Witchcraft and the Witch

It’s the #seasonofthewitch and what better topic to chime in on this October than to tackle the question: who is and isn’t a witch? And what the heck is witchcraft? These are the subjects I chime in on in Episode #6 of Bell Chimes In.

Extending from what was discussed in the video, here’s how I’d define a witch. A witch, or wu, is someone who (1) communes with entities or energies of other realms beyond the material-physical, whether you want to strive for a more science-based outlook and work within the framework of energy transfers and wave function (so in that sense, a realm beyond the material-physical) or you’re committed to the religious perspective, and (2) to achieve (1) works with the four seasons and four directions.

Where did that definition come from? Gotta watch the video to find out. 😉

To expand further on what I talk about in the video, I speculate that a question on many viewers’ minds is whether I consider myself a witch.

I drew the analogy to my identification as Asian. When assessing that identification objectively, I realize I self-identify as Asian because society first identified me as Asian, pretty much told me I was Asian, so eventually, to best present to you who I am, I’ll say I’m Asian. Had society never told me I was Asian, I wonder if I’d ever have adopted that label. Because examined from an equally compelling perspective, I’m American. Yet as every Asian who is by nationality and citizenship American can attest to, when I say I’m American, I definitely get that doubting, skeptical look and the follow-up question, “Yes, but where are you really from?” Like I’m not really an American. I’m not a real American because you’re assessing American-ness on the basis of certain superficial qualities.

Sound like a familiar reasoning process among witches and who is and isn’t a real witch?

I can’t hide my Asian appearance, but I can hide my personal practices and belief systems. Since you can’t identify my personal practices and beliefs by my appearance, society by and large won’t identify me as a witch unless a particular member of that society gets to know me better and more intimately… and knows what witchcraft even is.

See, another factor is most members of mainstream society know next to nothing about witches and witchcraft. For instance, most of my friends would say, and I quote, “the force is strong in that one,” said with a heavy-handed tint of jest, or they’d say, “she can be a little eccentric, but by and large, harmless.”

Are you born a witch or is it a choice, something occupational? My mother and grandmother would tell you it’s an innate quality you’re either born with or you’re not. I won’t dismiss their collective wisdom, but I also haven’t formulated a personal conclusion yet. For me, the jury is still out. All I can tell you at this point is, I just don’t know.

Ultimately, if we must arrive at some semblance of agreement for the definition of a witch, it would seem to me that the witch is someone does not need or seek an intermediary clergy member to connect with spirit realms on his or her behalf. A witch is someone who in effect is a solitary clergy member, in his or her own right a priest or priestess who connects directly to that spirit realm and needs no intermediary. A witch is someone who possesses an interactive relationship with the spirit realm and with nature, and–perhaps most poignantly of all–does so in a way that is more often than not condemned, feared, or dismissed by mainstream society. What the witch does–what witchcraft is–will always, and necessarily, be outside the bounds of establishment.

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The magician, or the magus, if you’re considering the etymological origins of the word from its Persian framework (touched upon in the video), is occupational, and descriptive of a calling in life. Whereas in Chinese, the etymological origins of the word magus, which we now use synonymously with witch, strikes at an innate quality. There’s the possession of an innate quality that allows you to facilitate stronger connections with unseen energies, and the establishment of a methodical personal practice around facilitating those connections. The etymological discrepancy here reveals to us that the controversy over whether you’re born a witch or you choose the path of a witch is older than old. Right from the start of it all, it seems, we as a society couldn’t agree on whether this quality of the magus/witch is occupational and thus chosen or fated and thus a trait you’re born with. What’s your position on that debate?

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“Bell Chimes In” is about discourse, or at least that is my hope and intentions for the video series. It’s about me chiming in on a topic oft talked about, with my own perspective, opinions, or hypothesis, and with that, continuing the conversation on that topic. So I hope you’ll join in.

What’s your paradigm for what a witch is? What’s witchcraft to you? Are you born a witch or is it a chosen path? Do you self-identify as a witch? Do you call your practice “witchcraft” or do you call it by another name?

Now it’s your turn to chime in, whether that’s as a comment, your own blog post, or a VR video response. Even if you don’t chime in publicly, chime in privately, using this video as a personal prompt to think more on the subject as it plays out in your own life.

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