Egos and Magick|
Posted: January 4th. 1998
Times Viewed: 14,663
"You will always remain a neophyte until
you survive your first Witch war."
I had thought those were the words of an blind-faith disciple following an embattled and embittered elder. It would be simple enough to just not get involved with those kind of folks. A decade has come and gone since then, and ... well, let's just say I have a different perspective now.
Witch wars are about elders and egos. Have you ever seen a war that didn't involve an elder proclaiming that their way is best and right and proper? The easiest way to prevent a Witch war, it would seem, is to remove the elder. I truly wish that it were that easy.
One can remove the elder. There are many fine trads out there that are completely non-hierarchical. However, even they have been caught up in Witch wars. Is it possible, then, to remove ego from the equation?
Almost universally, teachers in the craft will ask beginners to suspend disbelief for a period of time. Allow, they say, the imagination to take control over the rational. After the student becomes comfortable using the imagination, there inevitably comes a point when they ask, "What is the essential difference is between imagination and magick?" For me, the difference is the will to believe that it will come to pass. One must believe that there is a source of divine energy in oneself that is both accessible and capable of changing reality. It takes a great deal of ego to truly believe that.
The Witches I know that heal their community and themselves are that way because they have a strong ego. Are Witch wars inevitable, then? The predisposition will always be there. Predisposition, however, is not synonymous with destiny. The whole point of being in the craft is making choices for yourself, and being responsible for the choices you make.
These are the choices I have made that help me stay out of the wars:
- Do you remember that tired old line, "live it one day at a time"? There's a lot of wisdom in that line. Make the best choice you can for that time and place, and don't be lured by "we've done it before" as a justification. I have done a binding on occasion because it was the right choice. I work very hard at it not being the preferred or usual choice.
- I live in an intentional community. I consciously work at getting along with others, even when they're exhibiting behaviors I don't like. If you sincerely befriend people, you are likely to see their anti-friendly behaviors change without conscious intervention on your part.
- I spend a lot of time organizing festivals. There are groups who have chosen not to attend based solely on our allowing another group to attend. I try to remember that you can not walk another's path for them. People must be allowed to reap the consequences of their own choices.
- People get caught up in their egos on occasion. This is especially true with Witches because ego is necessary for magick. I realize that getting caught in one's ego is happenstance, not inevitable. When I get caught up in mine, I expect and encourage my partner and my friends to call me on it.
- My first teacher in the craft told me, and I have since found it to be true, that elders are not defined by age nor accumulation of knowledge nor level of degree obtained. Elders are defined solely by how often they get called at 3am to help with a personal crisis.
- My home is, in the words of the Asatru, frithstead. Frith is the motivation and gumption to make and live in peace. Peace does not happen laissez-faire.
One Shaman's opinion. Your mileage may vary.
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