Magic is Optional

Every time I go over to the New Age section of a bookstore I’m… disappointed. I wandered over there a day ago to look for some books about being or becoming a witch. Even though I wouldn’t adopt all/any of the practices, perhaps I would just adapt them to what I can reasonably do, I thought that I would still find something more, I dunno, serious. I did find a book, “The Real Witches Garden: Spells, Herbs, Plants, and Magical Spaces Outdoors” by Kate West, which I bought because I think it could help me in my year’s goal of becoming the first/only Mormon Witch and that I could start by growing herbs (maybe some poisons). But, reading through it, like going through any of those other Wiccan texts, I find a lot of froofarah.

I would like to see a book written by a witch after the classic order, or, I guess, after the literary order. I admire those witches. The witches of MacBeth (especially the Second Witch) are great characters with the best lines. Or how they’re represented in Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow: real wielders of power. Women who are powerful in themselves, who can offer protection and are dangerous because of their cunning and bravery. The “witches” who are represented in the New Age section are weak and stake claim in nothing. Real witches, the witches people–including James I of England–were afraid of, the women who are masters in all things and don’t consign themselves to “goddesses,” that’s the kind of witch I want to be. I mean, goddesses? Not even one particular deity, not even the Goddess of the Crossroads Hecate. Ridiculous. Weak.

I suppose that I’ll need to redesign and redefine my term, because I won’t belong to that class, the type who have taken over Salem, MA and made it more of a joke than did the tourist industry. I will do the gardening and the kitchen bits; those are things I enjoy doing regardless, and because I believe those are a part of being a modern witch of the ancient class. There’s power in what we eat and grow, the ancient priests and witches knew this as do the modern scientists. Understanding and utilizing it, while reverencing this knowledge is something that I want to do. I believe, though I only have supposition to back me up, that I have a cultural heritage in this endeavor as I have both Celtic and Germanic roots.

Besides all of that, I think I can bring together these two seemingly polar opposite images in myself: the Witch and the LDS woman. In fact, I think I can reconcile the two and, indeed, have them in harmony. I don’t think they’re unrelated, in fact, the two come from the idea of being a strong, independent, intelligent woman and belonging to the Other at the same time. I must remember, though, that my definitions are different than the norm. I don’t want to fall in line with the cultural aspects of either side: the “Mormon Culture” and the witch society I described (in part) above. There’s reality and truth in the depth and history of both sides that I want to tap into. And, yes, I may wear a pointy hat.

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