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Invocations of the God and Goddess
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June 22nd. 2014 ...
Witchcraft vs. Religion
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Dude, You're a Witch!
Article ID: 14529
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,636
Times Read: 7,239
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Author: Liam Cavanagh
Posted: June 5th. 2011
Times Viewed: 7,239
This essay may offend those Male Witches who have piercings, crazy tattoos, dark clothing, and horrible hair, or those that partake in the Gothic subculture and/or those over the age of thirty.
I warned you.
Weíre young, weíre cool, weíre out all weekends on almost every bender you can think of; thereís nothing funny about us, weíre just guys. Dudes. You see us on the street, in the clubs, the restaurants, the malls Ė we all look pretty normal, man. Weíre builders, lawyers, and writers. Iím talking about guys like me. Guys like us. Witches. Male Witches.
We, like everyone else, have the same Pagan beliefs as everyone else [give or take a few]. We worship the Goddess and the God. We have our altar at home, in our apartments, the candles, the wands, the incense, the rituals, the drums, freaking our housemates and roommates out every so often. We even make our magickal circle look as elegant as yours.
The only exception however, is that weíre dudes.
We get given a lot of flak for being who we are, Iíll tell you right now.
That, and weíre under represented.
You girls have it easy; when you tell people youíre a Witch, people just sort of nod and smile. You can dress up any way you like, wear those darker coloured dresses, and wear all that jewellery, that dark make up. You can pull it off, easy. Iím not saying all female Witches do it because they donít. Some girls, you canít even tellÖ However, the point is, is that you girls arenít going to get much jib-jab for calling yourself a Witch.
We dudes just donít have it the same. We get triple raised eyebrows, quick glances left and right to see who else is cracking up, and a punch in the shoulder and before you know it youíre the laughing stock and someoneís buying you that drink because they reckon youíre pretty weirdÖ but thatís cool, right?
Take me, for example. Iím a reasonably charismatic guy, and I like to present myself as best as possible because I know itís my confidence thatís going to get me somewhere in life. Dark blonde hair, blue eyes, tall. I wear my Lacoste and my chinos; I play sports. I keep to a pretty hip group of people, and I go out most weekends, work my ass off during the week. I look after myself. I run, swim. We go out to restaurants, have nice cocktails, meet girls and boys, and spend our Sundays looking over the new project in the garage.
Football is another matter.
Point is Iím pretty normal to most standards. I donít wear black clothing. I donít suffocate myself in all this jewellery; I donít have weird tattoos on my arms. And I wear deodorant. I donít hang out with those Goths on the corner because I think thatís where I fit. My hair isnít long and dark and full of wax.
And this is where it all stops. People donít believe me if I tell them Iím a Witch. Even if I tell someone whoís reasonably educated, theyíre going to look at me funny, and they do. The number of times Iíve had to convince people I wasnít lying and that this is my religion, well, if I had a dimeÖ you know the rest.
But even after Iíve convinced them [or I think I have] Iíve already lost the impending fight. They wonít believe a single word I will say about it, because Iím suddenly a break in the standards they would normally expect. Their illusion of Witches is suddenly shoved aside and well, if they believe me, then so be it. But more often than not, itís just not the case at all.
They canít seem to break the fabric, the one that only really includes females that dance around Ė naked Ė under the full moon going crazy. They really canít see past that. Because A, why would a person of my status involve myself in witchcraft, and B, ďNo way, you just spent last weekend at the football and then got drunk with your buddies afterwards. I mean, come on, thatís silly. Youíre being silly.Ē
See what I mean? They think Iím silly. And they donít believe me.
You girls really do have it easy. You have no idea how much crap we have to deal with.
It would be all fine if we dressed in black and dyed our hair black and had an infinite amount of piercings in our face, didnít wear deodorant [yes, you do know what Iím getting at here], and spoke in monotonesÖ that would make it easier. We could tell people weíre Witches, and weíd get some recognition and some form of respect. Maybe not the respect that is wanted, but at least we wouldnít have to sit down for hours convincing our friends that we really do love God Ė albeit the female version Ė and getting them, our good friends to take us seriously.
But thing is, we all donít. And some of usÖ donít want to.
Take me for example; Iím a little image phobic. I know if I wear that hoodie to a job interview, Iím probably not going to get it. When Iím just walking around in general, I like to look fashionable. I like to look tidy, and reasonably clean cut. You wonít find me with a tattoo anywhere. I come from a good family, letís be honest. I realise the whole world isnít as conservative anymore and if I do have that sleeve tattoo Iíve always wanted, well then I donít think it will be too much of an issue in life. I guess it all depends on how we are individually raised and our different values and I definitely stay true to my roots.
I know a few other Male Witches who run the same track team as I do. You couldnít tell them off the street. Some of them donít say anything because theyíre tired of the same-old-same-old when they talk about their religious affiliation. Then there are the few others I know, the more hippie-like ones, who wear tee shirts with holes, the long hair, the tattoos, a very bohemia-Witch-chic look I guess you could say. They donít get hassled when they state their religious affirmation, because thatís not really a big surprise coming from the guy with the bong [Itís a hollow wand!].
To those who do dress up in dark clothing, have the piercings, the dark make up etc., I hope I havenít offended Ė weíre getting into a major subculture here and thatís fine. There are many male Witches out there who do that, and thatís like, cool. But thing is, the majority of the population believe that if you are a Witch, apart from being a woman, that Ďwe all dress like thatí and Ďbehave like thatí. And we all know thatís not a fact.
It gets worse too, especially if we go out, and youíre with your friends, non-Pagan friends of course Ė typical. Youíre at a bar or club with all your friends; itís a good time, and youíre chatting up all these good-looking girls and boys. Obviously itís not the time to bring out the religion card, unless itís that important to you, however if it is youíre pulling it out at the wrong placeÖ Anyhow, it just so happens that one of these boys or girls youíre hanging out with is cool and you kind of like him/her. And he/she kind of likes you and you can work the rest out.
But then your buddy Jackson thinks itís funny (though claims to respect your religious choice) to ask you about the Witch thing. And then the person you have your arm around kind of looks at you, smirking, waiting for an answer, mouths ďWhatís he talking about?ĒÖ It really all just goes downhill from here, and in two directions. That person gets scared off and goes back to her friends, or this person is Ďopen-mindedí, and wants to Ďunderstandí you but really you know what that means. Jacksonís destroyed your mojo and your dateís friends are all giggling away.
However the more relevant and probably more critical example is your professional life and this is where it gets serious, whether that is in an office environment, you may or may not be a Law Graduate, or youíre just the supervisor of a video store. Itís all the same. You expect to have a bit of professionalism at any job you take and in situations like these, the religion card can be pulled for any number of reasons. But, for relevance, the example will be my own.
Iím comfortable with my religion, and in any situation, regardless of who I meet, whether it be the Prince of Wales or the President of the USA, my role model or my own boss, Iíll tell them what I am, and who I am. Iíll say it proudly and normally can counteract any missile questions that seem to follow.
Iíll say it, donít you worry. Iím very driven in life. I like powerful people and I surround myself with them. Iím a very lucky Witch. I tend to treat it like it is a religious choice [and so should you] and the seriousness of my nature normally convinces them and shuts down any annoying questions. Unfortunately itís inevitable that I lose a little respect, you know?
As I said before, some of these people have even asked me why I would involve myself in Witchcraft; I mean, its Witchcraft, right? Respect is important for me but at the same time I try not to compromise my own beliefs or my own self in order to impress anyone. Iím a Witch; Iím male. Thatís weird to them, letís be honest. But it does pain me sometimes, and I do lose sleep over it depending on the situation. For that reason, sometimes I donít tell someone so as to avoid this situation because really, itís a little difficult sometimes and more so than just the normal run-of-the-mill discrimination Witches get in general.
Nonetheless the question still stands Ė why should I have to be ashamed and even do that? Iím an open-minded guy and more often than not it just comes out like a verbal machine gun. I want to be respected, and according to my Star Sign, I Ďcommand respectí. But I donít want people laughing at me, unless itís because Iím a really funny guy for other reasons [which I am].
We all know why we shouldnít be calling ourselves a Warlock although I am aware that many a Pagan actually does use the term. But thatís the other thing people say, ďIsnít a guy like a wizard or a Warlock? Yeah, youíre a Warlock [realising wizards donít exist right?]. Only girls are WitchesÖĒ says the person who thinks he/she knows more about your religion than you do. This is the biggest most single annoying thing in the world for me personally. It pisses me off, to put it bluntly. Itís incredibly frustrating when people in life just donít take you seriously, and for something thatís actually genuine.
And this is where it gets infuriating. I attended a Pagan festival in a nearby city several weeks ago. I brought a few Pagan friends along. I think I was wearing jeans and a shirt, and wore my necklace which consists of a beautiful Goddess symbol, and a pentagram (all on the same chain) which Iíve worn for years; the Goddess to represent my faith in the Mother, and Pentagram which to me is a symbol of humanity, and my religion, and path as a Witch.
However I was talking to a group of people around my age who seemed really nice and we had been chatting for a while. We were outside, the sun was shining, and there were tents everywhere. They told me they were going to be doing a Meditative Circle for the opening of the weekend-long festival. One of the girls, who seemed to be the inst igator of the group (there were several of them) , invited us to join. But suddenly another girl who I had noticed talking quietly with the others interjected. ďWeíre a closed group Mandy. If weíre going to be inviting people to join, at least make sure theyíre Pagan.Ē
I replied, ďIíve been Pagan for over 13 years now.Ē
ďYeah well you donít look like one to me, let alone a guyÖĒ Mandy told her to back off and I wished Mandy a good weekend. She later contacted me that weekend to apologise.
Am I sensing something silly in the Pagan Community itself?
As a Male Witch, a dude, you can see this issue is thoroughly important to me. And I think for many dudes, it will be correct for them too. But why is it important enough that I write something about it? And why is it important for you? Iíll tell you why.
I last wrote the ďReluctant to be a Witch?Ē essay recently published, and I touch upon a couple of points from it here. However the response I got was not what I expected at all. I thought Iíd get the usual, ďYou know, youíve got a pointĒ and though I did, I received even more emails from guys, Male Witches and just Male Paganís in general which really surprised me. They told me a few points in the essay really hit home for them, which made me realise I had landed on a gold mine without even realising it. Iíll tell you, normally we guys keep this stuff to ourselves, and we get on with it, because standing around moping is forÖ you get the dealio.
Itís important for we guys because you know, I think we cut more crap than we should. We as Male Witches tend to get left in the corner, because itís a reality that our religion is sourced from the Feminine Divine though we donít mind this, of course (thatís why we left Patriarchal behind) . We accept this but some traditions we are not even allowed to be near because a bunch of woman think Womenís Mysteries are for women. Thatís fair enough I guess, but for a religion that is progressive as ours, and accepts people from all walks of life, in particular transgender, why should it be gender specific? Who draws the line saying for example that transgender cannot be involved in some Dianic Traditions?
Itís important for we, as Men, because we want to be validated and accepted as an equal contribution to the Pagan Community. It may well be that the ratios arenít exactly on par, but weíre a growing trend too. We want to have the same recognition within the religion, and outside. Iím not saying we should get credit for things we havenít done though. I just think that with all the specialised womenís traditions in Paganism, and significant role models, there is a very large lack of support networks and role models for men. It is important for we men to feel validated, not because we want to be better and superior again, but because we feel our own journey is just as important for any Maiden, Mother and Crone.
Would a suggestion of a National Male Witch Awareness Week be too much for you? Probably, but it makes you wonder how many support networks out there for Pagan Males, doesnít it?
On a public scale, itís just as important, if not more, to propagate the fact we are a religion of men and women, and not just a religion of Womenís Mysteries. This will be particularly important as Paganism becomes more mainstream and there are two reasons why: obviously for one, it would be silly not to, but for two, it obscures what our religion is really about, an intrinsically linked organism of the Feminine and Masculine. I might even suggest that the disproportionate ratio is why, although men like the idea of our religion, they cast their eyes away.
More importantly, itís just another integral part of the public education we are undertaking, and one that needs much more of a spotlight. Yes, we need more education for the actual term Witch and what Witches are really about, but we also need to spread more awareness that men are included in the package too. And that we arenít that weird. A lot of us do dress up in suits and have professional jobs, go to the gym, dress fashionably and even may have prominent status in the world.
In terms of this issue, itís clear that further questions jump out to me. Do we need to create more networks out there to support our growing male Pagan Community? There are male traditions, but is there more work to be done? What about our male Pagan role models, especially for the young Pagan guys theyíre churning out these days? The women are fantastic but where is the Masculine Divine in all of this? Do we need some more go from some of the exclusive womenís traditions? Surely they could send some of their magick our way. And finally, do we need more recognition in the Pagan Community?
Because we guys donít like being left out, we want to be taken seriously in our professional and personal life, and in both the Pagan and Mundane Communities. We donít like being the weirder ones, and ultimately our religion, and the Pagan Community is one that fundamentally links the Masculine Divine, and the Feminine Divine, something that really should reflect the people whose lives belong under the Serpent banner.
Copyright: Liam Cavanagh
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
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