A Brief History of Witchcraft

Which Wica is Witch?

I’ve come across many online articles, essays, posts, and Tumblr accounts that prattle on in detail of how Wicca is not Witchcraft and all of the myriad things that distinguish the two. Since I describe myself as a sorcerer and my magical practice as sorcery, watching the degree to which witches will argue amongst themselves over whether they are witches or not can be confusing at best, but I recognize that this is an expression of the Problem of Authenticity that plagues modern witchcraft and pagan movements. There is a lot to unpack in this issue, from bad scholarship and creation myths to lineage disputes and politics, but people will do what they can to define their group in relation to others, I suppose. Continue reading

More Thoughts on Authenticity and “Being Real”

My post on “Real” Magicians got a decent amount of views, so thanks everyone for checking it out.

And like the original post by Farrell, it has sparked a lot of thinking and some conversation.

One that stood out to me was a post by DON’s, which questions what we mean when we talk about things being “real”:

I think it’s important to consider how we use slippery words like “real,” because they can reveal underlying biases that reflect a lack of compassion, on one hand, and a lack of understanding of ourselves and the world around us, on the other. As a magician, those two things – compassion and understanding – are more important to my spiritual path than anything.

By taking it upon ourselves to decide what is “real” or not, we show a lack of compassion to the things we have left out. Be it a family member, a co-religionist, a person of transgendered experience, or someone who deviates significantly from our experience in any way.

Yes, magic-users can be cliquish and solipsistic. Imagine that.

Continue reading

Real Magicians

A while back Nick Farrell penned this gem announcing that he was the gatekeeper of which magicians were authentic and which weren’t.

The list is pretty superfluous and a bit shallow in a lot of places. And it’s kind of disappointing that any credible magician would outline such criteria, which are pretty narrow.

Everyone who follows this path wants to believe that they are a real occultist or a magician.  It is a bit like those people who tell you at parties that they are “writers” and when you ask them what they have published it turns out that they have been sitting on their autobiography for 40 years.

“Writers” write. That’s what they do. It is implicit that such writing will eventually be published, especially if someone claims to be a writer as an occupation. For most writers, however, writing is not a primary occupation.

I’m a writer. Read my blog and tell me I’m not. But I make no money from this, and I have no books published. Am I not a “real” writer? Tell my readers that.

People who do magic are magicians (or witches, or sorcerers, or whatever). They may not be professional magicians anymore than I write for Rolling Stone, but they are magicians. Continue reading