Friday, November 06, 2009

The True Power of a Witch - Introduction

I am a witch. A lot of different images and thoughts may come to mind when you read that, depending on your perspective. There have been a million and one (give or take a few) essays, articles, and books about what a witch is or isn't, and I'm not going to write another. Rather than providing yet another definition, I'm going to focus on what is, in my opinion, the single greatest tool and power a witch - or anyone - can work with.

Most witches practice some form or forms of magic. This is not stage magic for entertainment, but serious, concious effort to affect change using natural laws and forces. Aleister Crowley provided a definition of magic that I like, claiming magic to be "the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will." Indeed, being a witch is all about change, and nowhere is that more applicable than within ourselves.

As a follower of a nature-centered spiritual path, my personal walk also involves an attempt to live in harmony with nature. Mention "nature" and most minds turn immediately to the physical earthly environment. We've seen how important living in harmony with our environment is and the damage we've caused by not doing so. But the nature I refer to also includes me...I am every bit as much a part of the natural world as the rivers and trees. Part of my walk as a witch is to learn to live in harmony with myself and others.

For all the effort, mundane or magical, we put into changing things outside ourselves, we can expect only so much in return. Why? Because we are not the only actors and we are not in control. We have influence in the world, influence that can be increased with knowledge, skill, and applied will and intent, but we have control over only one thing. We control only ourselves - our behavior, our thoughts, and our emotions.

Through the power of personal choice, we have control over more of our lives than most of us know or acknowledge. The power to choose what we do, what we say, what we think and believe and, to a large extent, what we feel is inherent. It cannot be taken away from us. Circumstances can create limited or difficult choices, for sure. Yet even when the choices come down to "do or die," that is still a choice. Understanding, claiming, and using the power of personal choice is the power to create inner harmony.

One of the seven Hermetic Principles, The Princople of Vibration, comes into play here. I have not put in the time and study to call myself a serious student of Hermetics, but I have come to understand the Principles as universal laws. Like other universal laws, one need not ba a student to witness them in action. The Law of Vibration states: "Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates." Students of Hermetics seek to control their own vibration and, through that control, to influence the vibration of others. Of this law, it has been said, "He who understands thePrinciple of Vibration, has grasped the sceptre of power." Even without trying, we see evidence that the state in which we find ourselves, our vibration, if you will, influences the people and events around us.

I cannot count the times in the last five years or so that someone has said to me, "You have the most peaceful aura about you," or, "I feel calmer just being around you." Why would that be? Perhaps, despite all odds, I've been able to reach a vibratory state that is calm, confident, safe, and peaceful. Maybe...just maybe...I have found the center of my own personal power, and while I'm not perfectly in control all the time, I'm aware of and in touch with the choices I make about what I think, what I believe, and how I feel about and react to what happens to and around me.

My life was not always so, and while the steps I took and continue to take to reach this state were abundantly simple, it would be a boldfaced lie to say they were easy. Simple and easy are not synonymous.

It would also be a lie to say that I have it all figured out and nailed down in some sort of plug-and-play process. I don't. No one does. I've hestiated to broach this subject for so long precisely because it's impossible to tell someone, "Do this and you'll be happy." It's a very personal journey, one that requires a lot of intimate time with yourself, painful honesty, and constant catching of yourself in cherished lie after cherished lie. It's hard work...and the results are worth every single uncomfortable, foundation-shaking, long-look-in-the-mirror moment. Reclaiming power over your own life is dirty work with a huge payday. The kicker is that, in this sense, we live from payday to payday; the work of staying in touch with our own power never ends.

In a series of posts, I'm going to talk about my personal experience in reclaiming my personal power in my life. My experience is not unique, I'm sure, nor is anything I will share here groundbreaking news. We all have the same power, always have and always will. We give up that power and put ourselves into positions of victim or pawn, moved and controlled by forces inside or outside ourselves, forgetting that we are the source of most of those forces.

These posts will talk about how we can take back that control through:

What we believe
What we choose to think (and think about)
How we behave
How we feel and why we feel that way
Why the words, "I can't help it; it's just the way I am," should be wiped from your vocabulary
Why we create our own prisons and lock our own doors
Why then, no matter how bad it was, is not as important as now

I hope anyone reading will feel free to join in the conversation. I believe it to be one of the most important conversations we can ever have.



  1. I'll be back to re-read when my brain is working better (g). I'm looking forward to more !

  2. "Simple and easy are not synonymous." So true.

    Also so true that you can't tell anyhow "just do this" and *poof* you'll have your stuff together. We can help each other along, for sure... but it's almost like the path to enlightenment (or whatever you call it) was consciously designed in such a way that only the person who has figured it out for themselves can find it.

    Oh... well, duh! It just hit me as I was typing that... of COURSE it was designed that way. (:::wanders away muttering to himself, chasing this new train of thought:::) ;)

    Excellent post, and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the series!

  3. Well, well, well... "One day at a time". How do you think I FINALLY got seven years "clean and sober"? I took back the control, and I made the right choices, you knew me back in the day. I was so out of control. But today, just for today, I have choices... and I have healthy energies that I control.

    So much of your awesome post here reminds me of when I worked the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, step five... admitting to yourself and another person the "exact" nature of our other words, take a personal inventory. I do everyday now.

    I love this ... it's given me a fresh outlook on my sobriety, and I'm eager for the rest to follow.
    Absolutely amazing... Thank you!

  4. Thanks for the comments, everyone.

    @IndigoSatin Your brain works better than mine most of the time; when you get settled down, come back and talk some more!

    @WitchGeek I'm enjoying the image of you wandering around muttering to yourself like some crumudgeonly professor chasing some brilliant thought around a rabbit hole! Laughter aside, you're so right; it is a very personal journey and no amount of talking about it can change that. My hope is that by sharing my journey, and people like you, Saulamaye, Sitara, and others sharing your insights, something will spark the thought that will send someone wandering off on their own journey to their authentic self.

    @Saulamaye Yes, darlin', I knew you when...and your light was never "out" even when clouds swirled around you. I cannot tell you how much joy I felt when I saw you at Beltaine and you said, "...six, almost seven, years clean and sober." Look out world...this one's gonna SHINE!

    Thanks for singing along...the music's rockin'!

  5. You said it all and summed up my experience in coming to a nature-centered path:

    It's a very personal journey, one that requires a lot of intimate time with yourself, painful honesty, and constant catching of yourself in cherished lie after cherished lie. It's hard work...

    Been there, done that. I totally agree that "the results are worth every single uncomfortable, foundation-shaking, long-look-in-the-mirror moment."

    Thanks for sharing such profound insight, Linda.

  6. Anonymous10:11 PM

    I look forward to reading about your journey! ~Zephyr


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