ii. Definition of ‘witch’

The following are my definitions of witch stemming from my heritage and experiences. This is a basic outline of the type of witchery you will find on this site. Please use the menu on the right for detailed articles.

There are three main definitions of which I am aware.

1) witch as etymological & ethnic root

witch is an English word so the belief is that a witch can only be a practitioner of the Germanic/Norse ways

2) Neo-Pagan

a witch is a practitioner of a nature-based religion or practice, who almost always does spellwork, usually honours or works with gods. Could be Wiccan or any number of new labels – green witch, kitchen witch, and more

3) universal

a person who follows certain practices, but more importantly, has particular views of reality, fate, the world, nature, sacredness.

From my experience and knowledge, the idea of ‘witch’ goes beyond borders. I respect that ‘Witch’ is specifically of the English Isles, but other than a few differences, namely lore, our similarities abound to make One – witch, bruja, strega, hexe, bruxsa. So I adhere to the third basic definition.
Those insistant on the “witch only equals a British witch” are ignorant of the line that supercedes bounderies, of the power that is in the Land, Earth. ‘Witch’ is simply a label, a word, my family and the Old Ones did not name themselves, and if someone today insists upon its limited definition, they are likewise limited. The realm of spirit is beyond – beyond time, space and the physical Now.

Gods

A witch of the Old Ways has no deity at all – the knee does not bow.
There have been many witches who have combined their ways with the culture they are born into, whether paganism, Christianity or some other religion. But witchery at its core is not paganism.
The witch recognises elements of the Greater Reality in somewhat anthropomorphic ways, but they are never Beings in the religious sense.

Nature & Religion

A witch of the Old Ways is not simply a member of a ‘nature-based religion’ or spirituality. That is for Wiccans and some neo-pagans. Even most serious neo-pagans would not label their religion with that phrase.
Nature is fuller, deeper, and richer, than honouring the moon, trees or plants, or following seasonal Sabbats or lunar esbats. It is more complex and expands into the Great Void.
Not all witches come from ‘agricultural’ societies, that is such a misleading, singular, rose-tinted glasses view of the past.

It is NOT a religion. If it is a religion to you, that is fine. But let me explain why I disagree that being witch is of a religion.

Firstly, the original meaning of religion is lost to us. But we know that it evolved from a latin word meaning to bind or be tied to. In its present form, religion means binding to gods. Witches don’t have deities, we therefore don’t have a relgion.

If you love cooking, devote your life to it, teach others, find it is a sacred thing, does that make cooking a religion?

I chose cooking for a reason. Witchcraft cannot be a religion because it is a set of crafts, practices, things witches do. Isn’t religion about beliefs? In fact, even ‘witchcraft’ is merely the non-witch word for what non-witches think witches do. It is a term denoting certain practices that ANYONE can do, not just witches. Witchcraft is really witchcrafts – it is not not one craft but many.

If witchery, being witch/bruja, is a religion to you, that at least makes more sense. Yet this is only because the word ‘witch’ has evolved to mean so many things.

Magic

What we do is not magic, that is for sorcerers, mages, occultists, Neo-Pagans, etc. Sorcerers are similar to witches, and I believe that most people have mixed up the two. We either tend to have sorcery witches or folk magic witches. Niether is what the primal witch is.

Magic is bending forces with your will to create change. The witch never, ever bends forces.

Many witches dabble in folk magic, some even in sorcery, but that is the witch’s prerogative, those things do not make her a witch. Just as many witches work with tarot, runes, or even astrology, but none of those things are inherently witch.

Ethics

This gets special attention on so many websites. Witches do not have any code of ethics, creeds, etc, that are associated with organisations or religions. Some state that witches rely on their own sense of responsibility. This is true to a point. It is more that we are creatures of Fate. In the web of Fate we understand that no part of the web can be pulled without affecting the whole web. We choose what we do wisely, regardless if it is traditionally ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

We don’t measure responsibility against morality at all, we are willing to do anything, but there is a price. Our decision comes down to what price we are willing to pay. We also don’t use a moral yardstick to judge what others ask of us. Some witches will do anything. Others, like myself, will remind the querent that their Fate lines could get very messy.

I know that this is unpalatable for many of the new-age, but that is the way of the primal witch.

In many cultures, we do have ‘black’ and ‘white’ witches, but this is a description according to non-witches’ views of morality.

Main Fate

A witch of the Old Ways is a traveller into the unseen realms. She crosses the hedge. But she is not shaman. The role of the witch is as keeper (that is as far as I can say, please don’t email to ask).

Spirits

Elements of nature (plants, animals) are her allies. Witches believe in spirits. Not ghosts, but spirits. Depending upon your culture/tradition, this might be called fearie, sprites, and so on. Some witches believe in spirits as separate entities, other witches believe that all spirits are unique expressions of the earth, if you will, and not separate beings. The most primal belief is in spirits of natural organism: a spirit of a plant or rock.

Death

We do not believe in ghosts. We believe that the spirits of the dead return to the web of life. We believe that powerful witches or other peoples, like some shamans, remain as the Old Ones, whilst others return to stones, rivers, weeds, trees… We are from the Land and to the Great Land we return, we do not become ethereal beings roaming the earth.

Festivals & Ritual

Ritual has absolutely nothing to do with being a traditional witch. It is like a dedicated Formula 1 driver using a bike to win the race. Why!??

I’m not against ritual at all, some of my family do it. I also think that in this day and age, there are a lot of hereditary brujos who are displaced from family (which is the motivation for my website). If ritual helps them get to where they belong, then it’s a useful thing.

Some witches celebrate festivals, like solstices or full moons. Traditional witches don’t. We don’t understand why you have to celebrate that the moon becomes full every month; was it not expected?

Pagan-witches do tend to celebrate such events, yes. Traditional witches do have ’sabbats’, as in gatherings. If there are enough like-minded witches around, or just Family, they might engage in revelry like everybody else, and throw in some rites while they’re there.

Witches are very practical and sceptical. Yes, sceptical. We don’t accept truths unless they have been revealed to us personally. We go about our work with simple tools, herbal mixtures of 2 or 3 plants, no correspondences, and no elaborate rituals.

The brujos say – we work from the belly.

Powers

Witches are not psychics. If I had a euro for every time somebody told me they thought they were a witch because they and their mother were psychic, I could purchase Amazon.

Witches have absolutely NO special supernatural powers. We are allies with the spirits. Our insights come from our deep relationship with the spirits, with nature.

We do share traits amongst ourselves, but not special powers.

Symbols and Books

Witches are not only sceptical, but extremely secretive and cautious. We do not write things down at all, full stop/period. Those that wrote things down were not witches, they were sorcerers or mages.

Likewise, we do not have symbols. Any written language, whether words or symbolism, as part of what we do, is against our ways. We don’t have pentagrams, or squiggly sigils. Sigils come from occultists or mages, not witches.

Symbols are very powerful things. But they are human made and therefore not our interest. A shape or form in nature has more meaning to our ways.

Light/Dark

Both are essential to wisdom and life. But the witch of shadows embraces and seeks to Know the Darkness, the First Void, the Primal Force, the Serpent, the Dark Mother.

Other

The line is matriarchal. This does not mean men cannot be witches, but the line stops at a male, the female carries it.

Contact Me
Feel free to ask me any questions.
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