What Is A Witch?

What makes a person a witch? 

         What is it that gives a person a right to call her / him self a Witch?

          Is it some degree that has been bestowed upon the student at some time after an undetermined amount of learning to be deemed appropriate by someone else who has been studying longer? In my opinion, the recognition from other Witches is a very small part of what makes a person a Witch. 

          In the nearly thirty years that I have called myself ‘Witch’, I have come to know what it is that makes me a Witch.  I can not tell you that the definition is the same for everyone. I know that my views are deemed unpopular and are probably controversial even among some of my peers.   I understand that it takes a certain degree of understanding to be able to use intent to influence surroundings, to ‘bend’ things to your will, and cause no harm by intent. I know it is a serious thing to take a student or to be a student. 

          To be called a Witch is to be looked at differently.  To be a Witch entails things such as casting spells, performing rituals, yes.  But, the more secret things are much more simple, yet much more significant and often more difficult to master.

          To be a Witch means to want to become a better, more evolved being. It means that you are willing to make sacrifices, and to see the journey through to the next lesson.  I can’t say, here, that it is to see the journey through to the end.  There should be no end, only a continuous cycle of change, evolution and finding knowledge in order to make oneself a better being.  An endless progression of learning, having what is not necessary to personal evolution burned away, leaving behind a more evolved, more compassionate soul, capable of gaining wisdom and of using it…Not just of having that wisdom.  It is to see this Earth as a living organism and to honor Her and all of Her children, the best of your ability.  To become a Witch is to become a person who can endure having what is not necessary burned away because it is understood that the burning is actually more like a ‘honing’ of a beautiful blade.

          To call oneself a Witch means to look inside at that which is the most difficult to gaze upon. It means that you face your own demons, understand them and integrate them into your self. From this we become whole. I don’t know anyone who has only one demon. So, the repeated opportunities continue to evolve us.

          To live as a Witch means great rewards.  It means to learn the definition of humility because if you don’t, the Goddess has a way of humbling you and it isn’t always pretty. It isn’t easy to be humble in the face of recognition sometimes. Our baser human emotions and habits like to be able to bask in the glow of that recognition and take credit.  Yes, credit should always be given where it is due.  And, again, yes, we should be able to accept the credit when it is deserved…and move on, realizing that it is for the greater goal of personal evolution and for the whole of the community.  But, to take it too far is to risk moving backwards along our personal evolution. Building up a ‘holier than thou’ attitude is not a step toward evolution. It is not a step toward becoming a better being.  We all make mistakes though; each an opportunity to learn and gain more wisdom.

                   As my life progressed, I have discovered many things, a process by no means unique to me. All of those who seek to better themselves discover more about themselves than about others. Now that I think about it, they are interrelated; ‘the more I learn about myself, the more I am capable of learning about others and, consequently, the more I can assist, serve’.  Early on my Path, I began to help others when they would ask for it. Looking back, I regret nothing. I used Magick to assist change in my environment and in that of others

        So, what does a Witch use Magick for? 

Speaking for myself, Magick is used to cause change, plain and simple. We change ourselves and we change the world around us. We use it to make things happen. Sometimes, things happen to us that we were not expecting. I have had experiences I would not wish on anyone happen to me in the course of my life that were directly related to my Path and my journey.  How do I know that they were directly related? Well, some things are just that obvious. 

          Then there are things that happened early in my Journey that I had no idea were part of my ‘honing’.  They, also, are things I would wish on no one. It seems everyone has their own tests on this Path.  I understand, looking back, that those things were necessary in order for me to be who I am today. They were integral parts of my schooling, my Path. I accepted these things, these changes as part of my evolution, knowing that it is all part of my ‘becoming’ a more complete being. It means that, independently of the opinion of others on this Path, I know in my heart that I am who and what I am supposed to be. More importantly, I regret nothing, because I know it was all significant.

It was and is all part of becoming and being a Witch.

 

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GRAY DAY

| Gray Day |

Muted light
     mutating my thoughts
The dead things bend,
    Stiff as a brick
                       in the wind.
This body’s curves
                    echoed again and again…..
Undulating on the horizon
                    a reflection of sky 
       on the ground.

Insanity peeks in
                   as the monochromatic scheme
Bursts its vein
      and another blossoms
    in liquid form
       that matches the horizon
                     and the undulation of my body,
  in it’s gray pain…

   Indistinguishable from the sky
    ~ from the earth
    ~ from the sea…
              I disappear.
3/28/06
Copyright– JoBeth Sexton 2006- 2012

THE SHROUD

 I am sewing the cloth of desperation
And it winds
      Like a serpent;
Swallows me whole-
I am the bird in the Willow tree.
The branches are dead
      And drooping.
The storm of complacency
Has stolen my breath,
Has beaten me down
          –chaff from wheat
The shroud strangles my womanness
I despise it.
It is like a cloud
Ever changing, 
           always out of reach
My hand closes on nothing.
The cloth winds around
      And I fall.
There is no one there to catch me.
I am broken and breathing
The blood of my wounds.
I am the bird without feathers.
I am sewing with no needle or thread
And the cloth is winding
      Around me in the wind.

10/20/01

©JoBeth Sexton 2001-2012

To Listen…

I  would like to tell you the story of when I first heard the voice of the Goddess. My story is probably similar to many other stories of the same nature. But, the similarities do not make the impact on each life less. It is a validation, of sorts. It is another factor that tells me that my experience was as real as the experience that every one else has had who has heard the voice of Divinity.

     It was early in the Summer of my 13th year and our family had gone on a camping trip to the Mogillon Rim in the White Mountains of Northern Arizona with a group of people from our church. Our family camping group consisted of my little sister and me, my Mother and my Step Father. Our church group was small, if I remember correctly. Only about twenty or so people. We each had our own camper, tent or area. During this weekend, I discovered the value of sitting quietly and just listening. But, I also discovered something that I did not expect.
      I loved to hike and went out alone, although it was close enough to hear my family if they got a little loud or if my Mother called me. I hiked by myself on this particular afternoon, with nothing but my pen and a notebook to write in. I found a small cave, an indentation in the side of the mountain, really, with a rock over-hang, where I could look out on miles and miles of blue green forest. As far as my eye could see, it was only that forest under the crystal clear blue sky. I just stared…
     And, although I did not know it at that time, I began to meditate. Yes, my eyes were open. But, I let them fade out of focus so the trees and sky became a blur of those gorgeous colors. The shadow where I was, and the rock and the ground, all blended together and I began to breathe. It was then that the Goddess spoke to me in that voice without sound.
     I could almost see the eddies and currents of the Wilderness around me, pulsing and breathing in it’s own rhythm, pushing against me, filling an empty space within. My mind filled with something unfamiliar to me, a church-going teen. A swirl of pure magic, created by the Earth and trees and sky, which, incredibly enough, I felt included me. I could suddenly smell all of the elements of life that made up the forest; trees and the small animals in them, Air and the scents it carried, the soil that I sat on and the scent of the huge rock jutting out from the mountain above my head. It was like a song without music or lyrics, a poem of pure being sung to a melody I could never repeat myself. It was so beautiful, tears came to my eyes and I realized that I could feel a Presence…Some one real and beside me. Someone so different from the god I had grown up with in church.
     The energy I felt was around me and I let it fill me and penetrate to my soul. It lifted me, somehow, without moving me and left a mark on me that changed me. My eyes were truly opened, as was my heart and soul. From that day forward, I knew there was more to life than church and school and after-school sports. I was full of the song and didn’t know what to call it. But, I could feel that same song in the trees and in the earth and in the monsoon thunderstorms that crashed down upon us when that Summer progressed to August in Phoenix, where we lived.
     On that day in the forest, I heard the Goddess. That was when She called me and claimed me and healed me fo the wounds of loss and the lonliness a shy child could feel. That was when my eyes were opened to the soul of this Earth and the fact that I, as small as I was, was a part of it.
     We are all part of it. We need only to listen to, to fall into that silence that is so full of the song of the Goddess.