Within the realm of Earth worship there are numerous paths one may explore. Most people are familiar with Wicca or may have heard of water witches or South American Shamans, yet there are also innumerable, less popularized paths and subsects of those belief systems. In following the rabbit hole of your own journey you may have noticed certain themes that pop up in different places, threads of wisdom weaving together varying perceptions of divinity into a tapestry of cohesive interpretation. The moments we find ourselves identifying philosophies that we had a visceral understanding of and having that validated by divine records are why we do what we do. Enlightenment. The continual process of refining our beliefs and living a static experience is what makes our work valuable. But what of the kitschy witches? No, no, not kitchen witches. The ones who dive into the magickal realm because it’s so en vogue. This may be another theme you’ve noticed, or have perhaps taken part of unintentionally. Working in this world in our daily lives, as both of us at Salem’s House do, it becomes clear that this increasing number of people turning to the Earth paths has brought with it some misinformation (Internet, a double edged sword isn’t it?) as well as a stream of beautiful witches that more dress the part than actually understand what it means to be a witch in our modern world. Let it be known I am not here to judge these new pagans nor am I here to condemn them. Just shine light for our new friends so they may be able to embrace their inner selves in lieu of compensating in the physical realm.
There is a profound difference between calling yourself a witch and living as one. Often, when we get started or are first introduced to the magical realms there can be an air of intimidation and a lack of comprehension when it comes to asking the right questions or finding the right materials. Personally, I’d long known in my heart of hearts I was a witch, but my circumstances didn’t allow me to explore what this truly meant until I was older. Like many people, walking into my first few metaphysical shops was intimidating to say the least. What do I ask? What do I need? How do I even figure out what my questions are? Without thoughtful prompting from a trusted colleague, friend, or shop clerk it can be very difficult to know anything more than you’re facing the right direction but have no idea where to go. Enter the internet and you are left with layers upon layers of conflicting information. Whether it is due to the age of social media, apathy for our current world governments, a longing to feel connected to others, because it’s damn sexy, or a combination of those and other factors, more and more people are adorning occult wear and raving about the benefits of crystals, “OMG!”, and complaining about Mercury Retrograde on facebook without really analyzing their own behavior or comprehending the implications of what they are talking about. (I won’t even address the Bindhis and feather headdresses, that’s a chat for another day.)
In the pagan community we are all liaisons for our way of life and each other. I believe most of us subscribe to this thought. In the book “Wicca”, By Vivianne Crowley, she described her path as leaving signposts for people, but not seeking them outwardly. For example, as a missionary would. Ultimately it is up to us to welcome seekers into our world and foster mentorship and trust, even if the path they ultimately choose is not the one they commit to. All of these experiences leave an impression and set an example. For this reason I have found that doing our best to embody the tenets of our personal path or higher self and leading by example is an effective way to impact change. Not only does this keep us true to ourselves, obviously, but it keeps us humble and cultivates a stronger community with safe magic and psychic development. When it comes to the “witchbae” profiles you see on instagram, there really isn’t much you can do. Is it worth an argument? Probably not. If you see a blog, instagram, or facebook post with content you find spiritually dangerous or deeply unethical (hurting animals, willy nilly hexes, janky talking board curses, etc..), message the admin of the page. Be kind, humble, genuine and explain your concern. There’s a chance they will get defensive and if so feel free to disengage. Often we find it is simply a circumstance of misinformation, and people have the capacity to be grateful for the insight. Besides, helping people feels good! Sharing wisdom feels good! Our oral traditions live on! And remember, work that personal growth magic! This is how we live in the spirit of the old ways.
I believe the silver lining here is obvious; swaths of people are looking for more in life. They’re turning to the Old Ways and contributing to the return of Earth worship in the Western world on a larger scale. As a community I believe we are meant to move forward embracing those who don’t ask for help and might be misrepresenting us to the outer world, love them anyway, we must embody the standards of our higher selves and deity while not shirking new witches based on their appearance, love them anyway. Love yourself for you, as we all are, are a divine being made of stars and energy and you are the future of your path.