Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...

Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]

Views: 20,626,037

February 17th. 2018 ...

A Little Magickal History

Men and the Goddess

Pirates and Witches

An Open Fire: Healing from Within

November 15th. 2017 ...


Pagan Artist Trading Cards

September 30th. 2017 ...


August 31st. 2017 ...

The White Goddess: A Seminal Work in the Neo-Wiccan Movement.

Gudrun of the Victory Gods

The Goddess Asherah

July 31st. 2017 ...

Cernunnos: The Darkest Wood in the Moon's Light

Truth and Lies: Finding Wicca

Sin Eaters and Dream Walkers

July 2nd. 2017 ...

Back to Basics Witchcraft: Magical Creativity for Small Living Spaces

On Preconceived Pagan/Wiccan Political Affiliations

A Distant Thunder: Should You Care?

On Cursing: Politics and Ethos

Ares and Athena

July 1st. 2017 ...

Elements of Magic

June 1st. 2017 ...

Herbal Astrology

The Sacred Ego in Mediterranean Magical Traditions

La Santa Muerte... The Stigma and the Strength

The Lady on the Stairs

Nahualli: Traditional Aztec Witchcraft and Totems

April 30th. 2017 ...

Nazis Made Us Change Our Name

Why the Faeries?

The Wheel of the Year in Our Daily Lives

Tarot Talk: the Knight of Pentacles

March 30th. 2017 ...

Magic in Daily Life

The East and West of Wiccan Magick

Tarot Talk: the Ace of Swords

March 3rd. 2017 ...

Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion

February 10th. 2017 ...

Understanding the Unseen

Kitchen Magic and Memories

January 10th. 2017 ...

The Gray of 'Tween

Becoming a Sacred Dancer

Little Dog, Big Love

December 9th. 2016 ...

A Child's First Yule

November 10th. 2016 ...

What Exactly Is Witchcraft?

A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities

On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans

What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)

October 10th. 2016 ...

Witchcraft from the Outside

September 11th. 2016 ...

Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess

How Did I Get Here? (My Pagan Journey)

September 3rd. 2016 ...

Rethinking Heaven: What Happens When We Die?

What is Happening in My Psychic Reading?

Nature’s Reward

August 12th. 2016 ...

When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch

Hungarian Belief in Fairies

Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament

Past Midnight

July 13th. 2016 ...

What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses

Magic With A Flick of my Finger

Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum

An Open Mind and Heart

June 13th. 2016 ...

Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality

Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia

My Father, My First God

Life is Awesome... and the Flu

May 15th. 2016 ...

Wiccan Spirituality

Faery Guided Journey

How to Bond with the Elements through Magick

Magical Household Cleaning

Working with the Elements

April 2nd. 2016 ...

Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected

The Evolution of Thought Forms

The Fear of Witchcraft

Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele

Magic in Sentences

Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess

March 28th. 2016 ...

Revisiting The Spiral

Still Practicing

Spring Has Sprung!

January 22nd. 2016 ...

Coming Out of the Broom Closet

Energy and Karma

Community and Perception

December 20th. 2015 ...

Magia y Wicca

October 24th. 2015 ...

The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans

Feeling the Pulse of Autumn

NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.

Article Specs

Article ID: 15835

VoxAcct: 417898

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 499

Times Read: 3,347

RSS Views: 6,511
Witchcraft from the Outside

Author: Nimue Brown
Posted: October 10th. 2016
Times Viewed: 3,347

I’ve never been a Witch, and have never followed that path in earnest, although I have my fair share of ‘Witchy women’ in my ancestry and I’ve read a lot of books. I first came into contact with The Craft as a child, due to my parents’ interest. A copy of Eight Sabbats for Witches joined the bookcase. My world widened. As a keen reader of anything and everything, as a Pagan Federation volunteer for some years, and running an eclectic circle I have been fortunate in being able to stand outside of Witchcraft and consider it. Truly, it has been a fascinating thing to watch.

In the beginning, there was Gardner – well before my time - and then Alex Saunders, and as Paganism and Witchcraft alike became better tolerated and understood, other people started raising hands and making claims. There isn’t much historical evidence to back up any pre-Gardenarian claims at all, as Ronald Hutton’s fascinating book The Triumph of the Moon makes clear. Absence of evidence is not quite the same thing as absence of history. It’s worth noting that often, the evidence for anything the poor were doing is sparse. Only the literate leave a written record. Only those who do not use objects to destruction leave clear physical traces. In history and archaeology alike, the poor tend to vanish.

We don’t know. Making peace with what we can’t prove is, for me, an essential part of any spiritual path. What interests me about modern Witchcraft, is not the murky history, but the visible trends I’ve watched over the last thirty years or so.

I was a teen when Rae Beth’s Hedge Witch book came out, and I remember the sense that everything had been blown open. You didn’t need a coven, or initiation or even access to other Witches. You could be solitary and self-organising (possibly aided by a book) . For me, this was a moment of great transformation and realisation. Nature is out there. Anything real can be found all by yourself, without reference to history or the authority of anyone else.

In the years since then, I see ever more Witches taking this same route, working with their own insight and inspiration, exchanging ideas in a fluid way that opens up the scope to make new traditions. The recent explosion of Kitchen Witchcraft as a movement would be a fine example of this. Two years ago, Rachel Patterson was the only Kitchen Witch I knew about... now there are many!

When Hedge Witches first came along, it seemed (from the outside at least) to be all about the lone Witch, working with whatever was to hand – with the hedgerow as a very literal resource. In recent years, I’ve noticed a much more shamanic-style aspect emerging around this. The hedge becomes a way of understanding the borders between this world and other worlds, leading to ideas of hedge riding as a form of travelling. This is something Harmonia Saille has written about. In the British landscape where hedges remain a dominant feature, it’s a powerful image to be working with, and one very rooted in the waking world.

Go back fifteen or twenty years, and Witches in the public eye would tend to be very clear about ‘White Witchcraft’. Pagans were a lot more vulnerable just a few decades ago, and much more likely to be attacked and accused of Satanism. I remember discussions within the Pagan Federation about the degree to which we needed to sanitise, or present a sanitised version to the world in order to be tolerated. Should we do that, or should we fight to be accepted as we are?

Nature isn’t all peace, love and light. Death and decay are part of the mix too, but talk about that and the ‘black magic’ labels would come out, and once you’ve been demonised, you can so much more easily be victimised. Twenty years ago, it would have been risky to put forward a book like Spellbook and Candle – Melusine Draco’s very even handed exploration of cursing within Witchcraft.

Times have changed, and I see far fewer people online angsting over issues of black and white magic. Years of discussions over what it even means to ‘harm none’ and how you balance up different kinds of harm, and need, have taken us from the stark, black and white debates to something a lot more nuanced. It becomes possible to talk about the moral and ethical uncertainties, the challenges and the decisions that face anyone on a magical path. For me, this is best summed up by the work of eclectic American Witch, Amythyst Raine-Hatayama who talks about standing in the shadows to ‘grab the powerful energy there’. “The gray witch does not live in a world of chaos or unbridled black magic. She has a code of honor, a sense of propriety, and a relevance in society today. Through shades of gray, the world of magick opens in technicolor, revealing the true heart of the witch.” (Taken from the book blub for The Gray Witch’s Grimoire) .

The heart of the witch, and the heart of witchcraft are topics of growing interest. We might glance back at Crowley’s talk of Love and Will to see the trajectory here. Looking at it from the outside, the magic of the 20th century strikes me as being very much about Will. The intent of the practitioner, has, I think, been in the foreground while their passion is in the background. Perhaps it’s inevitable that magic in a materialist and capitalist era must be all about the forcing of will. For all the peace and love noises of the Hippy movement, the Western World of the late twentieth century was not guided or inspired by love to any significant degree. As the consequences of this play out across the natural world, the need for care and compassion becomes ever more obvious. Across Paganism, I see people called to love and action – the anti fracking group Warrior’s Call would be a fine example of this, but there are many others.

I’m seeing a move away from ‘spells to get your every desire’ and towards a Witchcraft that is environmentally responsible and powered by love for the world. Deep spiritual engagement is, I think, becoming ever more important to Pagans of all paths. I’m seeing less quick fix magic, and more of a call to step up and be the change. David Salisbury’s book The Deep Heart of Witchcraft brings together all of these features, and it’s easy to see the influence of his heart-led mentor T.Thorn Coyle there, too. I interviewed David Salisbury recently, and he talked about how we need, as Pagans to ‘pay our rent’ and look at what we’re giving back to the world. To be people of the Earth, we have to take care of her.

What happens next? Where is Witchcraft going? My impression is one of increasing diversity, with all the various challenges that brings. I think the insular nature of pre-internet Witchcraft kept it more boundaried by traditions, but now that it is easy for people to talk to each other and share ideas, there’s an opening up. Druidry, by contrast, has been home to a lot of diversity for some time now – to the point whereby Druids regularly get unhappy about how on earth you define it, who gets to be a ‘proper’ Druid, and who isn’t. Watching Morgan Daimler (who does not self identify as a Witch) writing about Fairy Witchcraft, it’s evident that the field is widening all the time. The hedges are moving, and that has implications.

Diversifying can be seen as diluting. It can be seen as pick’n’mix, lacking proper roots, allowing anyone to say anything and generally muddying the waters. All of this can happen. At the same time, when a tradition diversifies, it moves away from dogma and authority. If we are all to be our own priests and priestesses, this move is essential. A ‘proper’ religion has structure and inbuilt control mechanisms. A spiritual practice is about personal conscience, and if you come back to ‘an it harm none, do what ye will’ Witchcraft has its foundations in strident individualism, not in conformity. While no doubt there will be bumps along the way, the process of opening out into ever wider possibilities is something I think will enhance Witchcraft just as it has enriched Druidry.

I see signs of diversifying all over the place. Non-authoritarian personal journeys are becoming ever more visible through blogs and books alike. There probably always was a great deal of variety in how people expressed this path, but the ‘in the broom cupboard’ effect may have made it less visible. There’s also diversifying in terms of moving away from the very narrow, heterosexual, white, middle class, western understanding of what it means to be a Witch that shaped Gardner’s version of things. Witches around the world are responding to the history, cultures and experiences of their own lands to find ways of being and doing that make sense here and now. This is a great strength.

Copyright: c. Nimue Brown 2015


Nimue Brown

Location: Gloucester, England


Author's Profile: To learn more about Nimue Brown - Click HERE

Other Articles: Nimue Brown has posted 2 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE

Email Nimue Brown... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)

To send a private message to Nimue Brown ...

Pagan Essays

Pagan Web
8,000 Links

Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.

80,000 Profiles

Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops

Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2018 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.

Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
Witches, Pagans
of The World

Search Articles

 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide

NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.

All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).