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I Don’t Get It: Witchcraft


Welcome to Witchcraft 101! I’m guessing if you’re reading this then you’re probably curious about witches, or perhaps they frighten you. But do not fear. I’m here to dispel your woes about witches without a spell in sight. I spoke to Alexandrian Witch *Aether about all things witchy and the bogus beliefs that follow him.

What is a witch really? How would you define a witch?

A witch is a collective term for a group of people who follow the ways of nature, like the moon and sun cycle, and the seasons. This is just superficially speaking of course. On a deeper level a witch is more spiritual, someone who is able to tap into the energies of nature — which can be represented by a deity.

What type of witch are you? Are there other types of witches besides your own?

So I’m an Alexandrian Witch, and yes there are other types of witches. Though ‘type’ is the wrong word to use. Tradition is better.

Alexandrian is a tradition that was founded in the UK by Alex and Maxine Sanders in the 1960s. There’s also Gardnerian Witchcraft and Eclectic Witchcraft amongst many others. Each tradition is practised in a different method and there are also differences in belief.

I also define myself as a Western Hermetic Witch, as I follow the Qabalah. But that’s a whole other story.

How did you become a witch?

Well there are two aspects to this really, there’s the formality of becoming a witch, like with initiation and then there’s this innate feeling, like a realisation or evolution in your beliefs that you come to have.

The world is vast and beautiful and complicated. I started feeling a sense of wonder about the world when I was a teenager and began looking into Eastern traditions like Buddhism, whereas my friends sought after other faiths. My wonder evolved from there and I soon turned to philosophy. After that, the rest is history.

How do real witches compare to witches in the media, like cartoons? Are there any similarities?

Well no, not really. The cartoon witch is just a caricature of a witch. It doesn’t bear any resemblance to the real thing, although we do use tools like cauldrons and wands, but not in the same way they’re portrayed. In the days of old, the cauldron would’ve been used to boil herbs. I’m not an Earth Witch so I don’t practise that, but I do have a wand — it represents fire and the creative energy of life. I can’t do spells with it like in Harry Potter and such films; that’s all make-believe.

And speaking of Harry Potter, wizards don’t actually exist only witches. Your gender does not define which one you are. Magicians and Sorcerers do exist though. An Altruistic Magician works with the world’s energies to improve the world and better the environment. Whereas a Sorcerer will use the energies to better themselves and to control the environment and other people.

In my view, cartoon witches come from the influence of Halloween. They’re created from the fear of the unknown. When people are frightened, they generate mechanisms of defence and create things that don’t really exist. Cursing and healing are very real things though; they say that a witch that can’t curse, can’t heal. I don’t get involved with either, but some witches do.

What do witches really believe in?

The influence of nature fundamentally, but it’s much, much more than that. Witches believe in the connection to the past, present and future. They believe in reincarnation. They believe in the ability to change your environment in times of adversity — that even in the face of danger you’ll come through it and you’ll learn and move forwards.

What’s one thing you can tell us about witches that would surprise us?

Well, I saw a meme the other day and — I don’t know how true it is in Australia, but it’s certainly true in the UK —that witchcraft is 10% visible and 90% invisible. Anyone could be a witch and you’d never know. Witches just go about their lives as all people do.

Also, witches are Pagan but not all Pagans are witches. Remember that.

Favourite thing about being a witch? Least favourite thing?

Let’s start with my least favourite. It really annoys me when people present themselves as a serious witch but they aren’t, and they’re just using the craft to make money — like someone using a tarot deck and charging people for a reading. Those types of people are just missing the whole point and are robbing people. I also hate stupid witch names like ‘Steel Dragon Slayer’ or something to that degree. Witch names are given to you. You don’t choose them.

And my favourite thing about being a witch? Everything.

8What’s the main message/takeaway you want people to remember (about witches)?

Witchcraft is just like any other faith that’s out there. Witches aren’t evil and you shouldn’t discriminate against us. Don’t be scared of us, we’re just like you — but there are more people out there like me than you will ever realise.

*Names have been changed.

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