Well, how does one even know, anyway?
I am certainly not a Capital Dubya Witch, since I’ve never been initiated into a lineaged tradition of Witchcraft. I’ve never studied with a Wiccan, or ‘Wiccan-esque’ coven. I’m not Wiccan, nor do I have any interest in being so.
Not because I think Wicca is necessarily entry level pagan spirituality (though it seems to often be glossed as such by individuals who started off in Wiccan practice because of its relative ease of accessibility, then moved on), but because as I understand it Wicca is at heart a fertility cult, and that particular expression of the forces that turn the World – the Great Rite, The Maid Who Births Her Lover, The Phallic King – Don’t speak to me really at all.
Also I’m not a Capital Dubya Witch since I’ve never been initiated into a line of Traditional Witchcraft, either. No one has bound me to their ways with the Red Cord of blood and knowledge.
In past years I might have sought them out (had I known such groups existed), but for now, I don’t feel particularly compelled to seek out a particular Tradition and join up. In part, it’s because my primary drive here isn’t to seek acceptance, Family, Community. Those things are wonderful, don’t get me wrong – but I sometimes get the feeling that a number of us on the Pagan path are here in a kind of constant unconscious desperate seeking for a soul-family that will please just take us in and comfort us and heal our wounds (and that some of these seekers, upon finding that their chosen family isn’t perfect, lash out bitterly at this knowledge). That’s not what I’m here for- neither that kind of seeking, nor the fallout it often engenders.
It’s also that for so many years I have read and gathered and listened and intuited and dreamed; pressing my ear to the door of Knowledge and trying to scribble down notes on the tantalizing, half-heard voices on the other side and sketching out the shape of a key that hovered in the edge of vision for just a moment, the lines almost converging-
So long that to join a Tradition at this point seems like… something that would take precious time away from Things I am Pretty Sure I Ought to be Doing. Time of which I have so little free – and magic and gnosis don’t like to be squeezed into a calender between work and laundry. I need time, time to drift and dream and go to the woods Alone, to lay out lines of possibility and make those lines converge. To draw the half-remembered key and fit it into the secret hillside door dappled with sun and shadows and the smell of ancient soil.
And what if I join a Tradition whose key fits a different lock? What if they don’t take to keys at all? Well and good, if I’m just looking for knowledge in general, nosing along the trail to see what interesting and unexpected game will be flushed (and that, fellow Journeyer, will happen anyway, regardless of the focus of your seeking – it’s one of the ways you know you’re headed in the right direction, after all). But – I’ve already got the lines of my key mostly filled in! I know the color of light that peeks through the keyhole on the door, and the way it quickens my heart! I know the path through the wood to get there, almost! I just need… time, and dreams, and luck, and those things I can get on my own.
So, I’m not a Capital W Witch. No matter, there are others… and this is a postmodern age, is it not? Can’t I just call myself a witch and make it so? Name the thing and it so becomes?
Well, not exactly – at least I don’t think so. More on that soon enough.