Write Your Witchcraft

So I’ve been primarily using this as an outlet for the yearlong grimoire challenge. But during my time on Tumblr (take that as you will), I’ve found something else that I thought was worth a share.

Tumblr user baduhennasraven created the #writeyourwitchcraft questionnaire, and I’m going to do my best to answer all the prompts. So here goes!

1. What draws me to witchcraft?

Fortunately, we’re starting out pretty straightforward. I grew up Lutheran (I mean, inasmuch as I went to a church-affiliated school, had morning devotionals, weekly chapel services, confirmation, etc.). So how do I go from that to considering myself a Witch/Heathen?

Let’s face it, when I reached my teen years, I was disillusioned. I didn’t have a big ‘moment’ so to speak, no great falling out; it just sort of happened. One of the things I hated, from a rational point of view, was how ‘rote’ the worship experience was. We sat, we stood, we sang, we said the words that were printed in the worship folder, we recited the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostle’s Creed. Those last two, of course, when we went through confirmation, we studied the actual meaning that was given. But it wasn’t something most, if any, of us took to heart. And I think that most anyone that gathered in the church felt the same way.

So there was a huge disconnect. None of it fit together for me. And witchcraft, paganism, whatever you want to call it, well, that’s how the pieces all fit together. Here was a path where I could write my own rituals, worship in my own spaces, on my own or with like-minded individuals. It’s a path where I can really cater things to my own personal experience.

That self-determinism is really what draws me to witchcraft.

2. How do I see the divine?

I like the image of the Divine as some kind of multifaceted jewel; everyone experiences it differently, but also the same way. My personal understanding of how the divine has manifested in my life has changed some over time: I started with a very Celtic understanding, Cernunnos and Danu, Ogma, Brigid, Arianrhod, Cerridwen. These were the gods I first found myself drawn to. I still feel some affinity for them.

More recently, I’ve turned down the Heathen/Asatru path, and embraced the Germanic/Norse gods I believe are a part of my history, my ancestry. And my exploration into this side of things has also informed my view of the divine.

When I started out, it was with the idea that I was still in supplication to these great divine powers. I was, in some sense, a lesser vessel just hoping that the divine would deem me worth communing with. But as a Heathen, it seems less of a power hierarchy, and more like a journey we are all on together. Yes, the gods and goddesses possess knowledge and experience that I do not, but they are more than willing to share when necessary.

3. What in witchcraft makes me happy?

The self-determinism. But, as I embark on this latest leg of the journey, it’s the rediscovery of the sense of community. Finding those who are like-minded, being able to share our own journeys and experiences.

4. Do I want to follow a path that has to do with a little nature, or a lot of nature?

What I think I’m looking for is a path that brings me more in sync with nature than I am currently. Which is part of why I’ve become more active in the community and become a part of a coven.

5. What areas of witchcraft would I like to learn more about?

This is honestly a tough one. I’ve read more than just a few books on the general subject (so in terms of theory, I think I’ve covered quite a bit). But, there are some subjects I definitely wouldn’t mind knowing more about. Runes are definitely at the top of the list. I’ve done some study, but there’s definitely room for more. I want to know more, or I guess, experience more, as far as putting the elements into practice.

6. Where do my witchy talents lie?

I’ve always considered myself something of a writer, so I’d like to think that I definitely have some talent (witchy or otherwise) in that field. Outside of that, I’m not 100% sure. Creativity is always a plus, so I suppose working that into the witchy side of things will be an adventure.

7. What kind of deities, if any, do I want to honor?

Pretty much touched on this one earlier: the Aesir and the Vanir, and the other deities of the Germanic peoples that I consider my ancestors. And while they may not also be considered deities, I think that would also include the disir and the vaettir.

8. How do I believe magic works?

So I think the previous post (for the Grimoire challenge) actually might kind of answer this. I like the idea that magic functions in the way sound works, with resonances and harmonies, even discord. So magic, if anything, is about finding the way to create harmony (or discord, depending on the purpose) on a metaphysical level.

9. Simple or elaborate spells/rituals? Why?

A lot of it may depend on the purpose. Or even how much time you honestly have. My rituals have a tendency to be a little more on the elaborate side, but spellwork has a tendency to be more simple. Like I said, though, it’s one of those things that would probably depend on other factors.

10. What are my views on cursing/hexing?

I don’t believe in throwing them around like water. But I also don’t believe that we should ignore them, or pussyfoot around them. Sometimes a curse or a hex is called for. It just also means that reflection and consideration are also necessary.

11. Do I want to practice something similar to my ancestors?

The simple answer to this is yes. Of course, I don’t know how my ancestors might have worshiped, it’s more a matter of choosing to follow a spiritual path which is perhaps most closely aligned with my heritage.

12. What are the basic morals and ethics I feel I should live by?

Joining a coven means that I have agreed to the morality and ethics set forward by the tradition (something which I have no problem agreeing to). But overall, it’s a matter of personal honor, and honor to my ancestors and alignment with the wyrd.

13. What in nature am I drawn to?

Trees. I’m very drawn to trees. And rain. Rain is something else I find particularly compelling.

14. Which witchy holidays, if any, would I like to celebrate, and how?

All of them, naturally. Thankfully, by reconnecting with the community at large, I’ve been able to really celebrate these. I’m also very interested to learn more about holidays that are celebrated in Heathenry/Asatru.

15. How do I believe divination works?

I do believe that there is a higher power at work when it comes to divination. But there’s also the skeptic side of me that feels like some part relies on ‘cold reading’ or leading someone into revealing more information. But that’s just a part of me. And I’m sure that, as I get more into the runes and other forms of divination, views will change on the matter.

16. Would I like to work in a group some of the time, all of the time, or none of the time?

I think, at this point in time, my journey is about working in and with a group a good portion of the time. I think that’s going to be most conducive to engaging with the experiential side of things.

17. Which aspects of witchcraft appeal the most to me, which the least?

Crystals, herbs, sympathetic magic: these are definitely some areas that appeal to me. Runes, tarot, divination in general. I’m interested, at least, academically, in the ideas and overall format of ceremonial or high magic, but I have a hard time really wanting to get involved with that particular area.

18. What do I believe happens to us when we die?

I believe in a sort of reincarnation. I don’t think this is my only life on the planet (it’s hard to believe that I could have any kind of intuitive knowledge otherwise). So how, then, do I work that into the idea from Germanic myth about the various halls? Well, that’s still a work in progress, but I guess it’s a bit like reaching the point of attaining nirvana. Living a life well, fulfilling that purpose or learning those lessons, even if it is over the course of multiple lives, eventually leads to attaining a place in one of the halls.

19. How do I see mythological creatures?

This almost seems like a question of parallel existences. I’m aware of some of the ‘scientific’ explanations (manatees may have been the inspiration for mermaids, unicorns were probably based on rhinos, to some extent), but I also think the creatures we understand as mythological also exist on a different plane of reality. Like deities, like elementals, I think they can, or their energies can, be called into alignment with our own reality.

20. When do I feel most magical?

Late nights have always been a particularly favorite time of mine. Are they when I’m my most magical? I think so. Something about it being my ‘natural’ time of productivity. I also feel very magical when I’m with other witches. At Sabbats, or even some classes; these are times I definitely feel something other than just mortal.

21. How much is witchcraft woven into my daily life; is this too much, too little, or just enough?

More than it used to be, that’s for certain. Prior to starting the CoG classes, I was a ‘nominal’ witch (akin to the ‘fair-weather’ Christians). I’m working on enmeshing the two even more.

22. What kind of witch do I feel I am?

I don’t know. A teaching witch, I suppose, to some extent, but then again, I think all witches are teachers in some regard.

23. Which texts/quotes best describe my current path?

I honestly can’t say for certain. I’d have to do some real research.

24. Do I like research and gathering info, or do I like things handed to me?

I’m big on research and gathering info. Sure, I don’t mind having things handed to me from time to time (in the sense that, this questionnaire was essentially handed to me), but I very much like understanding the hows and whys.

25. Which things about witchcraft worry or scare me?

It’s not things about witchcraft that worry me; it’s the reaction to witchcraft that bothers me.

26. What is my favorite element?

You’d think it was air, because, well, I’m a Libra. And I’m definitely a fan (haha, that’s a great pun, right?). But actually, I love the water.

27. How do I see gender (roles) in witchcraft?

It’s a rapidly changing landscape; I can see where some concrete lines are drawn (blood and stag moons), though even those, I think, are up for discussion to an extent. I think, when it comes to gender in personal practice, it’s about what contributes to your personal feeling of power.

28. Am I interested more in magic, or spirituality?

Both.

29. Do I like to be told how to do things, or figure it out on my own?

That depends. If it’s something I have no experience/knowledge about, then I don’t really mind being told how to do something. But I also generally like figuring things out on my own. It’s a matter of context.

30. What rules, if any, do I live by when it comes to magic and witchcraft?

Generally, the Wiccan Rede comes to mind. As I learn more about Asatru and Heathenism, the ideas of wyrd and orlog also would seem to apply.

31. What do I gain from witchcraft and magic?

Right now, I think it’s about the sense of community more than anything else. But I think it’s also a matter of balance. Remembering the spiritual side is just as important as the rational side, or the physical side. It should be interesting to see how everything plays out over the next year, at least, though probably longer.

32. Formal or informal rituals/spells? Why?

Honestly, right now I enjoy the more formal structure, just because it helps with getting to an ‘altered state’ for the ritual or spellwork.

33. What subject do I love to study?

Better question is, what subject don’t I love to study? I’ll study just about anything, but right now I think my subject du jour has to do with Asatru and Heathenism, just because it’s new territory and I feel a connection to that path.

34. What is my favorite type of magic: candle, sympathetic, sigils, etc?

Candle magic is probably my favorite, mostly because it seems to be one of the easier forms (at least when it comes to supplies). Sympathetic magic is also one that I enjoy, because it definitely plays to the crafty side of who I am. Sigils are interesting, even if I don’t know that much about them; in a lot of ways, I find them very similar to bindrunes. Definitely something that, as I continue to explore runes, I think will come into play.

35. What would my perfect witchy day be like?

The perfect witchy day, I think, doesn’t require a lot of effort. Honestly, just hanging out with the family of spirit that I have connected with, that would be more than enough to actually make for a great day. It’s a big reason why I like the public rituals or the rituals at the Covenstead.

36. Would I want to be dedicated/initiated?

I feel like this is a necessary step, at least on my journey.

37. Who do I honor (ex: deities, ancestors, myself, etc.), and how do I, or would I like to, honor them?

Honoring the deities is definitely a major part of my spiritual practice. Creating a sacred space dedicated to them is definitely important. And Heathenism definitely places a lot of importance on honoring ancestors. It’s still something relatively new to me, so I’m figuring out how to go about that. I also very much believe that, regardless of the others that I honor, the path of the Witch, the Pagan, is the path of honoring the self. And I’m trying to do my best with that. Working out to be in good physical shape is primary, along with making good choices to work a positive path for my life. Eating healthy is something that I definitely have to work on. These are at least the major points when it comes to honoring myself.

38. How do I create a sacred/witchy space?

Obviously, intention is key. For my personal witchy space, the first thing I tend to do is orient myself to the corners. I’m fortunate enough that my current witchy room is pretty straightforward: each of the four walls aligns with a corner. From there, I try to turn each wall into my own interpretation or representation of the element. But it’s still a work in progress.

39. What do I believe is needed for a successful spell/ritual?

Intention and follow-through. And yeah, maybe some of the trappings, just because I happen to like them. But when you get down to it, those first two points are the only ones really necessary.

40. Which cultures do I draw from in my witchcraft?

Even with my newfound focus on Asatru/Heathenism, I’d still say that, in many regards, I’m fairly eclectic. I’m not the most wide-reaching eclectic by any means, I stick primarily with pantheons of European origin. Celtic is definitely the second-most utilized, with Greek behind that (not so big on the Roman, just because the major figures are just reimaginings of Greek).

41. What is my learning style: books, websites, videos, more hands-on?

For as long as I’ve been on this path, books have been my primary learning style. Even when I was in the short-lived coven, I’d still say books were the primary, because our course of study was strongly influenced and structured around books. But that’s also why I decided it was time to connect with a coven again, because I know that it will give more of a hands-on approach, the practical aspect that I have a hard time really getting if I’m on my own.

42. What, if anything, in my mundane life, influences my witchcraft?

I mean, I guess my ancestry would be considered a part of my mundane life. So there’s that. The shows I’m drawn to, the stories I like to read, maybe those too, just because I’ve always enjoyed things that involve magic or fantasy.

43. What are my hobbies, how do I (or can I) incorporate them in my witchcraft?

Right now I’m on a big crochet kick. I’ll grab some yarn and a hook and make just about anything. And while I haven’t yet incorporated it into my witchcraft, I’ve definitely entertained ideas. Charging my wraps and scarves with reiki, then holding on to pictures and scraps of the yarn to perform regular recharges. Making poppets (amigurumi is particularly helpful here). Other hobbies include writing (so yeah, writing rituals), singing (self-explanatory).

44. Where do my non-witchy talents lie, how do I (or can I) incorporate them into my witchcraft?

I like to help with organizing events, so I definitely see myself (and my husband) helping out with events in the community. I feel like I might be a good teacher on some of the subjects, if for no other reason than I like the chance to share knowledge. I see myself, basically, in a lot of ‘support’ roles that don’t necessarily require time in the spotlight.

45. What would my dream witchy life look like? What steps can I take toward it?

My dream witchy life? Hmm. For starters, I think I would be more open about it, in the declarative sense. Not to proselytize, of course, but right now, it’s a very subtle way of being ‘out of the broom closet’; if people know, and know what to look for, then they know, if that makes sense. I’d also like to think that my life would be more intention-driven; for better or worse, I have a tendency to go a little too much ‘with the flow’ so to speak, and I know it drives some of the people around me crazy.

46. What would my dream sacred space/witchy home look like? What steps can I take to work toward it?

More than anything, I want a home that is a refuge or retreat where I, or the people I invite in, can recharge or let down whatever shields they need to let down. I want a proper kitchen, because (and I know this is idealism speaking) then I feel like I would be more inclined to use it.

An introvert’s home is a strange thing, I think. It would have all the necessary trappings, but I also feel like extra care would have gone into picking all of those trappings, at least in my house. I currently have an oversized vase in front of my fireplace, for example, and I have green reeds and white branches in it. I have, on multiple occasions, looked at it and decided it needed something else, but I seem bound and determined to overanalyze just what that might be.

In any case, I think it would be a matter of having a dedicated temple room (the hubby and I have started talking about how it would probably just be one room for the both of us, since right now we each have our own room), but also, throughout the house, having those elements that still say ‘a witch lives here’ (well, witches, but you get the point).

47. What symbols correspond with me; runes, animals, flowers, gemstones, etc.?

The image of Yggdrasil has been a pretty recurring symbol for me, the world tree around which all existence is centered. Then there’s the ourobouros, or specifically, for visual reference, the Auryn from the Neverending Story. Why that particular version? Well, it’s freaking beautiful. And I love the meaning behind the ourobouros in general. As for stones, sodalite and unakite have both held my attention for some time; labradorite has been a recent addition. I love garnet as a gemstone (though opal is my birthstone). When it comes to animals, I feel an affinity to the raven, but a recent meditation on spirit animals has made me aware of the bear in my life (yes, there’s a joke there, pretty obviously too).

48. Am I an open and proud witch or do I (need to) hide my craft?

Like I said in the question about my ideal witchy life, I’m a bit of a subtle witch; if they know what to look for, then they know. Is it because I feel a need to hide? Sure, on some level. But I’m also the guy that tends to feel hesitation over showing affection for my husband in public. We may live in more enlightened times, but I don’t feel the need to potentially invite strife. I don’t ‘need’ to hide my craft, I just choose to live as the person I am, without calling attention to any one facet more than any other.

49. What are my favorite witchy items/tools; divination tool, ritual tool, decor, clothing, etc.?

Terrible as it sounds, my books are some of my favorite witchy items. And sure, there are some that I will probably never actually use as a reference, except to say that I read the book and found it to be completely lacking. I love my Odin statue and the wall hanging of Yggdrasil; I feel like both of those are really important. I have some clothing that I feel functions under the ‘subtly out’ category, and I love that. I currently have two rune sets, one stone, one wood. I haven’t worked much with the wood set yet, but I just love the look and feel of a good rune set (note to self, a bone set is next on the list).

50. What is holding my back in my craft?

An inability to hold myself accountable. Yes, I am calling myself out on my shit. I set a reminder on my phone (a daily reminder at that) to prompt me to meditate. Yeah, hasn’t happened in a while. A long while. I did all this work to create a witchy room of my own, and I don’t spend much time in it at all. This is the issue. And I know it. So now I just have to actually work to overcome the problem.

51. What is my pre-spell/ritual routine?

Being quiet and reflective. But wait, I’m already quiet, so how is that actually part of my routine? It’s different. Yes, to the outsider, I appear to be quiet 90% of the time (some might put that percentage higher, so good for them). Truth is, however, that my mind usually has about three or four tangents it likes to travel along. So pre-ritual or pre-spell, I’m doing my best to hone all those tangents in on the purpose, on centering and grounding.

52. What are my ultimate witchy goals and how can I work toward them?

My ultimate goal is to reach that equilibrium, that aforementioned point where my life is intention-filled and pretty much just infused with witchiness. I don’t have grandiose ideas of being at the forefront of a revolution, or even being among top leadership; I don’t need the spotlight, I’m good with just getting recognition when it’s pretty obvious I deserve it (yeah, I heard it too). I want to be there for others on the path, to share with them and learn with them (or from them, because if you’re doing it right, you’ll always be able to learn something).

Working toward these goals? That should be easy. Just hold myself accountable, follow through on everything I set for myself, and remind myself that I’m not infallible and I will fall on my face as much as I will make the leap. That’s just how life is.

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