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  • Path of the Witch

    I was just listening to episode 0 of Peter Paddon's Pagan Podcast's, about the path of the outsider, and it basically talked about why a lot of witches and magical people find themselves on the outside (both metephorically and literally) of society, and i was just wondering, if you are a witch or any type of magical person, have you noticed yourself wanting to be alone, away from people (including away from other pagans), have you noticed that as you go deeper into your studies, you start to 'drift' away from others (either metephorically or literally), one of the reasons Peter Paddon suggested was 'cause as you get depper in magical things, you start to want to talk to other people who've experienced the things you have (e.g. if you've summoned lots of Goetic demons, you may want to talk to other Goetic mages, etc), has this happened to you.

    I've noticed from reading historical examples of witchcraft, witches seemed to always be on the 'outside' of society and weren't particulary trusted (even in pre-Christian times), e.g. i think in the Norse culture and Anglo-Saxon society, witch burnings and hunts took place by other 'pagans' (and these witch hunts were banned by Christian's for being too 'pagan'), in Greece and Rome, magic was outlawed, i think, in Africa, African witches are outsiders and are not trusted and seen as 'evil' (in fact, witch doctors are there to find witches, and counter act their magic, i think). So it seems that witches have always been 'outsiders' in one way or another (either literally or metaphorically, or both, etc).

    Peter Paddon also says that this is the price that any magical practicioner pays (whether witch, mage, sorceror, etc) for experiencing their incredible supernatural experiences (like meeting deities, Fae, demons, angels, ancestors, etc), would you say this is true?.

    I think it's something important that people who want to be witches or are witches should think about, as they should think, are they willing to 'pay a prive' for their experiences, their magic, etc, are they willing to be 'outsiders' (even if this destroys their relationships, marriages, etc), it's something that's not mentioned much in 'pagan' books or sites, but it's something that interests me.

    Anyway, hope that made some sense, and what are your thoughts/beliefs/opinions, whether you're a witch/sorceror/Goetic mage/mage/whatever, etc?.

    Thanks.

  • #2
    I think that it's part that's true. I've noticed that as I've gotten older and more interested in my path, my interest in socializing with other people has diminished because what they find interesting is not necessarily what I find interesting.

    In addition, if you are interested in studying and increasing your magical knowledge, and you work a full time job, or go to school, or take care of your family, or all of the above, that doesn't leave you a lot of time to socialize. I think in general, as people have more personal responsibilities and less forced socialization (like high school or dorm life), they become more solitary.

    However, I think that you have to be careful when using the term "witch" because what witch may mean now to modern day practioners is not necessarily what it has always meant. For example, I might call myself a witch now, where as back in the day, I would have called myself a fairy doctor, or a witch doctor. I think you touched on this some in your post, but I also think that it's an important distinction.

    People who practiced positive magical workings (whether they be witch doctors, fairy doctors, shamans, soul-healers) were usually trusted and honored members of their society whom people sought out for advice and knowledge. In my experience, people who practice these forms of magic may live alone or in groups, and people frequently seek them out, kind of like the neighborhood occult shop. It's a business. I've seen this in many different cultures, and these people don't call themselves witches.

    Traditionally the term "witch" was used to describe a negative magical workers. Why would you want to seek someone out if you knew that they were going to harm you or if they were the antithesis of your societal beliefs? I think that a lot of the times witches lived alone because they were viewed as or were "bad" people.
    Last edited by Rowan Darkmoon; August 4th, 2006, 07:10 PM.

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    • #3
      The idea of witches as being outsiders among outsiders, or on the fringe of the fringe, is one that I've always had and can't seem to shake. I doubt its accuracy, though for myself it holds true. I'm not close to people. I love many, but there's always a distance. It's not just feeling as an outsider with non-pagans, the distance is still there around people who think almost like I do. I have been alone in a circle of 200 pagans.

      So I think that it's me, and my different sort of way of loving people, and my general dislike for the company of others, rather than my being a witch that makes me an outsider. Though it certainly adds to it. And the imagery of the two go hand-in-hand... Perhaps I just need a lot more space than most other people...

      Cheers,

      Semjaza
      FFFF
      Last edited by Semjaza; August 4th, 2006, 10:46 PM.
      "Being Nietzschean requires one to think apart from him, starting from the spot where the "work in progress" that is philosophy was transformed by his passage. He called for unfaithful disciples who, by their betrayal, would prove their loyalty. He wanted people to obey him by following themselves and no one else, not even him. Particularly not him."
      -- Michel Onfray, In Defense of Atheism

      Comment


      • #4
        I've always been on the outside. I've always been the shy quiet one, with a close group of friends. It's only been more recently that I've come to realize how differently my own beliefs class with those of the dominant society, and how frustrating it is to live in a world like that. I'm not sure this has any bearing on me being a witch or not, perhaps only helping me in finding my path being drawn to things inherenly out of the norm. I've been solitary in my practice every since I started...but lately I've felt the need to meet other like me. To be part of a group, maybe even a coven, to be able to talk with other witches in real life, and even do workings with them and celebrate the sabbats. I do think that there definately is a price to pay for being a witch, which i think is seeing the world in a different way, experiencing it in a different way, which i think leads to a sort of seperation from the "normal" society where a witch might live.
        ~*~ )o( Blessings in Shadow & Light! )o( ~*~

        ~ Semper Fi ~

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        • #5
          Originally posted by David19
          have you noticed yourself wanting to be alone, away from people (including away from other pagans), have you noticed that as you go deeper into your studies, you start to 'drift' away from others (either metephorically or literally),


          one of the reasons Peter Paddon suggested was 'cause as you get depper in magical things, you start to want to talk to other people who've experienced the things you have (e.g. if you've summoned lots of Goetic demons, you may want to talk to other Goetic mages, etc), has this happened to you.

          Peter Paddon also says that this is the price that any magical practicioner pays (whether witch, mage, sorceror, etc) for experiencing their incredible supernatural experiences (like meeting deities, Fae, demons, angels, ancestors, etc), would you say this is true?.


          I think it's something important that people who want to be witches or are witches should think about, as they should think, are they willing to 'pay a prive' for their experiences, their magic, etc, are they willing to be 'outsiders' (even if this destroys their relationships, marriages, etc), it's something that's not mentioned much in 'pagan' books or sites, but it's something that interests me.
          ===>I haven't wanted to be alone at all. In fact I lament being alone. But I DO want to hang out with people who have like experiences as I do. But they are very hard to find. Sometimes I make the mistake of trying to talk to people who don't have those experiences. They never understand and sometimes they lose respect for me, think I'm crazy.

          ===>I don't think that it's the price you pay for spesifically for the supernatural experiences. I think it's the price we pay for beleiving things and practicing things that most people don't understand or don't want to accept. I think that the supernatural experiences are a gift.

          ===>I think we are willing to pay the price because we beleive in what we do and the way we live our lives. Because what we beleive and what we do is what feels right to us and good. And throughout history people have been shown to go through quite a lot for what they feel is right and for what they beleive in.

          Violin Goddess
          THere's nothing TOO DAMN STUPID humans won't do!
          - Terry Prachitt

          Comment


          • #6
            Yes, I can relate to what Peter Paddon was saying. It's frustrating talking to people who haven't experienced the same things you have. Personally, I've dedicated a lot of time to practising Witchcraft, working with Gods, magic, spiritual work... a lot of people haven't. I wouldn't really know what to talk to mainstream people about since most of my life is spent working through spiritual things. What has been important to me for the past little while has been connecting to Gods, getting knowing myself better, and figuring out what I want in life through spiritual exercizes. Not many people I meet in my daily life really care about Gods or spirituality. Lol, I don't really know what I'm getting at, but yes, it is hard to connect with society. Having this knowledge and wisdom of higher powers in the universe makes me seem kind of weird compared to most people who don't really put much thought into anything but mundane things (not that there is anything wrong with that). I do feel like a weirdo and an outsider from society because of the things I've experienced.

            Comment


            • #7
              I think that in a lot of ways it does isolate you, but that in some ways it gives you the oportunity to be 1000 times closer to the people that realy matter too.

              A lot of Witches (or magickans) were outsiders before they started practicing the occult, which often isn't taken into account.

              Personally I find that Witchcraft does seperate me form a lot of people in the way that there isn't a lot of common ground. My life is based around my religion, which is hard for a lot of people (even those of the same path) to understand. The deeper you get into it the more it consumes you. You see things differently than other people.

              It drives a wedge in relationships, in my case with my family, because while they try to understand and accept, they don't get it or can't take it seriously.
              You become a living representation of that path. People can not help but notice.

              But then, my partner and I are of similar paths, and in this instance it brings us closer because we can understand the other's point of view even if we don't agree, and there are certain occult practices designed to bring couples closer together. Witchcraft gives me the ability to touch my partners soul. You can't get much closer than that... But to do it you have to bear all (I dont mean physically) and our society is a cold dishonest one, so it's a lot to ask.

              I think that there is a phase, or patch, that all Witches must go through that is horribly lonely, and that a lot of understanding does come from that. And I agree that in a way there is a price to pay for occult experiences. I don't think the price stays the same or is the same for everyone though.

              Witchcraft is a lonely path. I'm not sure why exactly, but you've given me a bit to think about anyway...

              Comment


              • #8
                I have to disagree with Peter Paddon. I think to some dergree he's over generalizing just a bit. If you look at non european forms of Witchcraft from around the world you'll see that in tribal societies figures who use Magick or are in touch with the spirit world are often figures of importance in the society. Generally...I can agree with what hes saying but ina different way. i feel more isolated from popular culture more because spirituality is important to me, and I see with different eyes and perspectives than others who's spirituality is not as important to them in life. Witchcraft as a spiritual thing, or even witchvraft as a normal mundane practice is well, its mature. Its takes a lot of study of specific subjects and if its very central to a persons life, and a lot of people cant relate without first understanding where you are coming from...that can isolate. I feel at tiems that I have to soemhow limit my spiritual side when talking to others becasue it might get in the way. Generally though, I think it's the personality. One can feel isolated if they both choose to feel that way, or if they are a part of a subculure. This isnt a bad thing really...but I dont necessarily think its a definite thing...you are spiritual or witchcraft is important to you THERE FOR you will be isolated. I feel quite comfortable in my life and feel accepted by my friends and community. But then again, I choose the community I live in. My community is my friends and coworkers...and I take the time to get to know these people. or example, its not uncommon now for a coworker (I currently work at walmart) to ask me to do a tarot reading for them in the back lunchroom where peopel coem in and out. Theres only been one woman whos not been interested and has put me down, the others have been very comfortable. Partly becasue I dont go around like some people and throw my beliefs in their faces, and also I take the time to explian and to show my beliefs if a discussion coems up. In rural ontario canada where I came from, in some ways I was an outcast, but that was becasue I was gay...but I developed myself inside with a strong self esteem and self image and again I found that being a spiritual person wasnt isolating me becasue Iw as very much accepted by the community. So, I suppose I both agree and disagree with your Podcaster...t depends how you define community and choose to appear within it. Intertesting thread!

                Namaste

                Tobias


                असतोमा सद्गमय। तमसोमा ज्योतिर् गमया।
                मृत्योर्मामृतं गमय॥
                ॐ Om Asatoma Sadgamaya, Tamasoma Jyoti Gamaya, Mrityoma Amritam Gamaya ॐ

                Comment


                • #9
                  I guess it depends on the community you live in. I think Paddon was refering to Witches in Western society, and I'd say it is hard for Witches, and a lot of other Pagans, to relate. The community I spend most of my life in happens to be a Catholic high school, and might I just say, it is definitely NOT a place where I feel accepted and understood. Catholics have their own ways of being spiritual, but they are quite different than mine. In a society that values a 'magical' approach to religious practice and working with Gods, of course witchy-type people would be more respected. Here though, we're weirdos

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Wanting to hang out with your peers, is a completely natural human thing. Ever notice that Spiritually Enlightened people generally get into teaching others how they can become Enlightened, too? Most of that is for unselfish reasons, but there still remains the fact they want some more company of their own kind... so to speak.
                    "There is a Road, no simple highway,
                    That leads from Dawn to the darkness of the Night.
                    And if you go, no one can follow.
                    That Path is for, your steps alone." : -Grateful Dead

                    Mental Yoga/Occult Exercises

                    The MysticWicks Magazine

                    The Gaian Dragon I Ching

                    The Moving Mandalas

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I disagree with the premise that we are outsiders. I'm not. I'm very much involved in the mainstream.
                      I have a day job, I have a relationship, I have a group to oversee, as well as family.
                      I've organized PPD when even the pagans were against me, I've helped bring the pagan community together as much as I can.
                      I've never seen myself on the outside. And as for others who have experienced what I have--I have several groups of Feri people that I correspond with via email.
                      I agree with whomever said the speaker was over generalizing. I know lots more like me-the only people I've seen on the outside were the ones that were ALREADY there and have taken this path as 'shock' value and want to stay there. They brag about who or what they've seen, brought into this realm, etc. Shock value for all of it. There is no 'real' spiritual belief, they are going along trying to alienate themselves so they can continue with the poor pitiful me option that they've used all their life to cope.
                      Am I generalizing, maybe, but that is what I see in pagan community at large.

                      Elise
                      *~*~*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

                      Resident Beotch


                      It seems some folks confuse "secrets" with Mysteries.
                      The Mysteries aren't secret.
                      They are there for whoever wishes to seek them out.
                      There just aren't any shortcuts.

                      That's the Secret.

                      Don't ask Life to polish you into a jewel and then complain about all the rough treatment!

                      If you're talking shit behind my back - then you're close enough to kiss my ass.


                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I feel I must agree and disagree. Sometimes I feel like an outsider, sure. That feeling has been norished by two years of high school. I haven't meet anyone who has shared my interest in those subjects, and needless to say high school can be rather clique-y.

                        But its about finding a balance.

                        I guess it really depends on the person. I am on this wonderful path. It gives me peace of mind and is very fulfilling to know that I am growing spiritually. And it has, ironically, given me more confidance in soical situations. Its not a "oooo I'm a Witch!" confidance, being on this path has given me an inner strength that I wanted.

                        Though I want to spend time studying and practicing my path, I know I can't escape the "normal" world. I've got homework, a job, friends I would be lost without. I am a witch, but i'm not on the "outside" but not quite on the "inside".
                        Softly cross your fingers at the Witching Hour;
                        Over fates and fortunes the moon will give you power.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yes, high school can make anyone feel like an outsider if you aren't "normal" by certain people's standards. It probably isn't as bad once you get into the 'real' world.

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                          • #14
                            Hopefully, since the 'real world' is so big. And thank the Gods that 'normal' is subjective.
                            Softly cross your fingers at the Witching Hour;
                            Over fates and fortunes the moon will give you power.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Rowan Moonstone
                              I think that it's part that's true. I've noticed that as I've gotten older and more interested in my path, my interest in socializing with other people has diminished because what they find interesting is not necessarily what I find interesting.

                              In addition, if you are interested in studying and increasing your magical knowledge, and you work a full time job, or go to school, or take care of your family, or all of the above, that doesn't leave you a lot of time to socialize. I think in general, as people have more personal responsibilities and less forced socialization (like high school or dorm life), they become more solitary.

                              However, I think that you have to be careful when using the term "witch" because what witch may mean now to modern day practioners is not necessarily what it has always meant. For example, I might call myself a witch now, where as back in the day, I would have called myself a fairy doctor, or a witch doctor. I think you touched on this some in your post, but I also think that it's an important distinction.

                              People who practiced positive magical workings (whether they be witch doctors, fairy doctors, shamans, soul-healers) were usually trusted and honored members of their society whom people sought out for advice and knowledge. In my experience, people who practice these forms of magic may live alone or in groups, and people frequently seek them out, kind of like the neighborhood occult shop. It's a business. I've seen this in many different cultures, and these people don't call themselves witches.

                              Traditionally the term "witch" was used to describe a negative magical workers. Why would you want to seek someone out if you knew that they were going to harm you or if they were the antithesis of your societal beliefs? I think that a lot of the times witches lived alone because they were viewed as or were "bad" people.

                              If by "traditionally", you mean in Christian culture, that was true in some times and some places, but the term witch originally had an overwhelmingly positive connotation. Witches were spiritual leaders and teachers.
                              I Fight The Backlash and Put It In Its Place!

                              *****

                              "There was an old ideal, "The truth shall prevail." But the modern ideal seems to be, "See that the truth shall be unknown, so that it may not prevail."" -- Gerald Gardner, The Meaning of Witchcraft

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