramount).

Our community is better than the actions of a few and I know that, but what I brought up here has moved far beyond just a few people.

How can Witches be a force of resistance, a force in the resistance if we can’t unify on the most basic shit?

How?