Living as a Witch
Some people choose to live as witches on a Sabbat or for full and dark moon rituals, but I choose to live life as a witch at all times. How do I live as a witch? Many people I’ve met believe that it is a matter of doing a prescribed set of rituals each day or every time something occurs (like giving thanks to Dionysos each time one drinks water).
For me, it includes that and more. In the Hellenic Orthodox religion, there are a few laws, such as the Divine Law that I live by. These help me navigate through the rough waters of life more than a series of mini-rituals do.
I do perform my daily devotions in the morning to help me focus on the day to come whenever I can. These consist of a few small rituals that I can do in a matter of fifteen minutes. If I miss a day, I don’t blame myself but instead I decide that I will improve tomorrow. One problem that many people I know have troubles with is that they feel guilty if they forget their daily ritual (whether it be devotions, yoga, the morning run, etc.) or if they simply don’t have time because they overslept. It is important to forgive yourself and move on. I generally do my devotions at least a few days a week or more.
Over the course of the day, I remember that “I am responsible for everything I say, feel, think and do.” I am responsible “without pride or praise, blame or shame, judgment or evaluation.” These statements are from the Divine Law. They help me deal with the little problems that come up during the day. For example, when I feel anxious about being late because a traffic light is slow in changing, I remind myself that I am responsible for my being late, not the traffic light. I chose to leave at the time I did and I will work to leave earlier next time to avoid this problem.
My religion is one of Love, Light, Life and Liberty. I work to feel and express Love to all things—all people, animals, rocks, plants, and even cars. I love the animals I eat and silently give thanks for their sacrifice. I also give thanks to the plants I eat and use for their sacrifice. I work to love all people, even those with whom I disagree. This can sometimes be a challenge, but I think of it this way: everyone is working for the same thing, to develop and evolve. Sometimes their method of doing this is different than mine and can sometimes appear to be an obstacle to mine. When this happens, I stop to think about why it is an obstacle and find a way around it. If there were no obstacles, then I wouldn’t grow. Without sacrifice, I cannot learn.
Sometimes other people appear to be on the “wrong” path for their development or are doing things that are self-destructive. But maybe this is the right path for them, just not for me. If they are being self-destructive or are otherwise stalled, I will offer my assistance, but they must be the ones to accept it. If they don’t want my help, that is their decision and I must respect it. Their development and growth is their responsibility, not mine.
The Love I feel for most things isn’t the same love that I show my wife. It is essentially respect. I respect things and people for who and what they are and their right to exist in liberty. I wish more people had a basic sense of respect for others. Through example, though, I share it and through magick I encourage it to grow.
Magick is also a common part of my daily life. I am trained as an advanced Reiki practitioner and I use Reiki, which I believe to be one of magick’s many facets, to help empower various magickal acts and objects. I also use it to help people when they are going through a rough time if it’s their Will to accept it.
I’m lucky to have a wife who is in the same religion as I; we perform magick together. We have used magick to help bring our baby into this plane. We use magick to communicate with her. When we wanted to name her, we wanted to choose the name that she wants to be known by. We talked to our baby and to the gods to find out this name. We also use magick to help better ourselves spiritually and financially.
I live in the conservative Christian upper Midwest. Most of the people I interact with on a daily basis are Christian, so I end up acting as an ambassador of sorts for my religion. I believe strongly in my faith, so I don’t try to hide it. I wear a pentacle or other magickal necklace almost everywhere, even to work. I’m glad that this area is tolerant enough to allow me to do that without endangering myself. Every once in a while, people ask innocently what my pentacle necklace means. Sometimes I wonder if they are asking in general what it means, or if they are wondering what it means to me in particular. I will casually explain that it is a symbol of the unity of the four elements and of the Mother Goddess. For most people, that is enough and they are satisfied. I see it as a duty for myself to do this so that people can become more familiar with paganism, witchcraft and other religions to become more tolerant to them. I don’t do it to proselytize, though. This is why I don’t normally say anything more than one sentence when someone asks. If they are interested in more, they will ask.
It is challenging to live my daily life as a witch. Sometimes, it’s just easier to blame others for my problems. Or assume that the gods are against me instead of me asking them for help. But as I get more experienced in this lifestyle and as it becomes more a part of me, I see that as changing. I don’t think it will ever become easier. It’s because of the difficulties in life that I grow. I feel that as I grow, I will be happier because I remember that the gods watch over me and that I have the power to make my own decisions and control my own life.
(Note: This article was first published in November, 2002 at The Witches’ Voice)