It’s what pagans do.
Paganisim has gotten a really bad rap for centuries now. Despite the fact that more and more people are turning to spiritual healers, coaches, witches, and other spiritual types for help these days, to come out and state that “I am Pagan” still feels like we should be prepared for a punch in the gut at every turn. People in general still don’t get us, and I am not alone in wanting to change that. We are really just here to help people suffer less and live more.
We get classed together under the single term witch for simplicity’s sake. The truth is that we are all a lot of different things. That’s a whole different subject of discussion for another time, though. For the discussion here, and yes I am calling it a discussion because I encourage you all to drop questions and thoughts in the comments, I will be using the term witch as a very broad term. It’s what people in general recognize and this is who this post is for.
When we hear the word witch these days, our brains automatically show us the Sanderson Sisters or something similar. It happens to us witches too. The comely sister trio of witches hell bent on eating all the children in an effort to retain their physical beauty forever, released on Halloween night when a black candle is lit by a virgin. It’s a great movie and many of us enjoy sitting down together to watch it every Halloween.
It was a great step toward acceptance of us witches in the mainstream. They weren’t at all scary. In fact, they were quite hilarious. As not scary as they are, though, eating children for any reason is a bad thing any day of the year, to just about everyone on the planet.
Sure, the kids defeat them, being a virgin is seen as less of a bad thing, all of the witch’s curses are lifted, and the kids survive the night. Everyone lives happily ever after and it’s all very cute and funny. It’s far from harmless though and it really hasn’t done anything to change the belief that we are capable of doing these kinds of bad things.
It’s still sending the underlying messages that witches eat children, curse people, and raise the dead to do their bidding, among other things. That reinforces the still predominant idea that witches are bad, even if they aren’t hideous and scary. We let our kids see that movie, with no explanation or counter statements about anything that movie shows them, and it becomes a belief in them that witches do these things.
Everything else we do teaches them that those things are bad and the people that do them, whether we have seen them do it or not, or why they do it, should be avoided, if not punished severely. It’s similar to the way we’ve treated LGBTQ people. We don’t have to have seen them do something to believe that they are something and treat them differently.
I know a lot of pagans, and I meet more and more of them every day. None of them have eaten children. None of them turned people into black cats, cursing them with immortality (if they do that they aren’t wasting it by turning someone into a cat, they are shouting it from the rooftops because they want to share it with everyone), and none of them have taken over the world with an army of zombies.
Sure, most of us would like to turn someone into something else at one point or another, but that’s not just a common thought among us pagans now, is it? People in general suck and do terrible things to each other without any magical powers, spells, or rituals. We aren’t part of that because we don’t do those things. Who wouldn’t like to turn that noisy and disrespectful neighbor into a toad that can’t run a saw at 2am and park their car so it’s blocking our driveway? There aren’t stories all over the news about it actually happening though, is it?
The difference is that we could do it. We know how and we have the power and the tools to do it. We just don’t. A lot more people would be turned into fish, toads, plants and other harmless, silent, and inanimate objects, if we did. That isn’t talked about though. I want to change that because that is the biggest misconception and is what keeps us huddled together in small groups, practicing in secret, and just adding fuel to the fire.
So, I’m here to share just a couple of things we wish the non-pagan community actually knew and understood about us. The knowledge and understanding of just these two concepts can change everything.
Do no harm.
Every witch has a credo. A set of beliefs and rules that they live by. Whether they are handed down from a spiritual deity, religious leader, or just what they personally believe and live by, we all have one. Within that credo, Do No Harm, or some variation of that, is always near the top, even if it is not written down anywhere. We don’t need it to be.
It’s there because we know how powerful we are and that we have the ability to really do some major damage to people and their lives with our actions. It’s not our intent to do that. It never has been.
We also tend to believe, and heavily teach, the rule of 3. It’s the belief that what we put out into the world and universe comes back to us 3 times amplified. We don’t want anything bad coming back to us, so why would we put bad out there?
That way of thinking isn’t what drives us though. We step up to help and heal because we want people to suffer less. We know things about the world, and what causes suffering. We can, see it, feel it, and modify it to meet our needs and the needs of others. To help, in most cases. That help and healing comes at a price that people in general are not aware of, though.
Money rules the world of people, but it doesn’t rule the universe and when people want changes to happen on a spiritual or universal level, not a human level, we pagans are here as a go between.
Paying the Price.
We witches are an admittedly strange but friendly bunch as a whole. Especially when we don’t feel like we are in danger of being harmed by people that don’t understand and fear us. We just view the world and work within it a little differently. We understand the laws of nature, physics, chemistry, and energy in ways that aren’t taught in school. We understand where, when, and how we can modify those things. We study and practice to learn when we should, when we shouldn’t, and why.
It comes with a price though. For some, scorn, persecution, and ridicule are just part of that price. For many in past times, the price was death. That isn’t the price that I’m talking about here. Nor am I talking about payment to us for doing a job.
We need payment because we need to survive in this world and get the tools that we need, just like everyone else. We can’t use money to do our jobs though.
Deities, the universe, or whatever you want to call the source(s) that we pagans are able to tap into to perform our jobs, don’t accept cash as payment. They have no use for it. They function in a space where energy or what non-pagans call “magic” is their currency. We have to convert the money into an acceptable form of currency to do that work.
Witches kind of serve the world as currency converters for the universe. We take currencies that are acceptable and tradable here in the mundane world, aka money, and covert it into things that are acceptable in the spiritual world or universe, aka energy. The conversion process is what gets called witchcraft. It’s the spells and rituals we perform. Our sacrifices and offerings are our payment.
We want this to happen. We offer this form of energy in exchange for that energy to move or change, for this person. When what we asked to happen, happens, that is magic.
We don’t shun the handy man for going to Home Depot to stock up on supplies and tools he needs to fix things around our house. We pay him cash because it’s what works for us. We assume that his landlord only accepts cash as payment too.
What if he didn’t though? What if his landlord only accepted hammers and nails as payment. Would you go to Home Depot to get hammers and nails and give them to the handy man so he can pay his bills? No. You would expect the handy man to do the conversion from cash to whatever he needed.
Our willingness to spend money to get what we need quickly and easily instead of having to sacrifice our time, effort, and energy (or anything else) to do, make, or get it ourselves is so great that we sent a man into space last year. We paid him to implore his deities to make our lives easier. Any ideas what he might have sacrificed or offered to the gods/goddesses/source to be able to provide the conveniences he offers us? I can guarantee you it was a lot more than just money.
Nothing is impossible with witches. We absolutely know that. We also know that the price to be able to do the impossible is not money based. You can’t put money on an altar as an offering, make your plea to your god/goddess/source and implore them to grant your wish, and expect them to accept and comply. It would be the equivalent of asking our landlord to accept a signed copy of your latest book and a goat, as payment for your rent. We pay that price, no matter what it might be, for you.
Sometimes, it might be blood, sweat, and/or tears. Sometimes it requires hours of deep meditation in seclusion. Sometimes it requires a cat whisker and some eye of newt. It always requires the right words and solid intent. Most people don’t have cat whisker or eye of newt just sitting on a shelf in the pantry. They don’t want to bleed or sweat to accomplish something, but they want it accomplished none the less.
So, witches know and pay the actual price required by their higher power on their client’s behalf and make the request for their client, so their client can go on about their life, suffering less and living more. Does that really sound like a bad person to you?
We want these things to be what gets spread around about us. We are here to help people suffer less and live more. If you have questions or concerns about that or us, ask us. We are happy to explain our beliefs and practices without pressuring you to “join us”, believe what we believe, or live how we live. We just want to make it possible for you to live your best life, whatever that looks like for you.
Put that in a movie everyone will enjoy at Halloween, and then we are taking real steps toward acceptance and understanding of pagans as a whole. Better yet, lets have a real live discussion about it. Drop the things you fear most about pagans in the comments and lets talk about the what, why, and how we do what we do so you don’t have to be afraid of us anymore.