What pop-culture gets wrong about witchcraft according to a witch
culture : Millions of people across the world identify as pagans
From Tarot readings at Topshop and rugged crystals at Urban Outfitters, witchcraft is having a moment.
But for millions of pagans across the world, witchcraft is more than a passing fad.
Among them is Ashley Mortimer, 47, from Nottingham. The business consultant and web developer is a Wicca witch and the director for the Centre for Pagan Studies.
Wiccans, along with Druids, make up the UK’s long and rich history of paganism. While druidism dates back to the Iron Age, Wicca was developed by Gerald Gardner and Doreen Valiente in the early twentieth century in England and borrows from the former as well as other pagan traditions known as the “old ways”. Official figures suggest over 60,000 people in the UK identify as pagan.
Such regions celebrate what they view as the divinity of the natural world, the seasons and “sacred feminity” and are generally polytheistic. Some Wiccans believe in the “craft” and the manipulation of supernatural forces.
To mark winter solstice – an important occasion in the Wicca calendar – The Independent picked Mortimer’s brains to find out what it means to be a 21st century witch.
How long have you been practising witchcraft?
I’ve been involved in Paganism and witchcraft since my teens, I am an initiate and High Priest of the Wicca of the Gardnerian variety, because it comes largely from the work of Gerald Gardner in the middle of last century.
This means I celebrate the seasonal cycles of the Sun and the Moon and the Earth with a reverence for the divine as it manifests in nature and personified as a great Goddess of the Moon and her consort, a horned God of the Sun.
How does being a witch change how you live your daily life?
Being a witch means taking responsibility for oneself, one’s life and one’s quest for happiness, truth and wisdom. It means looking differently as every aspect of life, seeing through the world of form to the more subtle and powerful world of force behind it. The truth isn’t always physical or manifest.
I have a number of daily routines including morning meditation exercises, keeping of a daily journal recording insights and thoughts including dreams. I observe ritual celebrations of the full Moon and the annual sun cycle including solstices, equinoxes and the so-called “cross quater” days between them like May Day, or Beltane, and Halloween or Samhain.
Can anyone become a witch? What is a good way to start for people who are a little nervous?
The first advice is always the same: read widely and believe nothing. Following that people can find their way to other Pagans and Witches through organisations like the Pagan Federation and the Children of Artemis who organise local social gatherings called “moots”, as well as larger conference events like Witchfest in Brighton in November. The best way to discover modern pagan and Witchcraft practices is to meet others already engaged in them and sincere seekers are always welcomed.
The internet can be a double edged sword with a lot of misinformation and, as with any other interest group, common sense and good safeguarding practices are always to be advised. Sincerity is a two way street.
Provided by : http://www.independent.co.uk