Friday, 28 October 2011

In which I get a little heated...

In the most recent issue of Pagan Dawn (the Pagan Federation’s rather fantastic glossy magazine) there is an article by Pete Nash entitled “Initiation in Wicca”. Mr Nash begins by stating “The Craft and indeed the entire contemporary Pagan tradition is in a constant state of evolution… This is not necessarily to be decried; progress is a good thing…” However he then goes on to bemoan the solitary eclectic witch, and picks out those who consider themselves Hedgewitches in particular: “They are likely to be found in the kitchen rather than in a magic circle, brewing healing teas.”

It appears from the article that Mr Nash considers that formal initiation into Wicca “and certain other Pagan pathways” to be infinitely superior, and that “Greater diversity, particularly within Wicca has led to indiscipline” and “is unlikely to return to the higher standards of training than (sic) thirty years ago”. Apparently his preferred Paganism is unsuited to “Many people, particularly parents or those in full time employment (who) may not have the time to go through gruelling programmes of psychic and magical training.”

The inference that Hedgewitchery, and indeed Kitchenwitchery are half-arsed not-really-difficult and not-proper Witchcraft is, in my not very humble opinion, bloody insulting. Yes, Mr Nash, I AM a parent, and I don’t have time to attend training sessions, thirteen Esbats, eight Sabbats and spout beautifully written but learnt-by-rote invocations, evocations, rituals and rites. That doesn’t mean I’m not working. That doesn’t mean that my Witchcraft isn’t bloody hard. My Witchcraft is blood, and tears; it’s involved walking the edge of madness and sometimes slipping over. I’ve sacrificed my time, my blood, my comfort, my sleep, my dreams. I’ve been torn apart and put back together. I’ve developed my very own rituals, my very own connections with the deities and spirits that have called me. I’ve been rejected by deities that I loved, and called by some I was terrified of. I’ve discovered strengths I didn’t know I had, and been tormented by weaknesses when I failed to understand a lesson I needed to learn.

And yes, I brew teas, make potions, powders, charms. I’ve learnt correspondences; and changed some through practice and experimentation. I’ve been tested and failed. I’ve been tested and passed with flying colours. I’ve had to walk a path maintaining my family responsibilities whilst attempting to attend to my duties to my deities and my Craft. I don’t have a HPS to go to for help when things go wrong (on at least one occasion HORRIBLY); I HAVE to sort it out by myself.

Certainly not all initiated Wiccans “of a certain age” think the same way as Mr Nash. I’m very lucky to know a few wonderful pagans who are initiated into Wicca, and not ONE of them has ever belittled my path. I appreciate this is just one man’s opinion, and I’m sure that there are more than a few witches who bristled when reading Mr Nash’s article. Will they respond to the magazine? Will I? Probably not. We’ll be too busy spilling blood, sweat and tears “brewing our healing teas.”


  1. Oh wow. Exuuuuse me for being a natural/Hedge Witch instead of a ceremonial Wiccan! Wow, the nerve of that guy!

    One of the most beautiful, wonderful things about Paganism is that there are so many paths to fit so many people. Paganism allows us to follow our hearts and minds, and to find what is instinctively right for us.

    Like you, when I work, I put everything into it and, yes, it is *highly* effective. I've been at it for a looong time, and if somebody wants to question my discipline or dedication, I've got a few choice words for them: Get over yourself. ;)

    I don't sit around going, "Oh, those Wiccans - so pompous and high on themselves, what with all that ceremonious mumbo-jumbo", and I'll thank Mr. Nash to give us Hedge Witches the courtesy to not do the same.

  2. Sounds like the Pagan Fed. They do good work, but my goodness can they be fundamentalist Pagans. Which is a very odd thing to be.

  3. I've been really lucky with the PF officers up here in the North East, they are very inclusive, very supportive and have been extremely calm in the face of a few out-spoken, self-aggrandising pompous idiots that have thrown some serious mud their way. (They have some wildly varying paths, not just wiccan, so I imagine that helps!) I guess in all walks of life there are those that are going to majorly piss us off. Thanks for your comments, peeps, it's lovely to get feedback!

  4. I haven't read the article so I probably should be restrained in my condemnation until I have but.... The cheek of the man! I've been down the wiccan path, and it really didn't suit me. And it didn't suit me because it didn't go far enough, it didn't answer my questions. It left me feeling unsatisfied but I accept that it is right for many and that my way wouldn't suit everyone. Each to their own.

  5. You know what I think about Mr. Nash?

    Does this look like the face of a woman who gives a shit?

    So he has some stupid title of MrIhaveatinypenisandneedatitle of the second degree.

    My title is

    Kiss. My. Fat. Ass.

    Oh, and nice to meet you Old Kitchen Witch. Thanks for stopping by my blog....I'm wondering if this comment has scared you away from me?

  6. Hermit Witch - Nice to have you here, and I think you were very restrained. I turned the air blue here when I first read the article.

    Dark Mother - Love your blog, and you will really have to try much harder than that to scare me off. You would have to go fluffy bunny for at least a week to see me run screaming for the door!