Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Observing the occult; An Interview with a Wiccan.

A few months ago I began a project to delve as deeply as I could into the occult, in all of its forms, without actually practicing it myself. I'd become interested after reading Peter J. Carroll's Liber Null (1978), and though I poked fun at Carroll and the book in an article not long after finishing it, I wanted to read more. After weeks of sifting through odd library books and trying to separate the fact from the fabricated on all the expansive electronic resources the Internet had to offer, I realized that reading was only going to count for half of the job. There'd have to be footwork and there'd have to be faces.

Without knowing where to start, I found myself back on the Internet. I was worried about the credibility of any sources I might find there, but after speaking privately with a number of people involved with modern paganism and witchcraft, the shovel found the chest. Unfortunately, like a number of other projects I had in the pipeline, my adventure into the occult was cut short by declining health, growing lethargy, and all the setbacks associated with them. There's always next time.

I did get to speak with a number of magick practitioners while I was still firmly set to the rails, however, and many were happy enough to allow me to interview them for an article. Unfortunately, even after regular correspondence, only one of the five people I was in contact with got back to me. Her name is Teal, and she is a practicing Wiccan from the United States. The questions were brief, but I have to thank her for giving me as much insight as she could.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

T: My name is Teal (real name!); I live in the Midwest US and I’m studying for my Bachelor’s in Secondary Education. I like reading, math, and philosophy.

How and when did you become drawn to the practice of witchcraft?

T: I’ve been studying Wicca for a little over 2 years, along with my boyfriend, who I’ve been dating for three years. I was inspired by a friend who had been practicing for many years. His beliefs interested me, and I had been tired of the Christian dogma for a while.

How exactly would you describe witchcraft to someone who knows nothing about it?

T: Witchcraft, magick, and ritual are the Wiccan version of prayer. It is "the art of bending energy to your will." And it is an art, one that takes practice. The generally accepted time it takes to become a witch is a year and a day. One can become a Wiccan whenever one decides, but there are skills and philosophies to learn to be a witch. Not all witches are Wiccans and vice versa.

How has witchcraft impacted your life? Have there been any cons as well as pros?

T: I chose Wicca because I wanted to raise my future children more loving and accepting. It’s turned out to be pretty great for me too. Wicca has given me something more in life, just like a born-again Christian. I’m a born-again Wiccan! I have something to believe in, and I’ve learned to be more accepting of people and to be angry a little less. But it’s been hard. It can feel isolating having to not really talk about it, especially when I’m excited about a big revelation.

Is it true that there are dangers involved in witchcraft?

T: The biggest danger is being ostracized if people assume that, because you’re a witch, you’re evil or satanic. As for dangers in actually casting, let’s first talk about spell backlash. Ordinarily, you'll draw the right amount of power for a spell instinctively. But if you try to draw too much and can't control it, the consequences can range from a headache to drawing the attention of something you don’t want, which is my next topic. If magick is done right, with the proper precautions- cleansing, casting a circle, not being reckless- nothing is going to harm the practitioner. But if a witch deliberately goes outside the guidelines and starts causing harm, they’re going to draw the attention of entities that feed on negativity. And they’ll feed on the person, drawing off their energy and making them sick. It's part of the Rule of Three. Whatever you put out comes back to you times three. It doesn't mean that if you break someone's arm, you'll break three bones. But you might be inconvenienced three times the inconvenience they're suffering.

Are you open about your practice or do you prefer to keep it a secret?

T: I am careful about talking about it, which is the expectation, not to bother people. I won’t hide it if asked, and I freely wear my pentacle, but I wouldn't go around proclaiming it.

Are you connected with any other practitioners outside of the Internet?

T: I practice with my boyfriend and two close friends. We're a tight knit family. I also try to teach others because I have a unique Tradition, through which I feel I have a lot to offer.

Would you recommend witchcraft to others or does it take a very certain kind of person to be able to take on the art?

T: Not everybody can do this. It takes someone who is patient, willing to give a spell the time to work. It takes someone dedicated to following without exception the Wiccan Rede, which is “Harm none, do as ye Will.” Mostly, it takes someone who is loving and accepting to begin with. To us, all paths are valid. There is no room for spite or hatred in this religion. All are welcome, as long as they do the same for others.

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