July 29, 2005

Reconsidering "Witch."

As I posted when I'd only first begun this blog, I have many uneasy feelings about accepting the term "witch" as a label for my spiritual path. I can't fully explain this gradual change-of-heart that has been occuring in me since I first wrote this entry; I can only say that this uneasiness has been dissipating over the past few months. At the moment, I feel comfortable enough considering myself a "Christian witch," though I'm still hesitant to describe myself this way to others. I have a feeling this change reflects my growing disenchantment with and isolation from the Catholic Church in particular, and other Christians more generally. Not all Christians, mind you--mostly those who just happen to be most vocal and persistent about their faith.

Working as a waitress in a 24/7 "family" restaurant, I interact (on a shallow level, I admit) with many kinds of people. The other evening, at the very beginning of my graveyard, midnight-to-morning shift, I met two men who immediately asked me if I accepted Jesus as my savior. I replied that yes, I had, though I knew quite distinctly that they had a completely different meaning in mind than I did. For me, accepting Christ is intimately tied to accepting myself. For a long time, I felt that to label myself as Christian was to make some impliit statement about this particular religion being better than all others, in direct contradiction to my constant striving to accept and understand everyone. It was only after years of contemplation and poetry that I came to appreciate the value of uniqueness and particularity. Just as I could love one boy and be faithful to him without denying the validity of my friend's equally strong love and devotion to another, different person; so could I call myself Christian without denying the validity of Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. Accepting Jesus, for me, was about accepting my own uniqueness not as a negative judgement about others, but as a testament to the power of faith and love to take many forms. I have my reasons for relating most strongly and directly to God through the story and example of Christ, both his life and death, his philosophy and his actions. They need not be universal reasons in order to be valid ones. And accepting my own particularities taught me to accept the particularities in others.

I feel the same process happening with regard to witchcraft. Before landing my new waitressing job, I had a great deal of free time, most of which I spent wandering the woods down the block. It had been the first time in years that I had unrestricted access and time to a large, natural area--to woods, streams, meadows and sky. Before college, I spent a great deal of time outdoors, whether hanging out with friends, spending time alone, or playing various sports. But once in college, I spent less and less time outside, as my studies and research demanded more and more computer and classroom time. Maybe that is why I doubted what I had felt so strongly as a kid, and why when I came across the idea of "Christian witchcraft," it felt familiar and appropriate, without quite feeling "comfortable" or natural just yet. Just this past week, though, I had three days in a row off from work to make time for my parents' visit, and we took a trip to the Phipps Conservatory--a garden and greenhouse. The feeling of "witchiness" which had been fading since I began my new job rushed back as I wander among the plants and fountains, along the stone paths, watching a storm roll in through the late afternoon heat. Can I deny that there isn't some part of my that responds to this kind of sacred interaction with nature? Should I hesitate to call it what it is, simply out of an urge to be politically correct or respectable? The fact of the matter is, when I am in nature, when I have time to sit and contemplate, I feel "witchy"--I feel poetic and enchanted and inspired and connected. Perhaps this is one of those things I will have to learn to accept.


At 31.10.05, Anonymous Accepting said...

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