I’m loving the 11 questions for the #seasonofthewitch tag thing that’s been going around the pagan/witchy YouTube circuits, first started (I believe) by The Woodland Hag, so check that out first before proceeding. I’ve also binge-watched many of the video responses so use the hashtag #seasonofthewitch to find them all.
Here are my responses to the 11 questions, but instead of video form, here they are in blog form.
“1. In what way (Witch, Pagan, Wise Woman, etc.) do you choose to identify and why?”
Although I don’t self-identify as witch (because in my native tongue, within the cultural context of my motherland and native traditions, it doesn’t actually make sense), the way I present, my practices, my interests, and point of view are very witchy as “witch” would get defined in the culture and region I am in right now. So when others identify or label me as witch, I’m perfectly happy with it.
I don’t formally self-identify as pagan because I’ve been told by pagans that I’m not pagan and I’m not all that interested in debating that point. Sometimes I might casually use the reference “pagan” just for convenience of terms.
Empath? Psychic? Highly Sensitive Person? Even if I happen to qualify for any of those identity markers, I wouldn’t use them for myself anyway because I’m not so sure I belong or feel like I belong in the communities that currently hold up those identity markers.
I have heard at times that what my mother does is a form of shamanistic practice, but I like to mimic her– she repudiates all labels and just talks matter-of-factly about her interactive relationship, her experiences, and her perspective of Spirit, of spirit worlds, and that’s that. I’ve adopted a similar approach.
I do call myself a tarot reader, however. Because I read tarot cards. I also call myself an astrologer. I’m a feng shui… I refuse to use the word “master.” Consultant sounds a little clinical and dry. I guess I don’t mind occultist.
“2. What does my daily practice look like?”
My daily practice isn’t about certain forms of devotions I have to do and it doesn’t always necessarily even appear “spiritual” (or maybe more accurately, ritualistic, ceremonial…). It’s not about burning incense, lighting candles, reciting prayers or mantras, meditating, going into ritual space, going before my altar, or my favorite– Instagramming my witchcraft. =)
To me, daily practice is about the lens and filter through which I am always looking at the world around me. I look for the Divinity in all things, and because it is part of the way I understand metaphysics, am also wary of the evil. Total tangent rant: I can never follow the reasoning or emotions of people who declare they don’t believe evil exists. Like, through what rose-tinted glasses are you looking at the world and may I please have a pair too? In the same way I see the Divinity in all things, I see the Demon in all things. And my daily practice is about acknowledging and endeavoring to understand both.
“3. What do i do for self care?”
Of course my practices will evolve based on what’s going on at that given period of my life. Right now, it means I don’t do any customer service of any kind and I don’t check my own emails or DMs. Someone checks it for me and then alerts me as to whether or not I have messages to respond to.
Intuitive eating is another way I practice self-care. Maintaining a healthy, balanced relationship with food in turn helps me to maintain a healthy, balanced perspective of my physical body and my self-esteem (so by extension, my mental health).
“4. What do i do to take care of nature, wildlife the environment or animals?”
I love that fable about the elephant and the bird, where the kingdom learns that the sky is falling, so the bird promptly props up her little legs ready to do her part to hold up the sky so it doesn’t fall. The elephant, strutting by, guffaws at the bird’s efforts, because what can that tiny, little bird with her tiny, scrawny legs do to actually hold up the falling sky? The little bird replies that everyone has to do what they can.
For me (and in no way at all do I think this philosophy of life needs to be adopted by anyone else beyond me), I understand that I have the potential to be divine, and therefore aspire for that, but I also understand at this time, I possess a beastly nature, and if I suppress that beastly nature within me, I am only making it stronger in the form of shadow. If and when that shadow lashes out, it will inevitably harm others, which is not the way to take care of nature, wildlife, the environment, animals, or other humans.
I try to reduce the amount of waste I produce. I see the divinity in the flora and fauna I come in to contact with and do what I can do honor their wellbeing. And like my mother, I keep an “open door policy” when it comes to our fruit trees and greens, meaning if animals want to come and eat them, have at it– first come, first serve. If we harvest the fruit first, it’s ours. If an animal gets to the fruit first, it’s theirs. We also honor nature by keeping our garden and orchard entirely organic. It is what it is. If frost kills off everything one winter season, sigh, so be it.
“5. How do i help, heal or support humans or humanity?”
I practice the minimum 10% rule, and whenever possible, aspire for 20%. I give away between 10% and 20% of what I have, what I’ve earned to other humans who need that enrichment more than I do.
17-Mile, Pebble Beach in Monterey, California
“6. What is my understanding of a higher power?”
There are few things about my existence and perspective that I am as sure of as the existence of a higher power. To me, however, that’s very separate from morality or moral codes. I unequivocally believe there is a universal life force and from it springs a collective consciousness, a collective power that humans often perceive as god, gods, spirits, etc.
I think religious frameworks help us to process our perceptions of that higher power, and each one of us will gravitate toward a different religious framework. I also think religious frameworks are imperfect at fully understanding higher power. Religion is a good starting point, but if it’s your end all be all, you might be missing out on the bigger picture.
“7. What is the most important life lesson i have learned so far?”
Love is a choice. It is much easier for us to love what we see reflections of our inner divinity in, and we call that true love, though it’s not true, and it’s more effortless to love that which reminds us of what we love the most about ourselves.
It is much, much harder to love that which we see reflections of our shadow. We are tribalistic by instinct and therefore we do not immediately love that which is unfamiliar to us, that which is too different from our own ways. To love that, however, is still a choice, and you have to conscientiously cultivate a love for that, too.
To love your enemy and to love strangers is as much as a choice as it is to love your kin. You have to cultivate a will to learn how to love both equally. Or… you choose not to love both equally and rationalize why you’re not obligated to.
“8. And how does this learned lesson affect my values and attitudes?”
It forms the backbone of my religious, moral, and ethical perspective. It informs my behavior and the decisions I make.
“9. What is my most spooky experience?”
My immediate response to that question is to do the chuckle and blurt out, there’s way too many to count and keep track of. What? I mean, I don’t even know where to begin.
I’ll answer with my most memorable, because you know how memory goes, right? I’ll say the spookiest experience ever was X but as soon as I finish the story, later in time I suddenly remember the experience Y, which was way, way spookier than X, but somehow I forgot about Y at the time.
But by answering with “most memorable,” it’s literally the experience I can remember immediately off the top of my head right now.
No, you know what, strike that. I don’t think I’ve had any spooky experiences. Nothing comes to mind that I would label as “spooky.” Spirit contacts, strange coincidences or synchronicity, psychic experiences, I mean none of this rises to the level of “spooky.”
Probably the spookiest thing I’ve ever experienced is one of those fake Halloween haunted house things you walk through at the state fair. Those always spook the hell out of me.
“10. Would/have i ever cursed/hexed anyone?”
Thinking back, I don’t believe I’ve ever cursed or hexed anyone because of something they did to me directly, where the curse/hex was retribution for my feeling of personal injury or offense.
However, I’ve cursed/hexed because someone has hurt a loved one. I’ll curse/hex on behalf of loved ones. So yes, I would and I have, but I’ve got personal honor codes that regulate if I would and when I would do such things.
“11. If i could live anywhere, where would it be?”
I’m happy where I am. Heck, that’s why I’m living here. If and when I feel happier living somewhere else, I will pick up and move to live there. So yeah. I do have the fortuitous choice to live wherever I want in the world right now and I’ve chosen. =) Where I’m at right now is it! That being said, I would love it if more of my family lived closer by! =) Unfortunately, can’t force them to relocate. =D