Taoist Witches? What is Asian Witchcraft?

In my previous blog post recapping NWTS 2022, I talked about how much I enjoyed the “Which Witch is Which” lunch panel discussion. So that you don’t have to click between pages, here’s what I said about it:

The best part of all? Hands down, the Which Witch is Which lunch panel discussion. Each practitioner on the panel represented a different perspective on witch identity and witchcraft, from whether they identify with the moniker “witch” (some yes, some no), what is witchcraft anyway, and their takes on covens, solitary practice, closed vs. open traditions, altars, ancestor work, and more.

Thank you, Mat, for giving a shout-out to Taoist ceremonial magic! And wish the incredible Onareo, who was present in the audience with me, could have also been up there on the panel to represent brujeria.

In this Bell Chimes In video chat, I wanted to ruminate on my own responses to the questions “Do you identify as a witch?” and “What is witchcraft, to you?”

Answers to those two questions are not at all easy to arrive at.

I waffle back and forth on what defines a “witch,” especially since the definition seems so varied. You walk in seven different directions asking for a definition of that term and you’ll get seven different often conflicting answers. Not to mention there is no (imo) satisfactory translation equivalent in any of the East Asian languages, as far as I know. Instead, we have designations for priest or priestess, shaman, diviner, fortune-teller, psychic, medium, healers who are using traditional holistic health care practices, etc. But witch?

But then I am reminded of the extent that Taoist-based magical practices and mysticism are excluded from pagan and witchcraft communities. Despite the long history of Diasporic Asian presence in the Americas, to this day we’re still seen as foreigners. Likewise in the pagan and witchcraft communities, we’re often left at the margins, forgotten about in conversations on ceremonial magic and witchcraft.

And I think part of that can be attributed to Asian Americans not claiming the moniker “witch.” So to that extent, as an Asian American practitioner of the craft, there’s benefit to identifying as a witch. At the very least, it gives us visibility, and finally, an opportunity to be included.

2 thoughts on “Taoist Witches? What is Asian Witchcraft?

  1. Lg

    Benebell the pentagram and the many pagan rituals and golden dawn occult was taken from enochian and Egyptian practices according to what I’ve seen from the golden dawn material but tarot and Romanian concealment during witch trial century’s -I believe the Romanians in the tarot of the bohemians were holding the tarot from India I believe during the witch trials but the difference between taoists and witches is that taoism is orthodox in micro and macrocosmic study where as witchcraft of paganism is unsafe because of limitations of mediumistic orthodoxy and profoundness, and parts of pagan witchcraft is demonic worship anti Christianity -whereas taoism explains the ruthlessness and neccessity of control over heaven and earth even with good and bad magick but orthodoxy of the complete trinity of all deity’s and energy’s involved which cannot be paralleled.

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  2. Lg

    Benebell the real tarot here in the USA belongs to the church of light of California and the creator studied astrology on all levels his whole life and this tarot works precise with medical astrology giving close details of persons description, health,birth effects, and all out description through the use of ruled planets and planets -I’ve seen no other tarot better than the church of light.

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