I recently listened to a talk given by a well-known member of the UK “Pagan Community”. I really enjoyed it, and it was on the whole quite interesting. Throughout the lecture however the audience were given lots of warnings…”Don’t try this unless you know what you’re doing” and ”make sure you are suitably prepared…” but nowhere were these statements elaborated upon. Surely this is what people have gathered around to hear? What If people don’t know what they are doing…? There were lot of interesting anecdotes and it was a shame they were peppered with a lot of fearful warnings! As someone who has been around a few years it was fine, yet for a beginner…well it was enough to put anyone off…and it also sounded kinda pompous!
If we find ourselves in a position where people are going to be listening and learning from us, is it not our responsibility to make sure we actually educate? It’s all well and good dishing out dire warnings regarding the spirit world, it’s probably justified, but it doesn’t seem fair to make these sweeping statements and not give all the information required so that we can experiment safely. Equally why waste time giving a talk (to the general public I might add) that people will go home and forget about because they weren’t given enough info to actually have a go? No, we shouldn’t have everything spoon fed…we have a right to self-discovery, but there appears to be a lack of knowing around when to support, guide and prod in the right direction and when to let go and stand back.
Anyone who reads my blog regularly will hear me rant talk about craft mirroring life…where would we be in life if our parents never let us out of the house, wrapped us in cotton wool and continued to cut our meat for us? And what parent hasn’t watched their children come home broken hearted or bruised and thought “I told you so!” at least once or twice? And so it is with the craft, we cannot protect people from everything and we certainly shouldn’t try to protect through the propagation of ignorance. I find it completely counterproductive to practically scare people off diving in and learning for themselves. OK so we may get burnt and we may f*&k up but ultimately we learn, we either get results or we don’t, sometimes we get results we don’t want or expect, but we try and try again.
So please…to anyone who may find themselves in a position to speak publically, I understand sometimes you may only have a limited time to get your message across but use the time wisely, spend a few minutes less declaring your personal accolades or book promotion and more on the subject. Don’t handle us with kid gloves, take the reins off, don’t try to hold our hands too much…let us fall over, it’s the only way we learn. We can then discover for ourselves that actually Witchcraft isn’t safe and neither should it be, Witchcraft takes guts, strength and conviction, sometimes it can be disheartening and damn right scary but we should strive for that visceral fear, wonder, trepidation and excitement when we face the spirits and the Old Ones otherwise we will never cross the abyss. Fear is one of the hardest things we all have to master in the craft (and I’m still trying to master) but I never would have gotten this far without a few well placed, wisely timed pushes off the edge of the occasional precipice! It is often said that Witchcraft isn’t for everyone and indeed it isn’t…but rather than scaring people off perhaps we should let them find out for themselves whether they have what it takes?