Old Teen Essays
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Article ID: 4827
Age Group: Adult
Posted: October 21st. 2002
Spilling Our Guts
"WitchVox does NOT teach Witchcraft, Wicca, Heathenism or any forms of Paganism, nor do we give out spells, rituals, affirmations or charms."
It is so stated on our 'What is The Witches' Voice?' page and has been since 1997. Yet each week, we receive requests for spells or for some other tidbits of 'secret' knowledge. The e-mail usually begins with, "I know that you state that you don't give out spells, BUT..." and then is followed by all of the myriad of reasons why we should renege on our policy 'just this once' because the person writing has a special problem or a special need or is just a special enough person to warrant some...well... special attention.
Now please understand that we are not heartless. We don't like saying "no" any more than most other people do. This entire project was conceived to be a viable conduit for the news and information that will both facilitate and encourage Pagans and Heathens to not only network in their local communities, but to interact on a broader and global scale. We also offer essays and other venues wherein Pagans and Heathens can offer some of these magickal helpful hints. We are, at our very core, people who wish to be of service. And some requests really do tug at our heartstrings.
But there are very real reasons why we have the policies that we do. And they have nothing to do with the much touted, so-called 'dangers' of sharing magickal knowledge with the uninitiated. Neither do we believe that power shared is power lost (quite the opposite, in fact) nor that these requests are necessarily frivolous in nature. We have a deep and abiding respect for all those who are genuinely seeking wisdom and knowledge. We like to encourage that sort of thing. The Gods surely know that the world has great need for people of spirit and of wisdom in this uncertain and somewhat perilous age. But it is these very gifts that are beyond our powers to bestow. And it is these gifts that are perhaps the real and unrealized request behind most of the questions that we receive.
One 'Google' search for "Book of Shadows" produced 86,600 returns. 'Spells' found 1,480,000. (Now that's one major league caboodle of spells!) And even if you are not that personally confident in your own spell crafting abilities, there apparently are some 51,700 'spell kits' available somewhere to further help you on your way to casting success. Stores and shops have shelves groaning under the weight of the many tomes of Pagan and/or magickal lore. So much for mystery. A whole lot of Pagans have obviously been spilling their guts. So I'd say that a lack of venue, visibility or availability is not the problem.
The lack of genuine spiritual depth is.
Perhaps for those who view and practice witchcraft as an occult art, the mechanics of a spell or charm when added to the personal intention or will of the practitioner is sufficient for that purpose. When such as these state that "anyone with these qualifications can be a 'witch' (i.e., a magickal practitioner)", in this context, they are most probably correct. I harbor the outmost respect for the good secular occultist and/or witch. I know quite a few. However, it gets a bit more complicated for those who follow the way of Witchcraft or any other path/religion that combines magickal arts with spiritual practices and beliefs.
For those whom the magic(k) cannot be disengaged from the spiritual element, mechanics alone are not enough. What they seek is not so easily manipulated into being. It is, in fact, a gift from the Gods and can come from no other source. And this is, I believe, what so many are really trying to conjure up with spells and rituals. And also the reason that so many seekers go away discouraged and disillusioned.
Many people today hunger for a real spiritual connection to their Gods. In most of the popular Pagan press, spells and/or rituals are generally designated as the quintessential magickal doorways that lead directly into Their presence and so, it is understandable that so many seekers have bought into this line of training. What these operation manuals often do not reveal -- if, giving them the benefit of the doubt, the authors are indeed aware of it themselves -- is that neither they nor anything included in their works will bring you to the realm of the Gods Themselves. For that realm --and that grace -- belongs to Them alone. They beckon whom They will. They admit whom They please. And none here on this plane can give anyone a special pass that guarantees otherwise.
That is why we do not teach the secrets of Witchery or of charming/spell crafting or of other magickal mysteries. For those who have not met with the Gods, these would be of little use and of even less satisfaction. For those who have entered into the realms of the Old Ones, our guidance would be none better than they themselves have already gleaned from their own experiences therein. And for those who engage the occult in the secular sense of an art, we have little to add that cannot be found in the lore and materials already available. Simply add your true will and stir.
I have been privileged in my lifetime to stand alongside a few truly spiritual beings. There are stories that some write or tell about such meetings and many, if not most, mention that there is a palatable aura that surrounds such people. There is a 'something' that one can feel in their presence that is impossible to describe, but very real. It is not charisma -- at least not in the banal way that the word is used today to describe actors and politicians -- with which it is often confused. Christian and Buddhist mystics describe it as a 'fragrance' of holiness.
Holiness. Now that is a word that one seldom hears spoken in Pagan company. Yet it is one that is much used in many religions that are far older than either Christianity or modern Paganism. 'Holiness as experience' is not the same thing as the rather boring and mechanical obedience to the standards of any religious dogma. Holiness, rather, here is that fragrance, that ethereal essence. which lingers upon those who have been in the presence of the Gods, the Ancestors or the Ancients. For how could not such an experience change a person forever? And why wouldn't that profound of a change be evident to those who come in contact with them?
I can tell you that I have stood in the presence of such individuals. The phenomenon is real. Whether a Buddhist, a Native American, a Witch, a Pantheist (How'd that happen?) or a Christian, each one of these people had it. And none could say how that they came by it save through seeking the one thing that their hearts really desired: the presence of their God or Gods (or Nirvana or the All). All that came with that experience --personal power, magickal prowess, 'supernatural' acts -- were simply fringe benefits.
It is a real shame that so many Pagans have such a violent allergic reaction to any works written by Christian mystics. 'The Dark Night of the Soul' or 'The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi' contain much wisdom, as do the writings of Julian of Norwich and Matthew Fox. We are more kindly disposed to Eastern philosophers, I suppose, and Taoist/Zen has its masters as well. Perhaps a visit to the 'religion' section of the library might once again come into vogue.
For there is still very little mystical work or writing that has come out of the modern Pagan communities, There are classical writings, of course, for those who are serious students of those religions. But by and large (with a few exceptions, such as perhaps 'Nocturnal Witchcraft', 'The Twelve Swans" or 'Wiccan Warrior'), we have over-focused on the mechanical magickal universe and almost totally neglected the spiritual one.
It should go without saying that talking about Gods and Goddesses is not the same experience as speaking with the Gods and Goddesses. But unfortunately that little nuance has been lost on some. I say that because there are so many books and web sites and 'teachers' and gurus who seem to go on and on about this God or that Goddess as if all their chattering could invoke some sort of magickal oil with which they can bathe themselves and then impart (for a price) to their followers. Mystics of all paths and religions know better.
And so perhaps we really should change our statement to "WitchVox CANNOT teach Witchcraft..." Witches and Heathens who have stood in the presence of the Gods know that. They know that they cannot give anyone mechanical guidelines or a printed map. They know that they cannot carry anyone else there on their own backs. They know that they cannot even really tell anyone else how to get there. All that they can do is to tell you that what you seek is real because they themselves have experienced it. And that you have to really want it above all else.
For you will seek only that which you desire with your whole heart. It is not a process, but a journey. The Gods are not easily assailed, but neither are They cruel. It is not the words in the spells and the rituals that They hear. It is the desires of your heart and spirit that reach Their ears and turn Their eyes in your direction. And thereafter and forever, it will be They who shall guide you in the Mysteries.
Even if we cannot.
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, October 21st., 2002
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