Saturday, 19 April 2008

On Revelations

Sandy wrote: 

"... you are BORN a witch, you know from your childhood you were different but didn't know why and most Trads I know have spent years battling with themselves, experiencing life which gave them the wisdom to not only understand what they were but to also accept it and live with it passionately!"

Wow! That's a neat summary of my life, thus far.

"There are no hard and fast rules about what is Traditional Witchcraft but what I can tell you is that it stems from family generations. Sometimes a few generations are skipped then its picked up again by someone down the line. Things change and evolve."

"... committing themselves to the Trad lifestyle is a major step in one's life.

It is totally immaterial whether you are a lineaged Trad or a self-acknowledged Trad. The most powerful Trad witches I have met were unaware of a family lineage!

Family "lineage" doesn't matter one iota on this site, and it shouldn't on any Trad site!

You have to have an inner conviction that you are a Trad Witch. Let me stress one essential Truth. A witch is born NOT made!

The Trad witch has the conviction within his or her quintessential being that he or she is a Trad witch. Life's experiences will confront this person. The absolute conviction of your true being will eventually determine your status as a Trad witch. It is not dependent on a supposed lineage, so-called initiations, or extensive reading. It just is - quite independently."

I spent most of last night ruminating on the above quotes. I think the reason my life has been hard to bear is because I spent so long trying to fit myself into the mould of my father's family, their beliefs, morals and ethics. If you were to scratch below the surface, you would have found I was just mouthing the words to please others; none of it truly touched me. Even at a very young age, I would question my parents and teachers on matters of belief. I never received the right answers, IMO.

My father's faith excel at indoctrinating guilt and fear, so I was reluctant to look to outsiders for answers. I have to admit to dabbling in my teens with a witchcraft-type group, but they terrified me which added to the schooling in fear I received from the church, and I vowed to steer clear of witchcraft, magic, voodoo and anyone outside of the norm/average.

I went through the New Age movement; after all, its hardly threatening (though one priest's sermon in Ireland had me thinking otherwise). I still didn't find what I needed. I was in close to my 30th birthday when I realised I was both pagan and following the line of traditional witchcraft. I started actively seeking out those from traditional lines. With every group I met, I came closer to finding those who felt as I did. I began to open up to my family. Now, both my parents are fine with my beliefs and actively question me on things they don't comprehend from my blogs.

The real revelation for me came when I started discussing these matters with my supposedly aethiest (maternal) grandmother - let's call her Spitfire. Meditation and astral projection were some of the first techniques I discussed with Spitfire. To my surprise, Spitfire related her experiences wherein she used these inherent skills to escape some rather gruesome experiences throughout her life. We discussed at length what she did and how she did it. As time went by, and I learned more skills, I would engage her in discussion, only to find that Spitfire had gone there before me. Of course, Spitfire doesn't use these terms, or any of the other words we might recognise as modern witches; and she loathes the idea of being called a witch. To her mind, they are mad people who run around naked in the woods howling at the moon.

It was during one of these discussions that Spitfire related her tale of being born with a veil, i.e. she was touched, meaning she would be fey or psychic according to the folklore traditions in the area in which she was born, lore which was subsequently proved true in her case. I had always known that one particular line of the maternal family tree was strangely devoid of religious leanings, and I began to see why.

My mother, too, has opened up about certain abilities she had kept hidden most of my life. I guess when you marry into an ultra-religious family, you learn to keep your mouth shut about anything that might be considered otherwordly.

Most of these revelations occurred in my 30s. My life might have been very different had the women of my family not been suppressed. The struggle I have undergone (and still, sometimes, endure) has been of some benefit, but what other challenges might there have been, had I been schooled at my mother's, and grandmother's feet? How much further along on the path of understanding would I be?

If I had not taken the time to explore my own beliefs and abilities, would any of my descendants explored traditional witchcraft? If so, they might never have known of their family practices.

So, I wonder: how many witches have an unknown hereditary line? Is there a possibility is that all witches are born?

And, I find an accord with the last quote in that I came to it independently. I guess we all have to, don't we?


What I am wondering is how many people were lost altogether because of silence borne out of oppression? I was lucky in that I never really bought into the church's ideals, so never truly found bound by them. When I put two continents between myself and my family I felt free to pursue whatever I wanted, regardless of the cultural mindset of those with whom I lived.

I also wonder how of the affect on future generations. Given one of the posts I read about children being taken into care, how much can we really (safely) pass on to our own descendants? And, if we withhold information, are we necessarily putting them at a disadvantage? Are we alienating future generations?

For instance, my grandmother never made mention to my mother about the nature of her birth, or her skills. My mother always dismissed her own abilities, not knowing the link she had with her mother, or with me. That's two undeveloped generations already. I have been very fortunate in that I have a good relationship with my elders (again, something that came with a lot of difficulty), and can freely discuss my thoughts with them, but how many people feel they can't actively discuss their practices/beliefs with their parents and/or their own children? I know its a bit futile to wonder "what if", but it doesn't stop me thinking or pondering on what ripples I might be sending down the line of my own descendants through my current actions.

Even if I hadn't struggled to find my path, I perceive there might have been other struggles. I don't think one can come to traditional witchcraft without some form of barrier being put up, either internal or external - I just don't perceive it works that way. Its never felt like something to be handed over on a plate.

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