- Religion and Philosophy»
- Paganism & Witchcraft
Five Most Common Questions to Ask a Witch
No Such Thing as a Silly Question
Welcome! For the most part, I take the stand that there is no such thing as a silly question. People can ask me anything and I will attempt to answer to the best of my ability if I know the answer. Sometimes people have a sincere interest in something but are too timid to speak up. Sometimes they fear being met with derision. That is no way to encourage dialogue. So, no such thing as silly questions. In that spirit, here are the top five questions I have gotten asked and the answers. Please note that these are my own thoughts and are not universal or true for all Witches. I try to note that by saying “most” or “many” Witches before a statement but it isn’t always possible. That being said, this is for all of those who have wanted to ask but didn’t. Pull up a chair, the tea is on, so sit a spell. You may need to ask the cat to vacate the chair, though.
Question Number One: Do you worship the devil?
No. Just, no. Witches do not believe in that particular entity. As Sandra Bullock’s character in Practical Magic, Sally, stated - “There is no devil in the craft.” In fact, many Witches will tell you that they don’t actually worship their deities. They have a relationship with them. It is like having a very wise friend that you can talk to and work with towards a goal. The devil is from another pantheon entirely. Unless you work within the framework of that pantheon, then the devil has no bearing. That is like telling a Baptist that they actually worship Apollo. It doesn’t apply. For those who then claim that the devil disguises himself as other beings, again, no. Sorry. That is like telling the Baptist that Apollo is actually disguising himself as their god in order to deceive them. It is not in the belief system of that person so it will not compute. I will also state no offense meant to Apollo - I simply used his name for illustration. I am not, repeat, not equating him with any being known as the devil.
(Follow up question here: Do you worship nature?) Witches, indeed, most Pagans, have a strong kinship with nature. We believe that we are connected to all things. Nature also follows a rhythm. It awakens, it thrives, it produces, it readies itself for sleep and it goes dormant. As stated above, Witches do not really worship, but rather we work in harmony with other energies. Nature provides a model for us to observe. It also allows us to follow a rhythm of our own as we take time to plant seeds (actual crops or ideas or whatever), nurture, tend and harvest. A Witch’s relationship with nature and all within is often very respectful, sacred and caring. But no, we do not worship nature.
Question Number Two: Do you put spells on people?
The perception of spells that are given from the movies and TV are quite different from what a practicing Witch does. Many Witches strongly believe that it is wrong to do anything for another person without their consent. This even includes healing. Free will is very important to most Witches as is personal responsibility. Therefore, no, Witches do not go around putting spells on people. I would never cast, for example, a love spell on a specific person. If someone asked me to do so I would explain to them why it is a misguided idea. The better idea is to set an intent and work with energy to be more compassionate and loving towards yourself. When we love ourselves and are confident, it tends to attract love to us. I would also explain that it would work best if they did this for themselves and I’d offer to show them how. Now, about spells. No, they won’t change your eye color. They won’t give your enemies warts or turn them into newts. Spells, very basically, are a manipulation of energy to attract a desired goal or outcome. It will attract the energy that you are sending out, so it is in the best interest of the Witch to put out good energy. Some Witches believe in “The Law of Three” (that whatever you put out comes back three times stronger) and some don’t. But most can agree that the energy has to go somewhere. Therefore they are very precise with spellwork and mindful of possible outcomes. It is also my experience that the longer someone has been practicing, the fewer actual spells they do.
Question Number Three: Do you dance naked at the full moon?
This one usually gets a disappointed look when I say that most Witches do not practice sky clad, or nude. Some do, of course, but most of the Witches I have come across do not. The concept of sky clad came from the father of modern Wicca, Gerald Gardner. Now, I must point out that being a Witch does not automatically mean that one is a Wiccan. Think of it as two different spokes of the umbrella of Paganism. Some Witches are Wiccan but not every Witch is a Wiccan. Back to Gerald Gardner. He is credited with being the founder of Wicca. He was also a naturalist, or nudist. So, it was understandable that he would bring this into his spiritual practice. I will also remind you that a large number of practicing Witches hailed from colder climates. Think about it - yeah, exactly. Not fun to be freezing certain parts of your anatomy. So, practicing naked or not is a personal choice.
Question Number Four: What does your pentacle mean? Isn't it an evil symbol?
The pentacle is a very old symbol. The Christians used it and in the 1500’s it was illustrated on knight’s shields (such as in the case of Sir Gawain). It wasn’t until very recently that the pentacle, or pentagram (pentacle is a pentagram surrounded by a circle, a pentagram is the five pointed star itself) was associated with “evil”. It is believed that occultists of the 19th century began using the ancient symbol inverted to denote Baphomet, the goat headed god. It was also adopted, inverted, by early Satanists (no, not devil worshipers, there is a distinction, but that is for another conversation). It became associated with the occult and therefore deemed “evil” by the church. Today, it is a federally recognized religious symbol for the military and can be placed on military graves. What the pentacle symbolizes is the elements, Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit (points on the pentacle, Spirit being the single topmost point). The circle of a pentacle denotes unity. There are some who will say that Spirit pointed up is the correct way, with Spirit at the highest point. They say that if the point is inverted it signifies an imbalance, placing Spirit at the lowest point. Wiccans may use an inverted pentacle to show the level of initiation. Most commonly, however, the point for Spirit is pointed up and that is how I wear it. My pentacle is actually small. I wear it because it is a sacred symbol to me, not for shock value or effect. If someone is offended by it, they should understand that it is very meaningful to me. I would never presume to be offended by someone else’s religious symbol and I would never, ever tell them to remove it. That would be rude and arrogant of me, wouldn’t it?
What are your reasons for wanting to know about Witches?
Question Number Five: Do you sacrifice animals?
No Witch that I know or know of does. Again, many Witches, Wiccan or not, follow the Wiccan ideology of “Harm None” as best they can. It sounds simple but it is really very difficult to follow to the letter. Most modern Witches do not feel that it is right to take the life of a living being because we want something or because we wish to curry favour with a deity. Sacrifice means that you, personally, give up something - not that you take it from an innocent party. Most Witches do not feel that our deities wish for such a thing. Offerings are appreciated but take the form of flowers, libation or something similar, as if you were giving a gift to a friend. Normal friends, I hope, do not require a blood sacrifice to keep them happy. If so, you may be hanging with the wrong crowd. Most Witches love animals and many are involved in rescue or help animals in some other way.
Thank You For Visiting!
Sorry about all the pet hair. Here, take this lint brush. There are, of course, more questions. They will wait for another time. I have tried to answer your questions as honestly and as clearly as I could. Things that seem mysterious can also seem scary. It is my pleasure to help demystify some of these things. Hopefully you come back to visit me again for another chat and some more tea. Blessings on your path, whatever it may be.