This is an article I wrote a few years ago and it still stands to this day of what Traditional Witches are. Before I start I want to clarify that Wicca is a religion, Traditional Witchcraft (path of the wise woman and cunning man that I and my family follow) is NOT. There are exceptions though as a few pre-wiccan paths such as Shadakism, for example, do see their path as a religion.
Most Wiccans are Pagan but not all Traditional Witches are Pagan. Ok lets begin …
Traditional Witchcraft is not bound by books and laws that others have invented.
It is free of made up rules, free from the hierarchical bullshit that plagues other organised religions; but with that freedom comes responsibility, you are responsible for your own actions and intentions, good or bad.
Many years ago I was formerly initiated into the Craft by a Traditional High Witch Priest, and although it was an extremely intense magickal experience and something that will be carried with me for the rest of my life, I actually believe that it is your own higher self that determines what you are.
A Wiccan “Degree” is just a name, it does not automatically mean you are accepted as a 1st, 2nd or 3rd Degree Witch wherever you go. Any covens you join will re-initiate you into their own circle and belief system no matter what Degree you are somewhere else.
It is false to always assume that the higher up the Degree someone is, the better they are. That makes no sense – you become wise through experience, not from someone else judging what you’re capable of and sticking a label on you – but isn’t that what a true Traditional Witch is? The “Wise Woman” or the “Cunning Man” like old George Pickingill, for example; and not a hierarchal system with one-sided fluffy rules that Gerald Gardner and Doreen Valiente invented much later (during the 1950s), now known as Wicca.
Being a Traditional Witch means you are free to express your sexuality and your inner most desires. You are free to do as you please and you are well within your human rights to protect yourself by any means possible against the evil intentions or influences of others.
One very wise man said to me once “It only takes one kind man to let evil succeed“. This is the rule most Traditionals believe in and use – we feel that it is our duty as responsible people to act upon and bounce back any harmful intentions of others in whatever ways are appropriate. Nature itself can be kind but also cruel and will defend itself if cornered, why do some people feel they need to cower away from this fact?
Wiccans believe that whatever you “send out” comes back to you 3-fold, good or bad (karma). However, although we do believe in karma or wyrd, we do not all believe that karma always works only in this way.
We believe that if you do wrong without justice then your own guilt is a negative emotion in itself that it automatically creates negative energy. This negative energy then attracts even more negative energies that are around you.
It is the same if you do something good, it makes you feel good doesn’t it? You will then be surrounded by positive energy which then attracts more positive energy … that makes far more sense than thinking that someone else or something else is controlling our fate!
The only other reason someone could receive a “karma bashing” is if, for example, an individual was intentionally sending out harmful negative energies in some form to harm another person – we would not hesitate to bounce it right back where it came from, occasionally along with a little something else to ensure that the individual may think twice about their intentions. The beauty of it is that we don’t even need to know who is responsible – it finds its own way back :-). Once they stop their outward attacks, then the bashing stops for them too. There is no denying it – it can be quite satisfying to see such a nasty individual get their comeuppance and watch them kick their own ass!
We feel that one cannot make the world a better place by sending out loving energy to someone who is filled with jealousy and hatred; bluebirds and butterflies just wont work for these kinds of people and this is exactly what sets us apart from Wiccans. What may work for a Wicca Witch, may not work for us and visa-versa.
There is no “grey” area in the Traditional Craft, it just “is”! No “Devils” or “Gremlins” to blame either, just your own pure self!
If things are done for justice sake, then we don’t feel guilty, and we shouldn’t go around worrying over some Rede that was written 50 or 60 years ago. What matters is how you feel about what you have done, was it just? Was it deserved? Do you think your higher self would approve? Know Thyself, be in touch with your higher self or your True Will and you act in accordance with the Universe.
Your higher self not only protects, it also teaches. If you act out of spite, then accept any negativity that may come your way. Sure we all feel ticked off by some people, but a Traditional tries to temper that with self control and will usually ignore it and believes that such a person acting inappropriately will be back for another endurance test of life to grow.
Something else that we often chat about is how many times we’ve heard or seen people saying ‘Oh I can’t do such and such a spell because I haven’t got every last ingredient that’s specified in some book or other’. A Traditional Witch will look around and use something else, whatever feels right, the INTENT is what is really important, not the ‘props’ – although for some things the props are good to help the INTENT along.
This applies whether it’s candle colours, day of the week, incense or anything else. True Magick comes from within, and it is your intent that makes the magick happen. A Traditional Witch, uses their own will and intent, no Athame to Hand? Then use your finger, or simply visualise your Athame in your hand! But if you have the ingredients use them if you wish to, just don’t get fooled into the belief that you can’t do without them!
Note: Some High Magick Rituals do actually require specific items to be used but this is not what most witches should or would be practising.
As to words and rhymes, we don’t generally use someone else’s nicely rhyming chant. We feel that you should make up your own. Your own words have far more power and as they come from your own heart will be truer to your intent. Most Traditionals can’t summon up the will when chanting some of the Wiccan rhymes as we cannot take them seriously, however, if they work for you then that’s fine. The aim of Magick is to find out what works for you.
Usually, we can see through people’s facade right away and instantly know if they are genuine souls – we can usually tell which ones will be back for another life lesson and have a little smile about it. It is very rare to find others on our wavelength, but luckily the Gods/Fate/Destiny whatever brought some of us together, to work and try to do some good in this life. Although most of us are classed as “Solitary” Witches we do work together on some occasions.
We try and help others as best as we can, relying on our own Higher Self to guide us and do what is needed to get the work done. We don’t do any work lightly, we meditate on it, or speak to our guides or familiars, and only undertake any work that feels right to us. Remember that some things happen to people as life lessons, and sometimes the lesson needs to be learned. In these cases we shall not get involved or will work to ensure that they learn the lesson and grow from it and do what is best for their own higher self.
A few people are under the impression that you have to be “born” a witch to be a witch. This is not correct at all. One does not need to come from a a line of Wicca or Traditional Witches to practise Witchcraft. The power is within all of us, it is just how you personally use it to suit your own needs and to progress spiritually in this life.
My side of the family are very psychic and that comes down the line through the female side. Fond memories when I was a child of my Mother already “knowing” things she couldn’t possibly know and having the nickname “White Witch” throughout her career by colleagues, no wonder she got snapped up by the secret service! And, my Grandmother, bless her soul, being feared by all her neighbours as being evil and will curse anyone that upset her, thankfully she doted on me! My Aunts were obsessed with playing cards and used to teach me how to read tealeaves in bone china cups and saucers.
Not to forget countless strange happenings throughout my life and childhood memories I have that differ considerably from anyone else’s; being a loner; never fitting in; being told you are too wise for your years at 6, doing things a peculiar way that seemed right to me but totally insane to others but none-the-less worked every time, and of course being labelled an eccentric weirdo as a teenager.
I can honestly say I am happier now than I have ever been in my entire life – it is not that I needed a reason for my strangeness but the fact is that I AM different, I know I am different and I can finally enjoy being different.
Traditional Witchcraft, although not a religion, is indeed a way of life, a path, a belief that is lived and breathed every second of every day, it also is a path of personal responsibility and acting in accordance with your higher self. It is also a path of LOVE. Love for oneself, nature and all living things. It is a path of balance; Male and Female, Light and Dark, Positive and Negative, Birth and Death and Rebirth.
To deny one side in favour of the other is unbalanced and unhealthy.
Welcome to my world.