Telling Fact from Fiction
Myths And Truths About Witches
I think it is important to look at some of the misconceptions and misunderstandings about witchcraft. You can read more about this subject in my books “Witch in the Boardroom” or “Witch in the Bedroom”.
MYTH: Witches are satanic
Possibly the most damaging and still lingering piece of mythology is that Witches are satanic. Witches do not believe in Satan. Witches do not even recognise the concept of Satan, as it is, in fact, a Christian construct and we are not Christian. Satan is a fallen angel, rules Hell, and tempts those to sin in Christian doctrine. Again, we are not Christian, so we do not buy into the idea of Satan or even the conceptualization of sin and Hell.
The idea of a horned man, wildly and inappropriately sexual and evil can be traced back to the misunderstanding of the pagan masculine entity, the God. The God was the partner of the Goddess. He typically was depicted as the powerful figure of a stag, fully realised with huge protective antlers. His sheer life force was one of vitality, virility and fertility. This beautiful, inspirational, peaceful masculine face of the Divine was soon tarnished and denigrated into a horned, hoofed, sex-crazed figure by the new religion Christianity. The horned Devil was born.
TRUTH: Witches are educating society in regards to satanic labeling
No doubt, there are Satanists out there. Some of them may even choose to call themselves Witches. But these groups or individuals are not the majority, and they differentiate themselves from Wiccan or other pagan groups.
Although the practice of witchcraft is debatably the fastest growing spiritual practice in Australia, the UK and US, we still battle satanic stigma. At time of writing, in my country Australia, less than five years ago we had some very archaic Anti-Witchcraft laws repealed. This change enables Witches to have the same legal rights against religious vilification as any other spiritual practice. Some of the objectors to the repealing argued that we did not have a true spiritual practice and that society needed to be protected against the spread of Satanists. The overturning of this law was the result of three years of intense lobbying by the Australian pagan education group the Pagan Awareness Network. Even as we celebrate this victory, we know that our work is far from over.
MYTH: Witches are part of a cult
It is easy to see how it could be misunderstood that a coven is a cult. All that mind control, all that chanting and clandestine meetings. And what about all the secret magical business that no one knows about?
Most witches in today’s worlds would describe themselves as solitary. This means they do not belong to a coven or to traditions that require this kind of training. Covens are groups of likeminded people who come together to focus and release energy for specific purposes and to worship according to a tradition. They do not control members in any way and people are free to leave at any time.
TRUTH: Witches are part of a legitimate and evolving spiritual practice
The Witches Way is not evangelistic in nature. We do not recruit members nor do we ask others to. There are many different paths to the Goddess and we believe all are valid as long as they Harm None.
The pagan path is the oldest kind of veneration on earth. It is also a legitimate one and is recognised as such by many official channels. Wicca is officially recognised as a religion by the US military, it is included in Interfaith conferences all over the world and in Australia and UK its members are protected against discrimination on the basis of religion.
I believe that as more and more people decide that the Witches Way is for them, the more important it becomes to educate society on what we are and what we believe. As such, I am often asked how to best ‘break the news’ to relatives or friends. My advice is always to not make this a dramatic thing. Ensure your own motivations for wishing to share what your spiritual practice is unmotivated by grandstanding or self promotion. You don’t have to wear a pentagram or tell everyone about your latest ritual to proclaim your faith. Instead, you may choose to allow the positive effects of following the Witches Way to become apparent in your life, which will become obvious to those around you. If people care about you they will be happy for positive change for you. You might also wish to give them books or literature to give them a bit of education on the subject.
MYTH: Witches interfere with free will
The image of a Witch casting a spell to control the actions of her “victims” is still a potent one today. In the past, Witches were often accused of controlling the minds of their victims and in the burning times it was easy not to choose to take responsibility for ones actions and to blame a witch for ‘making you do it’. Those accused who made confessions would blame the Devil (yes, the Devil made me do it!) which is also a breach of free will and a surrender of personal responsibility. The idea that Witches commonly cast spells to ensure that someone falls in love with them or their client is something I deal with almost every day. By asking a Witch to assist you to make someone love you or fall in love with you again is impacting the target’s free will. It also breaches our central tenant of Harm None. I will have no part in this kind of spellcasting and neither will any other ethical practitioner.
TRUTH: Witches empower themselves and their clients.
One of the central guidelines of many witchcraft paths is the idea of Harm None, and by interfering with anyone’s free will, I am changing the natural way of things and enforcing my will over theirs. Real Witches do not engage in this behaviour.
For example, no matter how desperate the case, I will never cast, or assist anyone to cast, a love spell that involves a specific ‘target’. Instead, I will ask the person to refocus their intention on what they want, list the attributes of the ideal partner they wish to attract, and cast for that, not a person they know. That way, no free will is being affected. If the person my client desires is in fact the person that that the Universe sees as ideal for them, the person will be attracted. Wonderful! If not, there will be someone else more suitable that will enter the scene. Wonderful! A Win/Win situation!
TRUTH: Witches can curse you
Yes, an experienced witch can indeed curse you…it’s just that he or she would not! Just as a medical doctor has the knowledge to heal or harm you, this is the same for experienced witches. Whilst there are unethical and unlawful people in every profession, a witch agreeing to cast curses for you or on you is rare. Why?
Well one reason is what we call the “Threefold Law”. We believe that what you put forward comes back to you in magnified ways in consequence. So if I assist people ethically, I will have positive consequences come back to me. If I assist people to curse or curse myself, well I get those negative consequences back to me. I like my life- I’m happy getting all that positive energy back thanks!
Is there any occasion in which we may use curse energy? Yes, paradoxically in healing. We may raise destructive energy to assist in removing disease from the body for example. Many pagan practitioners from many cultures in fact do this, including shamans.
What is Paganism?
What is a Witch?
Spells & Rituals
Cycles & Timing