If you have been around the pagan community for more than 5 minuets you have heard these words. I have heard them over and over, from various different sources, and over time had many thoughts about these words. At first I thought it was pure rubbish. Recently I have begun to think they may be true. Wait wait hear me out. I think the words are true, but of course I think the way they are used is wrong. I think the general recognized meaning of these words is false, and should be examined.
The idea that the only way to become a witch is to be taught by the right person, with the right tradition, and the right level of initiation is utter and complete hogwash. Is it helpful to learn from someone? you bet. Is it nice to have some one to talk over new ideas and concepts? of course! Is another person needed? no they are not needed. it is nice but not necessary. If you have read either this interview or this one about how I came to this path then you can see quite clearly why I think this way. In short I thought I made this religion up and was practicing i,t when I found Power of the Witch in the library. I then learned other people practiced it too. Call it divine inspiration, collective consciousness, or what you will but having that experience taught me that I didn’t need to depend on someone else for my spiritual well-being.
That said I DO believe that only a witch can make a witch, and that witch is the witch her or himself. Again I think that paganism is a religion of personal responsibly. So putting your validity in someone else’s hands is just loony to me. I have heard the argument that people read a few books (or internet sites) and think they are a witch. First off what of it. lots of folks read a little about a spiritual path and then choose to follow it or claim it. When are you a witch after the first step the 100th or the 1000th on the path? I would argue that you can say I am a believer of this faith at any point. I have seen this time and time again where my students (and this has been almost everyone that has found me) calls me up and says “I think I am a witch.” having declared yourself as a believer of said faith, or as a witch. declares ones intention, and does indeed make said person a witch. Thereby the witch has made themselves a witch.
After this first step of declaration and decided that you are a witch, then the study really begins and it is not reading a book or two it is reading hundreds if not thousands of books. It is reading new stuff and old stuff. Science stuff and nature stuff. It is practicing and tying things on and seeing how they fit with you. I it is praying and meditating to find your path. Saying “I’m a witch” means among other things that you have just made a life long oath to always be learning. It is taking a life long oath to be true to yourself and to follow that path that is set for you. You are the only one in the end that can make you anything. Through work and study and experience and life you make yourself a witch.
And so it is true only a witch can make a witch, for you are the only person that can make you anything.
Two other emotions that may make a person feel like they can’t be a Witch is the number one complaint about everything “I don’t have time” followed by the “I can’t because I’m not good enough.”
“I don’t have time” well darlings I don’t know what to tell you. This seems to be heard everywhere, all the time, about everything. A couple of thoughts. One is that my daily practice is so integrated into my daily life and each item only takes seconds that it doesn’t seem like much time at all. Two is that if you really don’t have time to light a candle and say thank you for your blessings; you really need to make time to light a candle, say thank you for your blessings and ask for help with efficient time management. Look at your day and where you are spending time. Yes we all have the things that need to be done, but a lot of us (me included) waste time watching junk on tv and playing on Facebook. When you spend time on something you are giving it value. See if you can carve some time out for your spiritual self and give you more value then the electronics. I also love, love, love www.flylady.net! She has helped me more then I will ever be able to share with getting more organized. Love her! I have confidence you can solve anytime issues.
The question of ability is a little trickier. Some of it is real and some of it is self esteem issues. I have known witches who have been practicing for years but don’t want to do something in front of others because they feel they might not do it right. Or people who are at the beginning of their path who are not sure when they are qualified to do this that or the other thing. If you have a teacher they will let you know when your ready to try something. That’s the easy way out though. Really you are going to be a good judge if you listen to yourself, and are able to recognize doubt as what it is. For instance casting a circle. Lets say you understand how to cast a circle, you have practiced doing it. You have been able to feel the energy in yours. You have asked a teacher (or sought out in books and meditation) if questions arise and you feel confident in casting a circle for you. You are then perfectly qualified to cast one for a group. If you are having doubts or feeling nervous, talk to another member of the group. Tell them what you are planning to do and get feed back. I think some of this comes from people so used to passive religion. We wait for someone else to tell us what to do and how to do it. They preach to us and we receive. We expect them to do it for us. It is my belief that religion should not be passive. It should be joyous and enthusiastic. You should be active and involved. It is after all about your relationship with The Divine.
A note here about what I have heard (though never witnessed) about some covens. That a member must be initiated to do anything , and that only a witch can initiate a witch. Oh us human beings we love our hierarchies. Some are always more equal then others. Firstly a Witch is a Witch because he or she loves the God and Goddess and wants to worship them. End of story. Second is that skill does take time. The more you practice something they better you get. I am, in fact a big fan of doing an initiation (self or group) a year and a day after you have been practicing. Side note we call it practicing because you are doing something not just reading or studding about it. After that amount of time you do have some substantial knowledge and skill under your belt. However you are not going to get that skill if you don’t practice so you should be doing. If you don’t have a teacher (well one if you don’t email me and we can talk) and you are wanting to try something that you have not tried before; read up on it, meditate and pray about it. Figure out just how you will do it and then go for it. If you are checking the internet or even books please please please check more then one source; say 10 or 20 even and if 18 of them say one thing and 2 say something different you probably want to go with the 18.
Opinions about teachers. A Teacher that teaches out of love for sharing and for the God and Goddess is golden. I personally do not believe that a Witch should charge money to teach Wicca or share their knowledge. I actually find it quite distasteful and unethical. If you wanted to covert to Judaism or be a Baptist and showed up at temple or church they would not say I will teach you how to worship but first give me a hundred dollars. Yes many religions tithe but that money is supposed to go to the good of the whole congregation. I know that sometimes students want to thank their teaches. If you are so moved; thank them with homemade treats or flowers from your garden, not money.