I keep seeing these words on social media, “Am I a real witch?”
Yes you are.
What is a real witch anyway? Robert Cochran, the British witch who is famous for bringing Traditional Witchcraft into the public eye in the 1960’s, once said, “If you call the spirits and they come then you’re a witch!” I have to say I agree with this assessment 100%. When I was a little boy, I would often see ghosts and other spirits. Unfortunately, like most children, I grew out of this by the time I was 8 years old but I always felt them around. There has never been a time in my life that I did not feel the spirits around me. Does this make me a witch? I believe it does. However, I have known many people that did not start to work with spirits and magick until later in life. This does not make them any more or less of a witch then anyone one else.
Let’s take a look at what witches do. If we look at the most basic things, witches call energies and spirits. That’s pretty much it. But, there are many many many different types of witches. There are witches who use these energies to heal. There are witches who work with the dead. There are witches who work with the Elves, Faeries, and Nature Spirits. There are witches who work with astrology and the stars. And on and on. I have to admit, when I was first studying Traditional Witchcraft I thought that unless you were calling ancient chthonic gods and conjuring the dead then you were not working with “true witchcraft”. That was me coming from a place of ego. Thankfully, I have met many talented witches who proved me wrong. I have seen many powerful Wiccans, Luciferians, and ceremonial witches who are doing great work with the spirits and the community.
Now, let’s look at the word itself. Different cultures call magical people different things. In English speaking countries, the word “witch” has come to mean anyone who honors the old gods, the earth energies, stars, the dead, and folk traditions. However, in other places the term “witch” may translate to something else entirely. For example, in Lakota, I would never call the spiritual leader a “witch”. Partly because they have a different understanding of that word.To them “witch” means more akin to dark shamanism or sorcery performed to cause harm. But if I am asked if I practice witchcraft I give a very proud “yes” and do my best to educate on what the modern definition is on that word. In many African countries, they also have a similar definition of the word witch. I personally feel that we need to be respectful of different cultures and different definitions of words. A shaman is not the same thing as a witch, but some witches do have some similar things in common with shamanism. For example, some witches astral project, perform soul retrieval, work with animals spirits, and many other things. But again, I would not call a shaman a witch because they have their own word for the type of spiritual work that they do. With our modern witchcraft movement, I am very grateful that we are reclaiming the word to mean “powerful”, “feminist”, “activist”, “healer”, and yes also “necromancer”.
What if you have no training? I am very grateful to my teachers, both physical and spiritual. I could not be where I am without them. But, that’s just me. If you are self taught and you get the magical results that you desire than that is wonderful! For me, I am the type that needed some guidance because I used to second guess myself all the time. So for me, having a teacher was very helpful. When I started my magical training I had no desire to become an ordained minister in paganism. None. I didn’t care about degrees or titles. All I wanted to do was to honor the gods and ancestors in my own way and work my magick the way I wanted to. I was still a witch. It wasn’t until later that I felt the call to be a spiritual leader and teacher that I took the role of clergy in my community. If you are not a priest or priestess then your magick and roll in witchcraft is just as valid. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Being a member of clergy is a different talent than being a witch. They can be combined or exclusive. It’s really up to you and what you are called to do.
At the end of the day, if you are happy with your magick and your spirits than the only validation you need is your own. No one can validate your experience except for you. Teachers are great, but experience is better. We are very blessed in this day and age to have many books accessible to us as well as facebook groups, websites, and blogs that can help us along our path. So are you a witch? Hell, yes!