Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...



Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]


Views: 16,509,459


April 20th. 2014 ...

Six Rules for Safer Pagan Sex: A Guide

Safety: Let's Shift Our Focus

A Pagan Perspective on Easter

Morality and Controversy in the Craft

The Oak King's Domain (A Story)

The Star Child


April 13th. 2014 ...

Magick and Consequences: My Experience with Sigils

Being a Worrisome Witch

Don't Talk Yourself Out of Trying Something New!

What to Do When the Spell/Ritual Flops


April 6th. 2014 ...

The Elements and the Quarters

Dark Moon Scry: Aries 2014

How the Wheel of the Year Works “Down Under”

13 Keys: The Understanding of Binah


March 30th. 2014 ...

Manifesting the Dream: On Religious Organizations, Pagan Abbeys and our Order

True Meaning of Community

Thoughts on Unverified Personal Gnosis

My Beautiful Grove- A Matter Of Perspective


March 23rd. 2014 ...

Spirituality and Social Change

The First Step to Anywhere!


March 16th. 2014 ...

From Christian to Pagan (Part I)

Nature And The Celtic Tree Calendar

The Teeth in the Darkness


March 9th. 2014 ...

Healing the Witch Within

Incarcerated Witches

Discovering Wicca as a Young Child

March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright


March 2nd. 2014 ...

Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward

The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role

Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?

The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects


February 23rd. 2014 ...

Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences

Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless

The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community

What Makes Us What We Are


February 16th. 2014 ...

The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief

Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing

Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence

Alternative Medicine – What Is It?


February 9th. 2014 ...

Words of Power!

The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse

Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings


February 2nd. 2014 ...

The Magick of Jewelry and Metals

Building a Magick Mirror

The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)


January 26th. 2014 ...

Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do

The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)

13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed

Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected


January 19th. 2014 ...

Open Letter to the Goddess

A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality

Social Conventions and the Pagan World

Reclaiming Independence


January 12th. 2014 ...

Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing

One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression


January 5th. 2014 ...

Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age

Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey

2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!

Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild


December 29th. 2013 ...

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)

13 Keys: The Might of Geburah

Beyond The Season of Greed


December 22nd. 2013 ...

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)


December 15th. 2013 ...

The Hex Murder of 1928

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)

Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)

Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots


December 8th. 2013 ...

Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey

Using Your Wand in Reverse

The Cry of the Soul

Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward


December 1st. 2013 ...

The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness

A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism

Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?


November 24th. 2013 ...

The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective

The Pagan and the Papacy


November 17th. 2013 ...

Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca

For Love of the God

A Threat to Religious Liberties?


November 10th. 2013 ...

Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?


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












Article Specs

Article ID: 11124

VoxAcct: 307594

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 2,735

Times Read: 9,645

RSS Views: 58,001
Being A 'Plain Clothes' Witch

Author: Kestryl Angell
Posted: October 29th. 2006
Times Viewed: 9,645

One of the most stringent tests of faith that a witch, or any pagan for that matter, can experience is austerity. Whether by personal circumstances, age, locale, income, life catastrophe or other cause, a witch or pagan without their tools -- and stripped to only themselves, the Gods and their faith -- never has an easy path to travel and thus it is one rarely chosen by practitioners on purpose.

Being a “plain clothes” witch is a hard path, indeed. Like most humans, we pagans like our pretties. However, sometimes it becomes necessary, especially in the beginning of learning, to step away from the shiny toys and pretty props and learn the underpinnings of our faith by practicing with our first and most basic tool, our selves. It can also be a valuable lesson to return to when experience shows us it's time for that set of lessons to be looked at again in order to help us 're-learn' a deeper appreciation for our faith’s richness.

Common among those with a strong Buddhist bent to their practice, this austere spiritual practice is one that both bestows upon the practitioner a sense of humility and also deepens one’s ability to see their faith is continually manifest in every rock, every blade of grass, every movement, every thread and in every breath of their lives…rather than something that occurs only at sabbats, esbats and community celebrations or when they sit down at their home altar of goodies.

Austerity often reminds us to place more value on the lives we touch and how others touch our own. It is a working that teaches both the beginning or the well-practiced and learned witch that he/she is never alone, never without tools, never without the vital aspects so necessary to his or her faith…and teaches it by stripping away the “trappings” that many so rely on to show the world or themselves that they are Pagan or Witches.

I hear much discussion, especially from struggling young pagans whose parents or other family and friends would not approve of their choice of faith focus, based upon the premise that without their books, their pentacle or pentagram, without their crystals and wands and lovely cloaks and magickal doo-dads they are so fond of…that they are thus stripped of their faith and/or religion.

Frankly, if they can be stripped of their faith by having their toys taken away, then they have much to learn from the very austerity I speak of. Such as these have not yet learned to use the one tool that every witch must have well in hand first before any of the other pretty magickal props can even function properly. The witch.

Too many people focus on the “kits” to being a witch (or other form of pagan) and get their start by crafting tools and finding neat rocks and gifting each other with bracelets of knotwork that they don’t even comprehend -- or even with what a binding is -- much less all the steps that must be considered in doing one properly and with good ethics attached. They care nothing for proper ethics at all, but tend to see a path of personal empowerment alone. They want the “easy way” into a religion that sets them apart from the things that they are moving to get away from in their immediate surroundings or in society at large.

I have news for you: Religion—any religion—is easy to get into. All that is required is that you have the “right stuff”…the right clothes, the right props, the right words, the right book, the right songs and the right viewpoints that fit in with those who also practice your religion. This batch of “all the right things” also does the magick of making you “instantly acceptable” (or so some think) … and just another one of the sheep that does what everyone else in that religion does and thinks is “right" regardless of whether other sources might teach something different.

Religion is about dogma, props and being common and predictable. Religion is the theatrics that most humans in the world mistake for a showing of Faith. It’s easy; everyone does it; join in and you can be one too! If Paganism is only your "religion", then gather your tools about you and rely on your props. Your magicks might even work…sometimes.

Religion is the dance people do to try to have a place for their spirit to fit into their lives when they don’t know where else to put it or how to, instead, let their spiritual path infuse their entire lives.

If, however, you truly wish to walk your talk, Faith must come first and be a repeated lesson throughout your life. Further, it must come from a deeper place than your friendly neighborhood “witch store” or online Wicca class.

Faith, unlike religion, is not so easy to live. Faith fills the one that knows it intimately to overflowing. Faith is a tool that comes from within, not from the objects so prettily kept upon the altar, one’s person or one’s shelves.

Faith is deepened by knowledge, but rarely shaken by it.

Faith is what imbues the objects most pagans fancy and is what makes those objects Sacred.

Faith is what consecrates the objects to serve the Gods and makes them extensions of our selves and our faith. We consecrate our Tools; they do NOT consecrate us.

To those struggling with being public with your faith, remember this: Faith is a deeply personal experience and you are not socially obligated to “share” it with everyone … most especially those who will show you disdain or judgment for your choice. True faith that is lived as completely as it can be will set you apart as an individual…not make you “one of the crowd.”

Faith is characterized by existing as an individual state of being.

Now, can this state of being exist with others? Of course it can! In the ideal Circle, Coven or faith family experience, your individual faith and energies will mesh in harmony with the other members with whom you practice directly and will weave them into a magickal song that the Universe itself sings back to your heart and soul.

However, any group is only as strong as its weakest link…so weak-willed persons who do not hold their individual faith in as high esteem as the rest of the group can often bring down workings that effect everyone involved. All the more reason, to my mind, to keep especially the initial stages of your learning in paganism close to your heart and deeply sacred, something totally for yourself and you alone. Finding others to fellowship with can come later when you are strong in your own foundations.

Learn your faith from within yourself and from the world around you, not just from the latest in a long line of cool books or the most well advertised coven you can find in your area. Books and groups are great for learning history, various practices and a great deal of information, but the internal processing of it must still come from you and you alone.

Find your security within yourself, not within the presence -- or lack thereof -- of the pentagram dangling around your neck. Understand that an altar is made the moment that you center yourself and place yourself in counsel with the God and Goddess; it isn’t just that cool room with the cool table in your basement covered in pretty, seasonally appropriate trappings.

Know the God and Goddess live within you. Have your personal relationship with Them established firmly so that no other person’s viewpoint can shake the balance within you on that note. Let your personal relationship with the God/dess be the foundation and reassurance that lets you smile with confidence when faced with a doubting public.

Learn from the Dark Times that a witch cannot be his or her tools. Tools can be taken away and destroyed. Faith cannot be so easily destroyed. The Witch IS the Tool… a willing, harmonious tool of the Universe whose faith, knowing and connection to his or her world is unshakable. You are this tool whether in flowing robes of velvet or jeans and a t-shirt in the woods at dawn making coffee on a campfire.

Witches and most Pagans are forever students of the Universe continually learning new topics, new ways of doing things, new tools, new knowledge of all kinds and then finding the ways to weave these new threads of understanding into the tapestry of who they are and what their practice is.

Their faith practice should always reflect positive growth in themselves and those they touch—even if they weren’t “popular” with the general public (or even their own Pagan community). They are students of LIFE, not just students of religion or faith.

If you cannot have books at home, then read at the library. What your library doesn’t have, they can generally get on inter-library loan. If you cannot keep a book of shadows, then memorize—our ancestors did, you can too. If you have to wait 1, 2, 5 or more years to be open about your practice until you’re out from under the oppression you’re influenced by, then use that time to learn yourself and YOUR relationship with Nature and the Gods. Go camping, hiking, fishing; spend time in the garden. Talk with the plants, the animals.

Speak frankly to yourself. Find your strengths and weaknesses and practice what you know of personal balance and honorable behavior. Good manners, being polite and giving service when needed by family or community, learning the value of duty and following through on one’s word, being a good, honest person—these are a goodly portion of the common ground between pagan paths and what they teach as behavioral structures for good living.

Learn… learn about everything! Find the places within Pagan practices that aren’t threatening in your immediate environment such as aromatherapy and herbalism, healing, mythology, associated handicrafts and history. Most of this sort of learning is generally non-threatening to mainstreamers who cannot comprehend your need for Paganism as a whole.

If you cannot wear your pentagram, carry a stone in your pocket. If you cannot gain a stone, find a fragrance that keeps your mind in sacred space, use it to draw your pentagram to your flesh daily and make it your “signature scent.” Learn about the more “OMG, you’re studying WHAT?” types of topics when you’re on your own and making all your own choices, in your own space.

If your faith is true, just like love, it’s going to be with you long after you turn 18 and you are out on your own, or out from under whatever other influences keep you from studying openly now. Learning appropriately can start at any time. You just choose how you learn, what you learn and when, tailoring it for your immediate environment so you can—you guessed it—keep the balance within yourself and your environment.

We are the Craft of the Wise, so be wise about your learning first. Being a witch, being a Pagan, isn’t about what you have, what or whom you know, what books you’ve read or what crystals you own, how cool your robes are or even how long you’ve been practicing. It isn’t about the Festivals you’ve attended, the number of classes you’ve taken or taught, initiations, titles and being a “big high muckity-muck.”

Though these are great examples of personal accomplishments in a human life, they are not what the Craft or in general, what Paganism is about. Being a pagan, being a witch is about how you and your Universe relate, how you stay in balance with it and how you and the Universe compliment each other. It’s about how you live.

So, that being the case, don’t show the world you’re a witch by the books on your shelf, the robes in your closet or the pentagram around your neck. Show the world what a witch or pagan is by being a good one.

Keep your faith for yourself first and those that respectfully ask for more information later. Then when the public has no reason to fear you, you can educate… informing them, if and when asked, about this path that guides you to feel, think and live as you do.

When those around you have come to understand you and to admire your work as a person on a human and community level, you have—unknown to the common mainstreamer—already quietly opened the door to an understanding for the ones you’re trying to educate (and may previously have bludgeoned with your religion) and you are doing so without the resistance created by fear and misunderstanding arising as a hurdle to be negotiated with every step.

Thus, you have accomplished the very difficult task so many before you have struggled with in the name of the freedom of our religion: the task of teaching the mainstream that we may be a bit different, but we are not to be feared.

And you have accomplished it by simply being who you are…a good witch...a good Pagan…a good person.






ABOUT...

Kestryl Angell


Location: Columbia, Missouri

Author's Profile: To learn more about Kestryl Angell - Click HERE




Other Articles: Kestryl Angell has posted 16 additional articles- View them?

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




Email Kestryl Angell... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)

To send a private message to Kestryl Angell ...



Pagan Essays
1996-2014





Pagan Web
8,000 Links





Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.





Pagan/Witch
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 1997-2014 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
1996-2014










 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).