When I was about six or seven years old, I went outside on a clear spring night and gazed at the full moon. I believe that was the first time I ever felt something close to a religious experience, though I didn’t know it at the time. When I saw the full moon, I felt a sort of peaceful awakening inside of me. I had the feeling that I wasn’t totally alone in this world. I didn’t feel so much as there was some god staring down at me from the heavens but I felt a presence around me that I hadn’t felt again until I changed over from Judaism to studying and practicing witchcraft.
I guess the first opposition I faced with my new found belief was when I was sitting in a train station waiting to go home. I had bought a book about the occult and I was briefly flipping through it as I was waiting for my train to come when the man sitting next to me caught my attention. He said something along the lines of, “Witchcraft is bad. There are so many evil forces that can get to you and hurt you. You are better off leaving it alone.”
Basically, he had just come from watching the movie “Drag Me to Hell,” which was centered on dark magic. To him I said that yes, what he was saying could be true, but it is probably the biggest misconception people still hold against witchcraft in modern society. What I ultimately said to the man was that although there are some people who use witchcraft for petty reasons, personally, I don’t. The man then began to talk about the five-pointed star that many witches and Wiccans alike prefer to wear as a symbol of their faith. He said how it was a symbol for the devil — once again, a common misconception people still hold.
In reality, the five-pointed pentacle symbolizes the four elements: air, water, earth and fire. The last point (which is normally the top point) is a symbol for Spirit, God, Goddess, and deity, whatever the individual chooses to name it. It is the perfect symbol that expresses the earth centered beliefs of witchcraft and Wicca. The people who make the decision to practice witchcraft and Wicca have an unwavering and deep respect for nature and the environment. The first and foremost clarification that’s necessary to make is, Wicca is a peaceful religion and witchcraft is essentially a peaceful practice. Those who study witchcraft or get initiated into a Wiccan coven don’t wish the change the views of the world. In fact, if the individual follows the Wiccan Rede, it is against the very fabric of their beliefs to harm others. The popular line from the Rede is, “An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will.”
The life of a witch is just like the life of a Christian, Jew, Muslim, and so on. The life of a witch is just like any average person’s life. We go to classes or work. We have families and responsibilities, ambitions and dreams. Just like on Sunday when a Christian would go to church, witches and Wiccans have their own religious observances and special days. Personally, I fulfill my spiritual needs by taking daily walks among nature (at least as much nature that is available living in NYC). Observing the leaves blooming or falling is a spiritual experience for me. Letting the heat from the sun warm my skin is a spiritual experience, just as watching the different phases of the moon every night is a spiritual experience.
A witch dedicates time to learning and perfecting his or her craft when he or she has a moment away from societal demands. Understanding and perfecting the art of meditation is one of the things that I do in order to understand my craft as well as understand myself better. To practice witchcraft is to discover new things about yourself, humanity, and the world. I will sign off with my favorite quote from an unnamed Native American woman. “If you leave the Christian bible outside, eventually the wind and rain will destroy it. My bible IS the wind and the rain.” Now, enjoy some music.