April 14th, 2011 (Publication; The Examiner, articles Wicca)
Original Title: What Being a Witch Means to Me
Examiner Title Given: What Being a “Witch” Really Means.
Author, Angelina Rosenbush
There is a saying amongst members of the pagan communities of Minnesota, “If you ask a hundred different Witches/Wiccans what it means to be a Witch/Wiccan, you’ll get a hundred different answers.” This is not so much for the lack of structure as many outside the Craft would like to say, but rather because witches are the kind of people who most often speak from our hearts as well as our minds. Faith or belief in any one thing cannot be clearly defined by any, except by the person or persons experiencing it. Many skeptics like to state that this is due to some form of delusion or lack of fulfillment in a persons’ own life that they need to reach out to some intangible ‘god’ to solve their problems or make them feel better, but this is an oversimplification, for any person, either heathen or ecclesiastic. Faith is different for everyone because everyone is different. It is in these differences that the spark of the divine hides within each of us, and from this quiet place that it finds its way to communicate and touch our lives.
So, then how is the Craft different from other faiths? The answer here is simple actually, it’s in the work. Witches/Wiccans can all agree on one thing, we do not simply sit and mumble prayers to our divine and simply hope that our lives and the lives of our friends, loved ones, or the world in general will get better, we work to make it so. And we work very hard. A witches’ training from the beginning should not only consist of learning the history and practices of the occult, but also a rigorous mental and in some cases even physical level of training. Being a witch means understanding a large history of heathen faiths and practices from all over the world, from the Grecian/Roman to the Celtic/Norwegian, and in some cases the training can even stretch into the Egyptian, Babylonian, and even Native Peoples faiths prior to the spread of Christianity and the Roman Catholic Church. Next comes learning the difference between the practices at those times in regard to deity worship, to the practices today based on cultural differences, world changes, developments in occult understanding and needs of the individual. With this in mind we recognize that Witchcraft or Wicca is a nature-based, polytheistic religion. We respect, recognize, and worship multiple gods and goddesses. We also train to understand paranormal and spiritual philosophies beyond the common understanding of the current scientific worlds. Although this does not mean that witches do not recognize science, we understand, study, and work with modern science believing the best healing comes from a combination of healing the mind as well as the body. After all, isn’t science, as we know it today moving towards more ecological sources of energy and earth-friendly ways of developing and bettering this world where we all must live. This is a philosophy that has guided us for millennia. Witches touch the earth; we are a part of it, not separated from it. With all this knowledge in mind then a witch must train their mind for focus, we all have to live daily lives like any other person, we go to work furthering our mundane careers, drop our kids off at school, head to a soccer game, etc. So, a witches’ mind must be able to balance this as well as their faith. This often requires long hours of practical study and meditation; it is a craft and like any other craft or art form you have to practice in order to get better at it. Finding just the right techniques in how to grow our gardens. Practicing the movement of our feet one step at a time to perform a dance. Herein lies the physical, there is a certain level of physical endurance that must be established in order to meditate, focus, and work, sometimes for moments or even hours on a given situation. It is this as I mentioned before witches and occultists in general do not simply sit and pray, we stand, we dance, and we move for our faith and our families.
With all this in mind Witches/Wiccans recognize that we are here not only for ourselves, but also in the service to others. Each person within the occult can usually tell you about a situation in which they themselves or someone close to them was drawn to the faith because they felt they could do more, that something was lacking, in their lives and the lives of others. Here is where the religion of witches differs; we are drawn to higher things not only for ourselves, but also for the purpose of others. To help those in need who seek us out because what they need is not easily found and help is required to look to something deeper. Witches dig deeper. We guide, we comfort, we influence, we teach, and we bend. It is a witches’ will, a witches' faith that lights the way to the mysteries beyond the veil of daily sight. The mystery needed by every human soul, to improve, to imagine, to grow, and to become more than we simply are.
Since this original publication, it must be noted that the Examiner articles at the time had requirements for not only definitive worded titles and would change the authors original title in this case What being a Witch means to Me, to the actual article heading given by the publisher in 2011 What being a "Witch" really means. The author is and has been well aware and outspoken in the community on the importance of individuality in the craft and in craft practices.