Pagan Lite: Being A Non-Magical Witch in A Magical World
Author: Charmed Boy
This article is one I had hoped to put off writing for a while. It is a continuation of sorts to the first article I wrote entitled When Walking The Path…Wear Shoes.I am what I call a “non-magical” Witch. I don’t cast spells or perform elaborate rituals. That may be fine for most of my Pagan brothers and sisters but it’s not really my thing.
I first realized magic and spells weren’t my thing when I attended the last Samhain celebration hosted by my friend Fran. As many who have read my first article know, Fran was the High Priestess of a group here in Arkansas called Net-per-netjer which means “beautiful house of the Gods.” Fran was an amazing woman. She meant business when she donned the crown of Isis and acted as High Priestess and conducted rituals. She also cared about the people who attended the celebrations.
I remember one occasion; it was after ritual. Fran had made a delicious feast of ham and colcannon. My father and I had both attended but my father preferred to observe from outside of the circle. He’s not Pagan but he is very supportive of my choice of faith. Fran made sure everyone ate. I was sitting in the front room watching a movie when I heard Fran’s voice from the kitchen.
“Chuck! Where is your father?”
I shrugged. “I think he’s in the car.”
My father is the type of person who doesn’t like to get into other people’s way when they are doing things like ritual. Fran frowned.
“Tell your father to come in and eat something.”
I went out and got him. Fran made sure he ate before we left. That’s just the kind of person Fran was. Always concerned with the welfare of others. After that, Fran and I didn’t see each other. Not because there was an animosity between us but because we both had things going on in our lives. We e-mailed and spoke on the phone quite a lot.
One day last year I sent an e-mail to Fran just to say hi and see how she was. I got a reply from her husband informing me that Fran had passed away. I miss Fran very much. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her and the good times we shared. Attending those rituals made me realize that, that sort of thing wasn’t what I wanted.
I took some time for meditation and reflection to decide if being a Witch and Pagan was really for me. I walked in the woods near my house and listened to the birds and the wind as it blew through the trees. During these walks I posed questions to myself. Do I really need to practice magic and perform rituals to consider myself a Witch and Pagan? Do I really need all the trappings that go along with it, such as candles and incense and athames? Where am I meant to be? I asked the Goddess and Fran for guidance. I asked them to speak to me and give me a sign if this is the path I am meant to be on.
One day I went out for one of my walks when WHAM!! The answer hit me like a ton of bricks: You don’t need to practice magic or perform rituals to honor the Goddess and or God.
I have spoken to other Pagans and Wiccans who have told me that if you don’t practice magic and do rituals you ‘can’t really call yourself a Witch and Pagan’. I believe differently. The definition of “Witch” as I understand it means “wise one” and “knowledge seeker” and that Pagan means “country dweller” I believe we are all Witches and Pagans, regardless if we cast spells and perform rituals… or choose not to.
I have come to realize things about my faith and myself. I am both a Witch and Pagan and am very proud of that fact. I wear my Pentacle with pride. Whenever a Pagan holiday or Full Moon comes around, I pray, make an offering of thanks to the Goddess… and that is pretty much it. No muss, no fuss. For many other Pagans and Wiccans, the lighting of candles and incense, the chanting and casting of a circle adds to the enjoyment of ritual, and that is awesome. I believe everyone should be able to do his or her own thing, whatever that may be. Goddess knows, I don’t have the right to judge someone by what they do or don’t do.
Occasionally I’ll read an article on Witchvox.com about performing ritual and working magic. Want to know what is magical to me? Standing outside on a cool night when the moon is full in the night sky and glows like a big orange night light. Talking to my best friend on the phone and hearing the sound of her laugh. Seeing the sparkle in my godson’s eyes when he is excited about something. Stepping outside in the wintertime and smelling the sharp, fresh, cold scent of the air and seeing the freshly falling snow on the ground. Seeing the leaves in the Fall change color from green to red and orange and yellow. Smelling the scent of burning leaves and wood. Eating handfuls of candy corn. Sipping hot apple cider on a cold October day while going on a hayride with my dad. Feeling the power and ancientness of All Hallow’s Eve. These are my rituals. This is my magic. This is the way I honor the Goddess.
Do I believe those who do cast spells and perform rituals are wrong? Of course not. Fran did, and seeing the joy and power it brought into her life was an amazing thing to witness. When I am asked what my choice of religion is and I tell them “I am a Witch”, the child within me claps his hands and squeals with glee. I laugh whenever someone asks me if I fly around on a broom. I smile and say “No but I wish I could. It would make getting from one place to another a lot more exciting!”
In all seriousness, I am very proud to call myself a Witch. Walking the path I have been walking for the past 12 years has made me the person I am today. I am a little wiser and a lot more compassionate and forgiving. I am humbled and honored daily by the compassion and endless love the Goddess has shown me. We are all her children, regardless of how we choose to honor her. I cherish the Pagan and Wiccan friends I have made, especially Fran. She will live on in my heart and in my memory forever.
In closing, to all my Witchy brothers and sister out there I say this to you: Be comfortable in your own skin. Don’t let others tell you your way of worshipping the Goddess and God is wrong. Wear your Pentacle with pride! These are indeed magical times!